Journeying into pristine wilderness is every travelers dream and Antarctica certainly fits the bill. Its wildlife and stark beauty make it one unforgettable place to visit. There is no official government in Antarctica, no native population and no single owner. This is what makes Antarctica so special.
In 1961 the international Antarctica treaty was signed by 46 countries. All 46 countries now act as the governing body. Thanks to this joint protection, Antarctica is a sanctuary and free of military operations. It is a utopia for scientific research, available to all countries who wish to research.
Antarctica Visa, Permits and Vaccinations
Upon boarding a cruise ship or plane to Antarctica, you will need to present a valid passport. Because of the Antarctica Treaty, no visa is required. However, you will be required to obtain a permit.
The Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection in 1998 declared that all visitors to Antarctica (who are citizens of one of the countries that signed the Antarctica Treaty) must obtain a permit to enter.
If you are travelling by cruise ship then you will most likely not need to worry about this as your operator will obtain the permit. However, it’s always advised that you check with your Antarctica cruise operator prior to departure.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Antarctica.
Travel insurance is required to visit Antarctica, please see our detailed page here for more information.
Private Expedition Permits
The Antarctic Treaty and the Environmental Protocol have established certain criteria for parties wishing to operate expeditions into the Antarctic Treaty area. This area is designated as the area south of 60° South Latitude, this includes all of the surrounding ice shelves.
Article VII(5)(a) of the Antarctica Treaty states that each party must give advance warning as to any expeditions to and within the specified territory. Whilst cruise ships will usually do this for you, if you are planning a private expedition you will need to obtain a permit yourself.
Depending on what country you belong, you will have to contact your embassy to begin discussions. For US citizens you will need to complete a DS-4131 ADVANCE NOTIFICATION FORM – TOURIST AND OTHER NON-GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES IN THE ANTARCTIC TREATY AREA and then submit this to the Department of State’s Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs. You will need to do this at least 3 months in advance of your intended visit. The department will then have to determine if your expedition comes under US jurisdiction.
Please note that no countries operate embassies on the Antarctica continent. If you lose your passport or need support in any other way you will need to contact your embassy in the country that comes next on your itinerary. This will usually be Argentina or Chile.
South America Visas
Although no visa is required to visit Antarctica, you may well have to obtain a visa to enter your departure point. If, like most tourists, you plan on cruising to Antarctica from Argentina, you will need to check with your foreign office as to visa requirements.
For US, Australian and British citizens, no visa is required for Argentina if you stay for less than 90 days. However, a reciprocal fee is charged to US and Australian citizens. For US citizens the fee is US$160 and for Australians it is AUD$100.
No vaccinations are required for Argentina, however, it is advised that you consult with your doctor to make sure. Malaria is also a factor to consider. A Yellow fever card is not needed to enter Argentina.
Other helpful pages
If you have any further questions or queries regarding Antarctica visas, permits or vaccinations, please just leave a note below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you and happy travels!
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