Foreign travel advice

North Korea

Warning FCDO advises against all but essential travel to North Korea.

Warnings and insurance

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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to North Korea

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

North Korea’s borders are currently closed, but few British people visit when they are open. Those that do are usually part of an organised tour. If you decide to visit North Korea, follow the advice of your tour group and the local authorities. Failure to do so could put your personal safety at risk.

The North Korean authorities have reportedly detained some foreign nationals and denied them access to consular support.

While daily life in the capital city Pyongyang may appear calm, the security situation can change quickly with no advance warning about possible actions by the authorities. This poses significant risks to British visitors and residents.

Follow the political and security situation very closely and stay in touch with your host organisation or tour operator.

Current incidents and risks

COVID-19 lockdown

No entry into North Korea is permitted while COVID-19 border restrictions remain in place. The North Korean government continues to temporarily suspend all passenger routes into and out of North Korea. The British Embassy in Pyongyang is temporarily closed due to these restrictions. This means you cannot get consular support from within North Korea.

You cannot enter or leave North Korea through the border with South Korea without special permission.

Nuclear testing

The level of tension on the Korean peninsula has remained high since 2017 when North Korea began a series of nuclear and missile tests.

A halt in nuclear testing and ballistic missile tests, announced in April 2018, came to an end in May 2019. Testing of ballistic missiles has taken place frequently since 2019.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.