Belize has very liberal visa and residency requirements, but it is always good to review them the 1st time you come into Belize. All visitors are required to show a valid passport, usually with at least six months remaining before it expires, sufficient funds to support themselves during their time in the country, and in some cases proof of a return ticket.
Eligible individuals can stay up to one month in Belize on the so-called “tourist visa.” For individuals wanting to prolong their stay, they need to visit the Immigration Department in Belize City, Belmopan, or their local district in order to extend their visa. This needs to be done before the expiration date, failure to do so can result in having to leave the country. If it falls on a weekend go in on Friday, or if it falls on a holiday, go in the day before.
Residency and Citizenship in Belize
Most expats wishing to live in Belize need to apply for a permanent residency status. This will allow you to get a local driver’s license and freely travel to and from the country. Permanent residence status is only granted to individuals living in Belize for at least one year with no more than 14 calendar days in that year out of the country of Belize. Expats seeking to become permanent residents should enter the country on a normal 30-day visa and successfully extend their visa until a year has elapsed. They are allowing you to apply after you have 11 months of Stamps in you passport.
Foreigners from the United States or Canada are required to pay a one-time fee of $1,000 to acquire permanent residency. Citizens of other countries must pay a similar fee which differs based on their country of origin.
To apply for permanent residency, download the application from here and submit it to the Immigration Department along with your police record, medical records, recent bank statements, and two passport photographs. The back of the photographs must be signed by you and countersigned by a Justice of the Peace in Belize.
In order to become a citizen of Belize, first you must acquire permanent residency status and then prove that you have legally resided in the country for at least five years. Any legal resident of Belize, regardless of their country of origin, can apply for citizenship which can then also be extended to their spouse and minor children.
For more information about visas, residency requirements, and citizenship, contact the Immigration and Nationality Department in Belize or the Belize Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
The Qualified Retired Persons Program(me)
Belize has a special residency program called the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program specifically designed for expats. Eligible individuals must be at least 45 years old and can demonstrate that they are receiving a minimum of $2,000 a month from a pension or annuity (including Social Security) from a source outside of Belize. If you are married you both would apply for the QRP. This cannot be used for one spouse.
Contact Cerros Sands today for more information on how to live and retire in Belize.