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US travel ban on North Korea comes into force

A US ban on Americans travelling to North Korea has taken effect.

The ban makes US passports invalid for travel to North Korea and allows the State Department to revoke the passport of anyone who flouts the ban. It was announced in July and kicked in on Friday.

Only those granted "extremely limited" exceptions are exempt. The State Department says applicants must prove their trip is in the US national interest. That could include journalists and aid or humanitarian workers.

The State Department says applicants must submit a statement explaining why the trip serves the national interest, along with documentation.

Those granted an exception will be given a letter they can use to obtain a Special Validation Passport, which is valid for just one trip to North Korea.

The ban comes into force at a time of increased tensions over North Korean missile launches.

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