Many Americans and Europeans are choosing Belize as their retirement home, or simply a place to relocate to a place where daily life moves quite a bit slower. If you are planning on making Belize your home, and not just a vacation spot or real estate investment; here is a basic guide on how to stay in Belize and possibly obtain Belizean citizenship.
1. Staying in Belize Indefinitely:
Are you qualified to apply for citizenship in Belize?
If you are planning on living out your golden years in Belize, it is wise to do your research to determine if becoming a citizen is even an option for you. Future expats who are not children or grandchildren of Belize citizens (those born in Belize), need to know that citizenship requests will be denied to those whose parents are currently citizens of countries who may be at war with Belize or who have legal immunity in Belize.
If you are married to a citizen of Belize, citizenship can be granted.
As with many countries across the globe, if you marry a citizen of Belize, after a year of residency in Belize, citizenship can be granted; barring there are no other issues concerning your country of origin as stated in the previous step.
Move to Belize with the intention of making the country your home.
If you are seriously considering moving to Belize and making it your home; you can move there and automatically be granted a month Visa stamp in your passport. After a month, you can apply for an additional stamp monthly for up to 6 months for a $25 USD fee. You may continue to renew your Visa, but the fee increases to $50 USD per month after your first 6 months are granted.
Find out if you need a Visa to enter the country.
Many global citizens are not required to obtain a Visa to enter Belize. If you are a citizen of any of these countries, you can travel to Belize with a current legal passport.
- Citizens of the European Union Member States (EU)
- Citizens of the Caribbean Community Member States (CARICOM)
- Citizens of the United States of America and dependent territories
- Costa Rica
- South Africa
- Citizens of the Commonwealth Realms & Monarchies
2. Applying For Citizenship:
After 6 months of residency in Belize, you may apply as a resident alien.
In order to apply as a resident alien of Belize, you must have financial proof that you can care for yourself and will not be a financial burden on the country. You must have at least $2000/mo for your living expenses. You must show proof of these finances when renewing your permit.
The Qualified Retirement Persons Program
The QRP (Qualified Retirement Persons Program) was created by the Belize Tourism Board to attract retirees to the country. Many find this a difficult process and hard to get approved; however, if you are approved, you are then exempt from any other residency requirements.
After one year of living in Belize, you can apply for permanent residency. After 5 years of living in Belize, you can apply for naturalization. Once you are a Belizean citizen or Resident, you are then allowed to work and start a business in Belize without a Work Permit.