Q: Who is a bona fide visitor?
A: A bona fide visitor refers to any non-citizen who enters or remains in Antigua and Barbuda, who has not been issued a resident permit by the Immigration Department.
Q: I am a bona fide visitor and I want to extend my stay, how do I go about this?
A: Bona fide visitors who are admitted at any lawful Port of Entry, must apply for an extension of their entry permit at least one week prior to the expiration of the permit issued at the port of entry. No person who is not a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda has an unqualified right to be granted an extension of their stay in Antigua and Barbuda.
Q: As a bona fide visitor, how long can I extend my lawful stay in Antigua and Barbuda?
A: Under the provisions of the Immigration and Passport Act 2014 the maximum period for an extension of stay for any bona fide visitor is a maximum of ninety days (90).
Q: As a work permit holder, does my immigration status change?
A: No. The holder of a work permit is a bona fide visitor who has been granted a permit to work by the Labour Department.
Q: What are the requirements for me to extend my entry permit?
A: The ordinary requirements for an extension of stay for an adult visitor are:
1. Valid passport which expires at least six months from the date of the application for the permit.
2. A completed extension form which is available online.
3. A completed Sponsorship Form
4. A Valid Return Ticket to your country of residence or citizenship.
5. Proof of valid medical insurance coverage.
6. A Custody Order (Children)
Q: May I send a representative on my behalf to request my an extension of my permit?
A: No. All applicants for a lawful extension of stay must apply in person which includes children (persons who have not attained the age of eighteen years) who must be accompanied by their lawful parents or guardians.
Q: What is my legal status if I am granted an extension of stay?
A: The Immigration and Passport Act 2014 establishes three categories of persons lawfully in Antigua and Barbuda;
1. bona fide visitor (holder of entry permit, extensions of entry permits and holders of work permits).
2. resident (holder of resident permit).
Q: What happens if I am refused an extension of my stay in Antigua and Barbuda?
A: There are a number of situations which may exist if a person is refused an extension of their stay in Antigua and Barbuda which includes, but is not limited to;
1. A bona fide visitor who has their first time application for an extension of their stay refused must depart the state on next available flight or may face prosecution for being an illegal immigrant.
2. A bona fide visitor who has been refused an extension of stay, who had previously been granted an extension of stay, has a qualified right of appeal to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal.
3. A resident permit holder who has been refused a new residence permit shall have a qualified right to file an appeal with the Immigration Appeals Tribunal.
4. In all cases, all persons denied an extension of stay for whatever reason may file an appeal against the decision in a Court of competent jurisdiction in Antigua and Barbuda.
Q: Can I work on an entry visa/permit or an extension of stay?
A: Ordinarily NO. All non-citizens are generally required to have a work permit to be able to work lawfully in Antigua and Barbuda. Section F of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code outlines the categories of persons who can work without the need to acquire a work permit.
Q: I have obtained a work permit certificate from the Labour Department that allows me to work in Antigua and Barbuda, do I still need to come into the Immigration Department?
A: Yes. The official identification document for all non-citizens who are bona fide visitors is their passport and this is the document that will be checked by the Labour Department during their visits to work places. The Immigration Department shall endorse a permit in the passport where the applicant is qualified for such a permit.
Q: I am a holder of a work permit, can I bring my children or spouse to Antigua and Barbuda to live with me?
A: Ordinarily No. The bona fide visitor status does not grant such persons a right of residence/abode and therefore such persons would not be ordinarily permitted to bring their children to live with them in Antigua and Barbuda. However some categories of persons will be permitted to bring their children to live with them, having first made an application and had it approved by the Office of the Chief Immigration Officer.
Q: Do I still need an extension of time since I am married to a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda?
A: The Immigration and Passport Act 2014 declares one category of bona fide visitor, even where the visitor is married to a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. However persons who are citizens of the OECS Protocol States and those who are spouses of CARICOM Skilled Certificate holder and other special categories may be exempt from the requirement of gaining an extension of their stay.
Q: Do I still need an extension of time while employed by the Government/State of Antigua and Barbuda?
A: Ordinarily YES. However persons who are citizens of OECS Protocol States and Skilled Certificate Holders and spouses of Skilled Certificate holders may be exempted from this requirement. All such persons must report to the Immigration Department to apply for the exemption.
Q: If I have a work permit, do I automatically qualify for an extension of stay?
A: No. A bona fide visitor has no legal right of abode and therefore has no legal right to an extension of their stay. A work permit is granted by the Labour Department while an extension of stay is granted by the Immigration Department both of which are bound by different legislation which creates different requirements for each permit.
Q: Can my entry permit or extension permit be cancelled?
A: YES. Any permit issued by the Immigration Department may be cancelled for a number of reasons including but not limited to the holder breaching any of the laws of Antigua and Barbuda or the sponsor of the visitor withdraws their sponsorship.
Q: Does having a work permit mean that I am a resident of Antigua and Barbuda?
A: NO. A work permit means that the holder is a bona fide visitor with conditional permission to work in Antigua and Barbuda.
Q: Who is a sponsor?
A: A sponsor is any person who is a citizen or resident of Antigua and Barbuda who accepts a legal and financial responsibility for any bona fide visitor to Antigua and Barbuda in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration and Passport Act 2014.
Q: What qualifies a person to be a sponsor?
A: All persons seeking to be a qualified sponsor must be either a citizen or resident permit holder who can establish to the satisfaction of the Immigration Department that they will be able to financially maintain a bona fide visitor for a specified period and shall ensure that the visitor departs the state at the end of their lawful permitted stay.
Q: How many persons can I sponsor?
A: Ordinarily an individual or household shall only be able to sponsor one bona fide visitor. However where the income of the sponsor makes it possible, the sponsor may be permitted to sponsor up to two charges in the State at any one time.
Q: Do I have to live with my sponsor?
A: YES. All bona fide visitors who require a sponsor must live with their lawful sponsors; an unreported change in address may result in the cancellation of the permit granted to the visitor.
Q: When do I need a sponsor?
A: Pursuant to the Immigration and Passport Act 2014, the Immigration Department may require any bona fide visitor to have a sponsor. All bona fide visitors seeking to enter Antigua and Barbuda from any country whose citizens require a visa to enter Antigua and Barbuda must, in any and all cases, have a sponsor before arriving in the State except those exempted as businesspersons or medical emergencies.
Q: Can I change my sponsor?
A: No. As a bona fide visitor without a right of abode, such a person will be required to leave Antigua and Barbuda and may seek to return at a later date.
Q: What happens if my sponsor withdraws their support or cannot be found?
A: A bona fide visitor who was required to have a sponsor as a requirement for entry or an extension of that permit shall be required in any and all cases to leave the state and may seek to return at a later date.
Q: How does a sponsor withdraw their support?
A: A sponsor who desires to withdraw their sponsorship must make a formal report to the Immigration Department’s Enforcement Unit stating that they formally withdraw their sponsorship from the named individual. The sponsor shall not be required to provide the Immigration Department with a reason for their choice to withdraw their sponsorship. The sponsor may be required to locate their charge or aid the Enforcement Division in finding the charge before their legal responsibility and liability is removed.
Q: Do I need a Sponsor to obtain an extension of stay?
A: All bona fide visitors who are not holders of work permits shall be required, in any and all cases, to have a sponsor when applying for a lawful extension of their stay.
Q: Do I require a valid ticket every time I apply for an extension of stay?
A: YES. A bona fide visitor including first time work permit holders and persons having work permits processed by the Labour Department, must present a valid ticket to their country of residence or citizenship when seeking an extension of their stay.
Q: If I am the spouse of a CARICOM Skills Certificate holder and my spouse, the certificate holder, leaves Antigua and Barbuda to reside in another country, can I remain and work on my indefinite stay stamp?
A: NO. The status of the spouse of a Skills Certificate holder is determined and maintained by the holder residing in Antigua and Barbuda. Where the permit holder leaves the State, the spouse must report to the Immigration Department to have their status changed.