Antigua and Barbuda
|Still current at: 04 September 2011
Updated: 16 May 2011
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel section (departure tax). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Antigua and Barbuda.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Safety and Security - Terrorism
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.
Safety and Security - Crime
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 years, 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; a British tourist was murdered following a shooting in his apartment in January 2011; an Australian yacht captain died following a shooting in the Nelson’s Dockyard area of English Harbour on 22 January 2009 and an American tourist was murdered on a secluded beach in January 2010.
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 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 our victims of crime abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road travel
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.
See our driving abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air travel
An airport departure tax of EC$70 is payable per adult (over the age of 12 years) by visitors staying more than 24 hours.
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.
For more general advice for different types of travellers see our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
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 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 across the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause a feverish illness associated with headache, muscle aches and pains, and rash. Some cases of dengue are severe. Dengue can be prevented by avoiding being bitten by the disease-carrying mosquitoes that feed predominately during daylight hours. For more information on prevention, see the National Travel Health Network and Centre website: http://www.nathnac.org/pro/factsheets/dengue.htm.
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 information see our travel health page.
Natural Disasters - Hurricanes
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 US National Hurricane Centre. For more general information see Tropical Cyclones.
General - Insurance
You should 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. Check for any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. For more general information see our travel insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see our when things go wrong page.
General - Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Package holidays
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.
General - Passports
Keep a copy of the photopage of your passport and relevant entry stamp in case your documents are stolen.
The passport service for British nationals in Antigua and Barbuda has now moved from Barbados to the UK Passport Service Centre for the Americas and Caribbean in Washington D.C. (http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/passports).
If you are applying for a renewal of you UK passport and you are in Antigua and Barbuda, your application, with the appropriate passport fee plus a return courier fee of US$21, should be sent direct to:
The UK Passport Service for the Americas and Caribbean
19 Observatory Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20008
The British High Commission in Bridgetown will continue to issue Emergency Passports for people who have lost their passports and who have an urgent need to travel to the UK.