"How to go to North Korea?" or "Can you actually travel to North Korea?" are questions many people have asked us. Contrary to popular belief in the West, and to the image created by some travel agencies /companies and guide books in the past, going to North Korea is a fairly easy process.
We have been working directly with the DPRK tourism authorities for almost a decade now, and the visa application process is nowhere as daunting as many think of it to be.
Please note that our partners in Pyongyang can issue visas in as little as 4 to 5 working days. We strongly ask travellers however NOT to apply so late as it is becoming increasingly hard to book transportation means to North Korea on a short notice. There are many national holidays in Korea when the relevant authorities may not be able to start processing visas. Moreover, if you apply so late and have forgotten to provide any information in the application form it will be hard to obtain the visa on time.
We therefore kindly ask travellers to apply for their visas no later than 30 days before the departure date in order to avoid any last minute hitches.
The visa process itself is simple and below are the steps you are to follow to book a trip with KTG.
Decide when to go to the DPRK, whether you go on one of our group tours or individually and confirm your travel dates with us.
We will send you a DPRK visa application form via email together with clear instructions on how to fill it in.
Send us the filled in form together with a scanned image of your passport and a passport sized picture. This can all be sent via email. You do not have to send us your original passport at any moment.
We will review the material and send you an invoice for the reservation payment. This is to be a minimum of 35% of the tour fee. You can make this payment via bank transfer, PayPal or credit card.
As a fully registered international travel agency based in China we accept card payments.
We offer three options for credit card payments:
(i) You may pay online via PayPal. PayPal is a world renowned payment solution that allows customers to pay safely across borders. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay with your card via PayPal. We will send you a PayPal payment request and you can pay directly with your card on the PayPal site, there is no need for you to send us your card details. We are PayPal verified users.
(ii) You may pay directly at our offices in Shenyang by card.
(iii) You may pay via card via AliPay
Tell us where you would like us to ask for your visa to be issued. We ask for the vast majority of our travellers’ visas to be issued in China. This is because it is much easier for us to have visas issued here. It is possible for us to ask for visas to be issued abroad in your country of residence or in a country near your country of residence. If you are interested in this option please apply no later than 6 weeks before your travel date. Once your visas have been approved Pyongyang will tell us and you will be able to go to the embassy/consulate you asked for your visa to be issued at. In most cases it is possible for you to mail your passport to the relevant DPRK embassy/consulate and for them to mail it back to you. If you decide to have your visa issued in China it will be handed to you in Beijing.
Meet us in Beijing the day before departing to Korea. If absolutely impossible you can meet us at the airport on the day of departure. We meet travellers the day before the tour starts as some of us will enter by train that day and the relevant documents will be handed to you then. It is also possible for us to meet you directly at the airport on your day of departure to Pyongyang if you are flying in but please do not arrive in Beijing on the same day you leave for Korea. Flights to the DPRK are limited and not scheduled on a daily basis. Missing a flight means that you may possible miss quite a lot of your trip. You can settle the remaining 65% of the tour cost in cash in Beijing or by card at our offices in Shenyang. It is also possible for the entire tour fee to be paid beforehand. If you decide to pay for the entire tour fee beforehand you can pay for the tour in one instalment. If you would rather pay in two instalments the second payment is to be made no later than 10 days before the departure date as payments can take several days to get through.
China transit visas - for those entering China visa free, we will send you a scanned copy of your DPRK visa and your flight ticket confirmation from Beijing to Pyongyang around two weeks before your departure date. You will have to show these not only to customs in China but also to your airliner from your country of departure as they may request for evidence of your having a connecting flight out of China within 72 hours of your arrival to Beijing. Please always check with your airline company regarding what documents they may require to see before letting you board the plane if you do not have a Chinese visa.
Image of Kaesong from Janam Hill.