Antarctic Permits

Under the Antarctic Act (1994, 2013) and the Antarctic Regulations 1994/490 as amended (Sections 3-5), all British Antarctic expeditions, stations, vessels and aircraft require an operational permit from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Conducting activities in Antarctica without first obtaining a permit, or breaching of permit conditions, or breach of a prohibition, is an offence punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Specialist Activities in Antarctica

Under the Antarctic Act (1994, 2013) the following Specialist Activities are prohibited without a permit issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or under delegated authority by BAS:

  • Mineral resource activities for the purpose of scientific research
  • The taking of, or harmful interference with, fauna or flora
  • The intentional introduction of non-native species
  • Entry into an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA)
  • Temporarily removing objects from an Antarctic Historic Site and Monument (HSM) for conservation or repair


If you want to undertake any of the activities listed above please download the ‘PEA and Specialist Activity Permit Application‘ form that can be accessed from this page.


All Projects in South Georgia

The Wildlife and Protected Areas (WPA) Ordinance was enacted in 2011 and provides a legal basis for the strict environmental policies of GSGSSI. Under the Ordinance it is an offence to wilfully or carelessly introduce non-native species, to handle or harm any flora or fauna or conduct activities that are likely to result in damage to habitats.

Any organisation or individual wishing to conduct either marine or terrestrial research in South Georgia or the South Sandwich Islands requires a Regulated Activity Permit (RAP) from the GSGSSI. The permit application is intended to help BAS and the GSGSSI to determine if the proposed research is feasible and, if so, what additional assessments and permits may be required.

All those visiting South Georgia must also familiarize themselves with the South Georgia Code of Conduct.

How to apply for a Regulated Activity Permit (RAP)

All Principal Investigators (PIs) intending to conduct scientific or management activities in SGSSI with BAS, are obliged to apply for a Regulated Activity Permit (RAP). There are three categories of RAP application which vary depending on the complexity of the project. GSGSSI has developed a RAP decision tree to help you identify the level of RAP application form needed for each project. Please read this information to ensure you complete the correct category of form online.

RAP applications are to be submitted to GSGSSI and BAS Environment Office online. Please follow the BAS guidance for online applications here.

Renewals for long-term projects

If your project forms part of a long-term study, providing you have already been issued with a RAP and all permit conditions have been met, then you may renew your RAP for up to 3 years i.e. to a maximum duration of 4 years, by completing an Online RAP Renewal Form. Please contact the BAS Environment Office – [email protected] – for further advice, if required.

Submission and deadline

  • All South Georgia applications and renewals for the following season should be submitted online by 30th June each year. These will be reviewed by the BAS Environment Office and approved by the GSGSSI.
  • If you have any questions please contact the BAS Environment Office [email protected]
  • GSGSSI has also issued a new Privacy Policy relating to the use of personal data collected through the RAP process.

Post season review of projects in South Georgia

The GSGSSI is responsible for reviewing all permitted activities that occurred in SGSSI and that were issued with RAP permits. GSGSSI will contact all BAS Principal Investigators (PI) and ask them to complete a retrospective review of their activities undertaken under the RAP through an online RAP feedback form.  If the project also invoved exporting samples then the PI will also need to submit their exported material declaration form for via the online feedback form.