DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
- The Department strongly urges U.S. citizens not to go to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention.
- North Korean authorities, under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, impose unduly harsh sentences--including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes.
- They also threatened U.S. citizens with being treated in accordance with the “wartime law” of the DPRK.
See Travel Advisory for North Korea.
Sweden as Protecting Power: 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 its citizens:
- Sweden serves as the protecting power for Canada, Australia, and the United States, providing limited emergency consular services.
- North Korea 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.
Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telephone: +46 8 405 10 00 (main switchboard)
Emergency Contact at the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang: +46 8 405 50 05
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
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300
Judicial Assistance in North Korea
Disclaimer: This circular is informational only; it is not an opinion on any aspect of United States, North Korean, or international law. The U.S. Department of State does not intend by the contents of this circular to take a position on any aspect of any pending litigation.
The United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) do not have any treaty relationships that provide for judicial assistance. The DPRK is not party to either the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, or the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.
Moreover, the United States does not maintain diplomatic relations with the DPRK. Therefore, the U.S. Government cannot directly provide normal consular services, including the transmission of judicial documents, in the DPRK. Nor does the United States have in place a protecting power or other arrangement that would permit another sovereign to 1) transmit letters rogatory requesting service of process or the taking of evidence, or 2) effect service of process upon the government of the DPRK on behalf of U.S. litigants as provided for in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
Last Updated: November 21, 2023