How to Live or Retire in Belize

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Moving to Belize is a breeze thanks to multiple residency options, one of which is sure to appeal to you. It only costs around $1500 USD per month to live the dream thanks to Belize’s low cost of living. A typical budget of $500 for utilities, $300 for groceries and $50 for health insurance still leaves disposable income that stretches far in this affordable economy. Need more information to convince you to move to Belize? Visit http://www.belizeretirementguide.com/cost_of_living_in_belize.htm after deciding which option is your best bet.

1. Obtain a tourist card that allows you to stick around for up to 30 days. If you decide that 30 days simply isn’t enough, get a six-month extension by paying $25 USD monthly. Still refuse to leave because you’ve fallen in love? It’s understandable. Apply for another six-month extension that cost $50 USD per month. Obtain either of these extensions by visiting Belmopan’s government immigration office. Wondering if you need a visa? Not if you currently live in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela or CARICOM member states.

2. Become a resident after having a tourist card for a year, during which time you’ve met the aforementioned permit regulations, though you can’t leave Belize for more than 14 days to maintain your status. Documents needed to support your residency application include a health certificate, bank statement, police report and three passport-quality photos. Add a copy of your marriage license and/or birth certificates for minor children if you’re relocating your family. You will need a work permit if you intend to get a job. Call the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department at 011-501-822-2423 if you need more information on establishing residency.

3. Let’s say that you have fallen so in love with Belize, you want to become a permanent citizen. It’s a fairly easy process. After you have lived in country for five years, you are eligible to apply for Belize citizenship. Attain this status even sooner (if you’re single) by marrying a Belize citizen and you need only wait one year to obtain your citizenship.

4. Take advantage of Belize’s popular Retirement Incentives Program. Enacted by law 16 years ago and implemented by the Belize Tourism Board, this exciting program is loaded with perks and tax breaks. Structured for foreigners over the age of 45, if you pursue this path, your residency will be fast tracked, personal goods and vehicles won’t be subject to tariffs and even if you work, your earnings won’t be taxed. Further, investments are also tax exempt. This program is open to anyone who can prove a monthly revenue stream of $2,000 USD in the form of a pension, investment, annuity or Social Security entitlement.

There’s more! Buying a home in Belize couldn’t be simpler. Since property rights are based on U.S. and Canada law, the process of home shopping, bidding and closing is familiar, and everything concerned with making your purchase is negotiated in English. Move to a gated community like the highly-rated ex-pat favorite Orchid Bay and you can look forward to living in your choice of home styles already equipped with modern infrastructure. A ready-made community of friends and a style of living geared to giving you a new lease on life also awaits once you settle down in Belize.

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