COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Antigua and Barbuda is a two-island nation known for its beaches, and is a favorite destination for yachtsmen. Tourist facilities are widely available, and English is the primary language. Banking facilities and ATMs are available throughout the island. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Antigua and Barbuda for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM(STEP)/EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Antigua and Barbuda, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you check in, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. We encourage U.S. citizens traveling to Barbados to download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes and the Android market
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
St. Michael, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 227-4399
Emergency after-hours telephone: (246) 227-4000
Facsimile: (246) 431-0179
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Barbadian and U.S. holidays.
Additionally, the U.S. Embassy maintains a Consular Agency in Antigua. The Agent can assist with routine U.S. Citizens Services and with U.S. citizen emergencies taking place in Antigua and Barbuda.
Suite #2 Jasmine Court
Friars Hill Road, St. John's.
Telephone: (268) 463-6531
Cell Phone (268) 726-6531
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to enter Antigua and Barbuda. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda, 3216 New Mexico Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016, telephone (202)- 362-5122, or their consulate in Miami. Additional information may be found on the Internet on the home page of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism.
Immigration officials are strict about getting exact information about where visitors are staying and will often request to see a return ticket or ticket for onward travel, as well as proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of the visitor's intended stay. There is a departure tax (~US $27) required upon departing the country.
All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States. This extended to all sea travel (except closed-loop cruises), including ferry service on June 1, 2009. Travelers must now present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant documentsuch as a passport or a passport card for entry to the United States. While passport cards and enhanced driver’s licenses are sufficient for entry into the United States, they may not be accepted by the particular country you plan to visit; please be sure to check with your cruise line and countries of destination for any foreign entry requirements. We strongly encourage all U.S. citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel. U.S. citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.
NOTE: Be aware that Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the U.S. (closed loop cruises) do not require that you travel with a valid passport. However, should you need to disembark due to an emergency and you do not have a valid passport, you may encounter difficulties entering or remaining in a foreign country. You may also have difficulty attempting to re-enter the United States by air because many airlines will require a valid passport before allowing you to board the aircraft. As such, we strongly recommend that you always travel abroad with your valid passport.
HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may exist for visitors to to and foreign residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Please verify the requirements with the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.
You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
There is nobody better at protecting you than yourself. Take some time before travel to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Violent crimes, including rape and murder, do occur and reported cases appear to be rising in Antigua. Robberies and assaults have affected visitors as well as students studying in Antigua. Take precautions to ensure your safety when travelling around the island as well as in your residence or hotel. In November 2012, there were at least 10 tourists robbed within a week by armed men. Always avoid visiting isolated beaches alone and leaving valuables unattended. Be alert and maintain the same level of personal security used when visiting major U.S. cities.
Be especially vigilant when taking taxis in Antigua and Barbuda. Make certain that the taxi driver is licensed and is a member of the official taxi association. Unlicensed taxi operators have been known to extort money from passengers, despite having agreed to a fare beforehand. This can sometimes amount to double or triple the agreed-upon fare.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States,you may be breaking local law too.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates). If your passport is stolen we can help you replace it. For violent crimes such as assault and rape, we can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and help you get money from them if you need it. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
The local equivalent to the "911" emergency line in Antigua and Barbuda is: 911.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods or engage in child pornography. While you are overseas, U.S. laws don’t apply. If you do something illegal in your host country, your U.S. passport won’t help. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Antiguan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Antigua and Barbuda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Although there is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Antigua and Barbuda, there is a consular agent that can assist in providing U.S. citizen services. Refer to the section entitled “Registration/Embassy Location” for the contact information.
All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from early June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Information on hurricane preparedness abroad is provided at, Hurricane Season: Know Before You Go.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their citizenship documents with them at all times so, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.Societal attitudes remain conflicted on the issue of LGBT rights.While some government officials have admitted to “open homophobia,” others assert that the country is mostly tolerant of LGBT persons, noting that the indecency law is rarely used except when some other crime has also been committed. Same-sex marriage is not allowed under local law, and even the impression that a same-sex marriage is taking place can be construed as a violation of the law. Visitors are warned against holding any type of ceremony or event that could appear to be a same-sex marriage. U.S. citizens have been arrested by the Antiguan police for this type of activity. Anecdotal reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation, especially by the police, suggest these were mostly verbal attacks.
The justice system moves slowly in Antigua and Barbuda. Victims of crime have experienced delays in obtaining police reports and updates on criminal cases. In mid-2008 a former Canadian police officer was appointed as police commissioner with the mandate of modernizing the 550-strong police force. At present, the police continue to be negligent in providing timely notification to the embassy of the arrest of an U.S. citizen and access to U.S. citizens post-arrest has on occasion been restricted. In 2009 and early 2010, some U.S. visitors alleged that they were physically abused by arresting officers of the Antigua and Barbuda police force. These allegations are currently being investigated by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda use eminent domain laws that allow the government to legally expropriate private property for the betterment of the public. The concept of eminent domain and the expropriation of private property is typically governed by laws that require governments to adequately compensate owners of the expropriated property at the time of its expropriation or soon thereafter. The government of Antigua and Barbuda uses eminent domain to acquire private property, and the law in Antigua and Barbuda requires the government to compensate owners. However, in practice, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has not done this, and in one high profile case involving an U.S. Citizen, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has yet to provide compensation for a private property expropriated under its eminent domain laws. This case has been under litigation for a number of years and is yet to be resolved, despite a favorable court ruling for the property owner. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown therefore recommends caution when investing in real estate in Antigua and Barbuda.
Please see our Customs Information.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: There are qualified doctors in Antigua and Barbuda, but medical facilities are limited to one public hospital and two private clinics. They do not meet U.S. standards. The principal medical facility on Antigua is Mount St. John, on Hospital Road, St. John's (telephone (268) 462-0251). There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island to either Saba or Guadeloupe. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do NOT provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Good Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Antigua and Barbuda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic in Antigua and Barbuda moves on the left. Major roads are in average to poor condition, and drivers may encounter wandering animals and slow moving heavy equipment. Drivers often stop in the middle of the roadway without warning, so you should always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and watch for signs of sudden braking. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations. Buses and vans are frequently crowded and may travel at excessive speeds. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices, such as brake lights.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Antigua’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Antigua and Barbuda dated March 7, 2013 with an updated section on special circumstances.