VISAS, ENTRY RULES, CUSTOMS REGULATIONS in North Korea
Under North Korean law, foreigners can only enter the country as part of organized tourist groups. The easiest way to get a visa is through travel agencies, which must have official permission from the DPRK Foreign Ministry to organize tours to the country.
To obtain a visa, you must provide the following documents:
– a passport valid for at least 3 months from the date of departure from the country
– a copy of a civil passport
– 1 passport size photograph
– 1 questionnaire filled out in Russian, English or Korean
– tour confirmation from a tour operator
– a certificate from places of work
– evidence of sufficient funds
. The time for issuing a visa can be up to 1 month.
You can stay in North Korea on a tourist visa for 90 days.
The import and export of foreign currency is not limited, but upon obtaining a visa and when leaving the country, all available currency is declared. Import and export of the national currency is prohibited. All spent currency must have documentary evidence, that is, for all goods purchased in the country or for all services rendered in the country, checks must be provided upon departure.
A reasonable amount of tobacco and alcoholic beverages, as well as personal items, can be imported into the country duty-free. Souvenirs, gifts, precious metal products, mobile phones, pagers, photo and video cameras, personal computers, watches and tape recorders must be declared. Cell phones are prohibited in North Korea. Upon arrival in the country, your mobile phone will be picked up at customs, and in return they will give you a receipt, according to which the phone will be returned upon departure.
Prohibited the import of propaganda literature, foreign books about North and South Korea, any literature in Korean, pornography, weapons and ammunition, explosives, binoculars, seeds, drugs and drug-containing medications. The import of pets, plants and all groceries is allowed only with special certificates.
Before you travel, it is highly recommended to read the lists of allowed and prohibited items for entering and leaving the country, because they often change.
Embassy in North Korea
North Korea, embassy in Moscow Mosfilmovskaya
North Korea, Russian embassy in the country:
Pyongyang, Chungu-guyok district, st. Sinyang.
Tel.: (850-2) 381-31-01
Fax: (850-2) 381-34-27
Communication in North Korea
Cell phones are prohibited in North Korea. Upon arrival in the country, your mobile phone will be picked up at customs, and in return they will give you a receipt, according to which the phone will be returned upon departure.
You can make an international call from large post offices, from the International Call Center and from some metropolitan hotels, but the latter option is quite expensive.
In order to call from Russia to North Korea, you need to dial 8 – 10 – 850 (country code) – area code – subscriber number. The code for Pyongyang is 2. Local numbers starting with 382 when calling to North Korea from other countries should be dialed as 381 followed by the remaining four digits of the number.
In order to call from North Korea to Russia, you should dial 00 – 7 – area code – subscriber number.
Emergency Phones in North Korea
In all emergency cases, you should contact the guide.
HOLIDAYS AND WEEKENDS
January 1 – New Year’s Day
February 16 – Kim Jong Il’s birthday
April 15 – Sun Day, Kim Il Sung’s birthday
April 25 – Establishment Day of the Korean People’s Army
May 1 – Workers’ Day
July 27 – Victory Day in the Fatherland Liberation War
15 August – Motherland Revival Day
September 9 – Founding Day of the DPRK (Independence Day)
October 10 – Establishment Day of the Workers’ Party of Korea
December 27 – Constitution Day
All celebrations in North Korea follow the lunar calendar, so the dates of national festivals change from year to year. The national holiday Chuseok (Hangavi) is held in August – October (15th day of the 8th lunar month). This is a holiday of the harvest and commemoration of the departed ancestors. On this day, it is customary to visit the graves of ancestors. The festive events of the Arirang Festival, which are held on the dates closest to April 15 (Kim Il Sung’s birthday) and September 9 (Independence Day), are considered the largest mass performance in the world – up to 100,000 performers and up to 300,000 spectators take part in them. During Arirang, you can hear national Korean songs and see folk dances, gymnastic numbers and acrobatic stunts. Lush celebrations take place on Workers’ Day and Independence Day.
According to medicinelearners, tourists are allowed to make purchases only in specialized foreign exchange shops, where they pay mainly in euros. The rate in such stores is much lower than the official one, so it is better to agree with the guide so that he buys you goods for won.
In North Korea, tipping is not customary.
Koreans are reserved, but at the same time they are friendly and sociable. They rarely apologize and rarely thank, so as not to make the responders feel uncomfortable. We are talking exclusively about workers in the tourism and services sector, because ordinary Koreans are forbidden to communicate with foreigners and they pretend not to notice tourists.
In North Korea, it is customary to honor “seniors”.
International health insurance is highly recommended before traveling to North Korea. The country is at risk of contracting hepatitis A, B and E, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and dengue fever.
It is difficult to find modern medicines in local pharmacies, so it is best to bring them with you.
Only bottled or boiled water should be used for drinking, brushing teeth, and making ice. Dairy products, meat and seafood can be consumed only after heat treatment, and fruits – peeled. Vegetables must be washed thoroughly.