Belize - immigration
There are four options for those wishing to retire in Belize or to spend extended periods of time in the country. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The four options include a Visitor Permit, Qualified Retired Persons Status, Permanent Residence and Work Permit that can lead to Belizean Citizenship.
This is the easiest, cheapest way to live in the country for a while, and it requires no long-term commitment. On entry, you get a free visitor permit good for up to 30 days. This permit can be renewed for up to three months at US$25 a month, and then for up to nine more months at US$50 a month. If you are staying in Belize for more than three months, you are supposed to have an AIDS test (performed in Belize).
To renew your tourist card, youТll need to visit a government immigration office in Belize City or Belmopan, or a police station in a district town. You are expected to show that you have sufficient resources to maintain yourself in Belize, at least US$60 a day, but this requirement is rarely enforced as long as you look respectable. If you fail to renew your permit in a timely way, or if you overstay your allotted time, technically you could be in violation of Belizean law and can be deported. At the very least, you will subject to questioning by an official and a possible fine.
The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act, passed by the Belize legislature in 1999 and implemented in 2000, is applied by the Belize Tourist Board. The program is designed to attract more retirees to Belize. Interest in the program appears to be fairly high; but, because of the income requirement, inability to work for pay in Belize and other factors, the actual number of retirees under the program in Belize is, as yet, relatively small.
For those who can show the required monthly income from investments or pensions, this program offers benefits of official residency and tax-free entry of the retireeТs household goods and a car, boat and even an airplane. This program also eliminates some of the bureaucratic delays built into other programs. The Belize Tourist Board guarantees action on an application in no more than three months, but we have heard of qualified retirees getting approval for this program in only a few weeks.
Requirements and benefits are similar to those of the Retired Persons Incentive Act. The application process and supporting documents needed are virtually the same as for retired residency.
Here are the main differences: As a regular, permanent resident, you do not have to deposit any particular sum in a bank in Belize. However, you do have to show financial resources sufficient to obtain residency status. You can work for pay in Belize. You must live in Belize for one full year before you can apply for regular permanent residency. During this period, you cannot leave the country for more than 14 consecutive days. It is more expensive to apply for regular, permanent residency than for retired permanent residency.
Citizens of certain countries need to get a visa if they want to visit Belize. A visa is the entrance permit to the country issued by the consular body of Belize. If there is no Belizean consulate in your country, please apply at the nearest British consulate, who will be happy to assist you.
Read more about visas
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