Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Antarctica International Travel Information
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:
24/7 Emergency Contact at the Department of State:
From within the United States: 1-888-407-4747
From outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Once in a country, we can:
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place on any level. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in Antarctica. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: Some Treaty Parties, including those that claim territory in Antarctica, may seek to apply their laws to persons in Antarctica. Furthermore, some laws remain applicable to certain persons in Antarctica and may subject them to prosecution in the U.S. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained in transit to/from Antarctica, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctica Treaty designates Antarctica as a natural reserve. Additionally, the Antarctic Conservation Act, which protects native mammals, birds, plants, and their ecosystems, applies to all U.S. citizens and expeditions that originate from the United States.
Antarctica has no public hospitals, pharmacies, or doctor’s offices. Although cruise ships and land-based expeditions should have the capacity to treat minor ailments, medical emergencies often require evacuation to a country with modern medical facilities, which could require travel over a significant distance. There is no guarantee that transportation would be available or that weather conditions would allow for transportation, even in an emergency.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
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 Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, 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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Antarctica should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings. Due to maritime incidents, tourists have suffered severe injuries and/or death in the Antarctic Region and when traveling between South America and the Antarctica and in the Antarctic area.