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.

There are 3 categories of RAP application forms;

GSGSSI has developed a RAP decision tree document to help identify the level of RAP application form needed for each project. Please read this document to ensure you complete the correct category of form:

Category 1 – projects with a low environmental impact

Category 2 – any project with a minor or transitory impact to the environment

Category 3 – any project which could cause a greater than minor or transitory impact to the environment

  • Contact the BAS Environment Office for advice
  • We may advise you to complete the GSGSSI online form RAP project overview

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 2 years by completing a RAP renewal form. Please contact the BAS Environment Office for advice.

Submission and deadline

  • All South Georgia applications and renewals should be submitted electronically along with the BAS addendum by 30th June each year.
  • If your project is funded by BAS please submit your form to Nicola Couper-Marsh in the BAS Environment Office [email protected]
  • If your project is a funded by NERC or is a Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme  project please submit your form to the Antarctic Access Office [email protected]
  • All BAS related permit applications for work in South Georgia are coordinated and submitted by the BAS Environment Office.  Do not submit your form directly to the GSGSSI
  • GSGSSI has also issued a new Privacy Policy relating to the use of personal data collected through the RAP process.