Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 2 August 2013, 10:08 NZST
  • Still current at: 26 February 2024


New Zealanders travelling in North Asia should maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, especially in commercial and public areas, such as shopping malls, bars, markets, on public transport and in other places frequented by foreigners.

Petty theft such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching is common in parts of North Asia especially at tourist sites. Scams also operate in parts of North Asia. You should familiarise yourself with the types of crime that may occur and locations where you may be particularly at risk.

You should be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by New Zealand standards, do apply to you. Penalties for drug offences can be severe. If you are arrested or jailed the New Zealand Government will do what it can to help you but cannot get you out of trouble or jail.

Terrorism is an ongoing global threat. No country is immune from terrorist attack and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists may attack official or civilian targets. Although New Zealanders may not be targeted deliberately they could be caught up in attacks targeted at others or at western interests.

Typhoons can occur all year round in North Asia and can result in flooding, landslides and disruptions to essential services in affected areas. New Zealanders are advised to monitor local and international weather reports to keep up with developments.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in North Asia should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in North Asia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Do not travel

Destinations in North Asia where we advise against all travel.

North Korea

Do not travel to North Korea due to extensive restrictions placed on foreigners, serious risk of arrest and detention, and an uncertain security situation that could change with very little warning. The security situation on the Korean Peninsula remains volatile – technically North Korea and South Korea are still at war (level 4 of 4).

Exercise increased caution

Destinations in North Asia where we advise caution.


Exercise increased caution in China (Level 2 of 4).

Hong Kong

Exercise increased caution in Hong Kong (level 2 of 4). Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.


We advise New Zealanders exercise increased caution in Japan (level 2 of 4).

Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Destinations in North Asia where we advise normal.

South Korea

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in South Korea (level 1 of 4).

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