Antigua and Barbuda are two islands that make up one country – known as the most beautiful nation in the world. Antigua is located just southeast of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, between St. Kitts and Guadeloupe. It attracts high-earning expats for a life of luxury, which can be perfect for those looking to retire somewhere exotic.
Cost of Living
Antigua and Barbuda uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC $), which equates to $0.37 USD. While you may feel that this exchange rate could work in your favor, don’t be surprised to find that Antigua isn’t what many would call “a cheap place to live.” While the country is sparsely populated, it is a popular tourist destination, and thanks to its beauty and untouched beaches, demand can be high to live there.
Renting can cost around $1,000 USD per month for a one-bedroom apartment in an expensive area and $700 USD for a one-bedroom apartment in a less expensive area. Utilities are likely to be close to what you’d already pay in the United States or somewhere similar, at around $150 USD/month. Public transportation can also become pricey, if you are relying on taxis.
While prices do range a bit higher than they would in some other overseas retirement destination options, there are ways around this. Many choose to bike around the islands, for example, rather than rely on public transportation. Another popular way of reducing living costs in Antigua and Barbuda is to buy local grocery items rather than imported ones. This rule can apply to most any island country in which you choose to visit or live.
Retiring to Antigua and Barbuda
There aren’t any special incentives or programs for those who wish to retire to this country. Rather than offering programs of this type, Antigua offers citizenship by investment programs that offer attractive tax incentives to those looking for residency. Due of the lack of retirement program options, expats usually choose this location because they are looking for a beautiful Caribbean destination with a low crime rate, high quality of life, and excellent beaches and weather. The country of Antigua and Barbuda boasts some of the lowest crime rates in all of the Caribbean.
Antigua is the perfect retirement destination for those who are looking to lead more of an outdoor life. It’s full of opportunity for retirees who wish to spend their days enjoying water sports, sailing, or relaxing on a yacht. It’s also easy to reach from airports in the United States, Canada, and much of Europe. If your retirement plan includes a great deal of hiking, sailing, and exploring, you’ll understand all of Antigua’s appeal. It’s known as the “Land of 365 Beaches,” and most of those are untouched by development.
To top it all off, Antigua has a warm, dry climate. The average temperature is 81 degrees Fahrenheit in December and 86 in July. It doesn’t get any more perfect for days spent on the beach, on the water, or snorkeling and scuba diving.
If you do wish to become a permanent resident in this country, you will be required to obtain a long-term residency permit with proof of an independent means of income. Those who did not work and live for several years in Antigua before retirement cannot draw a pension from the country. They’ll have to draw it from their home country, so make sure those specifications are worked out before relocating.
Documents required to gain permanent residency status are as follows:
- Receipt proving payment of application fees
- A police certificate proving a record clear of criminal history
- Health certificate proving good health
- Receipt of taxes paid to Statutory Board
- Copy of bio page from current passport
- Birth and/or marriage certificate
Sometimes the Chief Immigration Officer may ask for extra documentation when making a decision to grant permanent residency. Be prepared to provide this ahead of time by checking with the Embassy before relocating.
If you’d rather stick with temporary residency, you are able to stay up to six months as a visitor. In this case, you’ll need to get an entry visa upon entering the country and have proof of purchase for a return ticket, confirmed accommodations, and sufficient funds to sustain you during such a stay.
Overall, Antigua is a great retirement location for those who don’t mind spending a little extra for a more luxurious beach life. The country’s capital city of St. John’s offers a wealth of shopping for an upscale market, and the rest of what you’ll find will include activities such as hiking, bicycling, snorkeling, sailing, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, and bird watching. That’s all in addition to a prominent expat population where you are sure to meet many like-minded individuals.
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