You can take tours from China across into North Korea (or by train, in theory) - but assuming you do and get your passport stamped, are there other countries that will hold this against you?

For example, if you visit Israel, certain other middle-east countries get a bit iffy about that, to the extent that I've heard people suggest you don't get Israel stamps in your passport. I'm wondering if this applies to North Korea as well, with any countries?

To clarify, I don't mean 'iffy' like America may question you about drugs if you enter from Colombia, I mean 'iffy' as in they may turn you away at the border, or worse.

  • 1
    Do beware of those trips. Many if not all are restricted to Chinese citizens only (and maybe a few other countries that have trade relations with the DPRK).
    – jwenting
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 9:04
  • 1
    @jwenting: Are you sure? Except for US citizens, it is allegedly not particularly difficult to get a tourist visa for North Korea. Commented May 23, 2012 at 15:25
  • I'm aware of a Dutch friend of mine who did a tour there just 6 months ago
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 16:19
  • tourist visa, yes. The organised tours mentioned however are (unless things were recently changed or my sources are wrong, I looked into them a few years ago) only available to Chinese citizens.
    – jwenting
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 5:09
  • He was part of a tour. Everything I've read and heard says you can only do it that way. Even Wikitravel states this (wikitravel.org/en/North_Korea) - "Tourist travel to North Korea is only possible as part of a guided tour. Independent travel is not permitted."
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 5:12

2 Answers 2


Most North Korean visas are issued on separate pieces of paper, not in your passport, and are thus not a problem. Likewise, on entry and exit, they will stamp the paper and not your passport.

Even if you do get a visa in your passport, as far as I'm aware no country has a policy of actually refusing entry to people who have visited North Korea; certainly neither Japan nor South Korea do, even though they're technically at war. It certainly is the kind of thing you may expect to get a question or two over though.


There is a lot of misinformation out there on DPRK (North Korea) travel. It is not difficult at all to obtain a tourist visa through one of the several tour companies that operate tours in the DPRK. I am COO of Uri Tours Inc., the only direct provider of North Korea Travel based in the US (there are several resellers). In over 6 years of operation, we have not had a tourist visa rejected.

When returning to the US from North Korea (I've been 5 times, and our CEO has been close to 100 times), we and our tourists have always clearly write DPRK on the re-entry card and have never been given any hassle.

As mentioned by others here, North Korea visas are stand-alone documents and you will not get a stamp in your passport. None of our customers or tour guides from other countries have reported any serious problems on reentry to their home countries.

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