The US Department of State has decided to extend for another year the ban on United States citizens traveling to North Korea, due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of US nationals.

In a recent statement, the State Department announced that the Secretary has reauthorized the existing Geographic Travel Restriction on the use of a US passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea.

“The restriction is effective as of September 1, 2019, and will expire in one year unless extended or revoked by the Secretary,” the statement reads.

The US first banned its citizens from traveling to North Korea in 2017, after a US citizen suffered a 17-month detention in the country, and died shortly after he was released, while being in a coma.

According to a notice published on the website of the government, the ban is a result of the government being unable to provide emergency services to its citizens in North Korea, as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with this country.

“Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency services. The North Korean government routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained U.S. citizens,” the notice reads.

However, the same portal explains that several categories, as professional reporters and journalists, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross or the American Red Cross and those travelling for compelling humanitarian considerations can be exempt from the ban.

“The US Department of State may grant an exception to qualified applicants by issuing a passport with a special validation that will be valid for only one trip.  These specific, one-time-use validations will be issued on an extremely limited basis,” it explains.

To get validation as an exemption from the travel ban, one should apply with the US authorities, following the procedures set.

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