Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 27 June 2017, 14:10 NZST
  • Still current at: 23 November 2017

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High Risk

There is high risk to your security in North Korea due to international tensions and extensive restrictions placed on foreigners. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

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Local laws and regulations
New Zealanders in North Korea are advised to adhere to all local laws and regulations and exercise discretion and caution at all times. Foreigners may be arrested, detained or expelled for activities that would not be considered crimes in New Zealand. North Korean authorities have detained a number of legal foreign visitors in recent years and punishments have been severe in some cases. Travel with a guide or as part of a tour does not provide special protection from North Korean laws.

There are strict laws and regulations in North Korea covering the speech, behaviour and movement of foreigners. Foreigners in North Korea are closely monitored by authorities and are expected to be accompanied by a guide at all times. Showing disrespect, including in jest, to the country’s leadership or regime is a crime in North Korea. Unauthorised religious or political activity, photography or filming of anything other than tourist sites, unauthorised travel and unwarranted interaction with local nationals may result in your arrest, long-term detention or expulsion.

We recommend you do not attempt to bring anything into North Korea that could be deemed religious or political in nature. Travellers should assume that authorities will inspect published material and electronic devices and possibly confiscate these items. Possession of prohibited items may itself be considered a crime.

New Zealanders considering travel to North Korea should familiarise themselves with the operation of United Nations sanctions and, in particular, with prohibitions on transferring goods to North Korea. The carriage to North Korea of any items on the luxury goods list by any person is prohibited under New Zealand law.

Political tensions
Relations between North and South Korea can be tense. North Korea has conducted nuclear and ballistic missile tests with increased frequency, leading to further tensions. Future tests cannot be ruled out. There have been occasional armed provocations by North Korea and tensions on the Korean Peninsula could escalate with little warning. We advise New Zealanders to stay informed of local developments as much as possible.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in North Korea should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place. Travellers are advised to carry enough cash to enable travel out of the country should a medical or other emergency arise, as money transfers or other arrangements may not be possible.

As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in North Korea, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.

New Zealanders in or considering travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Seoul, South Korea is accredited to North Korea

Street Address Jeong-Dong Building, Level 8 (West Tower), 15-5 Jeong-Dong, Jung-Gu, Seoul 110-784, Republic of Korea Postal Address KPO Box 2258, Seoul, 110-110, Republic of Korea Telephone +82 2 3701 7700 Fax +82 2 3701 7701 Email nzembsel@mfat.net Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/korea Hours Mon - Fri 0900 - 1230, 1330 - 1730 hrs

See our regional advice for North Asia

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy South Korea

Street Address
Jeong-Dong Building, Level 8 (West Tower), 15-5 Jeong-Dong, Jung-Gu, Seoul 110-784, Republic of Korea

Telephone: +82 2 3701 7700

Fax: +82 2 3701 7701

Email: nzembsel@mfat.net

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/korea

Hours: Mon - Fri 0900 - 1230, 1330 - 1730 hrs

Related advice from other countries

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