A North Korean visa is surprisingly simple to obtain. However, there are a few things you should know before entering the mysterious DPRK.
Did you know, for instance, that foreign tourists aren’t allowed to travel alone in North Korea? The only way to enter North Korea is as part of an organised tour. So make sure you pre-book a full tour package in advance.
Looking to visit and experience North Korea, and get your hands on a North Korea travel visa? Here’s what you need to know.
North Korea tourist visa
A North Korean tourist visa allows you to stay in North Korea for up to 6 months after the date of issue. It generally takes up to 4 weeks for the visa to be granted. Your North Korea visa is always a separate piece of paper, and is called a Tourist Card. This way, your passport won’t be stamped on entry or exit of the country.
The application process
There are two ways to apply for a visa to North Korea. The easiest way, is to let your travel consultant do most of the work for you. At ChinaTours.com, we encourage customer to a photo, a copy of their passport, and other required documents. That way we ensure their North Korea visa is issued and ready for pick up on arrival in Beijing before the tour commences.
Alternatively, you can get your North Korean visa yourself, but only if you have a North Korean embassy in your home country. Be aware though, this process takes more time and requires you to arrange an appointment with the North Korean embassy for picking up your visa.
Make sure you apply for your North Korean visa on time, at least one month prior to your planned arrival.
North Korea Tourist Visa Exemption
If you travel on a Malaysian or Singaporean passport, you can enter North Korea under the Tourist Visa Exemption, provided you stay in North Korea for no more than 30 days. In addition, you are required to provide proof of onwards travel (i.e. confirmed train, flight, bus, or boat tickets) within 30 days of the arrival date.
Additional Chinese visa
Keep in mind that you usually require a double-entry visa for China, as our North Korea tours starts and ends in China. You may be eligible for a visa-free transit, provided your stay in Beijing is shorter than 72 hours. Find out more about the different types of Chinese visas on our China Visa page, or talk to us for more information.
North Korea travel rules and regulations
Worried that travelling to North Korea will get you into trouble when visiting other countries? Don’t be. Travelling to North Korea is perfectly legal in most countries. Only those travelling on a South Korean passport are ineligible for a North Korean tourist visa. Tourists who have travelled to South Korea, however, are more than welcome to visit North Korea.
Keep in mind if you work in the media, human rights or any other potentially controversial professions, you may not be eligible for a North Korean tourist visa. However, you can apply for a special visa issued by the North Korean government.
We strongly urge anyone not to submit any false information during your application in order to try and sneak into the the country as this may have serious consequences for yourself and others on your tour.
Update: important details for US residents
Unfortunately, on September 1, 2017, the US Department of State declared all US passports invalid for travel to, through, or within North Korea unless meeting certain criteria. Therefore, we are currently unable to take those travelling on US passports on our tours until further notice.
Experience the real North Korea with us
Because foreign tourists aren’t permitted to travel on their own to North Korea, an organised tour with ChinaTours.com is the ideal way to visit and experience this country. Our package tours in Asia are private tours. In North Korea, this means you will always be accompanied by two North Korean guides and one driver.
Travel in a relaxed pace and explore the mysterious marvels of North Korea in a way that’s safe and fun. Our local guides have plenty of local knowledge and can answer any question you may have.
Want to know more about safe travel in North Korea? Take a look at our North Korea travel guidelines for effortless travelling in the DPRK, or talk to our team of travel consultants.
ChinaTours.com is a leading provider of multi-day tours to China. Serving travellers who want an experience of real China for over ten years, ChinaTours.com offers small group and private tours to over 20 destinations in China. Book online or connect with one of our China tour experts and we’ll help you create your next beautiful travel memory.