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What is the immigration policy in Belize?
|Article Number: 32 | Rating: 2/5 from 4 votes | Last Updated: Thu, Dec 7, 2006 12:01 AM|
The Ministry of National Security and Immigration has given careful consideration to the existing laws governing immigration and nationality. It is felt that there is an urgent need to further strengthen the Immigration Act to deter the incidence of illegal entry into Belize. There is also a need to modify the immigration rules relating to the fees charged for nationality and residence permits.
The Ministry is guided by the government's vision as expressed by the Manifesto, Set Belize Free “for a state with secure borders respected by its neighbours, where all citizens are assured that their lives and property are safe and their human rights respected, where laws and institutions are honoured…”
The new immigration and nationality policy is designed to achieve four objectives: protect Belizean workers, control and manage our borders, apprehend and deport those who willfully violate our laws, and improve the services of the Immigration and Nationality Department.
The Ministry further appeals to those who work, visit or live in Belize to respect and comply with our laws, and calls on those establishments that currently hire foreign nationals to identify and train Belizean wokers.
The Ministry of National Security and Immigration intends to introduce and implement the following new measures starting Friday, February 5th, 1999.
1. AMENDMENT OF THE IMMIGRATION ACT
2. PERMANENT RESIDENCE FEES
1. Central Americans (Salvadorans
Nationals of the Peoples' Republic of China will be charged a non-refundable fee of $3,000.00.
The Permanent Residence fees specified above will be in lieu of deposits currently being charged.
3. BORDER PERMIT FEE
4. WORK PERMIT FEES
a) Professional and Technical workers--------------------- a fixed fee of $1,500.00per annum.
(b) General Workers (except seasonal agricultural workers)----a fixed fee of $200.00 per annum.
(c) Seasonal agricultural workers ------------------------- $50.00 per crop.
(d) Entertainers performing in Groups of two or more but up to one week.---- $500.00 for any period less than six persons.
In groups of six persons or more--------------------------$750.00 for any period up to one week.
(e) Entertainers performing alone--------------------------$300.00 for any period up to one week.
(f) Religious, educational and voluntary workers-----------a fixed fee of $50.00 per annum.
5. CATEGORIES OF WORK PERMITS
6. STUDENT'S AND DEPENDENT'S PERMITS
The fee for a Dependent's permit will be $75.00 per annum.
7. VISITOR'S AND TOURIST'S VISA
Up to 6 months -----------------------$25.00 per month.
A work permit will not be issued to a visitor or tourist who resides in Belize for a period of less than six months.
8. APPLICATIONS TO BE MADE IN PERSON
9. TIME FOR PROCESSING APPLICATIONS
10. NATIONALITY FEES
Registration as a citizen of Belize --------------------------------------- -$300.00
Certificate of Citizenship in case of doubt under section 6.----------------$100.00
Resumption of citizenship by ---------------------------------------------$100.00
11. OTHER MATTERS AFFECTING NATIONALITY:-
(b) SECTION 29 (3) OF THE CONSTITUTION
In considering applications for nationality, regard will be had to section 29 (3) of the Constitution which states that “no person shall be entitled under the provisions of this Chapter to be a citizen of Belize or be granted citizenship of Belize if such person shows any allegiance to or is a citizen of a country which does not recognize the Independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize. Provided that the Minister may, in his discretion, grant Belizean Citizenship to persons falling under this subsection who would otherwise be entitled to such citizenship under the provision of sections 23 and 25 of the Constitution.”
(c) BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF BELIZE CONSTITUTION
(d) PENDING APPLICATIONS
(e) NEW OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
(f) OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
I, ____________________________________do swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Belize and will uphold the Constitution and the Law of Belize and that I will faithfully and conscientiously contribute to the development of Belize and discharge my duties and responsibilities as a Belizean citizen.
I will further respect the history and culture of Belize and refrain from any anti-social or criminal activities and devote myself to the service and well-being of the Belizean people. I pledge that I will do everything in my power to promote and strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Belize and will do everything to promote the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize. So Help Me God.
"Now any qualified individual can live and work tax-free in Belize-not just retired people"
Unlike other immigration programs, this one falls squarely under the authority of the Ministry of Tourism. which is working in conjunction with the Belize Tourist Board to make the program simple and user- friendly.
As for household effects, there are no specifications or limitations as to what constitutes such personal property. Only in cases of abuse, such as when an individual tries to import six refrigerators or 10 air conditioners, would the exempt status be denied. according to Mahler.
No local taxes
While you cannot be gainfully employed under the new law, some room has been left for QRP's to start or operate existing businesses under this status. Much like an offshore entity, a QRP cannot do business in the local economy with Belize nationals on a tax-free basis. But you could direct foreign-business activities and operations from within Belize and still maintain your tax-free status.
You don't have to be a "retiree" to benefit
If you're a QRP interested simply in managing your simply in managing your own financial affairs, the law is ideal- because neither active nor passive income is subject to taxation under this law. If your assets and ongoing business activities are placed under a proper trust/corporate structure it may also be possible to eliminate or greatly reduce your U-S. taxes when you live the requisite number of days outside of the United States.
The number of days spent outside the United Stares and the number of days spent inside Belize are nor related, so Belizean QRP status may also be of interest to perpetual travelers and others who spend the year in several locations and who may only infrequently visit Belize.
Possibly the most attractive feature of the new law is the low financial threshold that you must meet to qualify. In many other countries, you have to make a significant financial commitment before you can obtain citizenship, permanent residence, or another status giving you the right to live there permanently. Preconditions range from making large investments or buying expensive homes to putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into long-term CDs or other government financial instruments. The United States, for-example, grants a greencard status to any foreigner willing to invest $1 million into a U.S. business that creates a minimum of 10 jobs. For the privilege of living in the United States, the foreigner must first pay the $1 million. and then he immediately becomes subject to U.S. taxation on his worldwide income, whether he earns it in Detroit, Berlin, or Kuala Lumpur.
You need only US$2,000 per month to qualify
Minor children under 18 who are your dependents automatically qualify.
Few strings attached
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