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I'm currently in Kyrgyzstan, waiting (like so many others), for a visa - for me it's to Kazakhstan. I'll go to Almaty, then up through to Russia (Novosibirsk), across to Irkutsk and down to Mongolia.

However, I need a visa for Mongolia, being a New Zealander citizen. According to:

http://www.tourmongolia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275%3Alist-of-mongolian-embassies-a-consulates-abroad&catid=52&Itemid=82&lang=en

I have a choice of an embassy/consulate in Almaty or Irkutsk. However, given the problems people have with visas in these countries, I'm wary that one might be more straightforward. Does anyone have any suggestions for how this may be sped up, or whether one is more likely to be easier than the other to get the visa? And by easy, I'd prefer 'fast' :D

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

In the end, I decided with Irkutsk. My reasoning:

There is a Mongolian embassy in Almaty, but it's quite far out of town, and is a hassle to get to. Also, the Kazakh police concern me a bit, and being without a passport is stressful when they're around.

In Irkutsk, you can pay for 1-4 working days processing, and it's in the center of town. It requires two forms to be filled out there and then and you also pay at the consulate, rather than at a bank or somewhere else that you would need to find. The staff all spoke English and it was remarkably simple to complete.

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I know you were coming from the north, but for those coming from the south it was extremely trivial and quick to get my Mongolian visa on the spot in Hohhot, China. I detail my experience in my answer to a related question:

How long does it take to obtain an expedited visa in the Mongolian consulate in Hohhot, China?

By chance I also ended up in the Mongolian consulate in Erlian (Erenhot), the Chinese city where the Mongolian border crossing is located. In late November there were no other people there which made me think it would be even easier and quicker since in Hohhot I was made to wait outside for quite a while considering it was well below zero.

I would also assume most of these consulates are much busier during the summer months and probably totally overwhelmed in the lead up to the Naadam Festival.

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