Living & Retiring in Belize

When you arrive in Belize, you are granted a 30-day visa. This applies to all visitors across the board. This same visa can be renewed for up to six months at any immigration office for a cost of $12.50 U.S. per month. If you want to stay beyond the initial six months then you will be required to apply for a work permit.

Permanent Residence in Belize

Some may desire permanent residence in Belize. The first requirement for this status is that you have stayed in the country continuously for one year. The exceptions to this are retirees who have a regular income source and professional/skilled people or investors with at least $25,000 in hard currency ready to invest here. Persons who are retiring, professional, skilled, and investing can pretty much get their permanent residency card as soon as they arrive.

The fee to apply for permanent residence fee is $100.00 U.S. and a deposit between $100.00 and $1,200.00 U.S. (depends on the nationality of the applicant) must be left. The deposit can be refunded 3 years after the date residency is granted. The residency application form must be submitted with two passport-sized photographs of each family member. The photographs need to be signed by the Justice of the Peace and endorsed by the submitters.

Belize Retired Persons program

The Belize Retired Persons program makes a way for citizens in the United States, Canada, and U.K. to retire in Belize with residency provided they can prove a pension of at least $1,000.00 U.S. per month. If the income is from other sources outside of Belize, it must be at least $2,000.00 U.S. per month.

This program is not necessarily only for retirees. You can actually be an artist, writer, or photographer and set up an office in Belize and qualify for residency here too. As long as the work you do is not sold in Belize you can operate a tax free business and get permanent residency here.

Residency is especially appealing to those looking to stretch their pension dollar as the money will go a long way here.

Modern Maturity magazine rated Belize as one of the top ten places to retire in the world. There are many reasons to consider living here, whether it’s to retire or just to escape a few months out of the year. Its diversity of natural attractions and laid-back lifestyle are only part of what makes this country alluring. There is an intangible romance that permeates the air in Belize. It’s a magical atmosphere that makes many vacationers fall in love and decide never to leave, intoxicated by the warm Caribbean waters, cool Trade Winds, lush jungles and a people as warm as the year-round tropical weather.

Belize’s democratic government has over 50 years of stability. It is only a 2 hour flight from major US airport hubs. Forty percent of the national territory is protected as nature reserves. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world; 3 of the 4 atolls in the Atlantic; the largest Jaguar reserve in the world; more than 540 different species of birds; and is the cradle of the ancient Mayan civilization. The many recreational activities and sites available give a whole new meaning to the expression “free time”.

Ambergris Caye has a wide variety of real estate options. There are many developments across the island of varying prices and styles to choose from. There are also many private houses and villas for sale. You can even find a nice acreage and build your own home from the ground up. If you plan on living here for only a couple months out of the year, you can turn your property into an investment through local management companies that will rent your home during your absence. If you are planning on retiring permanently, the government has a generous retirement program. Wherever you choose to live on the island, spectacular sunsets and the iridescent Caribbean await you on this tropical paradise.