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How to Get a North
Korea Visa

How to Get a North Korea Visa

North Korea Visa

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Do I Need a North Korea Visa? 
North Korea Visa Exempt Countries 
How Much is the North Korea Visa? 
North Korea Visa Restrictions
North Korea Visa Additional Information

Believe it or not, the North Korea visa is among the easiest to obtain.

The rules and the process are pretty straightforward and there are no hidden surprises along the way.

Travel to and in North Korea (DPRK), however, is restricted and you can only visit the country on an organized group or private tour with a licensed tour operator.

They will take care of all North Korea visa formalities for you.

north korea visa

Do I Need a North Korea Visa? 

Yes. All tourists regardless of citizenship will need a North Korea visa.

In many cases, even those who travel on a Diplomatic or Service Passport and visit the DPRK for official purposes will need a visa to visit North Korea.

ROK (South Korean) passport holders cannot apply for a North Korea visa through travel agents.

Permission to travel to North Korea must be obtained by the Ministry of Reunification and its northern counterpart.

North Korea Visa Exempt Countries 

No country is exempt from needing a North Korea visa if the purpose of travel is tourism.

How Much is the North Korea Visa? 

North Korean visa (Tourist Card) issued in China is EUR €60 (incl. agent fee).

Visa costs for visas issued at a DPRK Embassy outside China vary mission by mission (ca. EUR €10) and Koryo Tours charges you EUR €25 agent fee.

How to Apply for a North Korea Visa? 

DPRK Tourist Card Application Process

The default option is that all formalities are taken care of Koryo Tours.

All you need to do is to book a tour via our website and provide the personal information needed for the visa application;

  • Name as shown in passport
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality and Ethnicity
  • Passport Number
  • Company (with company description) and Job title
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number – Note: your address and phone number must be based in the same country).

You will also need to upload a colour scan of your passport ID page and the page facing it (i.e. two pages in one scan) and a recent, colour, passport-style photo portrait of you in front of a blank background.

Chinese, Japanese, and oversees Koreans will need to submit their names in Hanzi, Kanji, and Hangul (Chosongul), respectively.

For Japanese citizens based in Japan, we will also need their employment details and address in Japanese script.

If all the above are done all further steps will be handled by Koryo Tours.

Koryo Tours will not need your actual passport at any point during the visa process.

You will receive your North Korea Tourist Card from Koryo Tours just before departure.

north korea visa

Visa issued in your passport

(only possible in limited cases)

If your country of citizenship or residence has a DPRK Embassy (and you are not based in Mainland China) you can have your DPRK visa issued in your passport.

Please advise your Tour Manager if you wish to choose this option.

The first step is the same as in the case of the DPRK Tourist Card.

Once you submitted your booking in full, and notified your Tour Manager about your intention of receiving a visa in your passport, all you need to do is to wait for Koryo Tours to send you a notification email.

This should be ca. 25 days before your trip (Koryo Tours send the first round of visa applications to Pyongyang 40 days prior to the tour and visa authorization takes up to 2 weeks).

When you receive the email from Koryo Tours that your visa is ready for pick up, you will need to make an appointment with the DPRK Embassy (this can be a challenge in some cases).

In the meantime you will need to prepare the following:

  • Your passport, and a copy of your passport
  • 2 passport-style photos (3x4 cm)
  • A completed visa pick-up form (you will receive this with the notification email)
  • Visa fee (to be confirmed with the DPRK Embassy)
  • A pen (no joke!)

Then you will have to show up at the Embassy at the time agreed on.

They will stick your visa into your passport on the spot (you will not need to leave your passport with the embassy and you don’t need to make more than one visit).

Based on the experience of our customers, in some European countries you will have a friendly chat with the consul – this is really just a friendly chat and has nothing to do with your visa application.

north korea visa

North Korea Visa as issued from a North Korean Embassy

North Korea Visa Restrictions

ROK (South Korean) passport holders cannot apply for a visa through travel agents.

Permission to travel to North Korea must be obtained by the Ministry of Reunification and its northern counterpart.

Journalists, photographers, and people working in the media

We are not permitted to arrange DPRK tourist visas for journalists, photographers, and people working in the media.

However, with a few exceptions (depending on the media outlet you work for), with additional paperwork provided, we can still accept bookings and arrange a visa.

We will need the additional paperwork from you (we will send sample documents upon receiving your booking):

  • A media agreement between you and Koryo Tours
  • A signed letter from you in support of your DPRK visa application stating that your purpose of visa is solely tourism 
  • A supporting letter from your employer – confirming that your visit to the DPRK is not a work assignment and in an entirely personal capacity – on headed paper signed by your line manager.
Overseas Koreans

Overseas Koreans (except for Zainichi Koreans) who have no relatives living in the DPRK can travel to North Korea with Koryo Tours and in fact, are warmly welcomed by our guide colleagues.

However, some additional paperwork is needed for a successful visa application:

  • Korean name in Hangul (Chosongul)
  • A completed and signed letter which states that the visit to the DPRK is for tourism purposes and the applicant does not have any relatives in the DPRK
  • Proof of naturalization (applicable if was born as a ROK citizen)
  • Resume

North Korea Visa Additional Information

Unfortunately, North Korean authorities hold onto your visa upon exit with the result that you will not be able to keep your North Korean visa as a souvenir.

In the eye of Korean authorities, ethnicity (민족별) is more important than citizenship.

As a result, in some cases, the DPRK Tourist Card will have no information on the country of the passport you carry.

A Canadian Korean will end up being “North Korean” (초선) while anyone who is ethnic Chinese will be (Han) Chinese (한족) regardless of the fact that they carry a Mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, ROC/Taiwan, Malaysian, etc. passport.

On the other hand, you will be classified as Han if you are a Mainland passport holder even if you belong to any of the other recognized 55 ethnic groups.

Singaporeans, however, will be Singaporeans no matter what.

Your visa includes the approved ports of entry and exit.

Pyongyang and Sinuiju (평양, 신의주) are the default.

Hoechang, Tumangang (후창, 두만강) are added if the exit is to Rason/SEZ and onto Russia; Heochang, Wonjong (후창, 원정) added if to Rason/SEZ and onto China; Namyang (남양) added if from North Hamyong Province to China.

According to a Hungarian guide book published in 1987, tourist visas were issued within 2 weeks by the DPRK Embassy in Budapest (Hungary) for free of charge.

Koryo Tours
North Korea Tours


Gergo Vaczi

Greg is the Koryo Tours DPRK Tour Manager.

He grew up in post-socialist Hungary and first travelled to North Korea as a tourist in 2016 following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who visited in 1988. He has since lived in the Netherlands, Israel, China, Korea and Iceland and holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. He has taken 26 groups to North Korea and lived in Seoul studying the Korean language full-time for two years. He also completed a long study course in Korean at a university in Pyongyang.

Read more about Greg's journey to become a North Korean Tour Leader here.

[email protected] | + 86 10 6416 7544
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
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