U.S. Citizens Residing in Belize
Many U.S. citizens reside in Belize, part-time or even as their primary home. The U.S. Embassy is not expert in Belize immigration or residency requirements, and we recommend you call the Department of Immigration and Nationality at 011-501-822-3860/822-0284 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions. We provide the following information as general guidelines; ultimately, immigration officers around the country have discretion to determine when a U.S. citizen is no longer a visitor and when they are in fact resident.
Residency in Belize
Here’s what you need to know about residency in Belize:
- Belize does not require U.S. citizens to have visas to visit Belize, and U.S. citizens can remain in the country for 1 month for no fee. After your first 30 days in Belize, you’ll be required to pay $100 USD per month for monthly extentions.
Immigration authorities can renew your visitor permit for a period of time, usually viewed as a few months
There are various residency programs in Belize, including the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) run by the Belize Tourism Board. Each program has slightly different requirements, including requirements to prove specific amounts of monthly income. Please contact Belizean immigration authorities for those requirements.
- Normally, you must not be outside the country for more than 14 days total in a year. However, the clock will not “start over” if you must remain outside the country for longer than that, for instance to sell a property in the U.S. or to deal with personal issues. The authorities will extend the required in-country residency time by the amount of time you were out of Belize, such as an extra month or so. If you face this situation we advise that you come to the main immigration office in Belmopan
Local immigration authorities have the discretion to determine that you are actually residing in Belize and not just visiting; if, for instance, they see that you have applied for a visitor permit for more than 3 or 4 months in a row, they are likely to require the residency fee
If you lose your U.S. passport and acquire another one, you can take the new passport to the main immigration office for a new residency stamp or apply for a residency card.
Working in Belize
Working in Belize is permitted in certain circumstances; for specific professions, please contact the Belize Labour Department at 011-501-822-2679, email at email@example.com or visit their office at #5163 University Blvd., Belmopan City, Belize. Normally working in high-skilled professions is permitted while working in lower-skilled professions, in competition with Belizean nationals, is not. There are also provisions for establishing a business.
Acquiring Belizean Citizenship
U.S. citizens can become citizens of Belize. The waiting period varies; for those married to a Belizean citizen it is normally 1 year of residency, and for others it is normally 5 years of residency. The government of the United States does not encourage dual citizenship, but it also does not prohibit that status and will not require you to renounce your U.S. citizenship unless you want to take a high government office or become an officer in the Belizean military forces.