Are you nearing retirement age and trying to figure out where it’s best to retire? Are you interested in retiring in Belize? Many people are seriously considering retiring, or at least partly, outside of the United States or Canada. The cost of living on a fixed income is relatively high in the states, as compared to Belize retirement cost. Here are some important facts to consider about retiring in Belize.
If you are only interested in retiring in Belize for an extended stay or part-time, there are some options for you to consider. To stay and live in Belize, there is a Tourist Card, The Qualified Retired Person Program, and Permanent Residency. Since you don’t need a Visa to enter Belize, the Tourist Card and Extended Visas are how many people start off, especially if they’re from the U.K. or North America.
You don’t have to have a long-term commitment to live in Belize to have a Tourist Card. You can live month-to-month, just simply obtain a one month entry card upon entering Belize. After 30 days is up, visit the immigration office to get your card renewed for only $25 a month, good for up to six months. After that it will cost $50 a month. Once you’ve acquired your tourist card, you are free to go wherever you’d like in Belize, including buying or renting property. You simply are not allowed to work.
Qualified Retired Persons (QRP)
You must be at least 45 years old to qualify. You must also be able to show a monthly income of $2,000 or more a month or $24,000 a year. To keep this status, you only need to live in Belize one month out of the year. With this program, there are tax benefits, and qualified retirees are able to import their household and personal goods, such as their car, plane, or boat, without paying import duties or taxes during their first year in Belize as a QRP resident. For banking purposes, QRPs are considered non-residents and can set up a U.S. dollar bank account with an offshore or local bank. They are also allowed to work, as long as most of their activities take place outside the country. For expats wishing to have a consulting business on the side, this is very important.
After you’ve lived in Belize for one year, you can apply with immigration for your permanent residency. You’ll need to take an HIV test and submit a police certificate stating you’ve not been convicted of any criminal act. You’ll also need to provide two character witnesses. Once approved, you can seek employment, and after five years you can apply for full citizenship.
How to Live and Retire in Belize
Belize retirement cost, as compared to Europe, U.S. or Canada is considerably lower than in most of these countries. Belize real estate simply hasn’t caught up in price as with some of the other countries. You’ll be able to hire a housekeeper or cook for as little as US $15 to US $20 a day. With utilities also quite a bit less due to the tropical climate, you can count on your electrical expenses to be cut too. The Belizeans buy local produce, another way you can cut expenses.
The ups and downs of planning retirement in Belize
As a goal for many people, retirement is something you have to plan for. For many, retiring away from their family and relatives may seem like giving up a lot. However, since there are straight flights to Belize from cities in the states, visiting is fairly easy. If you choose to retire in Belize, you’ll be living in paradise, so you can count on family members visiting you as well.
Belize Retirement Guide
It’s highly recommended to live in Belize for at least a year to know if it’s the right place for you to retire. Get to know the country and the people. Belize is made up of six districts: Belize, Cayo, Orange Walk, Corozal, Toledo, and Stann Creek. Which one is right for you? Explore the different regions. Although the biggest draw is definitely the beaches, you may prefer to live inland near a rain forest. Since tourism is growing in Belize, you may want to have extra income by opening up a business.
The possibilities for retiring in Belize are endless. You’ll enjoy a lifestyle of tranquility, peacefulness and less stress. That’s great for your heart, you know? You’ll be able to get plenty of exercise, walking, kayaking, or fishing. Living a healthy lifestyle is waiting for you in this friendly country called Belize.