Moving to Mongolia
What is Mongolia?
Mongolia is a rather interesting Asian country nestled between Russia and China
The State of Mongolia, also know as the Mongol Nation (yes, really), is a peculiar country in East Asia.
It’s pretty large, covering over 600.000 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers), but its population doesn’t even reach 4 million, half of which live in the severely polluted capital of Ulaanbaatar.
That means Mongolia is the world’s most thinly populated nation.
Most of this area is covered with grassy steppes, mountains in the north and west, and the Gobi Desert in the south.
It borders only two countries: Russia and China.
As you can imagine if you know the history of those two empires, Mongolia spent plenty of time as part of China, and it was a Soviet satellite state until 1990 or so.
At the moment, Mongolia is a semi-representative democratic republic.
It is still heavily economically dependent on its two neighbors.
China accounts for 60% of its foreign trade, and Russia supplies 90% of its energy requirements.
Lately, the country has been seeking relations with other nations – for obvious reasons, but currently it’s still very much reliant on those two dictatorships.
Not a great situation to be in.
Mongolia’s own current economic activity isn’t great, and it is ranked as a low-middle-income economy.
Over a fifth of the population lives on around $1 a day. Yikes!
It is an emerging market however, and it has one of the most promising growth prospects in the coming decades.
30% of the population remains nomadic, which means they travel around with horses … for some reason.
Mongolia is a very sunny country, with over 250 sunny days a year.
That’s a lot, and you can experience truly breath-taking sights traveling across the steppes or through its mountains.
The climate isn’t great apart from the sunshine, though. Mongolia is hot in the summer, and extremely cold and windy in the winter (going to minus 30 C (22 F)).
English isn’t widely spoken at a high level, but it has been gradually replacing Russian as the predominant second language in the last few years.
In fact, English is taught in all secondary schools in the country, which means younger generations will be much for fluent.
You won’t find much organized religion in Mongolia, about half of them are Buddhists, and a good 40% are non-religious.
That being said, other forms of superstition are still prevalent, especially shamanism.
Requirements for moving to Mongolia
Moving to Mongolia comes with several requirements.
Earning a lot of money, however, is not one of them. The cost of living is really low.
You do need to be able to rough it a bit, because Mongolia in general isn’t very developed yet.
Its capital is quite polluted, so keep that in mind.
There are quite a few nationalities which do not need to apply for a visa for stays of fewer than 30 to 90 days, so check beforehand if this applies to you.
In any case, if you’re interested in staying in Mongolia long-term, getting residence through investing is probably the best option.
Start a company (does not need to actually do something), deposit $100,000 in a Mongolian bank (or spread across a few), and keep it there until you have your card.
Citizenship is technically also possible to get, but you cannot have dual nationality, so fuck that.
What is the cost of living in Mongolia?
The cost of living in Mongolia is really low.
A fifth of the population gets by with about $1 to $1,5 a day, but I can imagine you don’t want to live the life these people live.
If you want a somewhat comfortable life, the average cost of living in Mongolia for a single person is around $700 a month, rent included.
Yes, that’s pretty damn cheap.
Anyone with a location independent income of about $1,000 should be able to live here, but as always I strongly advise you to aim for earning at least double or triple that amount.
You don’t want to be poor or barely getting by in Mongolia.
Benefits of living in Mongolia
Downsides of living in Mongolia
Moving to Mongolia - by the numbers
Cost of Living: 10/10
Taxes on international income: 7/10
Between 0 and 20%.
You are considered a tax resident when you own a residence in Mongolia and stay there for more than 180 days per year, and then you'll have to pay taxes on all your income.
If you aren't a resident, you only have to pay taxes on the money you earn inside Mongolia.
Economic growth: 8.5/10
Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 5.6%
How is life for expats in Mongolia?
Life in Mongolia for expats isn’t too great, all things considered.
The cold weather and the pollution do not offer a high quality of living, and while you can certainly deal with these and other factors … why would you?
Yes, the cost of living is very low, and you can get and stay here relatively easily … but I just don’t see the point.
Mongolia has a few advantages, but a shitload of disadvantages as well.
As such, I cannot recommend living here – but using it as a Residence Flag is certainly a great option.
If you earn enough money, it’s relatively straightforward to get, and it gives you visa-free access to Russia and China, and some other interesting countries.
In short: visit Mongolia and experience the beautiful vistas outside of the big cities, use it as a Residence flag or profit from the economic growth to come – but I really would advise against living here.