Practical Guide for Potential Expats on How To Move to Belize: Luigi Wewege

How To Move to Belize: A Practical Guide for Potential Expats

 

The President of Caye International Bank, Luigi Wewege provides his insight into moving to Belize!

Luigi Wewege offers a guide on how to move to Belize. He talks about why Belize is worth considering for potential expats, and the key factors in making a move, including residency options, cost of living, and business opportunities.

Belize offers a unique crossover of Central American and Caribbean vibes, charm, and natural beauty. With its lush rainforests, ancient Maya ruins, and the world’s second-largest barrier reef, Belize has become a sought-after destination for those seeking a new place to call home. In this article we’ll look how to move to Belize and what you need to consider.

 

Why Belize?

  1. Natural beauty: From the breathtaking Belize Barrier Reef to the majestic Maya Mountains, Belize is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Residents can enjoy activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, bird watching, and exploring ancient ruins. The country’s commitment to conservation ensures these natural wonders are preserved for future generations.
  2. Relaxing lifestyle: Belize promotes a slower, more relaxed pace of life, perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city living. The culture prioritizes personal relationships and enjoying the simple pleasures of life, whether it’s lounging on a beach, sharing a meal with friends, or admiring a stunning sunset.
  3. Welcoming community: Known for their warmth and hospitality, the people of Belize come from diverse backgrounds, creating a rich cultural tapestry. With English as the official language, newcomers find it easy to integrate socially and navigate daily life and business.

Belize offers a tranquil environment, vibrant culture, and ample opportunities for adventure, making it an ideal destination for those seeking residency and a fresh start. So let’s dive in on how to move to Belize!

 

Attractive Residency Programs

Belize’s residency programs are designed to attract expatriates looking for a new lifestyle in a tropical paradise. These programs cater to a wide array of individuals, from retirees to remote workers, offering them not just a place to live but a lifestyle that blends work, leisure, and adventure. When thinking about how to move to Belize, a good place to start is with your legal residency situation:

 

Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program

The QRP program is tailored for individuals aged 45 and older who wish to enjoy their retirement years in Belize. One of the most enticing aspects of this program is the tax exemptions. QRPs are exempt from paying taxes on income derived from outside Belize, making it advantageous for retirees who receive pensions or have investments abroad. The program also allows for the duty-free importation of personal and household items within the first year of residency. These benefits significantly reduce the cost of settling in Belize.

 

Permanent Residency

For those who are not retired or do not meet the age requirement of the QRP program, permanent residency in Belize is a viable option. The process is straightforward, especially for individuals who can demonstrate a steady income from outside Belize. This income assures the Belizean government that the applicant can support themselves without taking employment away from Belizean citizens. Permanent residents enjoy many of the same rights as Belizean citizens, making it an excellent option for remote workers or entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Belize.

 

Remote Working Options

Belize is increasingly popular among remote workers due to its reliable internet infrastructure, especially in tourist and areas. The country offers a unique opportunity to work in an environment that others might only experience during vacation. Imagine conducting your daily business with the Caribbean Sea or rainforest as your backdrop! This shift in the work environment can lead to increased creativity, productivity, and an overall better quality of life. Remote workers in Belize can easily blend work and leisure, taking advantage of the country’s natural wonders and adventure activities in their free time.

 

Relaxed Immigration Policies

Belize’s immigration policies are welcoming and accommodating, reflecting the country’s overall friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The government understands the value that expatriates bring to the local economy and culture. As such, it has created programs that facilitate a smooth transition for those looking to make Belize their new home. Whether it’s through the QRP program, permanent residency, or other visa options, Belize offers a straightforward path to residency for those seeking a new tropical life.

 

Affordable Cost of Living

Belize’s reputation as an affordable escape is well-earned, making it a magnet for retirees, remote workers, and those seeking a more cost-effective lifestyle without compromising on quality of life.

 

Housing Affordability

The housing market in Belize is typically more affordable than North American or European locales. Renting a comfortable home or apartment can be surprisingly inexpensive, with prices lower than what one might pay in the US or Europe for a comparable location and living space. For those looking to purchase property, Belize offers a range of options from modest houses to luxury villas, often at prices well below those in more developed countries. This affordability in housing means that living in a picturesque setting, once thought to be a luxury, can actually be quite attainable.

 

Food & Entertainment

The cost of food in Belize is another area where savings can be found, especially when buying local produce and products. Markets are filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood at prices that are a fraction of what one might expect to pay elsewhere. This bounty of fresh, affordable food supports a healthy lifestyle and allows for the enjoyment of dining out without breaking the bank. Belizean cuisine, with its mix of Caribbean, Maya, and Latin influences, offers delicious meals in local eateries at very reasonable prices.

 

Belize’s attraction both in its beauty and as an investment location make it a compelling option for anyone seeking to relocate. By following the tips on how to move to Belize above, you can approach this new era with confidence, armed with the knowledge needed to start your new life on the best possible footing!

 

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.

 

The Qualified Retirement Program Belize

Belize QRP

The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) is a special program designed to attract retirees and expatriates to live in Belize. The program offers various benefits to qualified individuals who meet the specified criteria. The Belize Retire & Invest program is also available for people looking to obtain Belize residency and QRP benefits through investment.

Belize offers retirees a lot of upsides: English-Speaking, British Common Law, Low-Tax Jurisdiction, close proximity to home, and warm Caribbean Climate.

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 as well as a wide array of 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 when compared to residency programs elsewhere in the world.

An exciting new announcement is that the age to qualify for QRP residency is now 40 years old or more (prior to 2023, the age to qualify was 45+).

 

Belize Qualified Retirement Program

The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to facilitate eligible people who meet the needed requirements, to obtain residency while allowing them an easy way to permanently live and retire and relax in Belize. The QRP is done through the BTB (Belize Tourism Board).

Here are some key points about the Belize QRP:

  1. Eligibility: To qualify for the Belize QRP, an individual must be at least 40 years old and be able to demonstrate a consistent income from a pension or annuity of at least $2,000 per month. This income must be derived from a source outside of Belize.
  2. Benefits: Participants in the QRP enjoy several benefits, including:
    • Exemption from Belizean taxes on income derived from sources outside Belize.
    • Import duty and tax exemptions on personal and household items, as well as a vehicle.
    • No restrictions on the repatriation of income or capital.
  3. Application Process: The application process for the Belize QRP involves submitting various documents, including proof of age, financial statements, and a police record. Applicants are also required to provide evidence of their pension or annuity income.
  4. Income Requirement: As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the minimum income requirement for the QRP was $2,000 per month. However, it’s essential to check for any updates or changes in the program’s requirements, as these may have been adjusted.
  5. Renewal: QRP status is typically granted for one year initially and can be renewed annually. Participants must continue to meet the eligibility criteria to maintain their QRP status.
  6. Residency Requirements: QRP participants are not required to spend a specific amount of time in Belize, making it attractive for those who want to maintain a part-time or seasonal residence.
  7. Real Estate Investment: While there is no specific requirement to invest in real estate to qualify for the QRP, many participants choose to purchase property in Belize. The Belize real estate market can be an attractive option for those looking to retire in a tropical location.
  8. Community Integration: Many QRPs choose to become involved in local communities or join expatriate communities in Belize. This can provide a sense of community and support for individuals who are new to the country.

As regulations and program details can change, it’s important to check with the Belize Tourism Board or other official sources for the most up-to-date information on the Qualified Retirement Program in Belize.

Learn more about the QRP and the Retire & Invest Program below;

Belize Retire & Investment Residency

Belize QRP Program

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

New York to Belize JetBlue Starting Nonstop JFK Flights

JetBlue Starting Nonstop Route From New York to Belize

 

There was a big announcement for Belize tourism this week! JetBlue (a U.S. Airline) will launch a new direct flight to Belize. Not only is this a new airline beginning routes to Belize, but it is also a direct flight from one of the largest international cities in the world… New York City!

2023 has been a big bounce-back year for Belize tourism, with more international travel routes than ever.

JetBlue announced they would launch direct flights from New York to Belize in December, bringing nonstop flights from the Big Apple.

This is the first-ever non-stop route from New York JFK Airport to the Central American country of Belize.

The new flights, with JetBlue from JFK to BZE, will launch on Dec. 6, 2023. It will mark the first-ever nonstop flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Belize’s Phillip S.W. Goldson Airport (BZE), the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced on June 6, 2023.

The new route from JetBlue will operate year-round with direct flights from New York (JFK) to Belize on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Belize has entered the world’s radar, and the popularity of Belize is growing. More-and-more travelers are coming to Belize to enjoy the tropical destination as more people discover the Caribbean beaches of Ambergris Caye, the local culture, and the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef.

JetBlue is now offering non-stop service from New York for the entire year starting in December 2023.

 

Non-Stop Flights From New York To Belize

Starting December 6, 2023, JetBlue will begin offering non-stop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Belize City’s Philip W. Goldson Airport (BZE). Year-round service will operate round-trip flights on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Scheduled flight times are the following (all times are local):

  • JFK to BZE: Departs at 8:29 a.m. and arrives at 12:14 p.m.
  • BZE to JFK: Departs at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at 7:00 p.m.

 

U.S. Cities with Direct Flights to Belize

With the new flight from JetBlue, 13 cities in the United States will now offer nonstop service to Belize. The latest flight route from New York will make JetBlue the 12th airline offering direct international flights to Belize!

  1. New York City (JetBlue)
  2. Atlanta (Delta)
  3. Charlotte (American)
  4. Chicago (United)
  5. Dallas (American)
  6. Denver (Southwest, United, Frontier)
  7. Houston (Southwest, United)
  8. Los Angeles (Alaska, American, United)
  9. Miami (American)
  10. Minneapolis (Delta, Suncountry)
  11. Newark (United)
  12. Orlando (Frontier)
  13. Seattle (Alaska)

There are currently 21 cities and 7 countries with direct flights to Belize.

 

2023 Direct Flights to Belize

 

Belize Growth & Tourism

Over 68% of Belize’s overnight tourism arrivals are from the United States (according to BTB). Adding a direct flight from a city as large as New York significantly boosts Belize’s tourism.

Anthony Mahler, Belize’s Minister of Tourism, said, “This new route is a huge win for the government’s efforts to make Belize accessible to more US visitors.”

If you want to travel to Belize or invest in Belize real estate, contact RE/MAX Belize!

 

Traveling to Belize Internationally

Traveling to Belize

Belize is a country in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Belize is unique as it has the mainland which is Central America and the islands which are Caribbean. There are several ways to get to Belize, including:

 

Air Travel to Belize

Many major airlines offer direct flights to Belize City from several cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City is the main airport in Belize, with several airlines offering daily flights.

It is estimated that around 81% of all international tourists travel come through the Belize International Airport. In 2023 it is even easier to travel to Belize with more international direct flights flying to Belize and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) than ever before.

The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, which is BZE (Philip Goldson International Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize.

Below you can see all of the direct flights to Belize as of the start of 2023 and the corresponding airline;

Direct International Flights to Belize 2023

 

 

Most of the direct flights are from major US travel hubs, including; Houston (IAH), Denver, Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami (MIA). Belize also has direct flights from Canada (Toronto & Calgary). Belize also has international flights to popular Central American Destinations like Panama City, Cancun, Honduras, and Guatemala City.

Learn more about the direct flights to Belize below;

Direct International Flights to Belize 2023

Direct Flights from New York Announced

 

Land & Border Travel to Belize

Belize is accessible by land from Mexico and Guatemala. There are several bus services that operate between Belize and these neighboring countries. It is important to check Belize visa requirements and border crossing regulations before attempting to cross the border by land.

Belize has 2 border crossings;

  1. The Western Border (Benque Viejo Del Carmen)
  2. The Northern Border (Santa Elena)

 

 

The Western Border (Guatemala & Belize)

Belize borders Guatemala to the West. Near San Ignacio, in the Cayo District, there is the Western Border. There is one main highway crossing of the border at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, Belize, and Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala.

 

The Northern Border (Mexico & Belize)

The Northern border is an international border between the countries of Belize and Mexico. Currently, there are two official crossings at the border, which are international bridges. The main bridge is located between Subteniente Lopez, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Santa Elena, Corozal District, Belize.

 

 

 

Sea & Water Travel to Belize

Belize is a popular destination for cruise ships, with several major cruise lines offering stops in Belize City and other ports throughout the country.

Cruise Ships

 

Fort Street Tourism Village Cruise Port

Fort Street Tourism Village is the original Belize cruise ship port. The Fort Street Village port has several courtyards, snack bars, and local stores with duty-free shopping. Several restaurants offer authentic Caribbean, Belizean, and international cuisine, and there is often live local entertainment. The Fort Street Village Cruise Port is located in Belize City and is the most popular cruise ship terminal in Belize.

 

Harvest Caye Cruise Port

Harvest Caye is a newly opened docking port in the southern Stann Creek District (near Placenecia) that currently caters to Norwegian Cruise Line passengers.

 

Port Coral Cruise Ship Port

The Government of Belize has started a new “Cruise Ship Docking Facility” (passenger terminal) in Belize City. The new cruise ship port will be called “Port Coral”. The development project also includes building a resort and theme park on Stake Bank Caye – an island located approx 5 miles southeast of Belize City.

Named Port Coral or Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility. The new “Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility” or Port Coral will be 25 acres and have a docking capacity of 4 liners. Along with the 4 liner docking stations, the new terminal complex also includes a 60-slip yacht marina.

Construction at Port Coral, a new cruise ship docking facility is well underway and expected to open in 2022.

 

Water Taxi

There is also a water taxi and ferry service which goes between Chethumal, Mexico, and San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye.

 

 

 

New San Pedro & Ambergris Caye Hospital

San Pedro Town & Ambergris Caye Hospital

 

Residents of San Pedro Town and Ambergris Caye (along with all those who invest and travel to the island) are excited about the latest development announcement. Residents of Ambergris Caye are finally getting a state-of-the-art hospital and medical facility. Earlier this year, there was a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Belize and Taiwan for the construction of the San Pedro General Hospital. The $33 million needed to construct the hospital will be a grant and not a loan from the Government of Taiwan.

The unveiling of the design of the new healthcare facility for Ambergris Caye took place on Monday, April 3rd, 2023. The state-of-art medical facility in San Pedro will be possible through the people of Taiwan and the site preparation is underway.

This facility fulfills the need for accessible, comprehensive medical services both for residents and visitors to Belize’s most popular tourist destination (Ambergris Caye).

The Belizean Government has been working with a number of specialists on this ambitious project with the help of a team of experts; analyzing data, meeting with health teams/professionals on the ground, planning the execution, and collaborating with partners in order to ensure the construction of a first-rate hospital and medical facility.

David Kuan-Chou Chien, Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize stated “Taiwan has rich experience of building and management of medical facilities and is willing to share it with Belize to better the Belizean people. Therefore we are delighted to work with the Government of Belize to implement the construction project of the San Pedro Hospital. We hope that the hospital  can make a big difference for the residents and tourists of San Pedro Town.”

Presently, the San Pedro Poly Clinic is the primary medical facility on Ambergris Caye. The newly announced San Pedro General Hospital will be located across from Victoria House Resort, on the south side of the island, about 1.5 miles south of San Pedro Town; no start of construction date has been announced yet. That said, the land for the hospital is already being prepped for construction.

This new hospital location is very convenient for residents and investors in Mahogany Bay Village. The new medical facility and hospital are located just a few minutes from the community front gate.

 

Proposed Hospital Site

 

Hospital Location

 

Media

Taiwan Gifts $33 Million to Belize for Hospital

Model for San Pedro Hospital Revealed

 

Biggest Development Announcements & Updates

 

For more information on the new hospital and medical facility, contact us! We look forward to sharing the latest updates and developments coming to Belize.

Direct International Flights to Belize 2023

International Flights to Belize

Air travel and flights are essential for international tourism as it provides vital links for the global tourism industry. It is estimated that over half (58%) of all international tourists travel by air; this number is even more so in Belize, where in 2022, over 81% of tourism came through international flights/travel. The tourism industry in Belize depends on sustainable growth and an increase in air travel.

This is shown by the number of new airlines with routes to Belize and the increased number of direct international routes. Tourism is essential to sustainable economic development in Caribbean destinations like Belize. The steady increase and inflow of tourists have a direct correlation to economic growth and appreciation of Belize real estate.

In 2023 it is even easier to travel to Belize with more international direct flights flying to Belize and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) than ever before. This is a sign of the growth in Belize tourism and the continued upward trajectory. Below you can see all of the direct flights to Belize as of the start of 2023 and the corresponding airline;  

 

 

Most of the direct flights are from major US travel hubs including; Houston (IAH), Denver, Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami (MIA). Belize also has international flights to popular Central American Destinations like Panama City, Cancun, Honduras, and Guatemala City. You can see more information on the travel days below;  

 

United States Direct Flights to Belize

Direct non-stop flights to Belize are available with United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Direct non-stop seasonal (Nov to Apr) flights to Belize are available with Sun Country Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.  

 

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines direct flights were announced in November 2021 and started in 2022 with direct flights from Los Angeles (LAX) & Seattle (SEA).

Seattle, Washington (SEA): Direct Flights Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

Los Angeles, California (LAX): Direct Flights Friday & Saturday. 

Alaska Airlines

 

American Airlines

Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT): Direct Flights Every Saturday.

Dallas, Texas (DFW): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) from Dallas Fort Worth. Multiple flights daily. 

Miami, Florida (MIA): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

Los Angeles, California (LAX): Direct Flights Every Saturday.  

American Airlines

 

Delta Airlines

Atlanta, Georgia (ATL): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP): Direct Flights are Seasonal on Saturday.

Delta Airlines

 

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines announced direct flights to Belize starting in 2022. They have 2 planned direct routes from Denver & Orlando.

Orlando, Florida (MCO)

Denver, Colorado (DEN)

Frontier Airlines

 

Southwest Airlines

Denver, Colorado (DEN): Direct Flights Every Saturday & Sunday. 

Houston, Hobby, Texas (HOU): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  

Southwest Airlines

 

Sun Country Airlines

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP): Direct Flights on Saturday (seasonal). 

Sun Country Airlines

 

United Airlines

Chicago, Illinois (ORD): Direct Flights on Saturday.

Denver, Colorado (DEN): Direct Flights Every Saturday & Sunday. 

Houston, Texas (IAH): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Multiple flights daily.

Newark, New Jersey (EWR): Direct Flights on Saturday & Sunday. 

Los Angeles, California (LAX): Direct Flights on Saturday.  

United Airlines

 

Canadian Direct Flights to Belize

The direct Canadian flights from WestJet & Air Canada stopped for the duration of the COVID pandemic. Now the direct flights from Toronto & Calgary are back. 

 

WestJet

Calgary, Alberta (YYC): Direct Flights on Friday (seasonal)

Toronto, Ontario (YYZ): Direct Flights on Wednesday & Saturday

WestJet

 

Air Canada

Toronto, Ontario (YYZ): Direct Flights on Sunday (seasonal)

Air Canada

 

Latin America & Central America Direct Flights

 

COPA Airlines

 
Panama

Panama City (PTY): Direct Flights Every Friday

COPA Airlines

 

TAG Airlines

Guatemala City (GUA): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  

TAG Airlines

 

Tropic Air

 
El Salvador

San Salvador Intl (SAL): Direct Flights on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.  

 
Guatemala

Guatemala City (GUA): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  

 

Honduras

Roatan (RTB): Direct Flights on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.  

San Pedro Sula (SAP): Direct Flights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  

 
Mexico

Cancun (CUN): Daily Direct Flights (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  

Tropic Air

 

Direct Flights December 2023

New York City JFK to Belize Nonstop Direct Flight Announcement

 

Why is Airline Data Important?

One of the best indicators for what will happen to tourism in a specific market is airline stats. The primary reason is that airlines provide some of the most accurate data for how many new visitors will be coming into a market. Airlines also plan their new or additional routes around patterns and searches, this indicates more people are inquiring about Belize. 

Increase in Flights = Increase in Incoming Passangers = Increase in Demand for Rentals

Increase in Flights = Increase in Tourism = Appreciation of Real Estate Values

 

There is a direct correlation between real estate appreciation and tourism growth within tourism markets. The greater the demand, with a limited supply, equates to an increase in value. This, in turn, leads to higher Belize real estate value!

 

Direct Flights & Belize Economy

The Caribbean region (including Ambergris Caye, Belize) is heavily reliant on tourism for its economic health and the growth of the country. In many Caribbean markets such as Cuba, Guyana, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, more than 90 percent of tourists arrive by air. Luckily, Belize has both the mainland and the islands, with roughly 81% of our 2022 inbound tourism arriving by air travel. 

 

Traveling to Ambergris Caye

The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, which is BZE (Philip Goldson International Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize. If you are planning a trip to Belize and looking to visit San Pedro Town & Ambergris Caye (the #1 destination in Belize), it is very easy. There are domestic puddle jumper flights from Tropic Air & Maya Island Air. The flights run every 30 minutes from Belize City to the island and are a short 10 to 15-minute flight over the reef and beautiful Caye’s. 

Visitors can also take the Water Taxi/Ferry, which departs from Belize City Ferry Terminal. The Ferry is a longer trip but also very easy. 

The RE/MAX Belize team looks forward to welcoming you to Belize! Contact us for more information on Ambergris Caye Real Estate & Belize Real Estate!

 

Belize Qualified Retired Person Program (QRP)

Belize QRP

The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to facilitate eligible people who meet the needed requirements, to obtain residency while allowing them an easy way to permanently live and retire and relax in Belize.

 

Belize QRP Program & Residency

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 as well as a wide array of 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 when compared to residency programs elsewhere in the world.

 

Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program

Belize is recognized as a top tourist destination and is also considered to be a top destination for people looking for retirement in the Caribbean. To incentivize people to move and retire in Belize, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) put in place the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QRP). The QRP was developed in the 1990s to open doors for anyone over the age of 45 who is looking to retire in the Central American-Caribbean paradise of Belize.

Belize offers retirees a lot of upsides: English-Speaking, British Common Law, Low-Tax Jurisdiction, close proximity to home, and warm Caribbean Climate. With the influx of retirees and Baby Boomers, Belize has developed a “Permanent Tourist” sector. The QRP was put in place for retirees whose income allows for self-sustainability. The benefits of Belize’s QRP Program for the individual and the country are significant. As stated by International Living, “Belize has one of the world’s best retiree programs”.

 

 

Who Qualifies for QRP?

The QRP is a great program and allows people who meet the criteria to move and reside in Belize (while easily obtaining residency). Though the QRP is a great program, it is not for everyone. There is a list of qualifications that a person meet to apply and get approval. To be granted approval for QRP the qualifications include;

  • A person must be 45 years or older to apply.
  • When applying dependents include spouses and children under 18 years.
  • A person must meet the financial requirement and be the beneficial recipient of a retirement income of $2,000 USD monthly or $24,000 USD annually generated from a source outside of Belize in an approved foreign currency.
    • Retirement Income includes:
      • Pension
      • Annuity
      • Social Security Benefits
      • Investment Account
      • Inheritance
      • Reverse Mortgage
      • Personal Savings
      • Retirement Contribution Plans
      • And other means of retirement income
  • A person applying for QRP must be able to provide a written undertaking to deposit the required amount in a bank, credit union, or licensed financial institution in Belize.
  • Must pass a security clearance check carried out by the Ministry of National Security in Belize.
  • Must be able to remain in Belize for a minimum of 30 consecutive days annually (every year).
  • Qualifying Countries for the QRP include people with citizenship or status in:
    • All Commonwealth countries excluding Belize
    • United States of America
    • Canada
    • 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.
    • All South American Countries

 

QRP Incentives & Benefits

The QRP offers applicants and QRP members an array of benefits. Any person who has been accepted into the QRP Program is entitled to the following under the Belize Retired Persons Incentives Act

  • Belize Residency Status – QRP holders and their dependents shall receive a QRP Resident Card to reside in Belize allowing multiple entries into the country without a Visa. *Resident card to be renewed annually *
  • Duty Exemptions – QRP holders shall be entitled to import duty and tax exemption on the following, for personal use only, 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 [Model must be within the last 5 years] – QRP’s are allowed to purchase a new vehicle every four [4] years with proper disposal of the previous vehicle
    • Light Aircraft [Model must be less than 17,000 kg]
    • Motor Boat
  • Tax Exemptions – QRP holders shall be exempted from all taxes and duties on income received from a source outside of Belize, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax (estate tax).
  • Ease of Purchasing Land – QRP holders are entitled to purchase land for the construction of a home or purchase a home for residential use only.
  • Dependent Benefits
    • Dependants under QRP can engage in any employment in Belize
    • Carry on any business, trade, or profession within Belize if such business relates to activities carried on mainly outside of Belize and conducted exclusively with persons not resident in Belize.
    • Make any investment in Belize (Belize Real Estate and Belize Real Estate Investment for example).
    • Practice philanthropy and volunteer work in Belize.

QRP Member Benefits:

  • Qualified Retired Persons can import personal effects free of import duties;
  • Qualified Retired persons are strongly encouraged to purchase a vehicle in Belize. The vehicle must not be more than three years old. Though they can import a vehicle without import duties.
  • This requirement is the same for imported vehicles.
  • Qualified Retired Persons can import a boat free of import duties to be used for personal use;
  • Qualified Retired Persons are exempted from payment of all taxes on income received from outside the jurisdiction of Belize.

QRP Dependent Benefits:

  • Belize Residency Status – Dependent will receive a QRP resident card allowing multiple entries into Belize without a Visa.
  • Engage in any employment in Belize.
  • Carry on any business, trade or profession within Belize if such business relates to activities carried on mainly outside of Belize and conducted exclusively with persons not resident in Belize.
  •  Make any investment in Belize.
  • Practice philanthropy in Belize.

 

Retire and Invest Program

The BTB (Belize Tourism Board) has introduced a new program that allows people to obtain residency in Belize through investment and gives QRP holders the ability to more freely invest in Belize and conduct business in Belize. 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$500,000.00)
  • If the person has resided in Belize for at least 180 non-consecutive days.
  • The Business must employ at least five Belizean citizens.

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.

 

Documents Required for QRP

  1. A QRP Application Form.
  2. Notarized Birth Certificate for each family member (QRP applicant and dependants)
  3. Notarized Marriage Certificate (if the spouse is under QRP)
  4. Original Police Record from last place of residence (issued one month prior to application).
  5. Color Copy of the entire Passport (including all blank pages). This is required for each family member and/or dependant. Each page must be certified and stamped by a notary.
  6. Proof of Income. An official statement from a Bank or any other Financial Institution from the country of residence will be required certifying that the applicant is receiving the required financials for QRP. Proof of a monthly income of a minimum of US $2,000.00 or $24,000.00 US annually. This can be through a pension or annuity that has been generated outside of Belize. Once approved, all retirees are requested to open a local bank account and deposit their monthly pension funds or annual income in the Belizean institution. The Belize Tourism Board will request bank statements on a yearly basis to show proof of income and compliance with the retirement program.
  7. Medical Examination and blood work.
  8. Four front (profile) and four side passport photographs of the QRP applicant and each member of the family applying as dependants.

 

Things to Know About QRP

  • Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed to seek employment in Belize, however, voluntary work and business investments are encouraged.
  • Qualified Retired Persons need to submit a yearly bank statement showing compliance with the financial requirements of the program.
  • Qualified Retired Persons are required to renew their retiree status every year.
  • Qualified Retired Persons need a customs broker to process your importation of personal effects, vehicles, or boats.
  • Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed duty-free on items used to repair or build, nor tools of their trade.

The benefits of the QRP Program include a permanent exemption from all taxes in Belize (estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and most import taxes). And while the Belize QRP visa offers full-time residency, new residents can enjoy all the QRP benefits even by spending as little as one month in Belize.

The requirements to successfully enter the Belize QRP Program are remarkably simple when compared to residency programs in other popular retirement destinations. It is a program put in place to incentivize foreign investment and retirement in Belize.

If you are considering retiring in Belize and looking at buying Belize real estate, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

 

Retire and Invest

  • People who are under and apply for QRP shall be entitled to carry on business in Belize with the approval of the BTB if the person meets the following criteria:
    • A Business Plan.
    • Proof of Investment of at least 1 Million Belize Dollars (1 million BZ) (or $500,000 USD)
    • If the person has resided in Belize for at least 180 non-consecutive days.
    • The Business must employ at least five Belizean citizens.
  • A QRP granted approval to carry on business in Belize shall be eligible for:
    • 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.

 

Retiring in Belize with QRP

Belize is recognized as a popular tourist destination and is continuing to grow in popularity. Belize is considered to be a great spot for retirees and expats. Hence, the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QRP) was developed.

The QRP Program was developed in the 1990’s to open doors for anyone 45 years or older with a pension or annuity to retire in this Central American-Caribbean paradise along with his/her spouse and children. With the distinctive benefits that come with being in Belize, mainly being English-speaking and having a warm climate, Belize has developed a “Permanent Tourist” sector. Retirees whose income allows for self-sustainability help to add to Belize’s economy. The benefits of Belize’s QRP Program for the individual and the country are significant. As stated by International Living, “Belize has one of the world’s best retiree programs”.

 

Retiring in Belize

Retiring in Belize with QRP
Infographic showing retiring in Belize and QRP program.