IMMIGRATION AND PERMANENT RESIDENCY

All visitors to Belize, regardless of the purpose of their visit, are issued a 30-day visa upon arrival. This is renewable, for up to six months, at any immigration office in the country (at borders and principal cities/towns) by paying $25.00 USD the first 6 months and $50.00 USD the second six months. You must be prepared to present proof of sustenance for the period in question. If you intend to stay more than six months, you have to apply for a work permit.

A Qualified Retired Person who has a pension of at least $2,000.00 USD per month can get a QRP status that will allow them to come and go without the need for an additional visa. It does not give them "Residency" status and they can never qualify to become a citizen. They are also unable to work in the country. The Belize Tourist Board will have all of the most current information and requirements for this program.

Any individual who will be working on projects within Belize, or conducting business of any kind, whether or not they are generating an income here, must have a "Temporary Self-Employment" work permit. Once permanent residency status is granted, a work permit is no longer required, and residents are permitted to move freely in and out of the country. All work permits are valid for one year; the cost ranges from US$25 for missionaries and volunteers, to US$750 for investors (professional and technical workers). Note: These fees reflect the February 1999 increase.

Belizean nationality may be acquired following a minimum of five years' permanent residency. Currently, there is no requirement for permanent residents to spend a specific amount of time in the country during this five years. However, it has been suggested that this should be taken into consideration when application for citizenship is being made; therefore, residents should keep themselves abreast of changes in the laws to avoid future problems.

Please remember... Residency cannot be applied for from outside the country; you must be legally in Belize to make these applications. For information contact the Immigration and Nationality Department: 501-8-22611 or -22423.


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