The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is located south of China and Russia and north of South Korea. North Korea’s government is a military-run communist state, headed by current leader Kim Jong IL. Many countries and human rights groups have proposed a boycott on traveling to North Korea because of the many reported cases of crimes against human rights. Historically, foreigners had difficulty getting permission to be allowed to travel into North Korea, but the North Korean government has been allowing visitors from other countries to travel into North Korea.
Foreign travelers are usually only allowed into North Korea if they are part of a tour group. These tour groups are usually conducted by agencies or companies that are authorized by the North Korean government to handle such tours. There are other foreign nationals who are fortunate enough to enter the country but they have to go around with a travel guide assigned to them by the government.
UK passport holders can travel to North Korea by joining any of the tours that tour agencies located in Europe and Beijing organize. These tour agencies will either offer scheduled group tour packages or give travelers the option for scheduling individual or group tours for them. The tour agencies typically ask interested parties to apply or join a tour 4 weeks before the planned schedule. This is to give them ample time to secure the necessary visa, travel and lodging accommodations that they will need for the tour.
They require applicants from the UK to submit copies of their UK passport, which must have a validity of 6 months, 1 or 2 passport sized photographs, depending on the tour agency used, and the corresponding tour fees. Some agencies give UK passport holders the option of picking up their visa, if approved, at the Embassy of DPRK in London, or at the Beijing embassy of North Korea. They will notify the applicant when they are scheduled to get their visa. They will likewise inform them if their application was declined and give them a refund.
UK passport holders must remember to respect and abide by North Korean laws and customs. They must ask for permission before taking any pictures of people or buildings. They should not, at any time during their stay in North Korea, say anything bad about North Korea and its leader. Should they need assistance while they are in Korea, they get in touch with the British Embassy in Pyongyang.
Munsu-dong Diplomatic Compound
Telephone: (2) 381 7980 to 4
Fax: (2) 381 7985
For more information on travelling to North Korea, UK citizens may contact:
Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea