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Country Information

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

Country Information

North Korea
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Last Updated: September 1, 2017

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  Due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens, effective September 1, 2017, U.S.

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  Due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens, effective September 1, 2017, U.S. passports were invalidated for travel into, in, or through North Korea.  Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport must obtain a special validation passport.  Information on how to apply for a passport with a special validation is available on the Department of State’s website.  Such validations are issued by the Department of State and are granted only under very limited circumstances.  Further, obtaining a special validation does not diminish the bearer’s risk of harassment, arrest, or long term detention as a result of traveling to the DPRK. This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated August 10, 2017 to update the Geographical Travel Restriction and the sections on Sanctions, and the Federal Aviation Administrations’ flight prohibition.

North Korean authorities have imposed unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and have threatened U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law of the DPRK.”  Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea.  The DPRK still routinely delays or denies consular access to U.S. citizens, even when requested by the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, and despite North Korea and the United States both being signatories to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

At least 16 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past ten years.  North Korean authorities have detained individuals who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.  Being a member of a group tour or using a tour guide has not prevented detention or arrest.  Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions in the DPRK have not been successful.

If you obtain a special validation and decide to enter North Korea, you should have no expectation of privacy.  All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories, and cookies are subject to search for banned content.

If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your mobile phone when you enter the country, it will not function unless you use the DPRK mobile service, which will enable DPRK authorities to monitor your calls.  GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed. 

Possession of any media, either physical or electronic, that is critical of the DPRK government or its leaders is considered a criminal act punishable by long-term detention in hard labor camps and heavy fines. 

In North Korea, the following – whether done knowingly or unknowingly – have been treated as crimes:

  • Showing disrespect to the country’s former leaders, Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il, or the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, including but not limited to tampering with or mishandling materials bearing their names or images;
  • Entering North Korea without proper travel documentation;
  • Possessing material that is in any way critical of the DPRK government;
  • Proselytizing or carrying out religious activities, including activities that may be construed as such, like leaving behind religious materials;
  • Engaging in unsanctioned political activities;
  • Traveling without authorization, even for short distances;
  • Having unauthorized interaction with the local population;
  • Exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor;
  • Taking unauthorized photographs;
  • Bringing pornography into the country;
  • Shopping at stores not designated for foreigners; and
  • Removing or tampering with political slogans and signs or pictures of political leaders.

Numerous foreigners have been held in North Korea for extended periods of time without being formally charged with a crime.  Detained foreigners have been questioned daily for several weeks without the presence of counsel and have been compelled to make public statements and take part in public trials.

The DPRK funnels revenue from a variety of sources to its nuclear and weapons programs, which it prioritizes above everything else, often at the expense of the well-being of its own people.  It is entirely possible that money spent by tourists in the DPRK goes to fund these programs.  We would urge all travelers, before travelling to the DPRK, to consider what they might be supporting.   

The DPRK remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world.  U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea should familiarize themselves with all applicable sanctions relating to the country, particularly U.S. sanctions.  To learn more about U.S. sanctions on the DPRK, see the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) page.

The Department of State remains deeply concerned about the DPRK’s ongoing, systematic, and widespread human rights violations.  To learn more about North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation, see the DPRK Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2016.

The United States and the United Nations Security Council have expressed grave concern regarding North Korea’s recent nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches, and other activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.  In response to North Korea’s actions, on September 11, the international community succeeded in achieving unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2375, including by China and Russia, which imposes the strongest sanctions on the DPRK to date.  UN Security Council statements from September 2017 are posted on the UN website.

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators,  Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR)  east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  On November 3, 2017, the FAA expanded its flight prohibition to include all operations in the Pyongyang (ZKKP) FIR East of 132 degrees East Longitude which were previously allowed under special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 79.  For more information, consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the Department of State’s  travel website, travel.state.gov, for current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for North Korea.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email (though you may not have access to email while in North Korea).  Enrollment also makes it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to inform the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP.  U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy directly.  The Embassy is located next to the Ladies’ Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, near the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa Shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop:

U.S. Embassy in Beijing
American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000
Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov
Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000

  • U.S. citizens who obtain a special validation to travel to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by email prior to travel.  Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information: 

The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea)
Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang, DPRK
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
(850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 908 (Amb.)
Facsimile:  (850-2) 3817 663
Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

If you provide information to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, officials will be able to locate you more easily in an emergency.  Take note of the contact details for the Swedish embassy in case of an emergency.

  • U.S. citizens can obtain current information on safety and security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for six months after entry [Requirement by China]

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

 Two pages are required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Not permissible to take Korean money out of the country

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Embassies and Consulates

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes and which threaten U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law” of the DPRK.

See Travel Warning for North Korea.

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang

Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone: +(850)(2) 3817-485 (reception)
Fax: +(850)(2) 3817-663
Emergency Contact at the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang: Telephone: (850-2) 3817-904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy); Telephone: (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Ambassador)

Ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

Department of State Emergency Contact:  24/7 from within the United States 1-888-407-4747 / from outside the United States 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. Embassy Beijing

No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300

AmCitBeijing@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on North Korea for information on U.S. – North Korea relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Entry and Exit:

  • If you are a tourist, you must enter North Korea with a tour group.
  • Obtain a visa for North Korea prior to arrival and have a passport with at least six month’s validity (Korea requires one to three months validity but since you have to enter and depart through China, you will need at least six months validity on your passport.)
  • Obtain multiple entry and exit visas for China:  the border between North and South Korea is closed to tourists.

Apply for a DPRK visa at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing, China.

The Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Beijing:

No. 11, Ritan Bei Lu,
Jianguomen Wai,
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone:  (86-10) 6532-6639 (Visa Office)
Telephone:  (86-10) 65312-1186
Facsimile:  (86-10) 6532-6056

Inquire through the DPRK Mission to the UN whether your request for a DPRK visa will be approved before you leave the United States for China.

The Permanent Representative of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Telephone:  (212) 972-3105
Facsimile:  (212) 972-3154

If you are abroad in a country with diplomatic relations with the DPRK, ask the DPRK embassy in that country for visa advice.

If you arrive in North Korea without both a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa, you may be denied entry, fined, detained, arrested or imprisoned.

If you arrive in North Korea without multiple Chinese visas or if your Chinese visas expire before you depart North Korea, you may not be able to exit North Korea.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrtictions for visitors to or foreign residents of North Korea.

During your Stay:

Even with proper documentation, you are on your own when you enter North Korea.  You could be arrested and imprisoned for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries.  

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Safety and Security

Please see the sections on “Local Laws and Special Circumstances” and “Criminal Penalties.” 

Crime:  North Korea does not release crime statistics.  Petty thefts have been reported at the airport in Pyongyang.

Do not buy counterfeit and/or pirated goods, even if they are widely available.  The purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods is illegal in the United States and may be illegal in North Korea.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime while in North Korea, you should report the crime to your local host/liaison and contact the Embassy of Sweden for assistance.  Your local host/liaison should contact the local authorities on your behalf.

Lost or Stolen Passports:  If your passport is lost or stolen in North Korea, you must apply for a new passport at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in China.  Contact the Embassy of Sweden for assistance.  You will also need a new visa for China.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

For further information:

 

 

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

While in North Korea, you are subject to North Korea law.  If you violate North Korea laws, even unwittingly, you may be held without charges, or arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned for unspecified periods of time.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Embassy of Sweden immediately.  See our webpage for further information

Some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

North Korea Legal System:  The North Korea legal system is an instrument of state power and not an independent branch of the government.  Protections guaranteed under the U.S. legal system do not apply, and your U.S. passport does not confer special status.  

Bills:  The DPRK says U.S. citizens are accountable for costs associated with detention or incarceration in North Korea such as lodging, food, telephone calls, and medical assistance (hospital bills).

Educate yourself about North Korean law.  Your local host/liaison may be able to provide useful guidance.  However, do not assume your host or tour operator will provide assistance to you if you are arrested, or that any information you shared with them will not be turned over to North Korean authorities.

  • It is considered a criminal act or even espionage in North Korea  to show disrespect for the country’s current and former leaders Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Il Sung or to possess information, electronic or otherwise, critical of the regime.  A near religious cult surrounds treatment of these individuals and acts that would be deemed unexceptional elsewhere in the world, i.e. placing a newspaper bearing the leader’s image in the garbage or taking down a banner bearing the leader’s name in Korean, are criminal in North Korea.
  • It is also considered a criminal act and possibly espionage to proselytize.

It is illegal in North Korea to:

  • Take unauthorized photographs: North Korean government authorities may view taking unauthorized pictures as espionage, confiscate cameras and memory cards, demand that specific pictures be deleted, and/or detain the photographer.
  • Interact with the local population
  • Take unauthorized trips
  • Exchange currency with an unauthorized vendor
  • Shop at stores not designated for foreigners
  • Engage in unsanctioned political activities

Customs Regulations:  North Korean authorities may put you in jail or seize documents, literature, audio and video files, computer equipment, DVDs, USB drives and other digital media, and letters that could be used in proselytizing.

Electronic Communication:  North Korea tightly restricts the circumstances under which foreigners may enter the country and interact with local citizens.

Information Critical of North Korea:  North Korean government security personnel closely monitor the activities and conversations of foreigners in North Korea.  Never bring or handle any material, printed or digital (including popular literature on e-book readers), that could be interpreted as critical of, or hostile to, the country or its leadership.  Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored.

Personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.

Pornography:  Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States and may be prosecutable in North Korea.  Please see additional information on Criminal Penalties.

Press:  North Korea has granted press visas for cultural or sporting events or visits of foreign leaders, but officials watch journalists closely to prevent them from unauthorized conversations with North Koreans or questioning the policies, actions, or public statements of North Korea’s leadership.  North Korea has confiscated objectionable material from foreign journalists.  Journalists who engaged in activities that challenged the regime have been deported, arrested, or detained to face criminal charges.  For additional information on the lack of freedom of information in North Korea, see the Department of State’s Human Rights Report for North Korea. 

Humanitarian Relief and Sanctions:  North Korea has experienced famine, flooding, fuel and electricity shortages, and outbreaks of disease.  Many countries, including the United States, have contributed to international relief efforts to assist the people of North Korea.  North Korea is subject to multilateral restrictions and sanctions, including those contained in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, and 2321 .  In addition, the United States and other countries have adopted national sanctions or other measures designed to curb North Korea’s unlawful and destabilizing actions and policies, including its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation activities.

Tourism:  Do not assume that joining a tour group will keep you safe in North Korea.  Do assume that all of your activities will be closely monitored and reported to DPRK authorities. Do assume that the revenue generated by your tour group will help finance the DPRK’s nuclear program.

Consular Access:  Although North Korea is a party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), it routinely delays or denies Sweden’s access to U.S. citizen detainees.

Emergency Services:  If you require emergency services, ask your North Korean escorts to inform the Embassy of Sweden.  

Dual Nationality:  North Korea does not recognize dual nationality.  If you are of Korean heritage – even if you are a U.S. citizen – you could be subject to ten years of military service in North Korea  and taxes on foreign source income. Please see our information on dual nationality.  

U.S. Government Economic Sanctions Against North Korea:  The U.S. government maintains comprehensive sanctions against North Korea due to its human rights record, nuclear weapons programs, weapons proliferation activities, and other provocative actions. The importation and exportation of goods, services, and technology from or to North Korea are generally prohibited unless authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and, for exports or goods, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security.

The government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea are blocked persons, and U.S. citizens may generally not engage in transactions with them or with their property.  Most exports to North Korea are subject to licensing by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.  

Multilateral Sanctions:  The United States abides by multilateral restrictions and sanctions with respect to North Korea, including those contained in United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, and 2312, which were adopted in response to North Korea’s nuclear tests and rocket launches.  For additional information, see the websites of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security..

Customs Regulations: North Korean authorities may seize documents, literature, audio and video files, computer equipment, DVDs, USB drives and other digital media, and letters deemed by North Korean officials to be pornographic or intended for religious proselytizing or subversive activities.  If you carry pornographic or religious materials into North Korea, you could be detained, fined, imprisoned, or expelled.  It is advisable to contact the DPRK Mission to the United Nations or a DPRK embassy or consulate in a third country for specific information regarding customs requirements. Foreign cell phones will not work in DPRK. Please see our information on customs regulations.  

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations because same-sex sexual relations are considered a foreign phenomenon.  DPRK claims that there are no LGBTI in the country.  It would therefore not be possible to organize an LGBTI event here.

Additionally, any open demonstration of affection is frowned upon, also between opposite sex couples.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues. Hotels and medical facilities are generally accessible.  Pavements/curbs are high, however.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

We advise persons with medical problems against traveling to North Korea.  Medical facilities in the DPRK lack resources and electricity.  Medical personnel have inadequate or outdated skills.  Hospitals in Pyongyang can perform basic examinations and lifesaving measures, but functioning x-ray facilities are not generally available.  Avoid surgery.  If you have an accident outside Pyongyang, transport back to the capital can be lengthy and without medical assistance.  

Carry your regular medication with you along with the doctor’s prescription. DPRK Customs says that most prescription medication may be brought into the country with no restrictions.  Hospitals will expect immediate U.S. dollar cash payment for medical treatment.  You cannot use credit cards or checks in the DPRK.

Medical Evacuations:  Local DPRK hosts are often not aware of options available for medical evacuations and might claim that no such options exist.  Insist on contacting the Embassy of Sweden, which will attempt to arrange flight clearances for air ambulances performing emergency medical evacuations.  Costs for medical air evacuation vary, but according to SOS International, an evacuation from Pyongyang to Beijing averages approximately USD 40,000 including medical personnel (1 doctor and 1 nurse), the aircraft, and clearance costs.

The General Bureau of the Koryo Civil Aviation of the DPRK says that it provides around-the-clock service and that requests for air clearance will be granted within 24 hours.  If a U.S. citizen with a medical emergency is in Pyongyang, the Embassy of Sweden can usually arrange a medical evacuation to Beijing in one day.  If the patient is located outside Pyongyang, it will take longer.  

Medical evacuation by regularly scheduled airlines can be arranged, but very few flights operate from Pyongyang to Beijing (Air Koryo and Air China), Shenyang (Air Koryo), or Vladivostok (Air Koryo).  Air Koryo flights go to Shanghai only on a charter basis in the tourist season (April-October).  In order to transit China, Chinese visas for injured foreigners and any escorts must be obtained prior to the evacuation from North Korea.  Even in the case of a medical emergency, transit visas may take several days to arrange.  

Evacuation across the DMZ to South Korea is not allowed.

Vaccinations: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection are located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC Internet site.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website.  If you have special dietary requirements, you are advised to bring food with you to North Korea, as the restaurants available to foreigners have limited menus that may not meet your dietary needs.

Companies that may be able to arrange evacuation services include, but are not limited to, those listed below.  You may wish to contact these or other emergency medical assistance providers for information about their ability to provide medical evacuation insurance and/or assistance for travelers to North Korea.

International SOS
Telephone (inside China):  400-818-0767
Telephone (outside China): (86-10) 6462-9100

United Healthcare Global Assistance
Telephone:  (U.S.) (410) 453-6330
Telephone:  (Toll free within China) 10-8888-800-527-0218
Telephone:  (outside China) (86-10) 6595-8510)

Global Doctor
Telephone (emergency):  (China) (86-10) 5915-1199.
Telephone:  400-025-8199

You can find useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Also, see our extensive tips and advice on Traveling Safely Abroad.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

Major country-specific health concerns:  Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in North Korea.  For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

Vaccinations:  Get all necessary vaccinations prior to traveling.  See the CDC’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC Internet site for information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website.  If you have special dietary requirements, you are advised to bring food with you to North Korea, as the restaurants available to foreigners have limited menus that may not meet your dietary needs.

Companies that may be able to arrange evacuation services include, but are not limited to, those listed below.  You may wish to contact these or other emergency medical assistance providers for information about their ability to provide medical evacuation insurance and/or assistance for travelers to North Korea.

International SOS 
Telephone:  (U.S.) (1-800) 468-5232
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 6462-9100, 6462-9112

Medex Assistance Corporation
Telephone:  (U.S.) (410) 453-6300 / 6301
Telephone:  (Toll free within China) 10-8888-800-527-0218
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 6595-8510)

Global Doctor
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 8315-1914.
Telephone:  (Shenyang, Liaoning Province) (86-24) 24330678

You can find useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Also, see our extensive tips and advice on Traveling Safely Abroad.

Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:  Road conditions and driving habits in a foreign country can differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning North Korea is provided for general reference only.  You are not allowed to drive in North Korea unless you hold a valid DPRK driver’s license.  Bicycles are unavailable for rental or purchase.  Please refer to our Road Safety information.

AVIATION SAFETY  OVERSIGHT:  As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and North Korea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed North Korea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators.  The FAA has issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR)  east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.

 

 

 

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Embassies and Consulates

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes and which threaten U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law” of the DPRK.

See Travel Warning for North Korea.

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang

Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone: +(850)(2) 3817-485 (reception)
Fax: +(850)(2) 3817-663
Emergency Contact at the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang: Telephone: (850-2) 3817-904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy); Telephone: (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Ambassador)

Ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

Department of State Emergency Contact:  24/7 from within the United States 1-888-407-4747 / from outside the United States 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. Embassy Beijing

No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300

AmCitBeijing@state.gov

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General Information
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

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Hague Convention Information
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Contact Information
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Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V

Country Specific Footnotes

  1. The U.S. and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.

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Country Specific Footnotes

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

There is no information on availability of documents for residents/nationals of North Korea.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Please check back for update.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Please check back for update.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Please check back for update.

Military Records

Please check back for update.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

No specific post has been named to accept North Korean cases. When visa issuance is necessary, as for visits to the United Nations in New York, the American Embassy at Beijing generally processes the applications since Beijing is the most convenient location.

Visa Services

Please check back for update.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

New York, NY (212) 972-3105 (212) 986-1083 (Mission to the U.N.)

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang
Munsu-Dong District, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone
+(850) (2) 3817 485 (reception)
Emergency
24/7: From within the U.S. 1-888-407-4747 / From outside the U.S. 1-202-501-4444
Fax
+(850) (2) 3817 663
North Korea Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

North Korea
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for six months after entry [Requirement by China]

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

 Two pages are required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Not permissible to take Korean money out of the country

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Embassies and Consulates

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes and which threaten U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law” of the DPRK.

See Travel Warning for North Korea.

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang

Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone: +(850)(2) 3817-485 (reception)
Fax: +(850)(2) 3817-663
Emergency Contact at the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang: Telephone: (850-2) 3817-904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy); Telephone: (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Ambassador)

Ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

Department of State Emergency Contact:  24/7 from within the United States 1-888-407-4747 / from outside the United States 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. Embassy Beijing

No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300

AmCitBeijing@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on North Korea for information on U.S. – North Korea relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Entry and Exit:

  • If you are a tourist, you must enter North Korea with a tour group.
  • Obtain a visa for North Korea prior to arrival and have a passport with at least six month’s validity (Korea requires one to three months validity but since you have to enter and depart through China, you will need at least six months validity on your passport.)
  • Obtain multiple entry and exit visas for China:  the border between North and South Korea is closed to tourists.

Apply for a DPRK visa at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing, China.

The Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Beijing:

No. 11, Ritan Bei Lu,
Jianguomen Wai,
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone:  (86-10) 6532-6639 (Visa Office)
Telephone:  (86-10) 65312-1186
Facsimile:  (86-10) 6532-6056

Inquire through the DPRK Mission to the UN whether your request for a DPRK visa will be approved before you leave the United States for China.

The Permanent Representative of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Telephone:  (212) 972-3105
Facsimile:  (212) 972-3154

If you are abroad in a country with diplomatic relations with the DPRK, ask the DPRK embassy in that country for visa advice.

If you arrive in North Korea without both a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa, you may be denied entry, fined, detained, arrested or imprisoned.

If you arrive in North Korea without multiple Chinese visas or if your Chinese visas expire before you depart North Korea, you may not be able to exit North Korea.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrtictions for visitors to or foreign residents of North Korea.

During your Stay:

Even with proper documentation, you are on your own when you enter North Korea.  You could be arrested and imprisoned for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries.  

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Safety and Security

Please see the sections on “Local Laws and Special Circumstances” and “Criminal Penalties.” 

Crime:  North Korea does not release crime statistics.  Petty thefts have been reported at the airport in Pyongyang.

Do not buy counterfeit and/or pirated goods, even if they are widely available.  The purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods is illegal in the United States and may be illegal in North Korea.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime while in North Korea, you should report the crime to your local host/liaison and contact the Embassy of Sweden for assistance.  Your local host/liaison should contact the local authorities on your behalf.

Lost or Stolen Passports:  If your passport is lost or stolen in North Korea, you must apply for a new passport at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in China.  Contact the Embassy of Sweden for assistance.  You will also need a new visa for China.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

For further information:

 

 

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

While in North Korea, you are subject to North Korea law.  If you violate North Korea laws, even unwittingly, you may be held without charges, or arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned for unspecified periods of time.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Embassy of Sweden immediately.  See our webpage for further information

Some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

North Korea Legal System:  The North Korea legal system is an instrument of state power and not an independent branch of the government.  Protections guaranteed under the U.S. legal system do not apply, and your U.S. passport does not confer special status.  

Bills:  The DPRK says U.S. citizens are accountable for costs associated with detention or incarceration in North Korea such as lodging, food, telephone calls, and medical assistance (hospital bills).

Educate yourself about North Korean law.  Your local host/liaison may be able to provide useful guidance.  However, do not assume your host or tour operator will provide assistance to you if you are arrested, or that any information you shared with them will not be turned over to North Korean authorities.

  • It is considered a criminal act or even espionage in North Korea  to show disrespect for the country’s current and former leaders Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Il Sung or to possess information, electronic or otherwise, critical of the regime.  A near religious cult surrounds treatment of these individuals and acts that would be deemed unexceptional elsewhere in the world, i.e. placing a newspaper bearing the leader’s image in the garbage or taking down a banner bearing the leader’s name in Korean, are criminal in North Korea.
  • It is also considered a criminal act and possibly espionage to proselytize.

It is illegal in North Korea to:

  • Take unauthorized photographs: North Korean government authorities may view taking unauthorized pictures as espionage, confiscate cameras and memory cards, demand that specific pictures be deleted, and/or detain the photographer.
  • Interact with the local population
  • Take unauthorized trips
  • Exchange currency with an unauthorized vendor
  • Shop at stores not designated for foreigners
  • Engage in unsanctioned political activities

Customs Regulations:  North Korean authorities may put you in jail or seize documents, literature, audio and video files, computer equipment, DVDs, USB drives and other digital media, and letters that could be used in proselytizing.

Electronic Communication:  North Korea tightly restricts the circumstances under which foreigners may enter the country and interact with local citizens.

Information Critical of North Korea:  North Korean government security personnel closely monitor the activities and conversations of foreigners in North Korea.  Never bring or handle any material, printed or digital (including popular literature on e-book readers), that could be interpreted as critical of, or hostile to, the country or its leadership.  Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored.

Personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.

Pornography:  Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States and may be prosecutable in North Korea.  Please see additional information on Criminal Penalties.

Press:  North Korea has granted press visas for cultural or sporting events or visits of foreign leaders, but officials watch journalists closely to prevent them from unauthorized conversations with North Koreans or questioning the policies, actions, or public statements of North Korea’s leadership.  North Korea has confiscated objectionable material from foreign journalists.  Journalists who engaged in activities that challenged the regime have been deported, arrested, or detained to face criminal charges.  For additional information on the lack of freedom of information in North Korea, see the Department of State’s Human Rights Report for North Korea. 

Humanitarian Relief and Sanctions:  North Korea has experienced famine, flooding, fuel and electricity shortages, and outbreaks of disease.  Many countries, including the United States, have contributed to international relief efforts to assist the people of North Korea.  North Korea is subject to multilateral restrictions and sanctions, including those contained in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, and 2321 .  In addition, the United States and other countries have adopted national sanctions or other measures designed to curb North Korea’s unlawful and destabilizing actions and policies, including its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation activities.

Tourism:  Do not assume that joining a tour group will keep you safe in North Korea.  Do assume that all of your activities will be closely monitored and reported to DPRK authorities. Do assume that the revenue generated by your tour group will help finance the DPRK’s nuclear program.

Consular Access:  Although North Korea is a party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), it routinely delays or denies Sweden’s access to U.S. citizen detainees.

Emergency Services:  If you require emergency services, ask your North Korean escorts to inform the Embassy of Sweden.  

Dual Nationality:  North Korea does not recognize dual nationality.  If you are of Korean heritage – even if you are a U.S. citizen – you could be subject to ten years of military service in North Korea  and taxes on foreign source income. Please see our information on dual nationality.  

U.S. Government Economic Sanctions Against North Korea:  The U.S. government maintains comprehensive sanctions against North Korea due to its human rights record, nuclear weapons programs, weapons proliferation activities, and other provocative actions. The importation and exportation of goods, services, and technology from or to North Korea are generally prohibited unless authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and, for exports or goods, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security.

The government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea are blocked persons, and U.S. citizens may generally not engage in transactions with them or with their property.  Most exports to North Korea are subject to licensing by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.  

Multilateral Sanctions:  The United States abides by multilateral restrictions and sanctions with respect to North Korea, including those contained in United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, and 2312, which were adopted in response to North Korea’s nuclear tests and rocket launches.  For additional information, see the websites of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security..

Customs Regulations: North Korean authorities may seize documents, literature, audio and video files, computer equipment, DVDs, USB drives and other digital media, and letters deemed by North Korean officials to be pornographic or intended for religious proselytizing or subversive activities.  If you carry pornographic or religious materials into North Korea, you could be detained, fined, imprisoned, or expelled.  It is advisable to contact the DPRK Mission to the United Nations or a DPRK embassy or consulate in a third country for specific information regarding customs requirements. Foreign cell phones will not work in DPRK. Please see our information on customs regulations.  

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations because same-sex sexual relations are considered a foreign phenomenon.  DPRK claims that there are no LGBTI in the country.  It would therefore not be possible to organize an LGBTI event here.

Additionally, any open demonstration of affection is frowned upon, also between opposite sex couples.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues. Hotels and medical facilities are generally accessible.  Pavements/curbs are high, however.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

We advise persons with medical problems against traveling to North Korea.  Medical facilities in the DPRK lack resources and electricity.  Medical personnel have inadequate or outdated skills.  Hospitals in Pyongyang can perform basic examinations and lifesaving measures, but functioning x-ray facilities are not generally available.  Avoid surgery.  If you have an accident outside Pyongyang, transport back to the capital can be lengthy and without medical assistance.  

Carry your regular medication with you along with the doctor’s prescription. DPRK Customs says that most prescription medication may be brought into the country with no restrictions.  Hospitals will expect immediate U.S. dollar cash payment for medical treatment.  You cannot use credit cards or checks in the DPRK.

Medical Evacuations:  Local DPRK hosts are often not aware of options available for medical evacuations and might claim that no such options exist.  Insist on contacting the Embassy of Sweden, which will attempt to arrange flight clearances for air ambulances performing emergency medical evacuations.  Costs for medical air evacuation vary, but according to SOS International, an evacuation from Pyongyang to Beijing averages approximately USD 40,000 including medical personnel (1 doctor and 1 nurse), the aircraft, and clearance costs.

The General Bureau of the Koryo Civil Aviation of the DPRK says that it provides around-the-clock service and that requests for air clearance will be granted within 24 hours.  If a U.S. citizen with a medical emergency is in Pyongyang, the Embassy of Sweden can usually arrange a medical evacuation to Beijing in one day.  If the patient is located outside Pyongyang, it will take longer.  

Medical evacuation by regularly scheduled airlines can be arranged, but very few flights operate from Pyongyang to Beijing (Air Koryo and Air China), Shenyang (Air Koryo), or Vladivostok (Air Koryo).  Air Koryo flights go to Shanghai only on a charter basis in the tourist season (April-October).  In order to transit China, Chinese visas for injured foreigners and any escorts must be obtained prior to the evacuation from North Korea.  Even in the case of a medical emergency, transit visas may take several days to arrange.  

Evacuation across the DMZ to South Korea is not allowed.

Vaccinations: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection are located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC Internet site.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website.  If you have special dietary requirements, you are advised to bring food with you to North Korea, as the restaurants available to foreigners have limited menus that may not meet your dietary needs.

Companies that may be able to arrange evacuation services include, but are not limited to, those listed below.  You may wish to contact these or other emergency medical assistance providers for information about their ability to provide medical evacuation insurance and/or assistance for travelers to North Korea.

International SOS
Telephone (inside China):  400-818-0767
Telephone (outside China): (86-10) 6462-9100

United Healthcare Global Assistance
Telephone:  (U.S.) (410) 453-6330
Telephone:  (Toll free within China) 10-8888-800-527-0218
Telephone:  (outside China) (86-10) 6595-8510)

Global Doctor
Telephone (emergency):  (China) (86-10) 5915-1199.
Telephone:  400-025-8199

You can find useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Also, see our extensive tips and advice on Traveling Safely Abroad.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

Major country-specific health concerns:  Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in North Korea.  For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

Vaccinations:  Get all necessary vaccinations prior to traveling.  See the CDC’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC Internet site for information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website.  If you have special dietary requirements, you are advised to bring food with you to North Korea, as the restaurants available to foreigners have limited menus that may not meet your dietary needs.

Companies that may be able to arrange evacuation services include, but are not limited to, those listed below.  You may wish to contact these or other emergency medical assistance providers for information about their ability to provide medical evacuation insurance and/or assistance for travelers to North Korea.

International SOS 
Telephone:  (U.S.) (1-800) 468-5232
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 6462-9100, 6462-9112

Medex Assistance Corporation
Telephone:  (U.S.) (410) 453-6300 / 6301
Telephone:  (Toll free within China) 10-8888-800-527-0218
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 6595-8510)

Global Doctor
Telephone:  (China) (86-10) 8315-1914.
Telephone:  (Shenyang, Liaoning Province) (86-24) 24330678

You can find useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Also, see our extensive tips and advice on Traveling Safely Abroad.

Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:  Road conditions and driving habits in a foreign country can differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning North Korea is provided for general reference only.  You are not allowed to drive in North Korea unless you hold a valid DPRK driver’s license.  Bicycles are unavailable for rental or purchase.  Please refer to our Road Safety information.

AVIATION SAFETY  OVERSIGHT:  As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and North Korea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed North Korea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators.  The FAA has issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR)  east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.

 

 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
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Embassies and Consulates

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes and which threaten U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law” of the DPRK.

See Travel Warning for North Korea.

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang

Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone: +(850)(2) 3817-485 (reception)
Fax: +(850)(2) 3817-663
Emergency Contact at the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang: Telephone: (850-2) 3817-904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy); Telephone: (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Ambassador)

Ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

Department of State Emergency Contact:  24/7 from within the United States 1-888-407-4747 / from outside the United States 1-202-501-4444.

U.S. Embassy Beijing

No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300

AmCitBeijing@state.gov

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
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Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
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Hague Convention Information
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Who Can Adopt
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Who Can Be Adopted
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How to Adopt
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Traveling Abroad
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After Adoption
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Contact Information
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Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V

Country Specific Footnotes

  1. The U.S. and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.

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Country Specific Footnotes

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

There is no information on availability of documents for residents/nationals of North Korea.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Please check back for update.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Please check back for update.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Please check back for update.

Military Records

Please check back for update.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

No specific post has been named to accept North Korean cases. When visa issuance is necessary, as for visits to the United Nations in New York, the American Embassy at Beijing generally processes the applications since Beijing is the most convenient location.

Visa Services

Please check back for update.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

New York, NY (212) 972-3105 (212) 986-1083 (Mission to the U.N.)

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang
Munsu-Dong District, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone
+(850) (2) 3817 485 (reception)
Emergency
24/7: From within the U.S. 1-888-407-4747 / From outside the U.S. 1-202-501-4444
Fax
+(850) (2) 3817 663
North Korea Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.