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Chances are you have decided to settle in Belize, but you only get a 30-day visa upon arrival, so what do you do next, or what should you do before? In this article, I aim to help you with your research and ultimately make a move to Belize under the Belize Retirement Program or Belize Residency.
The Belize Retirement Program (QRP) was designed by the Belize Tourism Board and is for eligible persons who meet the requirements and who are prepared to be full-time retirees in Belize. On the other hand, Belize Residency is more for those interested in working or would like to become a Belizean Citizen ultimately. Belize offers two types of Residence status, Permanent Residence and Temporary Residence.
I have seen some of my clients go both routes. One can decide to do the QRP as a couple, and the partner can do the residency.
About The Belize Retirement Program
- Any person 45 years or older.
- Dependents include spouses and children under 18 years.
- Eligible persons for the Belize Retirement Program must have an income of USD 2,000 monthly or USD 24,000 annually from a source outside of Belize and must be able to deposit said amount into a Belize account monthly or yearly. Retirement Income includes Pension, Social Security Benefits, Inheritance, Personal Savings and other means of retirement income.
- Must be able to remain in Belize for a minimum of 30 consecutive days annually.
- Qualifying Countries include All Commonwealth countries excluding Belize, United States of America, Member States of the European Union [EU], Asian-Pacific countries of Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam and all South American Countries.
Benefits of the Belize Retirement Program:
- Belize Residency Status – QRP’s and their dependents will receive a QRP Resident Card to reside in Belize that allows multiple entries into the country without a Visa. You will need to renew this Resident card annually.
- Duty Exemptions – QRP’s are exempt from paying import duty and tax on the following, for personal use only and within the first year of acceptance into the program:
- Household & Personal Effects multiple entries allowed with no limit on the dollar value of effects
- Motor Vehicle – The model must be five years or newer. QRP’s can purchase a new vehicle every four  years with proper clearance of the previous vehicle.
- Light Aircraft – the model must be less than 17,000 kg
- Motor Boat
3. Tax Exemptions on all taxes and duties on income received from a source outside of Belize, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
- Application Program Fee — USD $150 [per application]
Once approved, applicants must pay the following:
- Applicant Fee — USD $1000
- Dependent Fee – USD $750
- QRP ID Card Fee – USD $200 [per card]
- QRP ID Card Renewal Fee – USD $25 [annually]
- Permanent Residence is for those who want to make Belize their home and stay in the country for a long time. (e.g., retirees)
- Temporary Residence is for those who have made or are in the process of making a substantial commercial investment in Belize but, due to commitments outside Belize, cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence restrictions. (e.g., investors, second homeowners etc.)
For persons applying for Permanent Belize Residency, the requirements are:
- Visit your nearest Immigration Office for Visitor’s Permit Extension every 30 days (USD 100 per month for North Americans) for a period no less than 50 consecutive weeks.
- Prove that you have been legally residing in Belize for a minimum of 1 year before submitting your application. (Monthly visa stamps)
- During this year, you have not left the country for more than 14 days in total.
- You must prove to the Immigration Office that you have been and will continue being financially stable.
- A court has not convicted you in any country of a criminal offence for which you may have been liable to a sentence of imprisonment of 1 year or more and have not received a free pardon in respect of the crime.
US$100/monthly visa extensions
Once approved for residency, the fee is US$2,000 for US nationals and US$1,500 for Canadian citizens
For persons applying for Temporary Residency, the requirements are:
- Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than USD 250,000.
Temporary Residence status is valid for only ONE year and becomes renewable at the end of that period.
The temporary residence fee is 1/5 of the permanent residence fee based on your nationality.BONUS:
To become eligible for Belizean citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:
Prove that you have been a holder of Permanent Residence for a minimum of 5 years.
Prove that you have been resident continuously in Belize. Meaning upon being granted Permanent Residency, you have not resided outside Belize for periods that exceed thirty consecutive days or accumulate to a total of three months in any twelve months.
Once you have been approved and sworn in, you will be able to apply for a Belizean Passport.
Steps to take after applying for the Belize Retirement Program or Residency?
Start looking for your dream property. It is important to work with a reputable company such as RE/MAX Real Estate and a reputable Belize Real Estate Agent. Search for properties for sale in Belize – the rest is history (and bliss!)