North Korea (DPRK) Visa
You may think that getting a visa for North Korea (DPRK) is quite difficult, however due to the restrictive nature of travel in the country, we will handle all the heavy lifting for you, so in reality, it's actually quite easy from where you're sitting!
There are in fact two ways in which you can get a visa for North Korea.
1. The first way is that your travel agency will organise your visa with the travel agency in North Korea. All you need to do to make this happen is book a tour and send us the documents we ask for. This visa will then be provided to you at the start of the tour in China in the form of a small blue paper booklet. This is required upon entry to the country and unfortunately you will not get to keep it when you leave. Further, the only stamp you will receive in your passport with this visa is the exit and entry stamp from the Chinese side of the border - the North Koreans won't stamp your passport.
This is the simplest, quickest, and most common option. But there won't be any evidence in your passport of a visit to North Korea. For those trying to save passport pages this is perfect, but for those who want something in their passport to show off later, this won't suffice.
2. The second way is to go through your local North Korean embassy (if there is one). We will provide the relevant documentation and then you will receive a full page North Korean visa in your passport. It is still early stages for the return of North Korean tourism so it is still unsure whether this will be an option for tourists, however prior to Covid it was.
Some companies don't include the visa fee in the tour price and add it as a supplement, however we have chosen to include the visa fee with our tour packages, if you choose to receive the blue paper booklet form in China. If you get the visa yourself at an embassy, then you will bear the cost of this dealing directly with the embassy.
Visas for China
As all trips to North Korea will require a visit to China, with tours starting and ending in Beijing, it is very important to understand which Chinese visa you will need. This will be affected by your method of transport to and from North Korea.
Chinese Transit Visas
Passengers who are from one of the 54 eligible nationalities can apply for a transit visa upon arrival at Beijing airport (the meeting point for most North Korean tours). This will allow you to stay in Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin provinces for 144 hours (6 days) before heading to another country. To get this you must have proof of an onward ticket to another country with a flight that DOES NOT TRANSIT IN A CHINESE CITY.
For example, if you are travelling from Paris to Pyongyang via Beijing, your transit is in Beijing and you must fly direct from Beijing to Pyongyang.
You will not get a transit visa if you have a flight that also has a transit in a Chinese city. For example, on your return from Pyongyang, if you fly via Beijing and then get a flight from Beijing via Shanghai to Paris, you will be denied entry to Beijing and forced to buy a direct flight out of China to be eligible for the transit visa.
Chinese Tourist Visas
Normal Chinese tourists visas vary greatly depending on your nationality and where you can apply. USA citizens are usually able to get a 10 year multi-entry visa, whereas Australians are usually issued a 30 day single-entry tourist visa. And you'll find everything in between.
If you are travelling with the train to Pyongyang from Beijing, then you will need to have a proper Chinese tourist visa in your passport. The best visa to get if possible is a multi-entry tourist visa which should let you stay in China between 30 and 60 days each time, again depending on your nationality and the Chinese embassy where you got the visa.
It is also possible to do a combination of tourist visa and transit visa however this depends on your method of transport entering and exiting North Korea.
As of 2023 there are now several countries that do not need a visa for travel to China. Out of the EU nations, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Spain all have visa free access for 15 days. Other countries with visa free access include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, UAE, Qatar and Kazakhstan, as well as many pacific island and Caribbean nations.
Chinese visa regulations are constantly changing so we recommend checking requirements close to your travel date in case of any changes.