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#210352 - 02/07/04 12:27 PM Moving down
I know that much has been written on this subject, but I thought I would add or restate a couple of points.
Do not think that just because you did your research and have your budget and know exactly what the "laws and regulations" are here in Belize that you will have smooth sailing.
In the last week, 2 seperate incidents have been reported to me. One couple (Belizean wife, US husband) who applied for the Retired status, followed every regulation to the T, have become VERY upset at the trouble and inconsistancies they have found in this system. And this is for a couple where 1/2 was born and raised and worked in BZ until she was 25! Many things they were told in the beginning of the process (not on the message board-- but by government officials) have "changed" or been "redefined". They are ending up spending more than if they just moved here on "tourist status".
Another case is actually someone that many of you are familiar with. They have been here for 18 month trying to get residency and work permits. Did everything the way they were instructed, but things changed in the middle, and the old regulations no longer applied. Just got their work permits, and can now apply for residency. But for the last 8 months, have had to go to Belmopan 2 times a month, every month.
So, do your homework, but don't think that it will be easy, nor "by the books".
And DON'T ever think that you can dictate to any customs worker that because you have a printout saying the duty on an item is 10% or whatever--- they will decide the duty regardless of what the "books" say.
Also, one other tip. When you are trying to figure out duties (on items that are shipped), figure in the shipping charges too. While this is not a tangible item, it is still subject to duty. Makes no sense, but that's the way it is.

#210353 - 02/09/04 05:20 PM Re: Moving down
Oranges Offline
My husband and I started the QRP process in August, 2003 and are still not done through the mess. We bought a house in Placencia and paid cash for the thing, so we have already "invested" in the country. This fact alone, according to the official internet site, gives you automatic residency. NOT! The last two things were, national security, a inquiry we were told was actually sent to Interpol. That came back clean. Next thing, even though we proved we can comply with the required amount of funds to be deposited in a Belize bank, they still needed printouts of our savings account balance. In short, they want to know when you went to the bathroom last. Release of a container it seems is all dependent upon this info. Our container left Miami December 18, 2003 and we still do not have it. confused

#210354 - 02/09/04 05:39 PM Re: Moving down
ckocian Offline
Suzan, it's time you got an attorney to grease the skids. I recommend Antoinette Moore in Dangriga. Doesn't cost a lot and provides a lot of peace of mind for you.

#210355 - 02/10/04 11:06 AM Re: Moving down
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
>>We bought a house in Placencia and paid cash for the thing, so we have already "invested" in the country. This fact alone, according to the official internet site, gives you automatic residency. NOT!<<

Where does the BTB site state that?

Buying real estate in Belize certainly does not provide or guarantee residency.

--Lan Sluder
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#210356 - 02/10/04 11:06 AM Re: Moving down
Diane Campbell Offline
I understand that the QRP program is an ever-changing one, and that it can be frustrating more often than not.
With that being said, some of the comments above indicate a little misunderstanding or two.

Investors who get special consideration are those who "invest in the productive sector" of the economy. To my knowledge there has never been any provision for house-buying as a qualifier in this manner. Most newcomers who buy homes - whether for cash or by other means, are buying from other foreigners, and the money never comes into the Belizean economy. I am not aware of house-buying as ever having been a qualifier for any kind of residency.

Containers and clearing customs - this is a separate issue altogether - there was a strike/slow-down at the port just before Christmas. All containers were delayed for weeks - commercial ones, private one, all of them. We are just now getting building materials that we anticipated receiving before Dec 10.

Police reports are standard operating procedure for immigration here. For those of us who live here for a while before applying for Permanent Residency (not QRP) the GOB is able to run a police check on us within Belize, which is more simple, but still required. If we have a clean record we are processed without problems. For folks who arrive fresh out of another location, the process is a bit more complex, but is not intended to persecute you. The US has come down pretty hard on Belize for accidentally harbouring bad guys - there was a scandal a year or two ago when a "known terrorist" was granted residency ..... he was tossed out and sent back to Canada, but it was a big embarassment for Immigration, and an international "incindent".
The "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" who were arrested last year in South AFrica were residents here for a while, and a big-time white collar embezzler (now in Fed prison in US)bought citizenship about 3 years ago ....... this is not about you its about them. Unfortunately this is the world we live in now.

#210357 - 02/10/04 11:16 AM Re: Moving down
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
I'd add that though the QRP rules have changed quite a bit since it was started three years ago, and while it can be a frustrating process, overall by government bureaucratic standards (of ANY government) it is actually pretty quick, straightforward and painless. That's probably because it is administered through the Belize Tourist Board rather than some other office. I know of people who had their QRP status okayed within a month!

If you want to find out how frustrating government bureaucracy can be, try dealing with U.S. immigration!

--Lan Sluder
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#210358 - 02/10/04 01:16 PM Re: Moving down
Nick Barton Offline
Our QRP approval came through nice and smoothly after about a 4 month period(in late 2002). We provided what they asked for on the website - popped in to see them once just before we applied and again after we were accepted to let them know, well in advance, what we wanted to ship down. The shipping (of several different loads from Miami and the UK), with Josie Harding's considerable support, also went fine. Frankly I was rather impressed with how smooth it was, given the nightmare we often have here in the UK dealing with government bodies.

#210359 - 02/10/04 03:30 PM Re: Moving down
Oranges Offline
Thanks Diane. We had not heard about the slow down at customs and we unaware of such delays. That does shine some light on the subject. We have a paralegal in Belize City working on this for us and from what we have heard, he is very good and has helped many folks gain their QRP status. He had talked about a contingency status that would release the container until the final papers came through, but said since the Interpol thing came back clean and we sent him copies of our account balances, he seemed to think that would not be necessary. It costs $1000 Bz for the contingency thing which according to him would be refunded at a future date. Apparently, I misinterpreted the residency thing about buying property here.


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