Special Travel Circumstances in Antigua and Barbuda

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.

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