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Complete Information about Belize Retirement Visa, the qualified retirement program and requirements

Dwell into the magical world of pristine beaches, lush jungles, and mountain pine forests by choosing Belize as your forever retirement home. Belize is a beautiful country on the northeastern coast of Central America known for its friendly locals, delicious food, rainforests, and authentic culture. 

To retire in Belize, you must apply for and get a Belize Retirement Visa, which can be easily obtained by participating in the Belize retirement program. The charming country offers The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) for everyone who wants to reside in Belize and spend their retirement here. 

What is “The Qualified Retirement Program” Belize?

The Qualified Retirement Program or QRP is a pension plan that grants qualified retirees an exemption from taxes on all income derived from outside of Belize. The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to help individuals who meet the retirement criteria to reside and retire in Belize.

Who Is Eligible For a Retirement Visa in Belize?

To be eligible for The Qualified Retirement Program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be 45 years or older.
  • You must be a citizen or legal resident from a commonwealth country but may not be Belizean. 
  • You must be a beneficial recipient of a monthly retirement income of at least $2,000 or $24,000 annually from a source outside of Belize in an approved foreign currency ( US Dollar, Pound Sterling, The Euro, and Canadian Dollars).
  • You can provide a written statement that you will deposit the required amount in a bank, society, credit union, or licensed bank in Belize.
  • You must have a clean criminal history and pass the background check by the Ministry of National Security of Belize.
  • You must be able to stay in Belize for a consecutive period of at least 30 days in a year.

Documents Required for a Belize Retirement Visa

  • Belize Retirement Visa Application Form. The application form must be completed fully and signed at the bottom.
  • Passport. Notarized or certified copies of your valid passport, including the blank pages. The copies must contain the passport number, your full name, the number of pages, and the seal or stamp of the Notary Public.
  • Photographs. Four recently taken photographs from the front and four from the back in a passport-sized format, with white background, straight head position, and visible eyes. Photographs must follow the Belize Immigration photo specifications.
  • Birth certificate. A notarized or certified copy of a birth certificate for you and each of your dependents. 
  • Marriage certificate. A notarized copy of your marriage certificate if you are married and your spouse is accompanying you.
  • Police clearance certificate. An original police report issued not older than the last six months from the last place of residence. 
  • Proof of income. A certificate or document proving you receive passive income of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. The following documents can serve as proof of income:
    • A bank statement certifying that you own a pension or annuity of the required amount.
    • A written statement of Deposit to Financial Institution in Belize stating that your deposit will generate the sum of $24,000 per year.
  • Medical report. A medical report of your completed physical medical examination, including the HIV test results not older than three months. 

How to Apply For a Belize Retirement Visa?

The application process for a Belize Retirement Visa is very quick and straightforward. Here is how to apply for a Belize Retirement Visa:

  1. Check if you need a visa to enter Belize. If you are from a visa-free country, you do not need to apply for an entry visa and can enter the country with your valid passport. However, if you are a citizen from a country with a visa requirement, you need to apply and obtain a Belize Visa before traveling to Belize.
  2. Visit the official website of the Belize Tourism Board, and under the section “Programs & Events,” choose the option “Retirement Program.”
  3. Choose the application form.
    • Member Application Form 
    • Dependent Application Form (If your spouse/children are applying with you)
  4. Complete the document checklist. Complete the application form electronically, print it, and gather all the required documents from the requirement checklist on the application form. If your dependents are traveling with you, enclose the supporting documents for them as well. 
  5. Submit the application. The completed application form and the supporting documents must be submitted to the Belize Tourism Board office in Belize City.

NOTE: Each dependent must provide the listed documents above, with the exception of “proof of income.”

How Much Does a Belize Retirement Visa Cost?

The fees for a Belize Retirement visa are as follows:

FEES
Belize Retirement Visa Application$150
Applicant Program $1000
Dependent (spouse, children)$750
QRP ID Card$200
Retirement Visa Renewal$50

The payments for application fees must be made in US currency and are non-refundable.

Benefits of Belize Retirement Visa

Under the Belize Retired Persons Incentives Act, everyone who is part of The Qualified Retirement Program is entitled to the following benefits: 

  • QRP Resident Card. Once you qualify for the retirement program, you will receive a QRP Resident Card to reside in Belize, granting you multiple entries into the country for as long as you continue to be a part of the QRP Program. 
  • Duty Exemptions. As a participant of The Qualified Retirement Program, you will be entitled to duty and tax exemption within the first year of participation in the retirement program to import the following items:
    • Household and Personal items.
    • Personal Transportation imported or purchased within the first year of participation approval (motor vehicle, light aircraft, boat).
  • Tax Exemptions. You will be exempted from paying all taxes and duties on all income arising from a source outside of Belize, capital gains tax. You will also benefit from low taxes on the purchase of land and property taxes.
  • Dependent Benefits. Your family member accompanying you will gain the benefit of:
    • Working in Belize.
    • Carrying on any business, trade, or profession within Belize if the type of business is conducted with individuals residing outside Belize.
    • Invest in Belize.

Can I Bring my Dependents to Belize With a Retirement Visa?

Yes, your dependents (spouse, children) can join you in The Qualified Retirement Program. You need to submit an individual application form for each dependent and pay an additional fee for every individual. Your dependents will benefit from the same privileges as you.

Can I Become a Permanent Resident in Belize Through the QRP Program?

No, having the QRP status does not make you a permanent resident of Belize. To apply for a permanent residency in Belize, it is required that you live for a minimum of one year in the country, but under the Immigration Act, the time you spend in the retirement program does not contribute to the application for a permanent residency. 

Can You Work in Belize With a Retirement Visa?

Unfortunately, a Belize Retirement Visa does not grant you permission to seek employment (full-time or part-time job). If you qualify for The Qualified Retirement Program, neither you nor your dependents are allowed to engage in any form of gainful employment while participating in the retirement program. 

Can I Lose My Belize Retirement Visa?

You can be denied eligibility to The Qualified Retirement Program due to one of the following reasons:

  • If you fail to meet any of the qualifying conditions set by The Qualified Retirement Program.
  • Making false declarations to benefit from the privileges of the retirement program.

Healthcare for Retirees in Belize 

Belize provides healthcare to its citizens through public and private healthcare systems. The Ministry of Health is the largest provider of public health services in the country and offers affordable services to the majority of the population. Belize has three main private hospitals.

While public healthcare is available to every resident of the country, there are certain problems like equipment problems and medical supply shortages that you can face while seeking treatment in public medical facilities.

On the other hand, private healthcare offers high-quality services and relatively low prices. The private health sector in Belize provides medical services to a smaller population and additional tertiary care and imaging services that are not available in the public system. You can purchase private insurance yourself, or the Ministry of Health can do it on your behalf. 

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in Belize?

Belize might not be the cheapest option when it comes to the living costs, but if saving money is not something you struggle with, you will be just fine. Generally, you can live comfortably in Belize for around $1.200 $1.500 per month as a single person. You would spend an average of $620 for necessities and daily expenses without including rent.

Depending on whether you want to rent an apartment or settle in a retirement community, the prices can go up or down. The living expenses vary on the residing area you choose to live in. Therefore if you stay in apartments in the city center, you might need to spend around $230 to $1,500 per monthly rent. But, if the noisy atmosphere of the city life is not something you look for in your retirement, you can find apartments outside of the city center for as low as $150 to a maximum of $1.100 per month.

Here is a presentation of the average living costs in Belize: 

ACCOMMODATIONMonthly Cost
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre$360
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre$230
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre$820
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre$530
FOODCOSTS
Milk$2.18
Rice $2.01
Eggs$2.11
Tomato$2.32
Potato$2.41
Apples (kg)$4.76
UTILITIESMONTHLY COSTS (85m2)
Electricity, Water, Heating, Cooling, Garbage$80

Why Retire in Belize?

  • Belize Retirement Program.The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) is an affordable retirement package that grants you and your family many benefits and allows you to stay in Belize.
  • English Speakers. Language can be a barrier when moving to a new country. Lucky for you Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America; therefore you will find it easy to make friends and get around the country.
  • Healthcare. Belizeans have access to both public and private healthcare. Although the conditions in private institutions are better, public healthcare is improving a lot in giving high-quality care to the citizens. 
  • Low Living Costs. Belize can be more affordable than most countries in North America, and as a retiree, you will benefit from tax exemptions and affordable healthcare. You will not need to spend much to have a great time.
  • Climate. The sub-tropical temperatures in Belize range from 10°C to 35°C, perfect for enjoying the retirement days under the sun and boosting your serotonin levels.
  • Cuisine. Belize is home to fresh fruits, Caribbean classics, and savory treats. Belizian cuisine is a delicious mix of different cultures and aromas, which will leave you coming back for more.

Best Places to Retire in Belize

Choosing where to move in Belize might be the hardest thing you will have to do when moving to this mesmerizing country. Belize is home to many beautiful cities that will hypnotize you with their beauty.
Here are some of the best places to spend your retirement in Belize.

Ambergris Caye

Belize’s largest island, will make you feel like your retirement is just a fancy holiday that never ends. Ambergris Caye is famous for its water sports, scuba diving, and Caribbean beaches. One of the perks of moving to Ambergris Caye is getting close to the aquamarine world and aqueous friends.

Belize City

A vibrant, multiracial, and historic city, perfect for a more laid-back lifestyle. Belize City is known as the commercial capital and home of the largest seaport in the country. Belize City can serve as a great chance to challenge yourself and go scuba diving with the sharks in the Shark Ray Alley.

Belmopan

Going away from the aquamarine colors of most cities, Belmopan brings you closer to nature. The capital city of Belize is heaven for nature lovers with beautiful landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, and caves, offering you easy access to a wide range of activities such as cave tubing, kayaking, camping, and many more.

Placencia

Placencia is one of the most expensive places to live in Belize, but it is worth it. The beach resort is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and safest places in the country. Known for its palm-lined beaches and crystal clear waters, Placencia has become popular among tourists and expats from all over the world. 

Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and sailing are just a few of the many activities you can do in Placencia.

Caye Caulker

Although a popular island Caya Caulker is a very affordable place to live in. It is a place of fun and parties; therefore, you might have trouble falling asleep. There is music all the time, and the locals are very friendly and like to offer you delicious cocktails.

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