It's great that you are taking part in The Mongol Rally. The Visa Machine is here to help you deal with the most bureaucratic and boring part of the trip planning.
Check the visa packs to see which visas you will need for the route you are taking and once you decide to go ahead and use our help in obtaining your visas, don't forget to use the discount code MR2019 to get 15% off our service fees.
As a tourist, you can only enter and leave Russia up to twice.
Unfortunately, they don't offer a triple or multiple entry visa option for tourists, which leaves Mongol Ralliers in a bit of a quandary when it comes to route planning around the Finish Line in Russia.
So what are your options? From a visa point of view, there are 4:
1) Do the Central Route starting with a double entry visa to get you through Europe, Ukraine, Russia (first entry), Kazakhstan, Russia (second entry) and Mongolia. Once you've used your double entry visa up, try to apply for a 3rd entry as a transit visa in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Because you can't have 2 Russian visas in your passport at once, you will have to wait until you've used that first double entry visa before you can apply for the transit visa.
If you're going to go down this route, then please do everything you can to check with the Russian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar before you decide. As far as we know, they'll still issue transit visas to people outside their country of residence and usually give people a visa valid for 3-5 days. If they do grant you a visa, the only catch is that you'll have to wait for 3 days before you can use it to enter Russia.
However, you could get very very stuck if they decide to change their minds or your application gets rejected. Mongolian rules about leaving your car are strict and complicated and getting stuck will cost you a ton of money. So think hard before you choose this option.
2) Stick to a very Northern Route - head north through Europe to Lithuania and Latvia, spend time exploring Russia's northern delights, and then head south east and get the difficult driving in across the steppes of Mongolia before heading back into Russia for the finish line. This route means you'll only need a double entry Russian visa, and for those nationalities who need one (UK included) a Mongolian visa.
3) Change your route to something like... Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan, ferry to Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan, then into Russia, down into Mongolia and back into Russia to the finish line in Ulan Ude. Use our trip planner at mongolrally.thevisamachine.com to see what visas you'll need for this route.
4) Do the Southern Route. Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan or Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, down into Mongolia and back into Russia to the finish line.
Both options 2 and 3 mean more visas, but they also mean you'll avoid needing to enter Russia 3 times, and sorting your visas will be a little bit easier.
Not answered your question? Give us a shout.