Antarctica Traveler Information — Travel Advice

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY: Required by transit countries

Embassies and Consulates

The United States does not maintain an embassy or consulate in Antarctica. If you are in need of U.S. consular services while in Antarctica, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country next on your itinerary or nearest to you for assistance. Links to the embassies and consulates most commonly called upon to provide services are below:

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Antarctic webpage for information on U.S. diplomatic interests in Antarctica.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Passports and Visas: A U.S. passport is required for travel through the country or countries that you transit through en route to and from Antarctica. Please refer to the separate country information pages for those countries.

  • The Treaty obliges each Party to give advance notification of all expeditions to and within Antarctica, on the part of its ships, aircraft, 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 normally would be covered by the vessel operator’s and/or tour company’s advance notification unless the tourist intends to conduct independent activities while on the commercial vessel. Always check with your tour operator about advance notification coverage.
  • All U.S. nationals organizing private expeditions to Antarctica in the United States, or proceeding to Antarctica from the United States, are required to provide notification to the Department of State at least three months prior to the intended travel to the Antarctic Treaty area.
  • Contact the Department of State’s Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs for complete information at Antarctica@state.gov

Safety and Security

Environmental Hazards:

  • Among the more common threats are frostbite, dehydration, eye damage from reflected glare, overexposure to the sun, and maritime accidents.
  • U.S. citizens are urged to avoid involvement in activities that violate U.S. law, the laws of foreign countries, or international law.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: Some Treaty Parties, including those that claim territory in Antarctica, may seek to apply their laws to persons in Antarctica.

  • It is forbidden to bring any non-native species into Antarctica. This includes live poultry, pet dogs and cats, and household plants or seeds.
  • It is prohibited to take or harmfully interfere with Antarctica wildlife except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.
  • Visit the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators website for more information on visitor guidelines.

Health

Antarctica has no public hospitals, pharmacies, or doctor’s offices. Although cruise ships have the capacity to deal with minor ailments, medical emergencies often require evacuation to a country with modern medical facilities.

  • There are no emergency evacuations facilities in Antarctica. Cost of medical evacuation is borne by the individual/s.
  • Travelers to Antarctica should obtain adequate medical evacuation and travel insurance before leaving home.
  • **We do not pay medical bills. **Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Travel and Transportation

There is no direct air service from the United States to Antarctica. Flights to and over Antarctica are operated from a number of countries to include Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Argentina, and others. If you are traveling to Antarctica, please check our country information page for the country from which you are departing to get more on aviation safety standards in that country. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area.

For additional travel information

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