If you’ve always wanted to go to North Korea, we have some bad news for you. Starting next month, American citizens will be prohibited from traveling to the Asian country following a prohibition on U.S. passports.
After the death of 22-year-old American college student Otto Warmbier last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to impose a “geographical travel restriction” on North Korea. Warmbier was arrested while traveling in North Korea and was sentenced to a 15-year imprisonment with hard labor. During his imprisonment, he suffered a neurological injury from an unknown cause and fell into a coma. After 18 months of captivity, he was finally transported back to the U.S. and he died six days later.
In an article by TIME, department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the secretary has authorized a Geographical Travel Restriction on all U.S. citizen nationals’ use of a passport to travel in, through or to North Korea.”
Once the restriction takes effect in late August, the only Americans who will be allowed to travel to the country are those with a “special validation passport” that the State Department will grant on a case-by-case basis.
Due to North Korea’s recent advances on its nuclear weapons program, this restriction is the latest step by the U.S. to isolate the nation and protect U.S. citizens who may be interested in traveling there. However, this isn’t the first time the U.S. has implemented a travel restriction against a country; since 1964, we’ve also seen restrictions on Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, North Vietnam, and Cuba.