Can Americans visit North Korea?
Currently, it is not permitted to visit North Korea on a U.S passport for tourism.
Effective September 1, 2017, the U.S Department of State imposed a travel restriction declaring all U.S. passports invalid for travel to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) unless the travel meets certain criteria.
This restriction was to remain effective for one year unless extended or sooner revoked by the U.S. Secretary of State. Subsequently, this travel restriction was extended for another year on September 1, 2018, and again on August 19, 2019. The ban is now due to be extended or revoked as at August 31, 2020.
Uri Tours is in compliance with this travel restriction. We are currently unable to take travelers on U.S passports to North Korea at this time.
Are there exceptions that allow Americans to visit North Korea?
Yes, but not for tourism. U.S. passport holders may apply to the U.S. Department of State for a special validation of his or her passport to permit its use for travel to, or use in, a restricted country or area if the reason for travel falls within certain categories: (a) applicants are members of the press, (b) applicants are members of the Red Cross, (c) applicants are traveling for humanitarian considerations, and (d) the trip is within the national interest of the U.S.
Unfortunately, travel for the purpose of tourism does not fall under these categories and is not a permitted exception.
Will the travel restriction be lifted?
Currently, there is no indication of whether the travel ban will be extended or revoked on or before August 31, 2020. The travel ban was first introduced during a time of heightened political tension between the U.S and North Korea in 2017. It is reasonable to assume that if the international relations between these two countries improves, there is potential for the lifting of this restriction.
If you’re not traveling on a U.S passport (nor a South Korean or Malaysian passport) then you’re welcome to join any of our scheduled group or tailored private tours, and we’d love to have you! Reach out to us for more information.