Antarctica Entry Requirements, Travel Restrictions & Safety Tips

April 2, 2024 • Todd Smith
The latest Antarctica entry requirements and travel restrictions at your fingertips. Our experts share Antarctic safety advice. Contact us for personalized trip planning.  
woman in black sits inside inflatable skiff with views of white Antarctica landscape and ocean filled with icebergs

Our expedition cruise experts have compiled a comprehensive guide to Antarctica entry requirements and travel restrictions with everything you need to safely travel to Antarctica.

Antarctica is one of the most remote and isolated travel destinations on the planet and special care must be taken to get there and travel safely. Learn more about how to get to Antarctica.

IN THIS POST – Antarctica Travel Restrictions:
Antarctica Entry Requirements
Antarctica Travel Restrictions
Argentina Travel Restrictions
Chile Travel Restrictions
Antarctica Travel Safety & Precautions
Current Cruise COVID Requirements
Pre-Trip Advice
More Antarctica Travel Resources


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Antarctica travel updates.

Antarctica Entry Requirements

Because no country “owns” Antarctica, there are no visa requirements to enter. However travelers are subject to the entry requirements of transit countries such as Argentina, Chile, Australia or New Zealand.

Cruises are operating and we’re looking ahead to a busy Antarctica 2024-2025 season. Select Antarctica cruise lines still require vaccination and testing, but there are no current vaccination requirements for transit countries.

Travelers do not need permission to visit Antarctica but cruise and tourism operators must hold a valid permit, issued by the signatories of the Antarctic treaty.

Antarctica Travel Restrictions

Is Antarctica restricted? No, all Antarctica travel restrictions have been lifted, Antarctica is open and Antarctic cruising is operating normally. However, travelers should always be prepared for changes. Port countries may implement new restrictions if needed. And some ship operators and scientific bases have maintained their Antarctica travel restrictions.

We recommend all travelers consider travel insurance. See our Antarctica travel guide for advice on the best travel insurance for Antarctica. Note that supplemental medical evacuation insurance is required on most Antarctica cruises.

Because most travelers to Antarctica get there through Chile and Argentina, we focus on these entry points in the following sections. Learn more about how to get to Antarctica.

During the 2023-2024 travel season, access to certain locations were restricted to protect wildlife from bird flu. Overall tourism and cruise operations were not affected.

Argentina Travel Restrictions

Effective September 14, 2022 Argentina travel restrictions have all been removed. COVID testing, a health declaration form and travel insurance are no longer required. For most travelers a valid passport is all that is required to enter Argentina. However, Argentina entry requirements have changed frequently in the past due to epidemiological circumstances. Travelers should check for Argentina travel restrictions before arriving. For more details visit the US State Department or the US Embassy in Argentina.

Chile Travel Restrictions

Effective May 10, 2023 all Chile COVID travel restrictions have been lifted. COVID testing and travel insurance is no longer required, but our experts highly recommend traveling with health insurance that has coverage for SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19). For more details visit the U.S. State Department or Chile Travel.


See the full list of Antarctica itineraries.

Antarctica Travel Safety & Precautions

Travelers booked with AdventureSmith Explorations are prepared with extensive pre-departure materials, packing lists and personalize consulting to ensure they are ready for their adventure. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a thrilling and secure Antarctic expedition cruise:

Conquering the Cold:

  • Layer Up: The key to staying comfortable and safe in Antarctica is dressing in layers. Invest in thermals, fleece, and a good waterproof outer layer. Don’t forget gloves, a hat, and sunglasses! Many expedition cruises provide a polar parka to borrow or keep.
  • Hydration is Key: Cold weather can trick you into forgetting to drink fluids. Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration.

Navigating the Terrain:

  • Step with Care: The icy landscapes of Antarctica demand caution. Sturdy boots, provided on all expedition cruises are essential to prevent slips and falls.
  • Follow the Guide: Expedition leaders are highly experienced in navigating Antarctic terrain. Always stay with the group and follow their instructions for safe exploration.
  • Respect the Wildlife: While penguins and seals might look cuddly, they’re wild animals. Maintain a safe distance as instructed by your guides.

Preparing for the Unexpected:

  • Seasickness Savvy: If you’re prone to seasickness, talk to your doctor about medication options beforehand. See our post on how to prevent and treat seasickness on cruises.
  • Safety Drills: Pay close attention to mandatory safety briefings and drills conducted by the crew. Knowing what to do in an emergency is important.
  • Remote Medicine: Most expedition cruises have medical personnel on board. However, pack any essential medications you might need, considering Antarctica’s remote location.

Bonus Tip: Be mindful of the environment! Antarctica is a pristine wilderness. Clean backpacks, shoes, jackets and clothing of seeds and vegetation that could invade this sensitive landscape. Pack reusable water bottles and avoid bringing anything that could harm the delicate ecosystem.

By following these simple precautions, you can ensure a safe and unforgettable Antarctic adventure. Remember, the expedition team is there to guide you – ask questions and voice any concerns you might have. Now, you’re ready to set sail and experience the breathtaking wonders of the White Continent with peace of mind!

A female traveler in sunglasses and a blue jacket leans against the railing of a ship in Antarctica with the calm ocean and white-capped mountains behind her


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Current Antarctica Cruise COVID Requirements

Most Antarctica cruise lines have eliminated COVID requirements, meaning most cruises don’t require a vaccine. However, that can always change and AdventureSmith travelers will be kept informed. Below is the current policies for Antarctic cruise operators (subject to change without notice):

  • Intrepid Travel requires all guests to show proof of primary COVID vaccination series plus an additional booster dose.

Advice Before You Leave Home

For two weeks prior to your departure, and during travel to your destination, we recommend you follow common sense protocols to avoid illness and COVID-19. Take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of exposure and follow all CDC guidelines.

Wear masks in airports and aboard airplanes. Be careful in bars, restaurants and other crowded places that are higher risk. Arriving for your trip healthy will provide peace of mind and help you to enjoy your trip.  

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If you have questions about Antarctica entry requirements or travel restrictions or are looking for advice, please use the comments below. If you are booked or interested in booking a trip to Antarctica, please contact us. Thanks.

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  • James says:

    What are the restrictions for Antarctica when you get there? Can you explore freely?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi James,
      Antarctica expedition cruises will visit designated landing sites where guests can disembark for shore excursions. Visitors may explore freely but are required to stay within designated areas and within certain boundaries and/or marked trails. Numerous guides and expedition leaders are with you ashore providing information about the wildlife, geology and history of the area while also ensuring travelers are following the guidelines and restrictions that protect wildlife, environment, and safety of visitors.

      Your cruise may offer group activities like snowshoeing or kayaking, where you are expected to stay close within your group and follow the instructions of your guides.

      Let our experts prepare you for Antarctica, one phone call is more productive than hours of internet research. Please contact us directly if we can help you plan an incredible trip.

  • cindy says:

    Are there any non smoking cruises?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your question Cindy. Most Antarctica cruise ships do allow smoking but it is very restricted and typically only permitted on one deck at the stern (back end) of the ship. This way smoke goes out to sea and doesn’t bother guests. It is forbidden to either throw cigarette butts overboard or smoke on shore in Antarctica. We hope this helps you enjoy a smoke-free expedition. If you are interested in booking please contact us.

  • Angie says:

    Hurtigruten also still require vaccination.

    It would be really helpful if you could list those cruise lines who DONT require it.
    Thank you.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Angie. We have chosen to list only the Antarctica cruise lines that are among our curated selection of small Antarctica expedition cruises. Since the vast majority have dropped requirements, we have found it easier to list the few operators who still have requirements in effect.

      Our specialists are the most well-versed on these vetted options, and keep our traveling clients individually in the loop on them. We would urge you to ask your booking agent or operator for specifics regarding your trip.

  • Y Loubscher says:

    I just need to comment on this website and on an excellently written article. You have by far the best and most detailed info available. You might just become my new travel agent. Well done!

  • H. McCorkindale says:

    What about SilverSea Silver Endeavor cruise? What is their policy?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hello, at this time Silversea requires all crew and guests aged 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers are not required to test prior to boarding.

  • Teri S says:

    Can you show proof of Covid antibodies instead of getting a booster?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Teri, thanks for your question. Argentina currently has no entry requirements and an individual operator will not accept proof of antibodies in lieu of a booster shot.

  • Chris says:

    Hi. I heard tourists can no longer take photos while kneeling, siting or laying on their stomach. Also no tripods, monopods etc. Have you heard of these new regulations? Thank you.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Chris – great question. Yes, IAATO has made updates to their Biosecurity Procedures for the 2022-2023 Antarctica cruise season to include the following: “No sitting, kneeling, or lying down on the ground or snow, or leaving any equipment on the ground or snow, close to animal activity or fecal matter (e.g., within a minimum of 10m of nests or breeding adults, wildlife transit pathways, haul out sites).”

      These additional protocols are in response to Avian Influenza and are mandatory for all IAATO Operators and their staff operating in Antarctica. They are also likely to evolve as more information and guidance regarding (HPAI) H5N1 becomes available. You can learn more about the new protocols and read the press release here. IAATO 2022-23 Biosecurity Protocols Regarding Avian Influenza.

  • Mary says:

    We hear of strict vaccine requirements for passengers but there’s no transparency about vaccine status of the entire crew.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Mary,
      All of the operators and ships we partner with require the crew to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding.
      Please see the Antarctica Cruise Vaccination & Testing Requirements above where we specifically detail the vaccination policy that our polar partners have for their crews. AdventureSmith provides peace of mind because we have personally vetted, and hand selected each partner operator and are clear when sharing their policies. If you are interested in booking an Antarctica trip, please contact us.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I have a COVID-related question… Are there PCR testing facilities in Ushuaia for foreign visitors needing a negative test result before returning home? If so, are these clinics likely to be open over the Christmas weekend of December 24 & 25 for testing?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hello. At this time there are no COVID-19 testing options at the Ushuaia airport (USH). There is a clinic in Ushuaia that can provide testing. Find contact info and hours on their Facebook page.

      Some of the expedition ships operating in Antarctica can offer COVID-19 testing aboard the ship prior to disembarkation. Availability and pricing varies by ship so check with your Antarctica travel operator. Another good option is to test in Buenos Aires before returning to the US. Rapid antigen testing centers are available in Argentina’s Ezeiza (EZE) and Aeroparque (AEP) airports. Results in 30 minutes are handy for departing travelers.

      We hope this helps and have an amazing trip to Ushuaia!

  • Robin says:

    For citizens of countries that are not exempt from an Argentinian Visa, but residing in USA, is there provision in place to get a visiting visa or an ETA?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Robin,
      Thank you for reaching out. Without knowing your country of citizenship it is difficult to offer specific advice. However, it is our understanding that Argentina will be issuing visas for international travelers that require them beginning on November 1, 2021. To learn if a visa is required visit Argentina Migrations’ official page or your countries’ consulate. In the United States, visa services can answer detailed questions and expedite applications for visas to Argentina. Please note that the information on this page is purely informational and intended to help cruise guests prepare for Antarctica cruises. Good luck with your visa application and please keep us posted if you learn that visas are not available for your country.

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