Belize Achieves Record Employment & Economic Boom in 2023

Belize Economy in 2023

In 2023, Belize achieved record levels of employment. This has, in turn, led to an economic boom and a growing economy. Belize Prime Minister John Briceno announced the monumental accomplishment Belize achieved with a record employment level in 2023. Belize touched an unprecedented 96% employment rate among those seeking jobs.

А kеу fасtоr іn thіѕ ѕuссеѕѕ wаѕ thе іnсrеаѕе іn thе mіnіmum wаgе, whісh роѕіtіvеlу іmрасtеd Веlіzеаnѕ bу increasing thеіr еаrnіng роtеntіаl. There were a number of economic sectors and industries which contributed to the growth. Kеу ѕесtоrѕ іnсludіng tоurіѕm, соnѕtruсtіоn, Вuѕіnеѕѕ Рrосеѕѕ Оutѕоurсіng (ВРО) сеntеrѕ, аnd аgrісulturе hаvе ехреrіеnсеd ѕubѕtаntіаl grоwth, рlауіng а ріvоtаl rоlе іn есоnоmіс dеvеlорmеnt аnd growth of Belize. The growth in Belize’s tourism and key sectors has led to improved employment opportunities, ultimately increasing the rate of employment to record highs.

 

Driving Forces Behind the Economic Boom

In 2023, Belize has seen substantial growth in key sectors such as tourism, construction, business process outsourcing (BPO), and agriculture. These industries have been pillars of the Belize economy, and have been instrumental in driving economic development in Belize and creating job opportunities for Belize citizens. Not only did Belize see record high employment rates in 2023, the economy was further bolstered by a 3.4% GDP growth in the third quarter.

The Belize tourism sector, in particular Ambergris Caye (San Pedro Town), witnessed a significant 27% increase, one of the highest since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belize Tourism & Investment 

 

Anticipating a Banner Year for Tourism in 2024

Looking towards the future, 2024 is predicted to be a major year for Belize’s tourism industry, with the majority of overnight tourism going to Ambergris Caye & San Pedro Town. Several initiatives and new programs are in the pipeline, which indicates a record year for Belize tourism in 2024. Some of the most recent announcements include a direct JetBlue flight from New York and more frequent flights from the U.S. With additional SouthWest flights from D.C. & Baltimore. As well as extended flights from Canada (Toronto & Calgary) through WestJet. These additional flights and new initiatives are expected to boost the already burgeoning Belize tourism industry.

 

Continued Commitment to Economic Prosperity

In 2024, Belize is looking to enhance quality assurance, infrastructure, and marketing to capitalize on the expected growth. Belize made massive economic strides in 2023, which has created jobs and enhanced the nation’s prosperity.

Aside from the economic gains in 2023, Belize also made significant strides in health care. Belize was certified as malaria-free by the World Health Organisation, joining the ranks of several countries achieving milestones in disease elimination.

Economic growth and record levels of employment were the key takeaways from the Belize 2023 рrоduсtіvіtу rероrt fіndіngѕ. What is more exciting is the growth and opportunity to come as Belize continues to be a focal point of foreign direct investment (especially in the tourism sector). Thе аntісіраtеd grоwth іn tоurіѕm (for 2024), ѕіgnals а ѕtrоng есоnоmу, rеаdу fоr соntіnuеd ѕuссеѕѕ іn thе uрсоmіng уеаr.

 

Contact us for more information on investing in Belize and Belize real estate!

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

The Belize Digital Nomad Visa is “A Long Stay Visitor Permit” and is a permit granted to any person who intends to stay in Belize for an extended period of time.

Belize is a great destination for digital nomads looking for a tropical paradise to work remotely. The island of Ambergris Caye has some of the fastest internet speeds in the region, with a very reliable network. San Pedro Town, Mahogany Bay Village, and areas of Ambergris Caye have Fibre Optic. Other areas have high-speed LTE service.

The country offers a long-term visa specifically designed for digital nomads, which makes it easy to stay in the country for extended periods of time.

A Long Stay Permit is valid for 6 months after the date issued. The Digital Nomad Visa is done through Immigration, which enables a person and their dependents to remain in Belize for up to 6 months.

The Digital Nomad Visa eliminates the back and forth with immigration every month for a tourist visa extension.

Yes! Belize has a visa suitable for digital nomads called “Work where You Vacation”.

This is Belize’s attempt to attract digital nomads and remote workers from all over the world who want to stay in the country for 6 months, with the opportunity to extend the period.

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa

The Work Where You Vacation or Long Stay Visitor Permit (Digital Nomad Visa) program includes:

  • Work permits waived for participants
  • Student permits waived for children of participants
  • Special offers on activities, entertainment, and accommodations through “Work Where You Vacation” lodging partners.

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

The documents required to apply for the Belize Digital Nomad Visa are the following:

  • Proof of employment outside of Belize (min. annual income of USD $75,000 for individuals, USD $100,000 for couples/families)
  • A notarized banking reference and statement of account
  • A clear criminal record (no more than 6 months old)
  • A valid passport

 

Belize Digital Nomad Visa Fees

  • USD $500 per Adult.
  • USD $200 per Child

Fees apply to the applicant and any accompanying dependents.

 

Who Qualifies for the Digital Nomad Visa

Applicants who meet the below requirements can apply:

  1. The applicant is a citizen or permanent resident of the European Union, United Kingdom, United States of America, or Canada.
  2. The applicant is employed outside of Belize and
    • has a minimum annual income of USD $75,000 if the person is applying alone or
    • has a minimum annual income of USD $100,000 if the person is applying with dependents.
  3. A person issued a Long Stay Permit shall be entitled to enter and remain in Belize along with their dependents for a period NOT exceeding six months in any calendar year, as stated in the permit.
  4. A person issued a Long Stay Permit or his dependents shall not engage in employment in Belize.
  5. A permit issued by the department under this section shall not be extended.

 

Required Documents

  1. A Job Letter is issued within 30 days of the application if the applicant is employed by another person.
  2. Proof of registration of business and annual tax return if the applicant is self-employed.
  3. Proof of annual income in the amount of at least:
    • USD $75,000, if the person is applying alone; or
    • USD $100,000, if the person is applying with dependents.
  4. Notarized banking reference and Statement of Account.
  5. Police Record from the applicant’s country of residence, issued within six months of application.
  6. Certified copy of the bio-data page of the Applicant’s passport and Certified Copies of the bio-data page of each dependent’s passport.
  7. If the Applicant’s nationality is not in the Approved Countries List but resides in a country that is on the list, then the Applicant must provide Proof of Residence.

 

 

Internet on Ambergris Caye

Internet and connectivity on the island are top of the line with some of the fastest internet speeds in the region. Back in 2017, San Pedro went through significant upgrades. Now the town of San Pedro has some of the fastest internet speeds in Belize. In 2017, Ambergris Caye had a fiber-optic submarine cable installed with connectivity to San Pedro, enabling super-fast broadband speeds to the island of Ambergris Caye.
Since 2017, San Pedro Ambergris Caye has boasted the fastest internet in the country. Super fast Fiber-based Internet up to 130Mbps for home or business.

The Fiber Optic runs from Maskall to Bomba, and from Bomba to the coastline. From there, there is an underground via an SFOC to the island of San Pedro.

Most of Belize has WIFI with an LTE signal. However, there are places that boast stronger, more consistent internet like Ambergris Caye. With the high volume of tourism and the influx of expats that have moved to the country, and Ambergris Caye in particular, the service has improved to meet demand.

There are 2 primary providers of the internet in Ambergris Caye, Belize: SMART & Digi. Digi offers Fiber Optic internet with the fastest speeds. SMART offers reliable internet and is a popular alternative for areas that do not have fiber optic internet. You can see the rates and internet speeds below;

 

SMART Internet


Prices are in Belize Dollars

Digi Internet

Prices are in Belize Dollars

 

About the Belize Digital Nomad Visa

With the growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle, Belize is following many countries trying to lure digital nomads with tools and resources to work remotely. The Belize digital nomad visa is part of the Work Where You Vacation program, allowing digital nomads to live in the country for up to six months. It’s open to everyone working for a company based outside of Belize.

While the Belize Digital Nomad visa is only valid for six months, those who wish to extend their stay can apply for an extension. When you get approved for the Belize digital nomad visa, you will receive a permit to live temporarily in Belize. Applicants will also have the option to bring their dependents and spouses.

 

Belize Retirement & Investment Residency Program

Belize Retirement & Investment Residency

Belize is recognized as a popular tourist destination and continues to grow in popularity. Belize is considered to be a great spot for investors, retirees, and expats looking for a country to live, work, and invest. Hence, the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QRP) was developed to fast-track residency for those who qualify. For the QRP program for retirement and investment residency, a person must be 40 years or older to apply.

The BTB (Belize Tourism Board) has introduced a new program that allows QRP holders and people applying for QRP to invest in Belize and conduct business in Belize more freely. QRP Members will be entitled to carry on business in Belize with approval if the Member meets the following qualifications:

  • A Business Plan.
  • Proof of Investment of at least 1 Million Belize dollars (US$500,000).
  • If the person has resided in Belize for at least 90 non-consecutive days.
  • The Business must employ at least five Belizean citizens.

 

Retire & Invest Program Benefits

A QRP Member granted approval to carry on business in Belize will be eligible for the following:

  • Permanent residency after designation as a QRP for five (5) years;
  • For the grant of any other license or permit necessary for carrying on business in Belize;
  • Practice philanthropy in Belize.

Travel Belize BTB Retire & Invest

Application & Requirements

 

QRP Retire & Invest Residency Program

A Qualified Retired Person who desires to obtain QRP status for investment or to carry on business in Belize shall apply directly to the Belize Tourism Board for approval. An application shall be submitted in writing and accompanied by the following:

  1. Detailed Business Plan – A formal written document outlining the goals of the business, methods for attaining goals, and the timeframe for achieving goals. The business plan MUST include but is not limited to the following:
    1. The Executive Summary.
    2. Company Description.
    3. Marketing Plan.
    4. Financial Plan.
    5. And Business Plan.
  2. Proof of Investment Capital of at least one million dollars (BZD) $500,000 US. – Original or certified copies of international bank statements, investment account statements issued by a financial institution, and official letters from a financial institution confirming the availability of funds MUST be provided.
  3. Must show proof of having resided in Belize for a minimum of 90 non-consecutive days.

 

Opening a Business with the Retire & Invest Program

Every Qualified Retired Person who is granted approval to carry on business in Belize under the new program is required to;

  • Employ at least 5 Belizean Citizens.
  • Within 12 months of approval to carry on business in Belize, submit to the BTB proof of employment of at least 5 Belizean Citizens.
  • Within 18 months of approval to carry on business in Belize, submit proof of business operation to the Belize Tourism Board.

A Qualified Retired Person granted approval to conduct business in Belize shall be eligible.:

  • For the grant of any other license or permit necessary for carrying on business in Belize.

One of the major draws is the fact that a person does not have to be residing in Belize in order to apply for the QRP Retire & Invest Program.

 

Application Requirements

A Qualified Retired Person who desires to carry on business in Belize shall apply in writing to the Belize Tourism Board for approval accompanied by the following.

  • Business Plan [including employment of 5 Belizean Citizens].
  • Proof of Investment Capital [minimum of one million Belize dollars or $500,000 US].
  • Proof of Residing in Belize for over 90 days [passport pages showing the applicant has resided in Belize for at least 90 non-consecutive days].

A Qualified Retired Person granted approval to carry on business in Belize shall:

  • Employ Belizean Citizens [minimum of 5 Belize citizens].
  • Submit proof of employment of Belizeans to the BTB [within 12 months of approval].
  • Submit proof of business operation [within 18 months of approval].
  • Pay full duties and taxes on any business carried out in Belize.

 

BTB Retire & Invest Incentive

The Belize Tourism Board manages the Belize QRP and Retire & Invest programs.

The QRP is renowned as the most efficient path to foreign residency anywhere in the Americas and one of the primary reasons Belize is known as one of the best places to retire in the region (Caribbean & Central America) and, indeed, one of the best place to retire in the world.

Once the application process is completed, the program grants the applicant the equivalent of a green card and various other incentives. The benefits include a permanent exemption from all taxes in Belize (estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and most import taxes).

While the Belize QRP visa offers full-time residency, new residents can enjoy all the QRP benefits without spending the majority of the year in Belize for naturalized residency.

The requirements to successfully enter the Belize Qualified Retirement Program are remarkably simple compared to residency programs elsewhere in the world.

 

Check out the BTB & Travel Belize for more information on the new QRP Retire & Invest Program and how to apply.

Contact us if you have additional questions regarding Belize residency, investing in Belize, or living in Belize. We look forward to working with you!

 

Ambergris Caye Investment & Vacation Rental Data October 2023

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rentals

Ambergris Caye has been the epicenter of the Belize tourism surge and COVID recovery. This has led to growth in the Ambergris Caye Real Estate and investment in vacation rentals.

Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics.” When investing in an island, there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also a scarcity of land and completed resale homes. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.

Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields on vacation rental properties on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town (the municipality on the island of Ambergris Caye) are by far the top destinations in Belize. Below, we look at the updated tourism data and vacation rental investment opportunities on Ambergris Caye!

 

Ambergris Caye Tourism

Ambergris Caye has seen tourism hitting all-time highs year-over-year as we become a globally recognized destination. From 2010 to 2023 (13 years), Ambergris Caye overnight tourism (people booking rental units) has grown at an annual compounded rate of 14.8% per year increase, with overnight tourism nearly doubling from 2010 to 2023 (+81.5% increase).

 

Belize Overnight Tourism

 

 

Belize Tourism Board Overnight Arrivals

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Inventory

Even though tourism is growing, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant, with limited new losing inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism is growing, and this usually correlates to added supply; that said, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is at the perfect time for investment as we have unique market conditions that have led to increased demand and a decrease in supply inventory.

Rental Inventory on Ambergris Caye has dropped by -4% from 2022 to 2023. Also dropped -13.9% over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the influx of people moving to Belize and the growing expat community and people who can work remotely.

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Lodging Inventory

 

For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -4% from last year. Lodging inventory for vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye has seen a -13.9% decrease over the last 3 years.

Ambergris Caye has had a compounded annual tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.8% per year.

As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent, with many quarters witnessing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.

 

Increase in Demand + Decrease in Supply = Increase in Price & Rent

 

 

 

 

 

Many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.

Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand, but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply does not meet the demand growth.

 

Ambergris Caye Occupancy

 

 

In 2022, Ambergris Caye had an average vacation rental occupancy of 54.8%. In 2023, the average occupancy of vacation rentals has been at 61.3%. This is an increase of +11.9% year-over-year (2022 to 2023).

 

 

Ambergris Caye Nightly Rental Rates

 

In 2023, Ambergris Caye has seen ADR (Nightly Rental Rates) for vacation rentals increase by +15% from 2022. In 2023, the average nightly rental rate on Ambergris Caye has been $284 USD per night, which is up from $262 USD per night in 2022.

 

Ambergris Caye Investment Revenue

The increase in tourism with the lodging and vacation rental supply shrinking has led to higher occupancy and higher nightly rental rates (ADR). The increased occupancy and ADR have resulted in higher revenues. On Ambergris Caye, vacation rental gross revenue is up 30% in 2023 (from 2022).

 

Annual Average Rental Revenue

 

 

What is fascinating is the renal income for detached homes over condos (and the % annual growth).

 

Detached homes on Ambergris Caye have seen an average annual gross revenue of $88,850 US in 2023 (Airbnb income). Compared to condos, which saw an average gross yearly earnings of $44,300 US. Detached homes also saw a higher % growth at 23% annual revenue growth (condos with 14%) from 2022 to 2023.

For more information on investing in Belize and Ambergris Caye rental income investment opportunities, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

 

Belize Residency Information & Programs

Belize Residency

Are you considering offshore Belize residency? Belize makes immigration and residency easy for investors, expats, and retirees looking to obtain Belize residency (for personal or investment).

Belize has been gaining increased popularity among foreigners, retirees, investors, and digital nomads. The Belize residency programs provide enhanced investment and travel opportunities.

In Belize, English is the primary language, and Belize’s legal system is based on British Common Law (a member of the British Commonwealth). Because of the British Common Law and British Parliamentary Democracy, Belize has a stable, democratic government and a stable and dynamic economy (also stable currency pegged 2:1 with USD).

For expats and investors, obtaining Belize residency is not prohibitive like in other countries. Residency in Belize is relatively straightforward, with a few routes available. For expats or retirees, Belize has the Qualified Retired Persons Program and the new Retire & Invest Program. These are great incentives for individuals looking to call Belize home and looking for long-term residency in Belize.

Belize also has investment residency programs that appeal to potential property owners and investors. In Belize, foreigners purchasing land or property are afforded the same rights as Belize citizens regarding property ownership.

Belize has full foreign ownership, and foreign investors can own Belize property outright with a fee-simple title. Belize is also a low-tax jurisdiction, with no capital gains or inheritance taxes (estate tax) in Belize.

The location of Belize (close proximity to the US & Canada), its warm Caribbean climate, low taxes, and welcoming culture make it an attractive place to invest, work, retire, and reside. The Belize residency programs also provide opportunities to travel, start a business, and optimize taxation.

This post provides information on obtaining Belize residency as well as the different residency programs Belize offers and the requirements.

 

Types of Belize Residency

Belize offers two distinct types of Residency status for foreigners:

  1. Permanent Residency: Permanent Residency would be suited for someone looking at being a resident in Belize. Permanent residency in Belize is for a person (or persons) who want to make Belize their home and will be staying in Belize for an extended period of time.
  2. Temporary Residency: Temporary Residency is for a person (or persons) who have made or are in the process of making a substantial investment in Belize (often in Belize real estate) but, due to commitments outside Belize, cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence requirements.

 

Permanent Residency

For persons applying for Permanent Residency in Belize, you are required to:

  1. Have been legally residing in Belize for at least one year from submitting a residency application.
  2. During the one-year period, you have not left Belize for more than 14 days (2 weeks).
  3. Show proof to the Belize Immigration Office that you have been, and you will be able to continue financial stability and independence.
  4. Have not been convicted by a competent court in any country of a criminal offense for which you may have been liable to a sentence of imprisonment of twelve months or more and have not received a free pardon for the crime.

Documents Required for Permanent Residency

  1. Passport
  2. Medical Certificate and Tests
  3. Police Record
  4. Proof of Financial Stability
  5. Photographs
  6. Spouse and Child’s Documentation

 

Temporary Residency

A Temporary Residence (Temporary Residency) status can be given for one (1) year at a time. The temporary residency must be renewed every year. The temporary residency status becomes renewable at the end of that given period.

For persons applying for Temporary Residency, you are required to:

  1. Apply for temporary residency (temporary investment residency).
  2. Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars – US $250,000 (five hundred thousand Belize Dollar – BZ$500,000).

Learn more from Belize Immigration.

Documents Required for Temporary Residency

  1. Passport
  2. Police Record
  3. Letter to Director
  4. Evidence of Residence in Belize
  5. Evidence of Investment in Belize

 

 

Belize Residency Options

Here is a general overview of residency options in Belize:

  1. Tourist Visa: Most visitors to Belize can enter the country as tourists without a visa and stay for up to 30 days. Extensions for up to 90 days are possible, but they come with associated fees. This is not a long-term residency option.
  2. Permanent Residency: Belize offers several pathways to permanent residency:
    • Retired Persons Program: This program is designed for retirees. To qualify, you must be at least 45 years old, provide proof of a consistent income, and meet certain financial requirements.
    • QRP (Qualified Retirement Program): The QRP is an attractive option for retirees. It provides tax benefits and allows for permanent residency. To qualify, you should be at least 45 years old, have a consistent income, and meet the financial requirements.
    • Self-Employed Program: If you plan to start a business in Belize, you can apply for permanent residency under this program. You’ll need to invest a certain amount of money in your business and meet other requirements.
  3. Naturalization Residency: The typical way people achieve Belizean residency is through the naturalized residency program. To obtain naturalized residency in Belize, you have to show you have been in Belize for a year (48 out of 50 weeks).
  4. Work Permits: If you plan to work in Belize, you will need a work permit. These permits are generally tied to employment, and your employer will often need to sponsor your application.
  5. Investor Residency: Belize offers opportunities for investors to obtain residency by making substantial investments in the country. The specifics of this program can vary, and it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for details.
  6. Dependent Residency: If you have close family members who are legal residents or citizens of Belize, you may be eligible for dependent residency. This typically applies to spouses, children, or parents of Belizean citizens or residents.

 

Keep in mind that the process for obtaining residency in Belize can vary from person to person. People have different processes, which may involve various documentation, fees, and specific requirements. It’s advisable to work with someone who specializes in Belizean immigration to guide you through the process and ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements.

 

Belize Tourist Visa

You do not need to have residency to live or invest in Belize. Residency is not required to own a property (foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals/nationals). Residency is also not needed to be in Belize or visit Belize. If you are visiting Belize (as an American or Canadian), you do not require a travel visa.

When you enter Belize (as a tourist), you are issued a 30-day tourist visa in your passport. Belize is a very easy country to travel to, and US & Canadian travelers do not require any visas when traveling to Belize. The majority of countries and passports can travel to Belize freely and without a visa for 30 days.

Visitors can continue to renew their tourist visa if they want to stay in Belize without restrictions on length (as long as they get their visa renewed).

Americans & Canadians can travel to Belize and remain in Belize without time constraints. When a visitor arrives in Belize, they are issued a 30-day

Belize Tourist Visa

 

Naturalized Residency Belize

Permanent residents in Belize can work without a permit and no longer need to renew their visas every month or year. The naturalized residency (which requires time) is the most common route for Belize residency.

To be eligible for permanent residency in Belize, you need to live continuously in the country for one year without leaving the country for over 14 days. You must apply through the Department of Immigration and Nationality Services.

The typical way people achieve Belizean residency is through the standard residency program. To obtain residency in Belize, you have to show you have resided in Belize for a year, and have been in Belize for 48 weeks of the year. This is a naturalized residency.

 

Belize Investment Residency

The Belize Investment Residency program is designed for investors and entrepreneurs with investments in Belize valued at a minimum of $250,000 US.

The most common Belize investment for residency is through Belize real estate investment or owning Belize land. You can apply for the investment residency through proof of land or real estate in Belize valued above $250,000 US.

The most common sector is real estate investment, but there is also business investment. There are no restrictions on the business or any fixed sector to invest in. You can invest in tourism, agriculture, etc. This allows you to live, work, and conduct investments and business in Belize.

The investment residency can be done remotely. A person applying for the investment residency does not need to be in Belize to file this application.

The Belize Investment Residency is also called the “Temporary Investment Residency” and allows investors in Belize to obtain residency if they show they have invested over $500,000 BZ ($250,000 US) in Belize. This is most commonly done through real estate. The reason it is called “Temporary” is that you have to show every year that the investment continues in Belize.

Investment Residency is for one (1) year at a time. The temporary investment residency must be renewed every year.

Belize Investment Residency

 

Belize Qualified Retired Person Program (QRP)

If you are over the age of 45, have no intention of working in Belize, and can prove you meet the monthly retirement income requirements, you may qualify for the QRP (Qualified Retired Person) Program. The QRP program grants residency to people who hold status. The QRP is renewable each year, with the only requirement being that you spend a minimum of 30 days of the year in Belize.

Learn More About Belize QRP

 

Belize Work Permit

If you plan to work in Belize as a foreigner, you may require a “Work Permit.”

If you are planning to work for a company in Belize, the company hiring you will sponsor the work permit on your behalf. Suppose you are self-employed or planning to start a business in Belize (and work at the business). In that case, you likely need to apply for a self-employed foreigner or business registration.

If you do not apply for a residency status and continue to work and live in Belize, the work permit will be renewed annually.

 

Belize Citizenship

After living in Belize for at least five years as a permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization. The requirements for naturalization can change, so it’s essential to check the most recent criteria.

Once you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years, you can apply to become a citizen of Belize. Belize allows dual citizenship, which means you can maintain Belizean and offshore citizenship (and passports). It is attractive for investors as they do not have to relinquish their domestic citizenship when they acquire Belizean Citizenship.

Belize recognizes dual citizenship. The Nationality Department does not require you to renounce citizenship from other countries.

Once you have Belize citizenship, you get the benefits of Belize’s CARICOM membership. With Belizean Citizenship, you can move freely through, live, and work in other Caribbean member countries.

 

 

Belize Residency Process

The process for residency varies depending on the person and the program. That said, generally, the residency process goes as follows;

  1. Step 1: Gather the required documents
  2. Step 2: Submission of application
  3. Step 3: Interview with Immigration
  4. Step 4: Interview with Police Department
  5. Step 5: Notification by the Immigration Office
  6. Step 6: Payment and Submission of Security Bond
  7. Step 7: Delivery of Residence Card

Belize Residency is relatively easy to acquire. You will need to follow the necessary steps. All applications are also subject to a background check or Police Record Check.

 

Residency in Belize

Belize offers a good range of visa and residency options covering just about any reason for being in Belize. Which option is right for you depends on your purpose for being in Belize:

  1. Long-term Scouting Trip: If you’re visiting Belize to test if it might be right for you as a new home, the Belize Tourist Visa (with renewals) will be your best choice.
  2. Snowbird or Wintering in Belize: If you’re escaping the bitter cold of “home” for several months each year or using Belize as a part-time vacation home, the Belize Tourist Visa (with renewals) is also your best option.
  3. Retiring in Belize: If you plan to retire and move to Belize with no intention of working (or running your own business), you should look at the Qualified Retirement Program. If you plan on opening a business or investing, you may want to look at the new Retire & Invest Program (through QRP and BTB).
  4. Moving to Belize: If you want to move to Belize but plan to work (or run your own business), a Work Permit may be the right direction. After a year, you can have naturalized Belizean residency.
  5. Investing in Belize: If you are looking to invest in Belize and have an offshore residency through investment, the Temporary Investment Residency could likely be a great option.

 

If you seek to obtain offshore residency with ease, with a minimal physical presence in the country, Belize residency may appeal to you. There are a few options and routes someone can take to obtain Belize residency. If you are looking at offshore residency or want to learn more about Belize Residency, contact us!

 

 

Luxury Tourism & Luxury Market in Belize

Luxury Tourism & Luxury Market

Belize tourism and Belize real estate is expanding the luxury market. The luxury travel industry has grown unprecedentedly in recent years due to rising spending power, an expanding middle-class population, emerging luxury trends, and the expansion of luxury hotels.

The definition of luxury travel has evolved dramatically in recent years, and people are now far more adventurous. They are more interested in experiencing local customs and cuisine.

Earlier this year, a survey from GlobalData.com found that luxury tourism has recovered quicker then budget tourism.

The global luxury travel market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% to 8.9% from 2022 to 2032, reaching a market size of USD 2.32 trillion to 2.76 trillion by 2032.

 

Caribbean & Central America Luxury Tourism

The Belize Region, with the Caribbean & Central America as a whole, outperforms the average recovery trends of the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific in the Luxury Tourism sector. This is shown in the revenue and profit trends.

The Caribbean & Central America Region (including Belize) has a higher ADR and Occupancy than other Western Hemisphere markets like Mexico, Canada & USA for luxury tourism.

The Caribbean & Central America Region is expected to have an annual tourism GDP growth rate of 5.5% to 6.7% between now and 2030.

 

Belize Tourism & Luxury Market

The Caribbean & Latin American (Belize) luxury tourism industry will likely be one of the fastest growing between now and 2032, with the most opportunity.

Belize, with the BTB (Belize Tourism Board), has taken steps in advancing and growing the Belize Luxury Tourism Industry.

Luxury travel services cover the most desirable and premium experiences in terms of luxury accommodations, convenient transport facilities, and authentic and exclusive travel experiences.

The Luxury Tourism program aims to provide outstanding, exclusive, and convenient tourism services and experiences to tourists and locals. In Belize, some of the recent announcements around luxury tourism include;

 

Regional Data on Luxury Tourism

What we have learned during every economic turn is that luxury tourism is still a driver. At CHRIS & HOLA (Caribbean Investment Summit & Hotel Operators of Latin America Summit), the data on luxury tourism was shared and how it performed in the market.

Even though luxury tourism appeals to a smaller demographic (unlike cruises and all-inclusive), they are more consistent, yield higher returns, is surprisingly not susceptible to market fluctuations, have better occupancy, and better clientele. The most interesting take is that if there are slower periods, the luxury market can lower prices and push out the “non-luxury” market.

Belize as a whole is pushing luxury tourism, making it easier for yachts, allowing FBO and private planes, creating direct flight routes from high net-worth locations, etc. With all this push, Belize is working on becoming a Cayman Islands, Maldives, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, or St Martin, instead of a budget destination like Mexico or the Dominican Republic.

Belize is also seeing far more celebrities and high net-worth travelers visiting Belize and Ambergris Caye. But what is interesting is the fact we do not have many of the luxury villas in our lodging inventory to accommodate these travelers.

 

Luxury Tourism

If you build a luxury house/villa with outdoor space and amenities (even 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms), you will capture the luxury tourism market. The house or unit does not need to be large; just provide fixtures, touches, service, etc.

With luxury tourism and luxury travelers, owners/investors are able to charge any nightly rental rate you want. Example: Rolex does not compromise the price of new watches even during an economic downturn, and every store you visit is always sold out.

Earlier this year, a survey from GlobalData.com found that luxury tourism has recovered quicker then budget tourism.

The global luxury travel market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% to 8.9% from 2022 to 2032, reaching a market size of USD 2.32 trillion to 2.76 trillion by 2032.

The 2022 Global Travel Trends Report of American Express Travel study found that 58% of respondents opt for solo travel to visit their dream destination, strengthening the demand for luxury travel.

The Caribbean & Latin American luxury tourism industry is likely to be one of the fastest growing between now and 2032, with the most opportunity.

 

Regional Luxury Market

The luxury segment in the region (Belize) is ahead of the all-inclusive and full-service properties in profit margin growth and opportunity.

Luxury Tourism has a Higher ADR (Average Daily Rate & Nightly Rental Rate) and Better Occupancy than full-service or all-inclusive.

Luxury Tourism sees year-round bookings with better ADR and occupancy in high and low seasons. Luxury tourism has less volatility and seasonality. There is no low season in the luxury market segment in the region. Luxury has seen heightened off-season months.

Profit margins are higher in luxury tourism, with annual and quarterly revenue and profits rising due to more substantial rate increases. Luxury tourism has a much higher revenue per room or unit.

Belize Luxury Tourism Announcements

Luxury travel services cover the most desirable and premium experiences in terms of luxury accommodations, convenient transport facilities, and authentic and exclusive travel experiences. The overall aim of the Luxury Tourism program is to provide outstanding, exclusive, and convenient tourism services and experiences to tourists and locals.

  • Four Seasons on Caye Chapel
  • Six Senses on Ambergris Caye
  • FBO & Private Aviation
  • Yacht & Nautical Tourism
  • Filling Luxury Tourism Market Gaps
  • Fine Dining & Restaurant Facilities

 

Belize Travel & Facilities

Belize has a range of initiatives and infrastructure programs coming in to enhance and increase tourism. With additional flights (including New York JFK), improved transportation, etc. You can see some of the tourism enhancements and initiatives below;

  • 3 million anticipated passenger movements at PGIA (Belize International Airport BZE) in 2045.
  • PGIA (BZE Airport) Facility Extensive Upgrade underway and expected completion in 2040.
  • Enhanced Border Facilities.
  • Increased – Ground Transportation Connections.
  • Domestic Airlines with expanded international routes.
  • Interregional connectivity.
  • Renovations at Municipal Airports to expand Private Aviation.
  • Addition of FBO facilities at national and domestic airports.

Learn more about traveling to Belize internationally.

To learn more about Belize real estate and investing in Belize contact RE/MAX Belize. We look forward to sharing more information on Belize and opportunities in the luxury tourism market!

 

 

Belize Investment Summit 2023

Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Abil Castaneda Belize Investment Summit

Belize Investment Summit

Тhе Веlіzе Іnvеѕtmеnt Ѕummіt 2023, соnсludеd оn Ѕерtеmbеr 1, and wаѕ а lаndmаrk еvеnt thаt ѕhоwсаѕеd Веlіzе’ѕ investment роtеntіаl and opportunities for investment. Ѕреаrhеаdеd bу thе Оffісе оf thе Рrіmе Міnіѕtеr аnd thе Міnіѕtrу оf Fіnаnсе, Іnvеѕtmеnt, аnd Есоnоmіс Dеvеlорmеnt, thе ѕummіt wаѕ сеntеrеd оn thе thеmе, “Еndlеѕѕ Орроrtunіtіеѕ!”. Тhіѕ еvеnt еmрhаѕіzеd Веlіzе’ѕ drіvе tо аttrасt аnd рrоmоtе іnvеѕtmеnt fоr іtѕ есоnоmіс dеvеlорmеnt.

The Belize Investment Summit 2023 focused on attracting and promoting investment for economic development in Belize, identifying opportunities, and showcasing Belize’s readiness to support global investment.

The Prime Minister addressed the Summit, highlighting the government’s vision on enhanced and strategic investments and presentations from other high-profile international experts, policymakers, and enterprise movers and shakers who shape Belize’s investment climate. Dustin Rennie from RE/MAX Belize was included as one of the industry experts for real estate and development.

Тhіѕ ѕummіt showed and presented opportunities in Belize fоr bоth dоmеѕtіс аnd іntеrnаtіоnаl іnvеѕtоrѕ. Іt wаѕ а рlаtfоrm whеrе thе gоvеrnmеnt рrоudlу dіѕрlауеd Веlіzе’ѕ rеаdіnеѕѕ tо ѕuрроrt glоbаl іnvеѕtmеnt. Іn hіѕ аddrеѕѕ, Рrіmе Міnіѕtеr Јоhn Вrісеnо undеrѕсоrеd thе gоvеrnmеnt’ѕ vіѕіоn fоr ѕtrаtеgіс іnvеѕtmеntѕ, ѕеttіng thе tоnе fоr thе rеѕt оf thе еvеnt.

Тhrоughоut thе ѕummіt, аttеndееѕ bеnеfіtеd frоm іnѕіghtѕ ѕhаrеd bу іntеrnаtіоnаl ехреrtѕ, tор-tіеr рublіс оffісіаlѕ, Сhіеf Ехесutіvе Оffісеrѕ, аnd kеу роlісуmаkеrѕ. Тhеѕе ѕtаkеhоldеrѕ, whо соllесtіvеlу ѕhаре the іnvеѕtmеnt future of Belize. The summit featured a number of presentations and panels with а соmрrеhеnѕіvе оvеrvіеw оf thе орроrtunіtіеѕ аvаіlаblе іn Belize.

 

Belize Tourism Board

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), as part of their initiative to drive Tourism Investment in Belize, hosted a series of panel discussions at the Belize Investment Summit. The panels highlighted development success stories in Belize’s current and future opportunities. The panels provided guidance for persons wishing to invest in Belize.

 

Dustin Rennie

Dustin Rennie was a Guest Panelist on the Investment and Real Estate Opportunities in Belize. Dustin contributed valuable insight into Belize’s real estate market, investment opportunities, and future development. On the panel, Dustin Rennie discussed real estate investment and setting up business in Belize and the requisite preparation in terms of a feasibility study to connect brands or investors with projects—review of Hotel Licensing Requirements and Accommodation taxes.

Panel Included:

  • Simone Bell | Investment and Innovation Specialist, Belize Tourism Board
  • Dustin Rennie | Regional Director RE/MAX Belize Belize
  • John Lancet | Senior Managing Director & Practice Leader South & Caribbean, HVS (link)
  • Abil Castaneda | Chief Tourism Officer, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations (link)

 

Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Abil Castaneda Belize Investment Summit
Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Abil Castaneda Belize Investment Summit

 

Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit
Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit

 

John Lancet & Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit
John Lancet & Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit

 

Simone Bell, Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit
Simone Bell, Dustin Rennie Belize Investment Summit

 

Abil Castaneda with Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Simone Bell at Belize Investment Summit
Abil Castaneda with Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Simone Bell at Belize Investment Summit

 

Abil Castaneda with Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Simone Bell at Belize Investment Summit
Abil Castaneda with Dustin Rennie, John Lancet & Simone Bell at Belize Investment Summit

 

Dustin Rennie with RE/MAX Belize at the Belize Investment Summit 2023. The panel explored real estate investment and setting up business in Belize. Connecting brands and investors with projects. Dustin Rennie contributed valuable insight into Belize’s real estate market, investment opportunities, and development.

Dustin Rennie is the director of RE/MAX Belize. Dustin Rennie is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, earner of Career Achievements & Leadership, and recognized as one of the top real estate experts in the Caribbean & Central America region. Dustin Rennie won top commercial agent for RE/MAX Caribbean & Central America for 2022 and was among the top 100 global agents (residential & commercial).

Dustin has been a Diamond Award winner with RE/MAX in 2021 & 2022 and was recognized as one of the top producers.

 

The Belize Investment Summit 2023 focused on attracting and promoting investment for economic development in Belize, identifying opportunities, and showcasing Belize’s readiness to support global investment. This included Belize real estate investment.

Belize Airbnb & Having a Top Producing Rental Income Property

Belize Airbnb & Top Rental Property

Belize Tourism has been on the rise, and the vacation rental market on Ambergris Caye has been booming!

Belize has full foreign ownership (where foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals), and when you buy a home or Belize land, you own it outright with a fee-simple title. The high occupancy and nightly rental rates make Ambergris Caye Real Estate a popular destination for Airbnb investors.

 

Rental Property Amenities

One of the driving factors of a strong Airbnb rental property is the amenities a home offers; this includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Number of Bedrooms
  2. Private Pool
  3. Large Bedrooms with Ensuite Bathrooms
  4. King Size Beds
  5. Hot Tub or Spa
  6. High-Speed Internet

The other driving force is how well the property photographs. A well-furnished and decorated property will outperform something more standard. Take pictures that capture the character of the place, the surrounding area, and any amenities.

Below you can see the most commonly searched amenities on Airbnb based in 2023;

 

Bedroom Count for Airbnb

The units with a higher bedroom count often outperform the lower bedroom count homes. Below, you can see the inventory of rental units by bedroom count on Ambergris Caye;

From an investment standpoint, 3 or more bedrooms are a great opportunity due to the lack of inventory on the island of Ambergris Caye. There are 12 homes in the lodging inventory with 4 bedrooms. There are 9 houses with 5+ bedrooms. The lack of supply and high demand creates a high-yield rental income property.

Mahogany Bay is one of the most popular locations for development and investment in Belize (and Ambergris Caye). Mahogany Bay has a rental management program that generates hands-off passive income for owners and investors.

One of the reasons so many investors and owners love Mahogany Bay is the high degree of ownership control. You own the property outright with a fee-simple title (the strongest form of property ownership). As an owner, you have the peace of mind of having professional rental management rent out the property when it is not in use while also having unlimited use and enjoyment.

If you are considering investing in Belize and generating passive Airbnb rental income, check out the video update below;

 

Contact us to learn more about investing in Belize, the rental market, and opportunities in Belize!

 

Using a Self-Directed IRA or 401K to Invest in Belize Real Estate

Using a Self-Directed IRA or 401K to Invest in Belize

We are frequently asked, “Can I use an IRA or 401K to invest in Belize real estate?”. The answer is YES, you can! We have worked with countless Americans, helping them invest in Belize real estate using their SDIRA or 401K without paying taxes on withdrawing funds. This post covers the different investment strategies and ways you can use a 401K or Self-Directed IRA to invest in Belize.

One way to manage costs, minimize the out-of-pocket investment, and ease the burden of taxation is to purchase real estate under a Self-Directed IRA or 401K. These structures are very easy to do in Belize and allow Americans to purchase an off-shore investment property using investment funds. The benefits of ownership under these legal entities include; access to capital for investment, and less taxation on capital gains, thus earning greater profits from the Belize real estate investment.

Real estate investors (from the US) can hold investment real estate in an IRA or 401K to gain access to capital (without paying high taxation) and reduce the tax exposure (as long as the investment capital has not been distributed to the IRA owner).

Under the IRS’s self-directed IRA rules, contributions to Self-Directed IRA accounts can be used to purchase real estate (commercial, residential, or raw land) inside and outside the United States. This allows investors to use Self-Directed IRA funds or a 401K to invest in Belize real estate.

However, contributions to offshore real estate IRAs are subject to additional rules.  For example, while the property in your IRA can be rented to others, you can’t rent it out to your family. The property can also not be used for your own personal use (it has to remain strictly an investment).

Another advantage is that the rental income from an offshore Belize real estate investment through IRA is deferred and can be made tax-free if purchased using a ROTH IRA.  Under this setup, you could, in theory, collect decades’ worth of rental income and not pay US tax.  You only need to worry about taxes when you distribute the income from the property to yourself in the future.

 

Self-Directed IRA

How a Self-Directed IRA Works

 

Self-Directed IRA For Rental Income

 

Benefits of a Self-Directed IRA

 

401K

 

ROTH IRA