Moving to Belize | How to Move and Retire in Belize

Moving to Belize

move to belize

Belize, a small Central American country located on the eastern coast, is a paradise for those seeking a relaxed lifestyle, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant culture. With its official language being English and a welcoming atmosphere for ex-pats, it’s no wonder that many people are considering moving to this tropical gem.

In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take to move to Belize, from visa requirements to finding a home and adjusting to the local lifestyle.

  1. Research Belize

Before making a move, it’s essential to research the country thoroughly. Learn about the culture, climate, and cost of living to determine if Belize is the right fit for you. Some popular destinations for ex-pats include Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and the town of San Ignacio in western Belize. Each area offers a unique lifestyle, so take your time to explore your options.

  1. Determine Your Visa and Residency Options

There are several visa options for those looking to move to Belize. As a tourist, you can stay for up to 30 days without a visa, but if you plan to move permanently, you will need to apply for a long-term visa. Some options include:

  • Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program: Designed for individuals over the age of 45 who can prove a steady income of at least $2,000 per month from a pension or other sources. QRP residents are exempt from taxes on income earned outside Belize.
  • Permanent Residency: You can apply for permanent residency after living in Belize for one year without leaving for more than 14 consecutive days. The application process may take several months to complete.
  • Work Permit: If you plan to work in Belize, you will need to secure a job and apply for a work permit. This process can be lengthy, so it’s essential to start early.
  1. Find Housing

Once you’ve decided where in Belize you’d like to live, begin searching for housing. You can find rentals and properties for sale through local real estate agencies or online listings. Renting is an excellent option for newcomers, as it allows you to explore different neighborhoods before committing to a purchase. When searching for a home, consider factors like proximity to amenities, safety, and your budget.

  1. Plan Your Finances

Before moving, create a budget that includes expenses such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and healthcare. Belize’s cost of living is generally lower than in the United States or Europe, but it’s essential to plan accordingly. It’s also crucial to research banking options and determine how you’ll access your funds while living in Belize. Many ex-pats maintain bank accounts in their home country and use ATMs or wire transfers to access money.

  1. Prepare for Healthcare

Although Belize offers public healthcare, the quality may vary depending on the location. Expats often opt for private healthcare or travel to nearby countries for specific treatments. Before moving, research your healthcare options and consider purchasing international health insurance to cover any medical expenses.

  1. Pack and Ship Your Belongings

When preparing for your move, decide what belongings you’ll bring with you and what you’ll leave behind. Shipping items to Belize can be expensive, so it’s essential to prioritize your possessions. You may also want to consider selling or donating unnecessary items to reduce the cost of your move.

  1. Enroll Your Children in School

If you have children, research schooling options in Belize. There are public and private schools available, with private schools often catering to ex-pats and offering international curriculums. Contact schools to inquire about enrollment requirements, fees, and the application process.

  1. Learn About Belizean Culture

To ease your transition, take the time to familiarize yourself with Belizean culture, customs, and traditions. Embrace the local way of life, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice from locals and fellow ex-pats. Belizeans are known for their friendliness and hospitality, so building connections with your new neighbors will make your move much more enjoyable.


  1. Get Involved in the Community

Once you’ve settled in, look for ways to get involved in your new community. Participate in local events, join clubs or organizations, and volunteer for causes you care about. This will help you build a social network and make your new home feel more familiar.

  1. Adjust to the Belizean Lifestyle

Living in Belize offers a slower pace of life than many ex-pats are used to. Embrace the laid-back atmosphere, and take the time to explore your surroundings. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes, go on outdoor adventures, and indulge in the local cuisine. The more you immerse yourself in Belizean culture, the more at home you’ll feel.

Moving to Belize is an exciting adventure filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared for your move and ready to embrace life in this beautiful Central American country. Remember to be patient and give yourself time to adjust, as settling into a new country takes time. With a little effort, you’ll soon feel right at home in your new tropical paradise.

Get a copy of The Ultimate Belize Bucket List! Written by Larry Waight, a local with more than twenty years of experience in the travel industry, the book is packed with tips, information, and recommendations about all of the best things to see and do in Belize.

1 Comment

  • Terry MacDonald Reply

    December 2, 2022 at 5:07 am

    I’m interested in retiring to Belize, and I would like information on rental property, both pricing and availability of individual homes and apartments.

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