US stops visa-free travel for foreigners who visited N Korea


Starting 6th August 2019, the US has stopped visa-free entry services to all foreigners who have visited North Korea. Foreigners who have visited North Korea in the last 8 years would be excluded from visa-free travel. 

The US has a visa-waiver program with 38 countries in the world which makes them eligible for visa-free entry to the US. The visa-waiver program includes countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and France. The citizens of these 38 countries can avail visa-free travel in the US for up to 90 days. 

People who have visited North Korea since 1st March 2011 are excluded from visa-free travel, as per the website of the US Customs & Border Protection. To travel to the US, such people would now need to apply for either a Tourist or a Business Visa, as per Al Jazeera. 

Apart from North Korea, there are 7 more countries on the exclusion list. These include Libya, Somalia and Syria. 

The new visa reform will affect many people from visa-free countries who have travelled to North Korea in the past. 

The new rule will dampen President Moon Jae-in of South Korea’s hopes of promoting cross-border tourism with North Korea. It is yet to be seen how the new rule will affect business leaders like Lee Jae-Yong, VP of Samsung Electronics. Jae-Yong was part of a Jae-in’s delegation that travelled to North Korea for the Pyongyang summit. 

US citizens are banned from travelling to North Korea since 2017. The ban was enforced after the detention of an American student in Pyongyang in North Korea. The country released the student while in a coma and he died a few days after the incident. 

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