Is it allowed to visit North Korea?

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   June 28, 2024   Update on : June 28, 2024

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Most visitors to North Korea must obtain a visa from one of the country’s diplomatic missions.

All visitors with ordinary passports must obtain a visa before entering North Korea.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as DPRK or more commonly North Korea, is a highly centralized totalitarian state.

Although categorized as one of the poorest countries in the world, North Korea maintains one of the largest militaries and devotes significant resources to its illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The country is economically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Many reportedly suffer from malnutrition and live in extreme poverty. Many citizens go to work on farms daily, in factories, and in the capital Pyongyang.

Freedom of movement is restricted for North Koreans. Citizens usually cannot travel freely around the country, let alone travel abroad. Immigration is strictly controlled.

The state tightly controls freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and similar rights.

For tourists, it is illegal to bring items that may be viewed as religious, pornographic, or political. Not declaring published material or electronic devices upon entry is also unlawful.

It is also illegal to knowingly or unknowingly possess items that breach North Korean law (which is a very broad category). Authorities are highly vigilant about travellers. They might go through your belongings in your hotel room or monitor email, internet, and phone.

Showing disrespect or making jokes about North Korea, current or former leaders, or their families also counts as a crime.

 “The State Department will only issue a special validation passport, if the trip one is making is of national interest, and if they meet all other requirements for a passport.”

One is eligible if they are a professional journalist, a Red Cross representative, travelling for compelling humanitarian considerations, or otherwise if the trip is of national interest.

In July 2017, the US government announced that US citizens would no longer be permitted to visit North Korea as tourists.

The ban, which was effective on September 1, 2017, has been extended annually ever since. The latest ban extension expires on August 31, 2024.

Canada in its advisory to its citizens says, “Avoid all travel to North Korea due to the uncertain security situation caused by its nuclear weapons development program and highly repressive regime.”

Internet access is permitted with special authorization.

It is mainly used for government purposes, and by foreigners.


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