How to Get An Antarctica Visa

antarctica visa

How to get an Antarctica Visa – in fact YOU DON’T NEED ONE. But the stamp is nice…

Originally this was going to be a “tongue in cheek” type post but then I figured it doesn’t need to be. Nor should it. I’m all about decent travel advice to help you on your journeys! After my Antarctica trip in 2010 I did get a lot of people asking me “do you need a Visa to visit Antarctica?”. In retrospect it’s a serious question, and rather than reply to countless e-mails on the subject each week about how you can do Antarctica for cheap or backpack to Antarctica, I thought a new post would suffice. First TWO things first:

1. You don’t need a visa to visit Antarctica

2. There is no immigration or border control on entering Antarctica

However to get to Antarctica you will be in either:

Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand (so please do check if you need a visa for any of those places!!).

Here is what you do need to visit Antarctica: most of the tour groups that go to Antarctica will ask for the following, so have them ready ahead of your trip:

1. A valid passport with 6 months to run (for registration and identification purposes only)

2. Some kind of travel insurance that covers you for the duration of your trip (I hate buying travel insurance but it’s essential for this trip)

3. Tell the tour company your blood group (in case of medical emergency)

4. Tell the tour company your next of kin (in case of medical emergency)

visas for antarctica

Visa Less but Loving the freedom of Half Moon Island in Antarctica!!

Can I Get My Passport Stamped in Antarctica?

Yes you can and there are a few places you can get this done, mostly the bases, as well as the South Pole of course. My budget didn’t take me to the South Pole, so I got my passport stamped in the Post Office at Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island. It’s free to do so.

passport stamped in antarctica

The Post Office/Souvenir Shop at Port Lockroy in Antarctica. In here you can get your passport stamped.

Do you get an exit stamp when leaving Ushuaia, Argentina?

Oddly – NO you don’t. Which I found strange. In fact I think it’s one of the only times I’ve ever left a country without having an exit stamp for one I received an entrance stamp for. I left Argentina illegally…

visa for antarctica leaving argentina

That time I left Argentina without getting an exit stamp…on route to Antarctica!

Do you get an entrance stamp on your return to Ushuaia, Argentina?

No – again you don’t. I guess there might be an exception if you left Chile for Antarctica and headed back to South America to Argentina. However I didn’t encounter anyone who did this.

What currency do you need for Antarctica?

As a rule you should always carry US Dollars. You can use them on board the ship and at all museums and bars etc. in Antarctica. However Euros will also be accepted in most places. At the British Base Port Lockroy, you can pay in British pounds. Which I did as I had some on me.

Unsurprisingly Antarctica has no official currency, no official banks and as such no official physical banknotes. However you can get Antarctica Dollars merely as a souvenir item!!! I found this amusing, the Bank of Antarctica even have their own website. So for collectors get on it!!

antarctica dollars

An Antarctica Dollar – for souvenir purposes only!

At the British Base you can get Antarctica Stamps in the Post Office (which say on them British Antarctic territory). I picked a few up for souvenir purposes.

On arrival at the Polish Base I asked if they accept Zlotys, the answer was no.

Visa and Mastercard are NOT accepted on the continent of Antarctica but can be used to settle bills onboard your ship.

antarctica stamp

The nearest you’ll get to an actual Antarctica visa is a stamp at one of the bases!

What Other Proof Can you get to say you went to Antarctica?

Our tour organised 2 certificates for us which make decent framed items:

1. A certificate to confirm I had stepped foot on Mainland Antarctica:

A certificate to prove I stepped foot on Mainland Antarctica

A certificate to prove I stepped foot on Mainland Antarctica

2. A certificate issued to swimmers only to confirm that we had swam in the water of Antarctica. If you read my naked dip story, you’ll know I was in the water!

antarctica swimming certificate

A certificate to prove I swam in Antarctic Waters (although the videos and photos would suffice!).

What Nationalities can you expect to meet on an Antarctica Trip?

On our trip there were people on board from the following countries:

United States of America, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Philippines, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Poland.

I have written over 30 posts on Antarctica on this site alone and contributed a further 6 or 7 to other sites. Here are some others that may be of interest:

Antarctica Checklist – What clothes to take

Antarctica Checklist – A Reading List

Antarctica Checklist – What food and drink to take

Arrival at Barrientos

Arrival on Mainland Antarctica

World Borders – Crossing the Drake Passage

10 Things you Won’t Find in Antarctica

So don’t stress over that Antarctica Visa folks!!! Head to

antarctica northern ireland flag

Live your travel dreams and head to Antarctica!

the white continent and live your dreams! Cheers!


19 thoughts on “How to Get An Antarctica Visa

  • Hi Julio thanks for your comment! Where have you been though?? I have over 40 posts on Antarctica insluding the best post you’ll ever need to read about prices: Follow the advice here and you’ll get a really cheap trip: Just click on my ANtarctica tab link at the top of my site to see the other 40 posts. Enjoy, it’s a great place to visit! Jonny

  • Most awesome post series ever!

    Mate, Antarctica has been at the top of my bucket list for some time! The ultimate travel experience! I only haven’t done it yet because I’ve been busy ticking off other bucket list items and seeing other dream destinations. But it WILL happen.

    I’ve been collecting bits and pieces of info about visiting for a little while, and I have to say yours is the absolute best and most comprehensive I have come across! A real resource mate! So from one backpacker to another, well done and thank you!
    Michael Huxley recently posted…Avoid backpacker burnout and indulge your inner flashpacker.My Profile

  • Thanks for the comment Michael and glad someone else wants to head to Antarctica. I’ve been to 84 countries now across all 7 continents and Antarctica is still the best place I have been!! Make sure you read my tip on how to get it for cheap – don’t book in advance, just head to Ushuaia in Argentina and get a cheap last minute deal. Safe travels. Jonny

  • I love your blog, Jonny! You surely have a bunch of amazing adventures.
    Antarctica is one of my dream destinations. Now I know where to find some great tips about it.
    Happy travels 🙂
    DebbZie recently posted…U Paasha Seminyak BaliMy Profile

  • Hi Debbzie – thanks for dropping by. I saw your site too. I’m off to Bali and East Timor next – I was in Bali before but the north, this time probably the south as I fly in and out of Denpasar. Antarctica is a great place to visit, I was there about 4 years ago now – hard to believe. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Amit, that’s not true. You don’t need a visa for Antarctica. One of the rare countries in the world that is visa free. Safe travels, Jonny

  • Thanks for the post

    The best ever

    Just i wanna ask about the immigration to Anatctica. Can I immigrate? What are the conditions/rules?


  • Hi Saeed. Are you serious? Did you actually read the article! It is tongue in cheek. You don’t need a visa, you just need to pay for the tour. In terms of immagration, good luck with that – there are no cities or houses there so bring a tent. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jon thanks for your article. It was much helpful for new travellers. Antarctica is on my bucket list and i wanna visit once over there. One of my friend is working over there and i wanna meet that girl asap as i need to help that girl.
    So my question is i am from India.
    How do i get from India to Antactica.
    Suggest me the best way to get over to Antactica champ.

  • Hi Jakka, thanks for the comment. Your best option is to get to Argentina first and then get a boat from Ushuaia to Antarctica. Good luck and safe travels. Jonny

  • Anthonia Ifemeje Antarctica is my dream country to go and work, please how do I get because am from Nigeria

  • Dear Shoaib, thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay. I have been suffering from severe depression the last few years. Good luck in visiting Antarctica, I have no idea about jobs there. Safe travels. Jonny

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