USA and the UK
- What is a Belize Retirement Visa for US Citizens?
- What are the Requirements for the Belize Retirement Visa?
- How to Apply for the Belize Retirement Visa?
- What Documents Should You Include in Your Application?
- What is the Processing Time for a Belize Retirement Visa?
- What is the Cost of a Belize Retirement Visa?
- Why Might My Application for Belize’s Retirement Program be Refused?
- What is a QRP ID Card?
- How to Access Tax Benefits and Duty Exemptions?
- How Can IAS US Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Immigrants make up around 14% of the Belize population, and applying for their retirement program is straightforward. You can apply for retirement in Belize through the Belize Tourism Board office. You will find the necessary documents to begin your application on their website.
Belize offers a Qualified Retirement Program to help those who are eligible access retirement visas.
Keep reading if you are interested in learning more about the QRP program. This guide will cover the program, how to apply, and the processing times and costs for the QRP program.
There are two primary options for those seeking retirement in Belize. Your first option is to apply for permanent residency in Belize. Your second option is to apply for the Belize Qualified Retirement Program.
The Belize Qualified Retirement Program is implemented by the Belize Tourism Board. It helps those who are eligible to retire in Belize. Any person approved for the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) with the Belize tourist board will receive the following benefits:
Belize Residency Status
You and your dependents will receive residency status from the Belize tourism board office. You will be permitted to enter Belize multiple times without a visa. However, you must renew your Resident Card every year.
Import Duty and Tax Exemption
When you live in Belize under the QRP program, you will be exempt from import duties and taxes. The tax exemptions will apply to the following effects:
- Household and personal effects – you can import household and personal effects with no dollar value limit.
- Motor vehicle – you can import a motor vehicle to Belize. The model must be no older than 5 years. You may purchase a new vehicle upon disposal of your previous vehicle every 4 years.
- Light aircraft – you may import a light aircraft weighing less than 17,000kg.
- Motorboat – you may import motorboats to Belize without import duties.
You will not be required to pay capital gains tax on any income derived from sources outside Belize, and you will not be required to pay inheritance tax.
As a QRP in Belize, you can buy land to build a property for residential use.
Additional dependent benefits
Your dependents are eligible for other benefits:
- Employment in Belize – your dependents may access jobs in Belize.
- Continue business operations in Belize – if your dependent’s business operates outside of Belize and does not relate to any residents in Belize, they may resume their trade or profession.
- Investing in Belize – your dependents could be permitted to invest in Belize.
- Practice philanthropy in Belize – your dependents will be able to practice philanthropy in Belize.
Your dependents can access the resources listed above if you are approved for the Belize retired persons incentives.
What are the Requirements for the Belize Retirement Visa?
To retire in Belize under the QRP program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You must be at least 45 years old.
- You can include your spouse and children under 18 years as your dependents.
- You must have an annual retirement income of $24,000 or $2000 monthly. Only monthly income derived from a source outside of Belize will qualify. Your retirement income can include the following:
- Social Security benefits.
- Investment Account.
- Reverse Mortgage.
- Personal Savings.
- Retirement Contribution Plans.
- Other means of retirement income.
- You must be able to provide a written document to deposit the requisite amount into a credit union, bank, or licensed financial institution in Belize.
- You must pass a security clearance check which the Ministry of National Security in Belize will carry out.
- You must be capable of staying in Belize for at least 30 days per year.
- You must belong to a country that qualifies for the QRP program, including:
- All commonwealth countries (except for Belize).
- The United States of America.
- Member States of the European Union.
- Asian-Pacific countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan.
- South American countries.
If you’re unable to meet these requirements, you can seek immigration advice from our team of immigration lawyers at IAS US.
How to Apply for the Belize Retirement Visa?
Suppose you wish to apply for a Belize retirement visa independently. In that case, you should see the Qualified Retirement Program webpage on the website, where you can download your QRP Member Application Form.
To complete your application, you will also need to download the Undertaking Letter for new members, declaring that you will transfer the required monthly or annual funds to your Belize bank account in line with the QRP program requirements.
Download the QRP Dependent Application Form if your application is for yourself and your dependents.
Once you have completed the QRP application forms, you must gather all supporting documents in the document checklist. Then, you should send your completed application form and supporting documents to the Belize Tourism Board in Belize City.
If your application is approved and you are granted permanent residency in Belize, you will need to revisit this page to download a QRP Card Replacement Form when your QRP card expires.
Hiring an immigration lawyer can help you to understand the process and can help you to ensure your application covers all necessary information. At IAS US, we offer services that help you to create a strong applicant portfolio, and we can ensure that your application is sufficient in information.
What Documents Should You Include in Your Application?
You will be required to provide documentation to support your application for the Belize retired persons incentives. Below is a list of the documents you should prepare:
- Application Form – you and your dependents should each provide a completed, signed, and dated Application Form.
- Birth Certificate – you and each of your dependents should provide a notarised or certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Police Record – you and your dependents must provide a Police Record of 6 months from your last place of residency.
- Passport Pages – you and your dependents should each supply a notarised or certified full copy of your valid passport, including blank pages.
- Proof of Income – you should supply a document that proves you will receive an annual retirement income of $2,000 monthly or $25,000 yearly. The payment should be in an approved foreign currency.
- Bank Statement certifying Retirement Income – you should provide a Financial Statement from a financial institution evidencing your monthly income.
- Written Undertaking of Deposit to Financial Institutions in Belize – you must complete the Written Undertaking form provided on the Belize Tourism Board’s QRP program page. This form declares that you will transfer the required amount to your Belize bank account monthly or annually.
- Medical Certificate – You must provide an original certificate or a lab report from a complete medical examination, including HIV test results, performed in the last 3 months.
- 2 Frontal Passport Photos (2X2) – you must provide a recent notarised or certified passport photo and an unnotarised or uncertified version of the same passport photo for each applicant and dependant.
Our immigration lawyers at IAS US can help you to prepare your application form and documentation, increasing the likelihood that your application will be successful and strengthening your application portfolio.
What is the Processing Time for a Belize Retirement Visa?
Once you have submitted your application for the Qualified Retirement Program to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) in Belize City, you can expect the processing time to take between 1 and 2 months. In some cases, you may need to wait longer. Once your application is approved, you will receive your QRP card.
Once your application is approved, it’s essential to remember that you must reapply for the QRP program yearly. The reapplication due date is the 31st of December. When you reapply for the Qualified Retirees program, you should include the following information:
- Application Form – you should supply a completed, signed, and dated Application Form for you and your dependents.
- Passport Pages – you should provide notarised or certified copies of your passport, including blank pages, for you and your dependents.
- Bank Statement – you should provide a notarised or certified copy of your annual Bank Statement from a domestic local financial institution.
- Two Frontal Passport Photos (2X2) – you should provide a notarised or certified copy of a recent frontal passport photo and an uncertified version for you and your dependents.
If you lose your QRP card, you can apply for a new one. Visit the Belize Tourism Board website and download the QRP Card Replacement Form.
What is the Cost of a Belize Retirement Visa?
When you apply for a retirement program in Belize, you can expect to pay the following costs:
- Application Program Fee – $150 (per application).
- Final Program Fees, including:
- Applicant Fee – $1000
- Dependent Fee – $750
- QRP ID Card Fee – $200 (per ID card)
- QRP ID Card Renewal Fee – $25 (annually)
These fees are non-refundable and are listed above in US Dollar currency.
Why Might My Application for Belize's Retirement Program be Refused?
Suppose your application for the retirement program in Belize is unsuccessful. In that case, it could be because you fail to meet the applicant’s income requirements or due to a poor credit score or criminal record. It could also be due to mistakes, errors, and missing information in your application – which is why it is beneficial to seek assistance when completing your application.
Below are some additional reasons your QRP application could be refused:
- Outdated passport.
- Unfavorable travel history.
- Health status.
- Violating visa rules.
In these cases, you would benefit from seeking legal advice to understand your options. Our team at IAS US can offer advice if your application is refused. We can help you to file a Visa Appeal, and we can help you to build your case and strengthen your applicant portfolio.
What is a QRP ID Card?
Your QRP ID card is proof of your membership as a QRP resident. The QRP resident card has the following features:
- Your QRP card contains your biometric information from your Biometric Passport Page.
- Your QRP card, once scanned by the Immigration Department in Belize, links your card to your membership and the Immigration Departments’ System.
- Your QRP card will provide Identification and proof of your Immigrant Status if requested during your move to Belize.
- Your QRP card and your National Passport can provide evidence of your Immigrant Status when you cross border points.
The QRP card allows you to travel in and out of Belize during your residency, and you won’t need a Belize visa.
How to Access Tax Benefits and Duty Exemptions?
Once you have gained resident status in Belize and begin contacting real estate agents to acquire property, you need to arrange the import of your effects. You must execute the correct procedures to ensure you are not subject to tax and duty charges.
For household and personal effects, you must present a master shipping list to the BTB at least 3 weeks before shipping the items. This will allow the board to prepare your official Duty Exemption Letter.
For motor vehicles, you must also submit a Certificate of Registration, Bill of Sale, or Title to the BTB at least three weeks before import. Every four years, following proper disposal of your current motor vehicle, you are permitted to import a new means of approved transportation for personal use.
If you’re considering retirement in Belize, you might be confused about whether to apply as a permanent resident or use the QRP program.
There is a significant amount of information to digest when learning about your options, and it can be helpful to have an expert guiding you through the process.
If you are still deciding which route to take, you can always reach out to our team at IAS US. We know the benefits of both permanent residency and QRP residency in Belize and can talk you through which option is right for you.
Our legal team can offer you expert advice throughout the entire process, helping you to create a strong application portfolio. We have intimate knowledge of the common mistakes applicants make during the application process and can help you to avoid time-consuming errors.
To understand your options thoroughly and facilitate a smooth application process for your QRP status, call our team of experts at +1 844 290 6312.
Last modified on February 27th, 2023 at 7:25 am
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As a retiree, you cannot work in Belize as a QRP resident. However, your dependents are entitled to a work permit while living in Belize. They can continue business operations for businesses outside of Belize and do not interact with Belize residents.
To apply for legal resident status in Belize, you must first live in Belize for 50 weeks a year without leaving the country for more than 14 consecutive days. To do this, you must apply for a 30-day tourist visa and renew it every 30 days.
The currency in Belize is the Belize dollar.
When shipping your items to Belize, you must write a shipping list. To write this list, you must include your shipping departure point and destination and a complete inventory list of the goods, providing quantity information. You must also include the value, transport method, packaging information, and licenses.