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XYZ Consular Info: Antigua & Barbuda

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XYZ Consular Info: Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda - Consular Information Sheet
May 7, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Antigua and Barbuda is a developing island nation. The primary language is English. Tourism facilities are widely available, as are Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport or certified birth certificate and picture identification, such as a driver's license, are required of U.S. citizens entering Antigua and Barbuda. A return ticket is sometimes requested. Immigration officials are strict about getting exact information about where visitors are staying. There is no fee for entering the country, but there is a departure tax. U.S. citizens entering with documents other than U.S. passports should take special care in securing those documents while traveling. It can be time-consuming and difficult to acquire new proof of citizenship to facilitate return travel.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
For further information on entry requirements, travelers can contact the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda, 3216 New Mexico Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016, telephone (202)362-5122, or the consulates in Miami or New York. Additional information may be found on the Internet at http://www.antigua_barbuda.org or at http://www.undp.org/missions/antigua_barbuda.
CRIME: Violent crimes and armed assaults have been perpetrated against tourists. Petty street crime also occurs, and valuables left unattended on beaches are vulnerable to theft.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care is limited. There is a public hospital and a private clinic. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. 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.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to be life-saving when a medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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 it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving in Antigua and Barbuda is on the left-hand side of the road. Roads are narrow, not always adequately marked, and in generally poor condition. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations, including seatbelt laws. Poor road conditions and the speed at which many persons drive lead to serious traffic accidents. Buses and vans are frequently crowded, and they travel at excessive speeds. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices, such as brake lights. More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Antigua Tourist Board, telephone (268)462-0480, or the Director General of Tourism, telephone (268)462-1005.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Antigua and Barbuda driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Antigua and Barbuda National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.interknowledge.com/antigua_barbuda.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Antigua and Barbuda's civil aviation authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of Antigua and Barbuda's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the Antigua and Barbuda air carriers currently flying to the United States will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the United States by Antigua and Barbuda's air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, the DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Antigua and Barbuda customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Antigua and Barbuda of items such as firearms, agricultural products, and unprescribed drugs. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda in Washington, D.C. or one of Antigua and Barbuda's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Antigua and Barbuda laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Antigua and Barbuda are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Like all Caribbean countries, Antigua can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from 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) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting Antigua and Barbuda are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados. Travelers may contact the Embassy to obtain updated information on travel and security within Antigua and Barbuda. The Embassy is located in the Canadian Imperial Band and Commerce (CIBC) Building on Broad Street, telephone (246) 436-4950, web site http://www.usembassy.state.gov/posts/bb1/wwwhemb1.html. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone (246)431-0225 or fax (246)431-0179, web site http://www.usembassy.state.gov/posts/bb1/wwwhcons.html. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, except local and U.S. holidays.
U.S. citizens may also register with the U.S. Consular Agent in Antigua, whose address is Bluff House, Pigeon Point, English Harbour, telephone (268)463-6531, fax (268)460-1569, or e-mail ryderj@candw.ag. The Consular Agent's hours of operations are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except local and U.S. holidays (please call for an appointment).
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 14, 1999 to update sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Oversight, Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations, and to add sections on Customs Regulations and Disaster Preparedness.