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Retire in Belize

Belize has become a popular destination for retirees from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe and has been named by “International Living Magazine” one of the top 25 Countries to retire in 2010.

Belize is a popular travel destination for people all over the world and ENGLISH is the official language with Spanish widely spoken which makes communication with everyone effortless.

Belize is located in Central America on the Caribbean coast just south of Mexico and North and East of Guatemala which makes it accessible by air, sea or road. Belize has daily flights from Houston, Dallas, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta and El Salvador which makes travelling back and forth very easy and fast.

Belize offers a warm climate with lots of sunshine and fresh air paired with clear Caribbean waters, pristine tropical islands, lush jungle forests, rolling hills and mountains, Mayan ruins, inland caves and the longest living Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere surely making Belize a true Caribbean Retirement haven that is stress free.

Stability is an important factor to consider when choosing a place to retire and Belize certainly presents itself as a democratic country which remains untouched despite all the political problems in Central America. Coupled with a relatively low cost of living as compared to other Caribbean nations, Belize is a magnet for retirees looking for a peaceful, leisurely retirement.

Belize is one of the few places in the Caribbean and Central America where real estate prices still remain a bargain. The Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP) which offers retirees and expats advantages such as tax and duty exemption is one of the reasons there is an increasing number of retirees settling in Belize. As a retiree in Belize you can truly immerse yourself in Belizean culture and a unique Belizean lifestyle where the atmosphere is very relaxed.

Some Benefits of Retiring in Belize

  • Tax Breaks
  • Peaceful Nation
  • English Speaking
  • Good Educational System
  • Sub-tropical Climate all year round
  • Easy access to land for development and construction of a retirement home
  • Close proximity to the United States and Mexico
  • Strong & stable, Belize Dollar
  • Abundance of natural resources
  • Breathtakingly beautiful
  • Friendly people

We invite you to come enjoy your retirement in “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret”, BELIZE

Belize Qualified Retired Persons (Incentives) Program

About the Program

The Retirement Program in Belize was created especially for those people who wish to live in Belize and who can provide proof of a permanent and consistent income from investment (abroad or in Belize), pension or other retirement benefits.

Who Can Qualify for this Program

Anyone forty-five years and older from anywhere in the world can qualify for the program. Anyone who qualifies can also include his or her dependants in the program. Dependants include spouses and children under the age of eighteen. However, it can also include a person up to the age of twenty-three if enrolled in a university. Proof of a monthly income of at least $2000U.S. must be provided along with several other minor requirements. In addition, a qualified person can enjoy all these benefits and only have to reside in Belize for only one month per year!

Advantages of the Qualified Retired Persons Program

  • You pay no Belizean tax on that income--earned or passive. So you won't be taxed twice on money you're bringing into the country. This means you can still work--just as long as you work from Belize without also generating income within the country. Today, with new telephone and Internet technology, it's easy for "retirees" to direct their foreign business activities and operations from within Belize and still maintain tax-free status
  • As a QRP, you can import your household goods tax-free up to a total exemption amount of $15,000
  • You can also bring in a vehicle tax-free, which can be a car, light aircraft, or boat. In fact, every five years you can import a new vehicle tax-free as long as you sell the original vehicle outside of Belize
  • In many countries, you have to make a significant financial commitment in order to qualify for a program that provides financial incentives for living in the country. In Belize, you must simply prove an income of at least $2,000 a month.
  • While as a QRP you have permanent residency in Belize, for purposes related to international financial services, you are considered a non-resident. That means that you can take advantage of all the offshore banking advantages of Belize while living there "on shore."

Application Process

Each application for the Retirement Program will be processed by the Belize Tourism Board in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Immigration and Nationality. Persons interested in the program must submit completed applications to the Belize Tourism Board with the following supporting documentation.

  1. Birth Certificate- A copy of a certificate for the applicant and each dependant
  2. Marriage Certificate (if married and spouse is a dependant)
  3. Authentic Police Record- An authentic police record from the applicant’s last place of residency issued within one month prior to this application.
  4. Passport- Clear copies of complete passport (including all blank pages) of applicant and all dependants that have been certified by a Notary Public. The copies must have the passport number, name of principal, number of pages and the seal or stamp of the Notary Public.
  5. Proof of Income
    a. An official statement from a bank or financial institution certifying that the applicant is the recipient of a pension or annuity of a minimum of Two Thousand United States Dollars (US $2000) per month.
    b. A Financial Statement from a financial institution, bank, credit union, or building society in Belize certifying that the applicant’s investment or deposit will generate the sum, of a minimum of Two Thousand United States Dollars (US $2000) per month or the equivalent of Twenty Four Thousand United States Dollars (US $24,000) per year.
  6. Medical Examination- Applicants should undergo a complete medical examination including an AIDS test. A copy of the medical certificate must be attached to the application.
  7. Photos- Four front and four-side passport size photographs that have been taken recently of applicant and dependants. Please note that it is also a requirement that all dependants should submit all documents
    listed with exception of the proof of income.

Income from Pension or Other Sources

  1. Retired Pensioner
    A Retired pensioner is that person who qualifies under the program and receives a monthly income of not less than US $2000.00 through a pension or annuity that has been generated outside of Belize.
     
  2. Certification
    i) When a company grants a pension, that company has to prove that it has been in operation for at least 20 years by submitting proof of registration.

    ii) The company that grants the pension shall certify that the pension of no less than US $2000.00 per month will be forwarded to a reputable financial institution within Belize. This letter must be signed by the manager, president, or by a legal representative of the company.

    iii) Certification by a Certified Public Accountant independent of the company:
    - Stating the date the company was established
    - Verifying the authenticity of the above mentioned letter
    - Certifying that the obligation signed in favor of the beneficiary is of no less than US $2000.00 per month.

    iv) The applicant must present two (2) bank references from the company that is sending the pension.

    v) The company granting the pension must present a document outlining its pension scheme.

    Requirement ii),iii),iv) could be omitted where the company sending the pension is considered to be a Fortune Five Hundred Company.
     
  3. Background Check
    All applications are subject to a background check to be carried out by the Ministry of National Security.

Regulations

All privileges, exemptions and regulations herein included are governed by the Retired Persons (Incentives) (Amendment) Act, 2001, and the ACT will serve as the basis for all purposes of interpretation.

  1. Personal/Household Effects
    Qualified Retired Persons under the program can qualify for duty and tax exemptions on new and used personal and household effects admitted as such by the Product Development Officer in charge of the program. A list of all items with corresponding values that will be imported must be submitted with the application. All items must be imported in country within 1 year after approval into the program.
     
  2. Transportation
    a. Motor Vehicle
    Qualified Retired Persons are strongly encouraged to procure a vehicle in Belize. However, we will facilitate duty and tax exemption on an imported vehicle.
    b. Light Aircraft
    A Qualified Retired Person is entitled to import a light aircraft less than 17,000 kg. A Qualified Retired Person is required to have a valid Private Pilot license to fly in Belize. This license can be obtained by passing the requirements set by the Civil Aviation. However, if the participant has a valid pilot’s license, that license only has to be validated by Civil Aviation Department in Belize.
    c. Boat
    Any vessel that is used for personal purposes and for pleasure will be accepted under this program.
     
  3. Disposal of Duty Free Items
    If for whatever reason a qualified retired person decides to sell, give away, lease, or otherwise dispose of the approved means of transportation or personal effects to any person or entity within Belize, all duties and taxes must be paid by that person or entity to the proper authorities.
    Qualified Retired Persons must note that only after 3 years and upon proof that the transportation that was previously imported to Belize was adequately disposed off, will another concession be granted to import another mode of transportation.
     
  4. Offenses and Penalties
    Any person who knowingly makes any false declaration or entry in order to qualify for or retain any
    exemption or privilege granted under the Retired Persons (Incentives) (Amendment) Act, 2001
    commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five
    thousand dollars.
     
  5. Fee Structure
    a. A non-refundable application fee in the sum of US $150.00 payable to the Belize Tourism Board must be submitted with the application.
    b. A program fee in the sum of US $1,000.00 payable to the Belize Tourism Board must be submitted upon acceptance into the program.
    c. Upon acceptance into the Program, a fee of US$200.00 must be paid to the Belize Tourism Board for the issuance of the Qualified Retired Person Residency Card.
    d. Each dependant is required to pay a Program Fee of US $750 to enter the Program.

NOTE: All payments must be made payable to the Belize Tourism Board and be in the form of US cash, US bank draft or US cashier’s check.

Terms and Conditions

  1. All Qualified Retired Persons must adhere to the general procedures cited by the Customs Department for the clearing of all personal and household effects including ‘Mode of Transportation’.
  2. Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed to seek employment or work for pay while in this program or in Belize.
  3. Qualified Retired Persons within this program must inform the Belize Tourism Board regarding any changes stated on the application form. Failure to do so may result in the revocation of applicant’s status.
  4. Qualified Retired Persons must adhere to all existing laws of Belize, in addition to the Retired Persons (Incentives) (Amendment) Act, 2001.
  5. All benefits provided by this program will be exclusively used by the Qualified Retired Persons and his or her dependants.
  6. The Belize Tourism Board has the authority to carry out any investigation with respect to the validity of any document provided by the applicant under this program.
  7. Participants within this program must inform the Belize Tourism Board prior to leaving the country indefinitely so that the assets purchased under this program can be liquidated.
  8. All documents presented to the Belize Tourism Board become the property of the Board.
  9. The applicant must not have any criminal matters with the law at the time of application.
  10. Applicants must present a listing with all the necessary information with regards to his or her dependants. If the applicant has a dependant over eighteen and in school, then he or she must present a proof of enrollment from that institution.
  11. Qualified Retired Persons must submit a yearly local bank statement showing compliance with the financial requirements of the program.
  12. Qualified Retired Persons must spend an equivalent of one month in Belize annually to maintain their status as a Retiree Resident.

The application form for the Qualified Retired Persons Program is provided here in a fillable file format or is available for download on the Belize Tourist Board Website at www.travelbelize.org.