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By No owner — last modified Jun 20, 2018 10:59 AM

 Antigua & Barbuda - Formalities


For a full explanation of eSeaClear's service and other web clearance services in the Caribbean see report Eastern Caribbean Cruising: Clearance Procedures Simplified

eSeaClear for pre-arrival Customs notification

Antigua & Barbuda is currently the only country using the eSeaClear system for pre-arrival customs notification. This service allows the Captain to submit electronic notification to Antigua Customs Officers, which aims to speed up the process of clearing into the country by around 75%. In actual fact, cruisers have reported that, as well as entering information electronically, forms are then printed, need to be signed and then processed by each department. The process is still cumbersome.

The eSeaClear website can be found at - please remember the Captain of the boat will still need to clear into Antigua in person at the Customs, Immigration and Parks Offices before proceeding to the marina or fuel dock. eSeaClear have offices now in English Harbour.

NOTE: There are certain clearance procedures common to all ports for vessels clearing into any port in Antigua (note: it's not possible as of May 2013 to clear into Barbuda). Jolly Harbour requires all yachts additionally visit the Customs Dock, except those constrained by draught, and no yacht may enter the harbour after 18:00.

Inward Clearance:

  1. The Q flag must be flown and all crew must remain on board until clearance is completed by the skipper.
  2. Only the Captain may go ashore to clear Customs and Immigration with ship's all papers, passports, clearance certificate (zarpe) from last port, as well as airline tickets for any crew disembarking in Antigua. A download of the official crew list form is available here. This list must be signed by the captain prior to entry. Have 3 or 4 copies of it.
  3. If a vessel arrives after hours, the captain must ensure that no crew goes ashore until clearance has been completed at the first opportunity (i.e., immediately the next morning).
  4. Crew leaving a boat by plane must have a valid airline ticket to a country that will accept them without question (no chance of being refused entry). This ticket must be presented to the Immigration official at the time of arrival to Antigua.
  5. Captains wishing to exchange crew members with another vessel must do so in the presence of an immigration official.

Note: Heavy fines have been levied of late, in both Jolly Harbour and English Harbour ($5,000 EC), against yachts whose crew leave the boat before Customs clearance, or against Captains who send crew to complete clearance.

Outward Clearance:

Port fees must be paid before collecting the port clearance certificate. This must be presented to the immigration official, together with the ship's papers and passports. Vessels must leave within 24 hours after completing clearance procedures.

Clearance in Barbuda:

Following the devastation of Barbuda during Hurricane Irma there are currently no functioning facilities in Barbuda. It is not possible to clear in or out of the country in Barbuda (despite what officials on Antigua may tell you). If you wish to visit, first clear out of Antigua and then visit Barbuda on the way north (but must leave within 24 hours).

Last updated March 2018.

The Comptroller of Customs
Customs Department , Church & Thames Streets , St. John's, Antigua
Tel:(809) 462-0829, (809) 462-1241, (809) 462-2400 Fax:(809) 462-2767


All visitors require a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond their departure date.

No visas are required by nationals of most European countries, USA, many South American, Caribbean, or Commonwealth countries (except nationals of Bangladesh, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka who do require a visa).

For an up to date list of which citizens who do require a visa see

On arrival, Immigration will issue a visa for the duration of one's stay (maximum of 6 months). It is advisable to request more than the intended time, as extensions must be obtained from the capital of St John's and can cost as much as US$100.

If crew leave the boat in Antigua, they must have a valid airline ticket out of the country; it is the captain's responsibility to provide this ticket for all persons leaving and to ensure that they sign off the ship's crew with immigration. Crew arriving to join a yacht by air must show to Immigration on arrival, a copy of a letter signed by the captain, together with a copy of the ship's papers. Immigration must be notified of any crew departures or changes.

Last updated March 2017.

For Visa Applications:-
Apply to Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda
Opening hours: 10am-3pm (Mon-Fri)


Fire arms must be declared and if Customs officers are satisfied that they are safely secured, you may be allowed to keep them on board.

There is a zero tolerance of illegal drugs and the penalties are very severe.

The importation and wearing of camouflage clothing is prohibited in Antigua and Barbuda.

Do not unload any ship’s stores or equipment.

There is a range of fruits (in particular citrus and coconut) which may be prohibited.

See for full Customs information.

Items for a yacht-in-transit arriving on island by courier will be delivered directly to the Bonded Warehouse at the Customs Office in Falmouth/English Harbour. The Captain will need to visit the warehouse with their Ship’s papers and open the packages. In instances where there is a dutiable item, the Customs Officer will collect duty using the simplified form currently in use at the General Post Office.

Other packages will be delivered to the Post Office in St John's where they can be collected after clearance by a visiting Customs agent. If, unusually, the agent is not present collecting the package will require several journeys between the Post Office and Customs before finally taking delivery.

Last updated March 2017.

Customs Office
Lower Church and Thames Street, St Johns, Antigua
Tel:1-268-462-0026 / (268) 462-0028 / (268) 562-1575 Fax:1-268-562-2767


Mount St. John's Medical Center is Antigua and Barbuda's main medical-care facility, replacing Holberton Hospital. See comments from cruisers at the bottom of the page about the level of medical care here and the cost.

Note that the private medical clinic, Adelin, will not accept medical travel insurance in payment for treatment. Patients must pay a deposit of US$4000 via a credit card before ANY treatment will be given. If funds deposited exceed the cost of treatment, a refund will be issued. Check your insurance company is willing to reimburse the cost of treatment at Adelin.

The dengue fever mosquito is found throughout Antigua and Barbuda and there have been alerts for the Zika virus. You should take normal precautions against mosquito bites.

There is a high prevalence of the HIV/AIDS virus on the island. Take precautions to avoid exposure to it.

There are no hyperbaric chamber available on island. Divers in need of treatment for decompression illness may be transferred to Saba or Guadeloupe.

Pharmacies: There are currently none in the English and Falmouth Harbour areas. St John's has a large number, including 
the Ceco Pharmacy on the High Street which is open 7 days a week from 08:15 to midnight.

Last updated May 2018.


To expedite the clearance procedures, the Customs Department suggests using the eSeaClear process.

Vessels will need the following documents to clear in:
• Clearance from previous port
• Vessel documentation or registration
• Five copies of the crew/passenger list

All boats in Antiguan waters must have a valid cruising permit, which should be obtained on entry and enables you to go anywhere in Antiguan waters, including Barbuda. In nearly all cases, yachts must clear into Antigua first because cruising permits are not available in Barbuda.

The permit is still valid if the yacht leaves Antigua and returns within the period of the permit.

If intending to charter, one must apply for an official licence from the Chief Marine Surveyor/Examiner in St John's Harbour. Tel. +1 268 462-1273.


Port entry and Cruising Permit: US$16.

One can buy an annual cruising permit to avoid paying the charge at every entry.

Cruising tax: 
21- 40 feet US$8.00
41- 80 feet US$10.00

Also a clearance fee:
US$2.60 per person.

Yacht clearance fee:
21-40 feet US$4.00
41-80 feet US$6.00

Departure fee: US$25

Mooring fees in English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour are less for anchoring than for at the dock and are calculated per foot per day, week or month. If the fees are not paid in advance the daily rate is charged.

National Parks Authority fees are payable at Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua Slipways, Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Falmouth Harbour Marina and Catamaran Marina.

Dockyard entry is EC$5 per person, valid for duration of stay.

No overtime fees, except at St John's, where they are about EC$20

Last updated January 2018.


Spearfishing is illegal in Antigua and Barbuda waters by non Antigua nationals. The coastline between Pillars of Hercules and entrance to Mamora Bay is protected and no fishing of any type is allowed in this area.

VHF Channel 68 is used as the calling frequency by all coastal stations, including repair companies, taxis and restaurants, so use of this channel as a working frequency is not permitted in Antiguan waters. It is strongly advised that an alternative channel is used as soon as contact is made on Channel 68.

The Coastguard stand by on VHF Channel 68 and 16. A boat can be searched either on entry into port from foreign waters or with a signed search warrant from a magistrates court.

You should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

Barbuda - Blue Halo Project

Legislation is in place now for the protection of the fishery and ecosystem of Barbuda. This means restrictions on anchoring, fishing, diving etc. See this noonsite report for details.

Wider Caribbean's Marine Protected Areas (CaMPAM)
A useful database of MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region. All Marine Parks are MPAs, and therefore if wanting to find out about any marine parks in the islands you are visiting, details and location can be sourced via this website.


Pets must be microchipped and blood tested for rabies at an approved laboratory. An official Health certificate issued between 7 to 10 days before arrival must be produced.

An Import Permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer before arrival.

Once the permit is obtained in advance, inform the vet 72 hours before arrival (by email). On arrival, go ashore without your pet and clear in, informing the customs authorities how many animals you have on board. They will call the vet and make an appointment, who will come to the customs office, normally within 24 hours. They will inspect the animal/s and clear it/them in.

There is a US$50 fee for this service.

On departure, if the next island to be visited requires a health certificate (not the case if you are going to Guadeloupe, for example), then call the vet directly a few days in advance and make an appointment. They will come to the same customs office and inspect your pet and issue a health certificate.

The fee is US$50 per animal.

Last updated May 2016.

Veninary & Livestock Division
P.O. Box 1282 , Frias Hill Road, St John's , Antigua
Tel:(268)-460-1759 Fax:(268)460-1759 / 462-610
Apply here for an import certificate.
FrancisV says:
Jun 30, 2018 08:49 AM

We finally got reimbursed for the excess amount, thus the ripoff part is solved now

FrancisV says:
Jun 14, 2018 09:48 AM

Beware: Medical care in St. Johns Antigua
My partner had a small incident on board our ship. Due to the lid of the anchor locker falling on her big toe, the nail was cut off and the wound was bleeding a lot. We went to St. Johns hospital and were asked to pay 960 USD right away. after 5 hours waiting the wound was finally disinfected and bandaged. We received a second bill of 420 USD for x-rays we never had. After complaining the hospital rectified the bill and we would have a refund of 500 USD. At present we are still awaiting the refund. Another dutch boat had a similar experience. So beware: it's a ripoff for at best average medical treatment. Taking into account the waiting of 5 hours, it seems a better plan to sail back to Guadeloupe to have proper medical treatment at correct price.

sv Garulfo
sv Garulfo says:
May 15, 2018 04:12 PM

Cleared out in St John's in May'18. You need to first go to port authority in the main harbour to obtain a document then back to Customs & Immigration next to Redcliffe Quay. EseaClear not available so all paperbased. Friendly staff but lengthy process. If you can, clear out in English or Jolly Harbour.

Eve & Tom
Eve & Tom says:
Apr 04, 2018 12:15 AM

We've visited Antigua and Barbuda in March 2017. After clearing in at Nelsons Dockyard we immediately asked about clearing out in Barbuda, which they said to be possible. It wasn't, so we had to sail back to Antigua again. I would suggest you check out on Antigua before leaving for Barbuda if you're on your way north. Don't skip Barbuda though, its amazing even post-hurricane. We anchored at Spanish Point, the charts seemed to be accurate everywhere. It is deserted on land, donkeys and wild horses have taken over the destroyed resort. Take enough provisions.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 04, 2018 05:46 PM

Antigua Barbuda SAR has lots of donations for Dominica at Falmouth Harbour. Boats who can carry cargo early January 2018 contact [email protected]

Advenguregang says:
Dec 18, 2017 08:13 PM

Please be aware that if you have children on board, the authorities are now invoking a passenger exit fee of $75EC per child under the age of 15. This is ridiculous since a fully crewed vessel pays only exit fees of $70EC but for us (family of 5 with 3 children) it was redicously expensive @ $295EC. Our visit to Antigua was seriously soured by the exit.

prj says:
Nov 27, 2017 05:35 PM

This is the SV Aftica, currently anchored at Low Bay, Barbuda. There are no restrictions. There has been some sand shifting but we had 10-12ft of water east of 9ft Bank. There are two breaches in beach between Low Bay and the Lagoon - use the north one (just south of LightHouse Bay Hotel) to dinghy into Codrigton - the ferry (Barbuda Express) and fishing boats are using it. DO NOT USE THE SOUTH BREACH.

Pclubbe says:
Nov 12, 2017 10:53 AM

We are returning to Antigua in December. Many times we have visited Barbuda , this year with the devestation caused I was considering guving it a miss . Is anyone aware of restrictions sailing there , as may just do a quick 30 mile trip and moor overnight without landing at Coco point. Was also concerned over the approach with shifting sands?

rochero says:
Jun 09, 2016 10:18 PM

Anchoring in Antigua: Non such Bay (green Island) is one of the most beautiful anchorage in the area: Easy entrance by the south, excellent protection from the swell and a lot of room for everyone. Going out through the north channel is quite easy as the channel is well defined. However, we have been disappointed by the north sound: The most beautiful beach on Long island (Jumby bay) is 100% private and used by a huge resort and private villas. We got evicted from the beach by a security guard...too bad for the kids. Great bird island is OK but some guides talk about amazing snorkelling. We have been disappointed.

rochero says:
Jun 09, 2016 10:13 PM

Clearance is easy but bureaucratic in English HArbour. However, if you plan to clear out in Barbuda, be armed with patience as you have to visit several places, most of the time closed at the open hours ! However, BArbuda is a paradise: Cocoa Point is nice and protected. Low Bay is gorgeous, as long as the swell does not come in. Don't miss the visit to the fregate birds sanctuary with a local guide. You will learn a lot about the island and the local culture. Locals are very proud of their island and they deserve to be respected: It is forbidden to go by yourself with the dinghy to the sanctuary and we witnessed french cruisers going there by themselves and making fun of local guides. What a shame.

Max Terragni
Max Terragni says:
Feb 07, 2016 09:11 PM

Just cleared in English Harbour. 7th February 2016
We are moored in Falmouth, we went ashore with our dinghy and 10 minutes walk we found English Harbour
The custom and immigration office is open Monday to Sunday 8am to 4:45pm.
I suggest to arrive with the eSeaClear form completed already, otherwise there are computers available in the office.
I completed the entire process, custom, immigration and port authority for the cruising permit in less then 30 minutes.
Officers were friendly.

Solcina79 says:
Jan 30, 2016 09:54 PM

The two best places to anchor in Antigua are Falmouth and Jolly Harbour. The last one is beautiful and the water is turquoise and is very good shelter. The east coast is more dangerous because of the stronger winds and surf and the reefs, but Non-Such Bay is worth it.
Barbuda is Paradise and you must anchor at Cocoat Point and enjoy its incredible beach.
Antigua is the base of the huge yachts and is very busy and lively because of the younger crews.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 28, 2014 03:36 PM

Posted on behalf of Erik Roll, SY Senseless (USA):
Just cleared in at Jolly Harbour on 12/20/2014. Process took 3 hours.
3 offices, Customs, Immigration and Port Authority. Official opening hour was 8 am, but only Immigration was there on time. Port Authority was 1 and 1/2 hour late and left after 15 minutes to go for breakfast.
You need to enter all data including crew list into eSeaClear system. Then they print the information out on forms which are signed and manually processed by each department. The officials are friendly and cooperative, but the system is inefficient. Smile you are on Island time.

David Southwell
David Southwell says:
Mar 02, 2014 01:01 PM

Be very careful of customs in English Harbor. One of the Caribbean 600 competitor owners made the mistake of sending his crew to customs and went to the airport- he was fined $5,000 EC for this minor infraction, and made to pay it in cash before the boat was cleared. This has happened to others (see the Jolly Harbor entry in the Cruising Guide). The US consular representative has become involved and described this as extortion. For US cruisers, the consular representative is helpful.

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