Belize

Why Belize Could Be A Good Choice For Immigration

Belize, a Caribbean Country situated on the eastern part of Central America with Caribbean Sea Shorelines to the east, dense rainforest and pristine jungles to the west. Offshore it has massive Reef with hundreds of low-lying islands known as cayes, consisting plenty of marine life. The jungle is famous for its Mayan ruins, also renowned for its towering pyramid. It is surrounded by Mexico to the North, Guatemala to the west and south and Caribbean Sea to the east. Belmopan is the capital of this Country; it has various national parks and gardens as well as the tallest waterfalls in Central America. Belize is the birth place of the famous Rapper and Politician Moses Michael Levi Barrow, Actor Arlen Escarpeta, Actress Nadia Cattouse, Musician Lova Boy and Author Destiny Wagner, etc. Belize is like heaven for adventure lovers with plenty of good old heritage sites. This is one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world. 

Great Blue Hole © wikimedia

 This country is a tourist attraction and generates plenty of job vacancies in the hotel and tourism industry. People are friendly and easy going. It is easy to settle down in this country and you can experience the home like atmosphere quickly. Also this country has a low cost of living. This land is famous for vibrant culture, good food and beverages. It has some of the best beaches in the world. The more you’ll know about this country, you will get more and more interesting facts. Also this country is a safe destination, but there are still some safety precautions people should take to lessen the risk such as crime, scams and corona virus. Many Places are safe and fun to visit. Belize serves foreigners a multitude of ways to encounter its amazing outdoor environment. Visitors to this nation are from all over the world, especially from United States, Canada, Guatemala, England and Mexico.

Traveling information:

This country 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 this country, 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. This nation has Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City connecting 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: 

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 

People:

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:

If you want to work in this country 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: 

  • 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

Unemployment rate:

The unemployment rate in Belize was declined to 10.2% in the year 2021. The rate was 13.7% in the previous year 2020. The jobless rate refers to the share of working force that is unemployed but is available for work and seeking for it. The rate is as high because of the job losses in commerce, distribution, tourism and several other sectors, same as the absence of a system of unemployment benefits, like many other countries in the year 2020, which got carried over to the next year 2021. Inflation increased, shown in higher food, health, medicines and housing prices. This unemployment rate is decreased since the pandemic has started in the year 2020 as the unemployed population got jobs and the number of employed increased. 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:  

Belize has small, essentially private economy, based on tourism, agriculture and service sector. This is a developing country with lower middle income economy. The cultivation of new discovered oil has shown new prospects as well as problems for Belize. This nation exports citrus, sugar and banana. The export prices of these products are very low due to the growing trade deficit in this country. This economy is depended on investment, production and distribution to the consumers. Garment production, Food processing, tourism, construction, and oil, tourism are the main industries contributing the economy. This nation is also a big exporter of sugar, banana, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood and crude oil. Energy is one more economic sector; a massive constraint on a functioning market economy in this nation continues to be the scarcity of infrastructure investments. Even though the electricity, telephone and water utilities are good, Belize has most expensive electricity. Several other big projects are underway on which this nation is working to accomplish. The largest is a project of more than fourteen million dollars rural electrification program to be jointly implemented by the Belizean government and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). Goods imported by this nation are Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, tobacco. 

For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners:

Renting:

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: 

  • Passport
  • Identity Card
  • Documents issued by the Belizean Government
  • Work permit/Bank Statement

Buying:

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

  • Passport
  • Identity Card
  • Mortgage papers
  • Promissory Agreement with the payment
  • Purchase or Sale Agreement
  • Title transfer papers
  • Correspondence Taxes Slips

For more information please visit: www.expatexchange.com and www.buy-belize.com

Climate:

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

Languages:

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

Traffic:

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

  • Passport or green card
  • Driving license
  • Vehicle Registration Proof
  • Temporary vehicle importation permit

For more information visit: parenthoodandpassports.com

Currency:

Belize’s official currency is Belize Dollar (BZD). The sign for the US Dollar and Belize Dollar (BZ$) is same as they have the common origin from Spanish dollar. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $ or BZ$ to distinguished it from other dollar denominated currencies. The Belize Dollar is divided into 100 cents. The currency is printed by the Central Bank of Belize and the paper currency is minted in six denominations, which are $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and coins as cents in 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and $1. The official value of the Belizean currency compared to the United State of American Dollar is BZ$2 = US$1.

Payment Transaction:

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. 

Payment Methods:

  • 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: 

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.

Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living: 

Product

Quantity

Amount in Belize Dollar (BZ$)

Whole Fat Milk

1 lit

4.37

Eggs

12 (a dozen)

4.00

Tomatoes

1 Kg (2 lb.)

3.00

Chicken

500 grams (1 lb)

50.00

Dining (Lunch)

Full meal

45.00

Fast food meal

Combo

14.00

Bread

2 loaf

4.00

Internet

8 mbps (1 month)

76.00

Cleaning help

Hourly

6.00

Gas in vehicle

1 lit

3.50

Doctor

Short visit

100.00

Movie Tickets

For 2

30.00

For more info visit: www.expatistan.com

Apartment Rent:

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

Moving to Belize

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