The Caribbean is home to a country that has gained popularity for its natural beauty and straightforward citizenship by investment program: Antigua and Barbuda.
Situated 39 miles apart, these two islands are nestled at the bosom of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with numerous daily direct international flights and a brand new airport making it a great place for travelers to settle into. And, with its visa-free travel benefit for its citizens, this Caribbean nation offers dual citizenship for foreigners who are looking to enjoy a tropical lifestyle while feeding their wanderlust.
If you’re among those who are lucky enough to become economic citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, you might also need to learn about how to make the most of your new island home. To help you out, here are five important things you must do as an expat about to live life in Antigua and Barbuda:
1. Learn the Language
As home to 100,000 English-speaking natives, Antigua and Barbuda has proven to be the best country to get a second passport from for many British, Americans, Canadians, and other foreigners who speak the language.
However, you might notice that some natives speak a variant of the language that seems much quicker, and with an accent that you haven’t heard before. That’s because residents use a broken English dialect called Antiguan Creole English.
As part of the rich culture of the country, Creole English is one of the most important things you need to learn when you move to Antigua. This dialect is composed of English words that are arranged in colorful phrases and spoken in an unusual accent which you can learn only after speaking to the natives themselves.
Here’s a tip: Start by learning how the island’s name is pronounced. Rather than saying Anti-gwa or Anti-guah, say “Anti-ga.”
2. Know Your Currencies
Citizenship by investment programs in Antigua don’t require an applicant to live in the country before getting their second passport or indeed afterwards, so it isn’t surprising if you get confused with the currency situation in the country. Unlike other nations, Antigua and Barbuda use both American dollars (USD) and East Caribbean dollars (XCD).
Although the US dollar is widely used in the country, local markets, gasoline stations, and restaurants outside hotels use XCD so while they will accept USD, they will give you your change in XCD. Luckily, the USD is pegged to the XCD at 1 = 2.7 XCD, so it’s pretty easy to switch between the two. Most shops only use “$” to indicate the prices. So you might have to ask which dollar it stands for to accurately compute the amount you need to pay.
3. Don’t Do the Move By Yourself
While not all economic citizens in Antigua and Barbuda actually decide to live there long-term, the lure of the pristine beaches and private island life can be strong. That said, you might want to consider hiring international movers if you decide to relocate to this part of the Caribbean paradise.
One of the top benefits of getting professionals to help in your relocation is the ensured safety and secure handling of your belongings. They can also make your move more cost-efficient and, ultimately, reduce the time and money you spend on the move especially when it comes to navigating the difficult and confusing customs and port duties, and the procedures for importing belongings to Antigua.
4. Prepare for the Climate
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda enjoy abundant amounts of sunshine because of the tropical climate. The heat can be much more intense compared to other places in the world, so make sure you prepare the right kinds of clothes and a sufficient supply of sunscreen. Having a collection of hats and sunglasses will also work to your advantage.
5. Stock Your Fridge
City life is quite different from living on an island. If you’re used to buying only what you need, when you need it, you might want to start stockpiling once you start living in Antigua and Barbuda.
While there are large supermarkets that supply groceries in the country, there’s no guarantee that everything you need will be available the moment you need them. Stocking up will also help you manage your budget and supplies more efficiently.
Living as an Expat
Life as an expat requires a significant adjustment from what you’re used to, no matter where you’re from and what country you’re moving to. Knowledge is your greatest asset, and this article can serve as a valuable guide when relocating and starting a new 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 investment into the Caribbean. 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.