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Department of State Order Bans U.S. Passport Holders From Traveling to North Korea

The Department of State published a new set of travel restrictions on Wednesday, declaring that United States passports are now invalid entry documents for North Korea. The measure effectively bans Americans who hold U.S. passports from traveling to, from, or through the country, though it excludes journalists, humanitarian workers, and others working on behalf of the U.S.

Those wishing to travel to North Korea must now, as of September 1st, be vetted by the Department of State.

The decision follows the death of 22-year-old Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who fell into a coma shortly after being arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea last January. Pyongyang accused him of stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel.

"The Department of State has determined that the serious risk to United States nationals of arrest and long-term detention represents imminent danger to the physical safety of United States nationals traveling to and within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," a July memo from the Department of State reads.