How to Enter Antarctica

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

While there are no visa requirements for visiting Antarctica, the Antarctic Treaty and the Environmental Protocol do establish certain obligations on the Treaty Parties with regard to expeditions to the Antarctic Treaty area (i.e., the area south of 60° South Latitude, including all ice shelves). Article VII(5)(a) of the Treaty obliges each Party to give advance notification of all expeditions to and within Antarctica, on the part of its ships or nationals, and all expeditions to Antarctica organized in or proceeding from its territory. U.S. tourists who have booked passage to Antarctica on a commercial cruise regulated by an Antarctic Treaty Party would be covered by the vessel operator's and/or tour company's advance notification. All U.S. nationals organizing private expeditions or charters to Antarctica in the United States, or proceeding to Antarctica from the United States, should complete a DS-4131 ADVANCE NOTIFICATION FORM “ TOURIST AND OTHER NON-GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES IN THE ANTARCTIC TREATY AREA and submit it to the Department of State's Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs at least three months prior to the intended travel to the Antarctic Treaty area. The Department of State, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), will then determine whether the expedition is subject to U.S. jurisdiction. If we determine that the expedition falls under U.S. jurisdiction, we will provide information on how to proceed with the EPA and NSF documentation processes, which are mandatory under U.S. law. In accordance with longstanding U.S. Policy on Private Expeditions to Antarctica, the U.S. government is not able to offer support or other services to private expeditions, U.S. or foreign, in Antarctica.

Special Travel Circumstances in Antarctica

U.S. citizens should be aware that, in recent years, dangerous confrontations have occurred involving Japanese whaling vessels and private vessels in the waters off the coast of East Antarctica near the Ross Sea. United States law prohibits certain conduct that endangers the safety of navigation, including on the high seas. Some of the activities undertaken by these vessels and their crews could violate U.S. law or the laws of foreign countries and could also be inconsistent with applicable international law. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid involvement in activities that violate the law or put themselves or others at risk.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, and health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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