The North Pole is among the most pristine environments in the world. It is also one of those places where people have dreamed about going ever since they were little kids. It is a field of dreams, the Frozen Frontier, which tens of hundreds of adventurers attempt to conquer.
The adventurous spirit lives on in the hearts of many, along with the need to test their mettle and meet nature head-on in a test of endurance. Well, a Journey to the North Pole certainly takes care of all that.
If you have been planning on going there, though, you must have been looking into the very best gear you will need to survive the harsh elements. Prior to this, however, you should take care of the documentation, which we will gladly assist you with. So, let’s get into it!
The Pitfalls of Multiple Ports
Unlike Antarctica, the Arctic isn’t nearly as difficult to reach. Depending on where you are, you can just drive up to it. That can hardly be called remote. This is hyperbole, of course, but it contains some kernel of truth.
The Arctic region may be visited from several locations: the US (Alaska), Canada, Finland, Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. In fact, most of the Arctic voyages begin and end in Finland. Passengers will be flown by charter flights from Helsinki to Murmansk, Russia, where the icebreaker voyage begins.
Having so many ports of call, though it makes the region much more accessible, also raises an important question: how many visas will you need? True, a good agency will stop you from having to worry about such things, but you do need to know what you’re getting into. Luckily for you, we’ve got the answer!
What Visas Do You Need to Visit the Arctic?
Technically speaking, the North Pole does not fall under the jurisdiction of any single country, so you don’t need a particular visa to get there. However, one does not simply walk into the Arctic. Depending on your tour itinerary, you may be visiting several countries, and each of these will have its own visa requirements.
Some countries within Schengen areas – constituting Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark – may require passengers to have a multi-entry visa. Again, this is heavily dependent on where you are from. British passport holders, for example, are exempt from this. Canada has different rules, wherein travelers from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand require an Electronic Travel Authorisation.
Another notable example is Russia. Any cruise that makes landfall in Russia and Franz Josef Land will require passengers to carry a Russian Visa. Any tour operator will be willing to help you through the process, but you will need to pay for all visas required, along with handling fees. It was never going to be cheap, after all.
Everything depends on the tour you are taking and where you are applying from. The tour you choose will determine the route you take, which in turn will dictate the number of visas you will need to make it through. Make sure your planning is in line with your budget because the costs only increase from here.
The other thing you need to consider is your passport. Here, things are a tad easier. All you need is a passport that is valid and will remain so six months after your voyage concludes. So, if the expiration date is getting close, you might want to get it renewed as fast as possible.
There are no restrictions based on nationality, though the passports of some countries get some benefits. Don’t worry, though. As long as you make sure to get all the required visas, your tour is most likely to go off without a hitch.
Though documentation may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you decide to go on a trip to the polar region, it is the first step and is the most important in that regard. Yes, it won’t keep you alive, but without proper paperwork, there’s no journey at all. It might be annoying and borderline boring to begin your grand adventure by asking countries for permission, but it’s worth it.
The North Pole is a land of untamed beauty and spirit. It is a privilege to go there – the privilege that is hard-earned and needs to be fought for. The battle for everlasting memories in the land of ever-changing snow begins by getting your papers in order. So, make sure you do it well and that you have the best helping hands to guide you through the long and difficult process.