It’s a common occurrence for a tourist to arrive in Belize and decide that they want to stay. In fact, the country is quickly becoming one of the top tropical destinations for North Americans and Europeans looking to retire in peace. But despite the obvious draws of Belize, the Belizean government is almost always happy to have some new residents. If you’re looking to live in Belize, you have quite a few options. Here’s what you need to know.
Staying as a Tourist
If you’re simply trying to get a feel for how much you might enjoy staying in Belize, you can test the waters without even having to apply for a visa. Just keep in mind that your stay will be relatively short. Foreigners can travel to Belize and stay in the country for up to 30 days, but you’re required to show your proof of intent to depart within that period of time.
Staying Indefinitely on a Visa
If you do decide you want to stay for longer than the month that you’re allowed without a visa, continuing on in Belize is rarely difficult. Americans and many other travelers only need to visit the immigration office after the first 30 days for a tourist visa. You can then simply continue to pay for an extension every month. While immigration officers will ask for details on the reason for your continued stay, they’re generally pretty amenable to Americans and others looking to stay for extended periods of time. Just keep in mind that if you want to work while in Belize, you’ll also need to apply for a work visa and pay the associated yearly fee.
The Path to Full Residency
Once you’ve decided that you want to stay in Belize, you can begin the path to permanent residency. This requires you to renew your visa for 50 weeks without leaving the country for more than 14 consecutive days during this period. You should make sure to discuss the option with an immigration officer as soon as you’ve decided that you want to begin the process, as they can work with you to make sure your path to residency goes as smoothly as possible. Once you’ve been a resident for five years, you can then begin the process of becoming a full citizen of Belize.
Staying With the Qualified Retired Persons Plan
If you’re over the age of 45 and have an income of $2,000 a month or more, your best option to staying in Belize may be the Qualified Retirement Program. This is one of the most popular ways to stay in Belize for longer periods of time because it offers a number of advantages while having very lax requirements to qualify. Those who do qualify only need to stay in Belize for 30 consecutive days out of the year to maintain their residency. The process for approval also tends to be much quicker than with other residency applications, and you can bring most of your assets over in the first year without having to pay customs.
The QRP is one of the most popular programs for earning Belizean residency, but it’s not the only one. Whether you’re looking to earn your citizenship as quickly as possible, semi-permanently move to Belize as a digital nomad, or simply explore the options, Hesed Realty LTD is the real estate firm you should reach out to. We can help you understand the lay of the land and come up with a foolproof plan for the future.
Questions about buying real estate in Belize? Contact us by email at email@example.com or by WhatsApp at +501 664-1692.