Immigration to Belize
Living and Working in Belize
Belize, a captivating gem in the heart of Central America, stands as an enticing destination for immigration, offering a plethora of reasons to embrace its shores. With its breathtaking Caribbean Sea coastlines, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture, Belize presents a unique canvas for individuals seeking a new chapter in life. The allure lies not only in its stunning landscapes but also in the promising prospects of living and working in Belize. The country welcomes immigrants with open arms, providing pathways to residency through various programs, including the Qualified Retired Persons Program and opportunities for skilled professionals and investors. This warm welcome is further enhanced by the friendly and easy-going nature of the locals, fostering a sense of belonging. Belize’s relaxed pace of life allows for genuine connections and the chance to immerse oneself in a rich blend of cultures. From its natural wonders to its welcoming communities, Belize’s appeal for immigration rests on its promise of a fulfilling and enriching life.
Immigrants from a diverse range of countries have found a home in Belize. The country’s welcoming atmosphere, economic opportunities, and natural beauty attract individuals from various parts of the world. Commonly, you’ll find immigrants from the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and other Caribbean nations among the expatriate community in Belize. This rich blend of cultures contributes to the country’s vibrant tapestry, fostering an environment where different backgrounds come together to create a unique and harmonious way of life. The cost of living in Belize is generally lower than in many Western countries, offering an appealing lifestyle. Belize maintains a relatively stable economic and political environment, contributing to its attractiveness for residents and expatriates.
Belize is currently open for tourists and vacationers as there are no strict rules for the pandemic. Still vaccination or COVID-19 testing requirements for entering Belize is must; however, the traveler must pass the health survey, upon arrival. The borders between the country Belize and Mexico are reopened for fully vaccinated travelers only. Mexico’s borders with Belize may occur closed according to the situation. If it is necessary to travel to Belize, then be prepare for an extended stay or to experience some disruptions to travel due to the Covid-19 situation.
Covid-19 risk may get higher here at any time and authorities will impose some measures to manage the outbreak, this will affect your free moving ability in and out of this country. Getting a travel insurance which has sufficient cover policy is important. Best way to reach here is by flight from all over the world. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City connects to most of the countries. They also have five major US airlines and five other airlines that come to Belize. This is a small and easy to navigate nation so you don’t need plenty of time to visit. Several transports are available to get around Belize like car, water taxi, and plane. Rental cars and taxis are more hassle free rides around the Belize City. Cabs are also one of the modes of transport to get to and from the Belize City’s Municipal Airport (TZA) just outside the city centre.
How to immigrate to Belize – Immigration regulations
Visa: To move to Belize, first you need a valid passport and tickets for a month visitor’s visa to be issued by Belize. Before visa gets expire apply for an application regarding extension of your stay in this country. This can be made at any immigration office in the districts of this country. Many American and European countries and the member state of European Union citizens do not need a visa. All other countries require it to visit Belize. Embassy of Belize or Belizean Consulate issues a visa with the charge of U.S. $25. Or else you can get it at the nearest British Embassy if there is no Belizean Consulate or Embassy in your native country.
Nationals of Bangladesh, Bolivia, India, China, Peru, Angola, Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, Cuba, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, South Africa and Former USSR need prior approval to get a visa from the Department of Immigration in this country.
Permanent Resident: After you complete one year residing in this country, you are eligible to apply for the permanent residency permit for the cost ranging U.S. $187.50 to U.S. $1,600. The charges also depend on the nationality you have.
Requirements for Permanent Resident Visa:
- Proof of one year residence in Belize (passport or refugee document)
- Submit immigration processing fee
- Police record of the applicant and family members over sixteen years
- Marriage certificate
- Income tax statement
- Temporary Employment Permit
Citizenship: to get the citizenship or nationality, you must get a permanent residence certificate or must have completed five years of residing in Belize.
For more information please visit: www.belize.org
Citizens of the Belize are called Belizeans. Belize is a multiethnic nation with people from Amerindian, African European and Asian descent or combination of these groups. Population of this nation is about 53% of Mestizo, 25% of Creole, 11% of Maya, 6% of Garifuna and 5% of East Indian. People here are diverse, engaging and vibrant. Belizeans have different ancestors, Americans, Europeans, Spanish, Indians, Africans, Indigenous and German as a result there is diversity in their culture. These people are generally polite, courteous and charming. Even in casual meet, they address each other with love and respect. To greet a person, shaking hands, a squeeze of arm and a hug is common. Families are closely knitted and at difficult times they stand with each other.
There are different ethnic groups in Belize such as Mestizo Belizean, White Belizean, Mennonites Belizean, Spanish Belizean, Maya Belizean, Afro Belizean, Asian Belizean, and Chinese Belizean. Skin color ranges here from white to black and most people are of mixed race. A person of Indian or Spanish descent is called Mestizo. These people live in towns and villages, in central Belize.
Job offers in Belize
If you want to work in Belize, first you need to get a Temporary Employment Permit, then you must reside in this nation. The application submission can be done at any Labor Department Office. After the application is approved you need to visit the nearest immigration office to the Labor Department, where you have submitted the application. Belize is one of the tourist’s attractions in the world. It is one of the most visited countries for tourism and jobs. There are many jobs available in the tourism industry. English in high demand, so you can get jobs accordingly. English teachers require a university degree and ac certificate from TEFL or TESOL. If you have skills in other profession, there are also many opportunities in other fields as well. Jobs in this country will also help you to expand your network and develop your skills.
Jobs in demand are Teaching English, Resort Manager or other staff, Public health and Medicine, advertising, marketing, Accounting, Software engineer, Environmental Scientists, NGO worker, marketing manager, Security officer, Community Service, transportation, distribution, manufacturing and production industry, etc.
How to get a job offer in Belize:
- Search online
- Apply after finding a suitable company
- Give interview online or in person
- Sign a contract offered by the School or Company
- Submit your documents in order to get a job
For more information please visit: immigration.gov.bz
Primary education in Belize is provided free of cost till the age of fourteen years. There are community colleges and junior colleges in Belize. Community colleges are Corozal Community College, the Toledo Community college, Sacred Heart College, these are higher level institutions having connections with high schools. Junior colleges are St. John’s Junior Coed College, Corozal Junior College, Muffles College and Wesley Junior College. These colleges offer tertiary, post high school programs, and many of them are patterned after the “sixth form” in Britain. They offer associate or two-year college degrees. Corozal Junior College and University of Belize also offer evening and extension programs mainly directed to adults.
The top-ranking universities in Belize are University of Belize, Central America Health Sciences University, Belize Medical College and “Galen University”. Since 2012, the number of international students are increasing every year.
The foreign students who want to immigrate to Belize for education have different visa requirements. To get information on how to apply for student visa, Fees and documents required, refer to immigration.gov.bz
The unemployment rate in Belize was expected to be 9.50% by the end of 2022 & expected to be around 8.20% in 2023. The figures are based on the declining trend in Belize’s unemployment rate which was 10.2% in the year 2021 and 13.7% in the year 2020. The unemployment rate is decreasing since the pandemic started to cease and the unemployed population getting jobs. At the same time the number of economically active population has risen. On a seasonal basis, the unemployment rate eased to 3.5% in the month of February 2022.
For more information please visit: tradingeconomics.com
Economy of Belize
Belize’s economy thrives on tourism, agriculture, and services, reflecting its status as a developing nation with a lower middle-income bracket. The advent of the oil industry has brought both potential and challenges. Exports like citrus, sugar, and bananas contribute, but their prices pose trade deficit concerns.
Investments, production, and distribution drive the economy of Belize, with garment production, food processing, construction, and oil being key industries. The nation significantly exports sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish, and crude oil. Energy and infrastructure are focal points, although electricity costs are high. The ambitious rural electrification project, a collaboration between the government and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), seeks to address accessibility issues. Belize imports machinery, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and food. As Belize navigates growth, bolstering these sectors remains central to its economy. To get the latest information on the economic indicators, reports, and data that can give you a comprehensive overview of Belize’s economic landscape, including information on GDP, inflation, trade, and more, please visit: centralbank.org
Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners
If you are planning to move to Belize then Cayo and Corozal are the reasonable places to rent for less than $600 per month. Renting an apartment or a house is cheaper in Belize than many other countries in North America and Europe, such as United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany. The most expensive city in this county is the capital, the Belmopan. The amount of rent may vary from city to city as it depends on the neighborhood, market, size of the property, city centre. Prices in the major cities are comparatively higher than the rural areas. Major cities like Belize City, Hopkins, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Palencia, etc are also expensive. You can search for an accommodation online or hire a broker. They will help you to find a reliable and comfortable accommodation. Both the furnished and unfurnished flats are available. The term ‘unfurnished’ means you will not get any sitting or sleeping arrangement, fridge or the other things as you get in some other countries, this point should be taken care of. Some owners or the agencies can ask you for a deposit but others may require a credit check or someone to sign the lease. One solution for this is to ask your employer to represent you, if they can.
Documents required for renting property in Belize
- Identity Card
- Documents issued by the Belizean Government
- Work permit/Bank Statement
Owning a property in Belize is possible for foreigners. The good thing is there are same rules and regulation for foreigners as well as the local citizens if they want to buy a property. Many think or buying a property in Belize due to the attractive property prices. Property prices may vary due to various aspects. For instance, the property is in the city centre or is in outskirts, its size, near the coastline or in the middle of the country, etc. Apart from the house price you will also need to pay the agency/brokers fees, notary and lawyer’s fee, acquisition fee, registration fee and the title insurance, payments for water and electricity. Also you must pay the property tax. You can apply for a Permanent Residence Visa and for the citizenship, apply when five years are over as a Permanent Resident.
Documents required for buying property in Belize
- Identity Card
- Mortgage papers
- Promissory Agreement with the payment
- Purchase or Sale Agreement
- Title transfer papers
- Correspondence Taxes Slips
The climate in Belize is a humid tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons along with temperature fluctuation but slight different than other Caribbean Countries. The terrain is low and flat at the coastal areas and in some of the northern regions of Belize while in centre and south there are low mountains. In this country most of the year’s rainfall can be seen during the month of June to November, this is also called as the rainy season. Except the southern region, rainfall varies from year to year. The average temperature all over the country throughout the year is between 10˚C to 35˚C.
This is the reason why the northern part of the country has cool temperature during winters while southern region has constant temperatures year round. Belize’s terrain is varied same as the weather. There are regional variations in Belize’s weather. On the coastal areas some months are rainy and some are dry and mild all year round. Features produce on the rainfall are tropical waves, hurricanes and storms from June to November. Tropical waves can be active during June and July and Storms and hurricanes peak during September and October. There are two main seasons in this country rainy and the dry season.
Rainy Season: This season starts from the month of May till the month of September or first week of October.
Dry Season: This season starts from the month of November till the month of April. This is the cooler time of the year.
For more information please visit: nms.gov.bz
The official language of Belize is English. English is the primary language of public education. It is also used in government offices. Other than English, people can also speak Spanish, Kriol, etc. by more than 50% of the population. Many are people are multilingual, can speak and understand these languages and are fluent in it. Spanish is taught in primary and secondary school as well. Spanish is the most used language in Cayo, Orange Walk and Corozal. Creole is mostly spoken in Stann Creek. Mayan people do speak some indigenous languages like Yucatec, Kekchi and Mopan in this nation. These languages are mostly spoken in the southernmost area of Toledo. Approx 16,000 people speak another indigenous language called Arawakan-based Garifuna language.
There are also few people who speak immigrant languages like German. German is spoken in Mennonite colonies and villages. Vast majority of Mennonites in this country speak Plautdietsch in everyday life. Minority of less than 10% people speak Pennsylvania German. However English language is very much used at the popular tourist destinations in Belize and near the border of the Mexico. Sign languages are also used by the deaf people in Belize. To greet someone you can say “HOLA” means ‘hello’ in Spanish and other words like “Buenos dias” ‘Good Morning’; Buenas Noches” ‘Good evening/Night’; “Como estas” ‘How are you’ will surely help you to start a conversation.
For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org
Expats can drive in this country. To drive in Belize, you do not need an international driving license, instead, your driver’s license from your home country and passport is enough. Roads are full of dirt and gravel in some parts of the islands, forests or rural areas. Most of the Island like Caye Caulker and Ambergis caye, have gravel and potholes on the road. City like San Ignacio has typical narrow streets. To drive on these roads you need a sturdy two-wheeler or four-wheeler vehicle. Highway and motorways are well maintained. Most of the roads are paved and are in good condition. Traffic runs on the right hand side of the road, like many other countries in the world. Road signs are written in English as this is the official language of this country. Seat belts are mandatory for both, the driver and the passenger.
Traffic rule for drinking and driving is not followed very strictly here, hence people drive on the roads after drinking so being alert while driving is important. There is a suggestion, if it is not necessary do not come on road after 10 pm to midnight. Driving here is rough, unlike Europe and America.
There is a lot of traffic and cars try to change the lane without indication. Roads are also a big gripe to the locals as well as the visitors. Since some roads are maintained but rest have potholes and can flatten your vehicle’s tire. Traffic jams are common in Mexico city and you can easily stuck in for an hour or two. If you don’t want to experience the jam then it’s a friendly advice to be more attentive while driving as not all the people follow the driving rules.
There are many roundabouts, speed bumps, where you must reduce the speed of your vehicle. There are different speed limits given by the Belizean government from 40 km/h (25 mph) in towns to 89 km/h (55 mph) on highways, depending on the area you are driving through.
Documents required for driving in Belize
- Passport or green card
- Driving license
- Vehicle Registration Proof
- Temporary vehicle importation permit
For more information visit: parenthoodandpassports.com
The currency is printed by the Central Bank of Belize and the paper currency is available in six denominations, which are $2, $5, $10, $20, $ Belize’s official currency is Belize Dollar (BZD). The sign for the US Dollar and Belize Dollar (BZ$) is same as they have the Spanish dollar as their common origin. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $ or specifically BZ$ to distinguished it from other currencies using the dollar sign. The Belize Dollar is divided into 100 cents. The official value of the Belizean currency is BZ$2 = US$1.
The currency is printed by the Central Bank of Belize and the paper currency is available in six denominations which are $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.
The Belize Dollar in Coins is available in cents as 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and $1.
There are various methods of payment used in Belize. Payments can be made in this country through online, cash or cards, cheques, RTGS or by digital wallets, Master Card, Visa, American Express, etc. Cash is the original and the oldest payment method, used by more than 90% population. POS or ATM’s are the most used electronic payment methods, these days used by the locals and foreigners. Bank transfers are also used by most of the expats as well as locals. This nation has one of the fastest growing mobile driven e-commerce markets in the Central America. Non cash payment methods currently used in this country are cheques, debit cards, credit cards, etc. Three main electronic payment methods are the POS and ATM networks that facilitate payments by credit or debit cards; direct credit facilities to make bulk payments like pensions and salaries; online bill payment facilities. Apparently, it’s anytime you pay without physically handing over notes and coins.
- Cash: Cash is accepted all over the country. Shoppers and vendors who do not have a bank account or a digital wallet accept cash payments.
- Credit Cards: Electronic payment method, accepted all over Belize, mostly in shops and Hotels.
- Cheques: Convenient payment method, accepted and given all over the place in Belize.
- RTGS: Electronic payment method, accepted and given all over the place in Belize.
- Digital Wallets: Online payment method, transfers money directly to the account.
- Bank Transfers: Online payment method, transfers money directly to the account.
For more information visit: www.centralbank.org.bz
Cost of living in Belize
According to a survey the cost of living in the Belize is more expensive than the 34% of cities in the America and cost of living in the Belmopan is expensive than the 60% of cities in the World. Average living cost in Belize depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Cost of living varies from city to city and also if you are staying alone or with your family. The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately BZ$2,900. And the monthly expense will rise if you want to move along with your family of four persons, which will be BZ$7,500. Food is cheap and if you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle, walking till your university or office or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower.
Monthly rent will cost more in the urban areas or in the coastal areas than the cost of rent in rural areas. Expense will also rise if you need bigger accommodation, than the smaller one. Food is cheap and if you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle, walking till your work place or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower. Average living cost depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Immigrants in Belize can find reasonable foodstuff in a variety of places across the country. Local markets and grocery stores are excellent options for affordable fresh produce, grains, and staples. Municipal markets, such as the one in Belize City, offer a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and local products at reasonable prices. You can explore small neighborhood shops and vendors, where you’ll often find locally sourced goods at budget-friendly rates. For more cost-effective options, consider purchasing seasonal fruits and vegetables, as they are often priced lower than imported items.
Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living:
Amount in Belize Dollar (BZ$)
Whole Fat Milk
12 (a dozen)
1 Kg (2 lb.)
500 grams (1 lb)
Fast food meal
8 mbps (1 month)
Gas in vehicle
For more info visit: www.expatistan.com
Belmopan is the most expensive place to rent a residential property, followed by Belize City and San Ignacio in Belize. Also, cites on the coastal areas in different provinces has the expensive apartments. Belize is eighty percent more expensive than the country Mexico. Fully furnished one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you approx BZ$1,200 and same apartment, outside city will cost approx BZ$2,000. A furnished studio apartment of 2 to 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approx BZ$1,570 and outside the city it will cost you approx BZ$1,340. After visiting on the below given link you will get the ideas of the cost of monthly rent. You will find the apartments online or with the help of a local friend. Property showing websites also mentions prices below so that you can choose according to your need and comfort.
For more info visit: www.expatistan.com
Belize amongst one of the few countries which are considered as a tax heaven as this allows its individuals and companies or corporations to legally reduce their liabilities. Foreigners do not have to pay tax in this country on non-Belize income. Here tax system is based on the indirect taxation through three main sources of income. Mentioned below:
- Trade related taxes
- Tax on sales
- And Rates
Furthermore, it has direct taxation through the Income and Business Tax. Tax policy is managed by the Ministry of Finances. Belize’s tax system is divided into two parts: state and local tax system. In local authorities the main source of financing is Property tax, liquor trade license and motor vehicle license, and from sub and transferences on part of the central government. Also there are Income taxes imposed on the citizens. The general income tax rate is twenty-five percent. Deduction of some amount is applied to all taxpayers after the application of the tax rate. The last date for the tax year is March 31st. There are many different types of taxes like, consumption tax, corporate tax, stamp duty, environmental tax, etc. imposed by the government.
For more information please visit: www.liveandinvestoverseas.com
All visitors intending to travel to Belize are required to obtain the Belizean Travel Health Insurance plan, irrespective of their vaccination status. This plan must be purchased prior to embarking on the trip, upon arrival in Belize, or at the land borders of the country. Healthcare infrastructure in Belize is still in development, offering expats the choice between public and private care, or a combination of both. Notably, the government provides free medical services to both expatriates and residents, though limited funding often leads to extended appointment wait times. Major urban centers such as Belmopan, Belize City, and San Ignacio house hospitals with well-equipped medical facilities compared to rural areas. The Belizean constitution makes sure that all citizens have access to healthcare and medicine. This means the government is responsible for providing healthcare to everyone in the country. They do this is by having a detailed plan for giving medical care to different groups of people.
For immigrants and expats, navigating healthcare services in Belize is a crucial consideration. While the government extends medical services to these groups, additional private health insurance might be advisable to ensure comprehensive coverage. The healthcare landscape is evolving, and expats are encouraged to research and select options that align with their needs and preferences.
To explore for medical insurance options in Belize, please visit “Belize Health” (https://belizehealth.com/). This platform provides information on various health insurance plans tailored for residents, expats, and travelers in Belize. It’s advisable to thoroughly review different plans, coverage details, and pricing to find the medical insurance that best suits your needs and circumstances.It’s a good idea to carefully look at different options for insurance, understand what they cover, and see how much they cost. This way, you can find the insurance that’s right for you and fits your situation.
Philip S.W. Golden International Airport
International Airport Road,
Ph: +501 225 2045
Maya Island Air Savannah Airport
Independence and Mango Creek,
Ph: +501 523-2028
Belmopan Bus Terminal
2 Bliss Parade,
Embassy of United States of America
764G+MP5, Belmopan, Belize
Ph: +501 822-4011
Email : ACSBelize@state.gov
3 North Ring Road, Belmopan, Belice, Correo
P.O. Box: 388
Ph:+501-822-0406 / +501-822-2480 / +501-822-0210
Email : email@example.com
Website URL : http://embamex.sre.gob.mx/belice
Guatemala Embassy in Belize City
# 8 “A” Stree
P.O. Box 1771
Ph: +501-2-33314 / +501-2-33150
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Embassy of El Salvador in Belize
13 Citron Street, Cohune Walk, Belmopán, Belice.
P.O. Box 215
Ph : +501-822-3404
Email : email@example.com
Embassy of Republic of China
#20 North Park Street
Belize City, Belize
P.O. Box 1020
Ph: +501 223-8744 / +501-223-1862
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
India Consulate in Belize City
No. 2, Queen Street, PO Box No.830,
Belize City, Belize
Ph : +501-227-1634 / +501-223-0634
Belize a beautiful country, famous for its scenic beaches, flora and fauna, dense forests and the Giant Marine sinkhole, The Blue Hole. The great blue hole lies near the centre of the lighthouse reef, near about 70 km away from the Belize City. Belize is one of the most visited countries; as a result, there are plenty of job opportunities in the tourism sector and hotel industries. English in high demand, so you can get jobs accordingly. Belize is also considered as a tax heaven which is why many people choose this place to settle down and live a relaxed life. Belize is a good destination, but there are still some safety precautions people should take to lessen the risk such as crime, scams and infectious diseases. Many Places are safe and fun to visit, if you have a local guide to direct you where to go and what areas to avoid. A Latin American Country with breathtaking places, pleasant climate and a fun spot for adventurous people. Belize is culturally accessible and has a rich history, great food, many cultural attractions. People are friendly, fashionable, happy, modern and peace loving. It provides good healthcare system to locals as well as foreigners. Cost of living here is relatively cheap than the countries in the North America.
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Translation of the documents
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