Yes. Citizens of most countries are required to obtain visa in order to go to North Korea. One of rare exceptions for example is Malaysia - even though visa is not required Malaysian citizens still should arrange a guided tour in North Korea with the official tour operator and provide all required documents
The visa application requirements varies by countries (please refer to our visa page here for the details) but the minimum document set is:
No. A North Korean visa is issued by the Embassy only after receiving confirmation from Pyongyang that the applicant is a part of an organized tour - either group or individual- operated by a registered tour operator
If you apply for North Korean visa in Beijing then your visa will be issued on a separate piece of paper ("a tourist card") so there will be no record in your passport.
If you apply for the visa anywhere else then the visa will be stamped into your passport.
We have never heard about any problem entering the US or South Korea after visiting North Korea even with North Korean visa in the passport. There are no countries who will refuse you entry because you have travelled to North Korea.
In any case you can apply for North Korean visa in Beijing and then there won't actually be any evidence that you have travelled to the DPRK anyway as the visa is issued on a separate piece of paper and there will be no record in your passport.
The price of North Korean visa varies on the embassy. For example, in Beijing and Stockholm the visa fee is 60 Euro while in Vladivostok it is about 10 Euro
Korea Konsult applies in advance for your visa approval and it takes about 4 weeks to get the approval. As soon as the approval is ready, the visa can be stamped into your passport.
Please note that it doesn't mean that you have to be without your passport for 4 weeks. To get the visa approval we will need just a copy of your passport.
The North Korean visa is normally valid for 2 months since the issuing date.
Whether or not you need to give your passport and for how long depends on the place where you apply for the visa:
There is no problem traveling to the DPRK with South Korean visa or stamps in your passport
Yes. If you are living in South Korea and have a South Korean resident or work permit you are able to visit North Korea
Yes. There are no restrictions for citizens of the US or Israel to visit North Korea. US citizens will have to provide a reference contact (name and phone number) in the US during the visa application.
Yes. There is no problem for ex-military personnel to apply for the North Korean visa. If you are a current military personnel please let us know details of your duties, you fighting arm, your rank and we will see if there is any problem. Most probably there will be no any issue
Journalists are not allowed to enter North Korea on a toursit visa. Journalists should be invited by the authorities and should apply for special journalist visa.