Can North Koreans Travel?


There is always a huge amount of myth, rumor and falsehoods when it comes to reporting about North Korea, and one of them is the question “Can North Koreans travel”? With the very simple answer being yes.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does though have a very different political system than anyone likely to be reading this article, so we will use it to explain have travel works for the average citizen of the DPRK.

Can North Koreans Travel abroad?

Again the simple is yes, as yo will see from the numerous sporting events, and global conferences, or trade fairs that take place throughout the world, but we will go into more detail about how and why North Koreans travel.

Do North Koreans need permission to travel?

Permission is the wrong word to use here, as North Korea much like the old USSR, and Eastern Bloc (as well as Cuba until a few years ago) issue an exit stamp. Again this is more a formality than anything else.

Why do North Koreans travel?

Essentially for the same reasons that nationals of most countries travel, for business, diplomacy or tourism. You may not see masses of North Korean tourists around the world, but they do travel, and even have a state owned tours agency to facilitate this (mostly to China).

Dandong, and even Yanji are interesting examples here as you will see many North Koreans traveling for mostly business, but also family reasons.

Do North Koreans work abroad?

North Koreans work outside their country in many fields, such as construction in Russia, and the places, as technical advisors, in the restaurants of the Pyongyang franchise to name but a few. There are also footballers playing in many leagues throughout the globe, such as Han Kwang-Song who recently moved to Qatar.

How about in the Diplomatic corp?

In case you are wondering “how many North Korean embassies are there around the world”? The answer is that North Korea has 48 embassies, or consulates around the world. This obviously means hundreds of people working as diplomats, and embassy/consulate staff around the world.

How strong is the North Korean passport?

In worldly terms it is weak compared with nations that have stronger economies, but is a lot more powerful than many South Asian, or African countries with a number of countries even offering visa free travel.

And that is our short and concise guide to if, and how North Koreans travel. We respect that it is very different to the travel habits of many nations, but we wish to display the reality of things.