Guidance

Visits to Antarctica: how to apply for a permit

This guide sets out who has to apply for a permit, how to apply and explains the other rules covering travel to Antarctica.

Any person on a British expedition to Antarctica or taking a British vessel or aircraft into Antarctica will need to apply for a permit to the Polar Regions Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

A British expedition is one organised in the UK, or one where the last place of departure for Antarctica is the UK, a British overseas territory, or a Crown Dependency. ‘Expedition’ includes a single person and is a tour or journey of any purpose, including activities such as landing ashore, skiing, kayaking, small boat activities, climbing, diving or any related activity.

You don’t need a permit for:

  • ships or aircraft travelling to an immediate destination outside Antarctica
  • fishing vessels, unless they are carrying out functions related to an expedition
  • expeditions organised in and authorised in writing by another contracting party (country) to the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty

It is also unlikely that you will need a permit if you are a passenger on an organised visit to Antarctica, as your tour operator would usually arrange this. However you should confirm this with them before travelling. Contact the Polar Regions Department if you are still unsure.

Applying for a permit

You should submit applications for permits as far in advance as possible. This should be at least 2 months before the date of your departure if you have previously obtained a permit for summer activities, or at least 4 months for a new or unusual application.

Organisers will need to demonstrate that they are sufficiently prepared for a visit to Antarctica. We advise all applicants to discuss their plans informally with the Polar Regions Department before they begin their permit application, especially if your expedition involves specialist activities such as extreme sports, extended trips or multiple transport options.

Application forms and guidance

For a land- or vessel-based expedition you can download the new permit application form and guidance below. For further information please contact the Polar Regions Department.

Expedition permit application form (MS Word Document, 653KB)

Expedition permit application guidance (MS Word Document, 178KB)

If you plan to undertake more specialist activities in Antarctic (such as wildlife monitoring or scientific research) it is likely you will need a separate permit. For further information please contact the Polar Regions Department.

Specialist Activities permit application form (MS Word Document, 196KB)

Specialist Activities permit guidance (MS Word Document, 172KB)

Section 10 application form (MS Word Document, 191KB)

Once the expedition is complete, you will need to fill in a Post Visit Report.

Post Visit Report for Specialist Activities (MS Word Document, 140KB)

We strongly encourage all applicants to fully read the supporting guidance before completing either application form.

How to contact the Polar Regions Department

Telephone: 020 7008 1500

Email: PolarRegions@fco.gov.uk

Address:

Polar Regions Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Room K 2.55
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Publishing application details

Applicants should be aware that within 10 days from the Polar Regions Department confirming receipt of any permit applications, the FCO will openly publish information relating to these applications on this website. This will include application type, applicant name, duration of visit, proposed itinerary and the contact details of the applicant.

UK Antarctic enforcement policy and procedures

The FCO is responsible for ensuring that the UK’s Antarctic legislation is fully complied with. See our UK Antarctic Enforcement Policy and Procedures page for further details.

Comprehensive Environmental Evaluations (CEEs) received for activity in Antarctica

Name Company Purpose and location Date received and CEE
BAS Environment Office information@bas.ac.uk British Antarctic Survey Replacement of Rothera Wharf and stabilisation of the area around the runway at Rothera Station January 2018 - available at www.bas.ac.uk

Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEEs) received for activity in Antarctica 2017 to 2018

Name Company Purpose and location Date received and IEE
BAS Environment Office information@bas.ac.uk British Antarctic Survey To improve understanding of the role of Antarctic ice sheets in contributing to sea level rise August 2017 - BEAMISH Antarctica available at www.bas.ac.uk
Patrick Woodhead, Managing Director, Patrick@white-desert.com White Desert Ltd Wolfs Fang Runway IEE - South Pole and Atka bay visits September 2017 - available at www.white-desert.com/dates-2017/
BAS Environment Office information@bas.ac.uk British Antarctic Survey To conduct a site investigation at Rothera October 2017 - available at www.bas.ac.uk

Applications received for expeditions from the 2017 to 2018 season

Permit applicant Vessel/Aircraft name Purpose and date of visit Brief itinerary
Tim Cochrane TimC@noble-caledonia.co.uk MV Island Sky Tourism 22 to 29 November 2017 Antarctic Peninsula
Dion Michael Poncet contact@hanshansson.net Hans Hansson Tourism and film project 5 December 2017 to February 2018 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
Skip Novak skipnovak@pelagic.co.uk Pelagic Australis Tourism, climbing and film project 4 December 2017 to 27 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula
Steven Derrick Brown steve1270brown@gmail.com Novara Tourism and climbing 1 Jan 2018 to 15 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
Robert Dougall McCallum rob@eyos-expeditions.com MY Legend Tourism 18 December 2017 to 5 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands
Professor Dame Jane Francis janefr@bas.ac.uk BAS Research Stations To operate BAS Research Stations and undertake expeditions for scientific research 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2022 BAS Research Stations and Antarctic region
Dr Tom Hart Tom.hart@zoo.ox.ac.uk MV Ocean Diamond and MV Ocean Endeavour British science expedition 20 October 2017 to 10 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands
Robert Dougall McCallum rob@eyos-expeditions.com Enigma XK Tourism 28 November 2017 to 18 January 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands
Scott Alexander scott.alexander@bbc.co.uk Via Norwegian Polar Institute Filming project 7 November 2017 to 18 December 2018 Tor Station (Svarthamaren)
Scott Alexander scott.alexander@bbc.co.uk Via United States Antarctic Program Filming project 10 October 2017 to 10 December 2018 McMurdo Station
Abigail Lees abigail.lees@bbc.co.uk Via Spanish Polar Program Filming project 30 November 2017 to 26 January 2018 Deception Island, South Shetland Islands
Tim Guildford tim.guildford@zoo.ox.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 4 December 2017 to 10 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands
Frithjof Kuepper fkuepper@abdn.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 18 December 2017 to 6 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Adelaide Island
PhilipTrathan pnt@bas.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 4 December 2017 to 20 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands
PhilipTrathan pnt@bas.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 4 November 2017 to 11 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkney Islands
Michael Dunn mdunn@bas.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 30 October 2017 to 10 April 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkney Islands
Richard Anthony Phillips raphil@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 26 December 2017 to 20 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Adelaide Island, Marguerite Bay
Katrin Linse kl@bas.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkney Islands
Kevin Andrew Hughes kehu@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 15 November 2017 to 15 April 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Adelaide Island
Kevin Andrew Hughes kehu@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 1 November 2017 to 30 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Adelaide Island and Marguerite Bay
Kevin Andrew Hughes kehu@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 15 November 2017 to 30 January 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Alexander Island
Kadmiel Maseyk Kadmiel.maseyk@open.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 8 January 2018 to 15 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Adelaide Island and Marguerite Bay
Peter Convey pcon@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2018 Rothera Point and nearby islands. Alexander Island
Peter Convey pcon@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 1 October 2017 to 31 March March 2018 Signy Island, South Orkney Islands
Kevin Andrew Hughes kehu@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 25 December 2017 to 10 March 2018 Finlandia Foothills, Alexander Island
Teal Richard Riley trr@bas.ac.uk Via BAS aircraft Scientific research 5 December 2017 to 18 January 2018 Gutenko Mountains, Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula
Claire Marie Waluda clwa@bas.ac.uk Ski/man haul Scientific research 1 October 2017 to 30 April 2018 Gutenko Mountains, Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula
Kevin Hughes kehu@bas.ac.uk Small boat to islands Scientific research 15 December 2017 to 10 March 2018 Rothera Point and Ryder Bay Islands, Antarctic Peninsula
Robert Dougall McCallum rob@eyos-expeditions.com MY Cloudbreak Tourism 31 December 2017 to 31 January 2018 Antarctic Peninsula
Robert Dougall McCallum rob@eyos-expeditions.com MY Savannah Tourism 20 December 2017 to 6 January 2018 Antarctic Peninsula
James David Scourse j.scourse@exeter.ac.uk via BAS Vessel Scientific research 18 November 2017 to 19 December 2018 Marian Cove, King George Island; William Glacier Fjord, Anvers Island; Ryder Bay, Rothera
Robert Dougall McCallum rob@eyos-expeditions.com Michaela Rose Tourism 17 December 2017 to 3 January 2018 Antarctic Peninsula
Simon Morley smor@bas.ac.uk via BAS Vessel Scientific research October 2017 to September 2018 Marguerite Bay and surrounding seas and seashores
David Alan Davies davvie@bas.ac.uk via BAS Aircraft Scientific research 16 October 2017 to 19 March 2018 Brunt Ice Shelf
Kevin Kerr Newsham kne@bas.ac.uk via BAS, foot Scientific research 1 December 2017 to 30 March 2018 Signy Island, South Orkney Islands
Professor Dame Jane Francis janfr@bas.ac.uk via BAS, foot Site investigation 1 February 2018 to 28 February 2018 Rothera Point, Antarctic Peninsula
Patrick Woodhead Patrick@white-desert.com   Tourism 25 October 2017 to 27 February 2018 Dronning Maud Land
Emil Grimsson emil@arctictrucks.com Arctic Trucks Ltd Overland vehicle expeditions 20 October 2017 to 1 February 2018 Union Glacier, Novo Runway, Ross Ice Shelf, South Pole, Leverett Glacier
Philip Trathan pnt@bas.ac.uk Via BAS vessel Scientific research 1 February 2018 to 31 March 2018 Larsen C, Larsen B&A, Western Weddell Sea
Abigail Lees abigail.lees@bbc.co.uk Polarstern Filming project 17 March 2017 to 4 May 2018 Drake Passage, Bransfield Strait, Weddell Sea
Teal Richard Riley trr@bas.ac.uk RRS Discovery Scientific research 4 March 2018 to 24 March 2018 South Scotia Ridge, South Orkney area, Scotia Sea
Scott Alexander scott.alexander@bbc.co.uk Pelagic Filming project 27 January 2018 to 13 March 2018 Antarctic Peninsula, Cierva Cove
Professor Anthony Edward Hill ehill@noc.ac.uk RRS Discovery Scientific research 4 March 2018 to 24 March 2018 South Scotia Ridge, South Orkney area, Scotia Sea
Jason Roberts Jason@jrp.no Hans Hansson Filming project 27 December 2017 to 5 February 2018 Antarctic Peninsula
Published 16 May 2013
Last updated 12 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation Added
  2. Additional permit application
  3. Additional permit application added
  4. Additional permit application
  5. permit application added
  6. Additional permit applications
  7. Additional applications
  8. Additional permit applications
  9. Addition of further permit applications
  10. Updated permit applications for season 2017-18
  11. Initial Environmental Evaluation added and permit applications updated
  12. Added new applications for expeditions in the 2017 to 2018 season
  13. page updated.
  14. updated applications received for 2016 to 2017 expedition season
  15. Revised formatting of permit applications
  16. Additional Application form and Guidance
  17. First published.