Belize has very liberal visa and residency requirements, but it is important to understand them before you attempt to visit the country. All visitors are required to show a valid passport, usually with at least six months remaining before it expires, sufficient funds to support themselves during their time in the country, and proof of a return ticket.
Eligible individuals can stay up to one month in Belize on the so-called “tourist visa.” For individuals wanting to prolong their stay, they need to visit the Immigration Department in Belize City, Belmopan, or their local district in order to extend their visa.
Residency and Citizenship in Belize
As of 2002, Belize no longer has an “economic citizenship” program where individuals can pay a lump sum and acquire full rights.
Most expats wishing to live in Belize need to apply for a permanent residency status. This will allow you to get a local driver’s license and freely travel to and from the country. Permanent residence status is only granted to individuals living in Belize for at least one year. Expats seeking to become permanent residents should enter the country on a normal 30-day visa and successfully extend their visa until a year has elapsed.
Foreigners from the United States or Canada are required to pay a one-time fee of $1,000 to acquire permanent residency. Citizens of other countries must pay a similar fee which differs based on their country of origin.
To apply for permanent residency, download the application from here and submit it to the Immigration Department along with your police record, medical records, recent bank statements, and two passport photographs. The back of the photographs must be signed by you and countersigned by a Justice of the Peace in Belize.
In order to become a citizen of Belize, first you must acquire permanent residency status and then prove that you have legally resided in the country for at least five years. Any legal resident of Belize, regardless of their country of origin, can apply for citizenship which can then also be extended to their spouse and minor children.
For more information about visas, residency requirements, and citizenship, contact the Immigration and Nationality Department in Belize or the Belize Embassy/consulate in your home country.
The Qualified Retired Persons Program(me)
Belize has a special residency program called the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program specifically designed for expats. Eligible individuals must be at least 45 years old and can demonstrate that they are receiving a minimum of $2,000 a month from a pension or annuity (including Social Security) from a source outside of Belize.
Work With the Belize Real Estate Experts
When you’re ready to retire, live and purchase real estate in Belize, contact Hesed Realty Ltd. We have decades of experience selling the most desirable properties in the country. Do you want a home, a business, or farmland? We can help you find the perfect residential or commercial property.