Antigua and Barbuda
|Still current at: 05 November 2009
Updated: 01 October 2009
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary (consular assistance figures). The overall level of the advice has not changed.
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see terrorism abroad.
Around 97,000 tourists visit Antigua and Barbuda each year (source: Ministry of Tourism, Antigua) and the vast majority of visits are trouble-free. Antigua and Barbuda is a friendly and welcoming country and overall crime rates are relatively low. Despite the relaxed atmosphere however, there have been incidents of violent crime including murder. These tend to occur within the local community but can sometimes affect tourists.
There has been an overall increase in crime in Antigua over recent months, including gun crime. Two British nationals died as a result of a shooting on 27 July 2008, in their room, at a resort near Valley Church in the south west. An Australian yacht captain died following a shooting in the Nelson's Dockyard area of English Harbour on 22 January 2009.
You should therefore maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and ensure that your living accommodation is secure. Apply the same measures if you are staying on a yacht. You should take sensible precautions and be vigilant at all times. Avoid isolated areas, including beaches after dark. Do not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Valuables and travel documents should be left, where possible, in safety deposit boxes and hotel safes.
For more general information see victims of crime abroad.
In order to be able to drive a car in Antigua and Barbuda you must purchase a local driving licence, usually from the car hire company, at a cost of US$ 20 (EC$50). You must show your current driving licence to obtain this.
You should drive with care and attention at all times. The national speed limit is 40mph and there is a limit of 20 mph in built up areas.
Motorists drive on the left in Antigua and Barbuda. Main roads are generally well maintained, although they lack road markings. Pot holes, even on main roads, and poorly marked speed bumps can catch the unwary. Overtaking on blind corners and cutting corners when turning right are commonplace. Stray cattle, goats and dogs are an additional hazard. Pavements are few and very narrow so pedestrians walk on the road. Few streets are lit at night.
For more general information see driving abroad.
An airport departure tax is payable by visitors staying more than 24 hours. In October 2007 this departure tax amounted to 50 East Caribbean Dollars (per person over 12 years).
For more general information see airline security.
You should note that there are severe penalties for all drug offences. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry anything through customs for anyone else.
You should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
Certain homosexual acts are illegal under the laws of Antigua and Barbuda.
British Passport holders do not require visas to visit Antigua and Barbuda. On entry, you are granted a stay of one month. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply and pay for an extension of stay through the Antigua and Barbuda Immigration Department. It is an offence to overstay the entry period or to work without a work permit.
You are banned from bringing meat products into Antigua and Barbuda from the United Kingdom in your personal luggage.
There is a confirmed case of Influenza A (H1N1) (Swine Flu) in Antigua and Barbuda. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its Pandemic Threat Alert Phase to Level 6. The WHO website has further details. There is a dedicated swine flu page on the FCO website. Guidance on Pandemic Flu can be obtained on the UK Department of Health website.
You should note that the private medical clinic, Adelin, will not accept medical travel insurance as payment for treatment. You must pay a deposit (US$4,000 in October 2007) via a credit card before treatment will be given. If funds deposited exceed the cost of the treatment, a refund will be given. Before being treated at Adelin you should check if your insurance company is willing to cover the cost of treatment. If not, you will need to use the General Hospital.
Dengue Fever is common to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. In 2007 there was a marked increase in the number of reported cases of dengue across the region. It is found throughout Antigua and Barbuda.
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Antigua & Barbuda and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
For more general health information see travel health.
The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre. For more general information see Tropical Cyclones.
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance, which includes medical evacuation by air ambulance, before travelling. Be especially careful about cover for recurring illnesses, as this may not be included in all insurance policies. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. For more general information see travel insurance.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.
If you are on a package holiday, you must travel on the specified return date. If you fail to do so it is likely that you will have to pay the cost of a return ticket yourself.
In the event of loss of your passport you will need to apply to the Passport Office at the British High Commission, Barbados for a replacement. There is no British High Commission in Antigua and Barbuda. Urgent applications are sent to Bridgetown by courier, incurring courier costs for the applicant. But even so, the issue of a replacement passport will take several days.
Keep a copy of the photopage of your passport and relevant entry stamp in case your documents are stolen.