Americans To Be Banned From Traveling to North Korea

The Department of State of the United States is expected to impose a “geographical travel restriction” as authorized by Rex Tillerson — who is the current secretary of state of the United States — which will effectively ban Americans from traveling to North Korea.

Americans To Be Banned From Traveling to North Korea

While visiting North Korea, Otto Warmbier — who was 22 years old — was sentenced last year to 15 years of hard labor as punishment for attempting to steal a propaganda poster. After being released on humanitarian grounds, Warmbier returned to the United States on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 while in a coma. The cause and circumstances of his death on Monday, June 19, 2017 are still not clear — including the reasons why he lapsed into a coma.

Due to the risk of long-term detention — as experienced by Warmbier and several other American citizens — as well as growing concerns of the serious risk of arrest, United States passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea once the ban becomes effective. American citizens will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea for certain limited humanitarian or other purposes.

The rogue country has also increasingly become a security challenge with its nuclear and missile programs.

Tour Companies Post Their Own Notices

Companies which organize tours for Americans to and within North Korea have posted their own notices — such as this announcement , which was posted at the official Internet web site of Koryo Tours:

Ban Expected To Be Announced Soon, Effective From Late August

We have been informed that the US will introduce a law banning US citizens from visiting North Korea as tourists. This ban is expected to be announced on July 27th and come into effect 30 days later. From that time onwards it will no longer be legal for anyone travelling on a US passport to visit the DPRK as a tourist.

This news has been expected but nevertheless is something of a shock, and we’re sorry for anyone who had planned a trip or who had hoped to visit and who now will not be permitted to do so. If you are a US citizen and had booked a trip with us, we will get in touch with you shortly.

We will continue to take US citizens to the other remarkable destinations that we regularly visit, including Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia and Far East Russia. Not quite North Korea, but still a great travel experience.

A similar announcement was posted at the official Internet web site of Young Pioneer Tours, which was the tour company that Otto Warmbier chose for his tour of North Korea:

We have just been informed that the US government will no longer be allowing US citizens to travel to the DPRK (North Korea).

It is expected that the ban will come into force within 30 days of July 27th. After the 30 day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government.

We will update further as more information becomes available.


I had briefly entertained the thought of visiting North Korea during my unintentional tour around the world back in October of 2014; but I decided against it, as not only did I not have enough time to visit it — but the tours were rather expensive at the time.

I have been to the Demilitarized Zone and Joint Security Area — and despite that visit having occurred almost three years ago, I still intend to post articles reporting on my trip.

If you are an American citizen who has wanted to visit North Korea, you may only have until Saturday, August 26, 2017 to do so, as once the ban on American travelers visiting North Korea becomes effective, it will remain in effect for the foreseeable future and until further notice.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Americans To Be Banned From Traveling to North Korea”

  1. JJ says:

    I’m a firm believer in freedom of travel, but once your travel becomes a liability, that’s a problem for all of us.
    We shouldn’t be going to North Korea.
    The rest of the world has a lot to offer. And by the way, South Korea is amazing and very friendly to Americans.

  2. Billy Bob says:

    Plenty of more worthy places in the world to receive my tourist dollars. No plans to visit NK or any other hellhole for that matter.

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