The last decade has shown a significant increase in the expat population of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. This is attributed mainly to the easy Antigua citizenship program, which processes applications and grants in just a few months. Likewise, Antigua and Barbuda has proven to be an ideal corner of the Caribbean region for everything from launching startups to tax benefits and healthier living. One can’t overlook the power of an Antiguan passport as well, which enables its holders to enjoy visa-free access to over 140 countries.
However, as with any relocation, moving to Antigua and Barbuda presents a few challenges, especially if you intend to relocate here permanently, and you are coming from a greatly different cultural background, or even a different climate. Therefore, to make this important life transition a much easier one, it’s imperative to organize and prepare meticulously.
Rounded up below are some of the best pieces of advice you can use for relocating to Antigua and Barbuda.
1. Hire a reputable overseas moving company to help you transport your belongings.
Although Antigua and Barbuda can be considered one of the most progressive nations in the West Indies, it may still prove challenging to acquire appliances and equipment here. Therefore, you may want to bring along your high-tech appliances and your beloved furniture that perfectly suit your style and comfort requirements.
For this, you will require the services of a highly experienced moving company that has an established system for overseas operations. With professional assistance, you can be sure that your belongings will be kept in good condition as they travel long distances to get to your new home, and that they will arrive at Antigua right when you need them to.
2. Work with international relocation services.
Relocating services are more focused on the actual individuals relocating to a different country. Their services extend beyond processing the complex and stringent paperwork requirements for relocation. They also consider the cultural differences that clients are likely to struggle with and their assimilation into the country.
In many instances, international relocation services also create programs for their clients to get settled into their community better. This is quite helpful, especially for families with young children who may feel a bit homesick.
3. Learn skills for self-sufficiency.
Island culture, such as can be experienced in Antigua and Barbuda, is incredibly laid-back. As such, there’s usually a long waiting game when procuring different vital services such as home air conditioning and plumbing repairs.
If you are coming from a country where services are always delivered with customers’ complete convenience in mind, it can be quite frustrating not to get what you need, when you need it, in Antigua. The best solution to this is to develop self-sufficiency. Learn some crucial skills and, for sure, they will serve you well when you move to Antigua.
Some of the best self-sufficiency skills to learn before moving to Antigua include performing mechanical repairs, carpentry, pest control, and even cooking and baking. Take classes if you must. Culinary classes, for instance, will enable you to whip up your favorite local and international dishes at home that local restaurants do not offer.
4. Identify ways to adjust to life in a country where it’s sunny for most of the year.
It’s sunny about 90 percent of the year in Antigua and Barbuda. In addition to this, it can get incredibly humid as well. People from colder climates may find a warm and humid environment a bit of a shock. For example, many foreigners who have moved to the country say that getting heat rash or prickly heat is common, especially during the summer.
You may deal with the same issues when you settle into island life, so before moving, make sure to consult a health professional to learn about the healthiest strategies to manage living in a new climate. For the prickly heat, for instance, many expats recommend using cooling powder, wearing 100 percent cotton clothing, and even taking vitamin B complex so as not to attract mosquitoes, sand mites, and other pesky biters.
5. Invest in a high-performing HVAC system.
Humidity and rising temperatures can bring considerable physical discomfort. Therefore, a high-performing HVAC system for your home is certainly worth investing in. It’s always a good thing to have a home that will provide relief from the outdoors’ sweltering heat.
6. Study the local culture and laws.
Take it upon yourself to learn as much as you can about the local culture and laws of Antigua and Barbuda, even if you have relocation services helping you become familiar with them. You will assimilate more quickly if you are knowledgeable of traditions, standard practices, as well as the local lingo. Additionally, this will boost your ability to establish social connections much faster.
The Internet is a fantastic source of information about the Antiguan lifestyle and culture. Check out expat blogs and articles because these typically offer experiences and valuable lessons that you can use to adjust well to your new life in this country.
7. Create a list of the services you need when living in Antigua.
It’s crucial to identify the services you need to lay a good foundation for the life you will be building in the country. These include police hotlines, schools for the children (if you have school-age kids), AC repair, housekeeping services, doctors, dentists, and others.
For special services, find recommendations online. There are forums you can join and blog sites you can post inquiries at to help find good service providers.
8. Leave your contact information with family and friends before departing for Antigua and Barbuda.
Do reach out to your friends and family before your departure. Share all your contact details so they can reach you so that you can all continue to communicate easily with each other. It’s nice to keep communication lines open even if you already live in a different country.
9. Don’t forget to procure all your essential documents.
Make sure to bring all your IDs, students’ records (for the children), marriage license, contracts, the children’s birth certificates, property documents, and other vital paperwork. You will likely need all of these when you decide to purchase land, launch a business, send the children to school, and open a bank account.
There’s nothing like thorough preparation to launch you right in your new life. With the helpful advice shared above, you can have a more seamless transition to life in Antigua and Barbuda.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship, residency and investment into the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.