One question we are often asked is “will I still be able to go to America after a trip to North Korea?” Up until now the answer has been yes, no problem.
However, the USA will now not allow visa-free access to anybody who has travelled to the DPRK since 2011.
What does this mean for those who have been to or are planning on going to North Korea?
In short, it’s very simple, if you have travelled to North Korea since 2011 or go there any time in the future then you will not be able to apply for the ESTA and must apply for a tourist visa in advance.
Applying for a tourist visa is an extra hassle of course, but having been to North Korea will not make you lose the right to visit the USA on a tourist visa, it will just mean you will not be eligible for the ESTA.
Also, North Korea has just been added to a list which already included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, so many of us have been in this boat for a long time already.
In total citizens of 38 nations and territories are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), for which the Electronic System for Travel Authorizarion (ESTA) determines the eligibility of visa free travel.
These changes only affect you if you are from one of the 38 nominated countries for the VWP.
This does not affect you if you are from Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia or Palau as you are still allowed visa-free access to the USA.
It may also not affect those travelling into the US by land, where the ESTA is not required for citizens of the VWP nations, as opposed to by air or sea.
We strongly recommend that when applying for a visa or the ESTA you always answer all questions honestly and in full, or you could be denied entry or deported on arrival.
It is worth remembering too that having travelled to the DPRK does not affect your entry into any other countries around the world, including South Korea, Japan and any EU countries.
For more information on these recent changes check out this article and if you have any questions as to how this affects you or will affect you if you sign up for a tour then send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.