Entry Requirements for Belize
Part one: Entry Requirements for Visitors:
All other visitors to Belize must be in possession of passports and visas, and should contact the nearest Belizean Consulate or Embassy for details on obtaining visas before travelling. The Immigration & Nationality Department in Belmopan can be contacted at telephone numbers 501-8-22611, and -22423. All visitors are advised to have sufficient funds for the purpose and period of their stay. The sum of U.S. $50.00 is considered sufficient for a daily minimum requirement for one person. This figure would include hotel accommodation, transportation and meals.
The Immigration Officer's Stamp in a visitor's passport (or travel document) should show how long the visitor may stay in the country. This period is usually one month's duration. If the visitor wishes to stay longer he should make a personal application to the Police Head Station if residing in the Districts. Visitors travelling by air must be in possession of return or onward ticket.
A Visitor Permit is required of nationals of China and India. Check with the local Belizean Consulate, Belize Embassy, British Counsel, or contact the Department of Immigration and Nationality, Belmopan, Belize, Central America. Telephone: (501-8-22611).
To apply for an extension contact the Immigration Office Mahogany Street, Belize, Central America Telephone : (501) 2-24620, Fax (501) 2-44483. A moderate fee is charged and applicants must demonstrate sufficient funds for the remainder of their stay, as well as an ongoing ticket.
If crossing into Belize from Mexico by land, visas to enter Belize can be obtained from the Belizean Consulate in Chetumal, Avenida Alvaro Obregon #226A, Chetumal Q.R., Tel: (52)983-22871.
Part two: Entry Requirements for Persons Seeking Employment or Residence
Recent Amendment of Immigration Act
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 neighbors, where all citizens are assured that their lives and property are safe and their human rights respected, where laws and institutions are honored.
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 call on those establishments that currently hire foreign nationals to identify and train Belizean workers.
The Ministry of National Security and Immigration intends to introduce and implement the following new measures starting Friday, February 5th, 1999.
Amendment of the Immigration Act
Legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to require employers who employ illegal immigrants to pay the cost of repatriation of such persons, in addition to other penalties already prescribed by law. Similarly, public carriers that bring illegal immigrants to Belize may be liable to a fine of up to $5,000 and in addition, shall be required to pay the cost of repatriation of such persons.
Permanent Residence Fees
All applicants for permanent residence, except nationals of the People's Republic of China, will be charged the following flat fees which will be non-refundable:
Border Permit Fee
There shall be a flat fee of $20 per annum for a border permit.
Work Permit Fees
Work permits will generally not be issued for waitresses, vendors, domestic and farm hands save in exceptional circumstances.
Student's and Dependent's Permits
There will be no fee for a student's visa provided a letter of admission from an accredited institution is produced. The fee for a Dependant's permit will be $75 per annum.
Visitor's and Tourist's Visa
Up to six months - $250 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.
Applications to be made in person
Application to the Immigration and Nationality Departments shall be made in person if the applicant is in Belize. Likewise, applicants themselves, upon proof of identity, must personally claim approved documents.
Time for processing applications
All applications to the Immigration and Nationality Service shall, as far as practicable, be processed and completed within a period of four (4) weeks. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
The new fees will be as follows:
The applications of refugees and other displaced persons for nationality will be considered in accordance with the Refugees Act and the U.N. Convention on the Status of Refugees. Refugees will not be treated less favorably than other applicants for granting of nationality. 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 the 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.… Basic Knowledge of Belize Constitution.
All applicants for Belizean nationality will be expected to have or acquire a basic knowledge of the Belize Constitution and the system of government in Belize, starting August 1999.
In an effort to clear the backlog of pending applications for nationality and permanent residence, applicants are invited to visit the Immigration and Nationality Department and to inquire personally on the status of their application. To assist the Department to locate the relevant files, applicants should take the necessary receipts and any other identifying number given to them by the Department.
New Oath of Allegiance
All persons who are granted Belizean Nationality will be required to subscribe to a new Oath of Allegiance as set out below.
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.
For more information, contact:
The Immigration and Nationality Department
New Economic Citizenship Programme
It is designed to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurial skills to the country. Many countries, both large and small, operate similar programs, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.
To qualify for citizenship under this Programme, applications are made through Licensed Immigration Consultants, and presented to the Director of the BECIP unit, within the Ministry of Finance in Belmopan, Belize.
Registration fees for applicants (amended February 1996) are as follows:
A list of current Licensed Immigration Consultants in good standing, may be obtained from the BECIP Unit by contacting:
Director, BECIP Unit
Further information can also be obtained from any Belizean embassy or consulate abroad.
Immigration & Permanent Residency Requirements
Normally, any individual seeking permanent residency must have legally resided here continuously for one year. This requirement is waived for retirees and investors, who can apply immediately upon arrival for a permanent residency card. This application can be made only at Immigration headquarters in Belmopan, and usually takes two to three months to process. During this time, you will need to renew your visa as detailed above, AND obtain a "Temporary Self-Employment" work permit. Proof of financial independence or pension income is required.
Any individual who will be working on projects within Belize, or conducting business of any kind, whether or not they are generating an income here, must have a "Temporary Self-Employment" work permit. Once permanent residency status is granted, a work permit is no longer required, and residents are permitted to move freely in and out of the country. All work permits are valid for one year; the cost ranges from US$5 (for missionary workers) to US$300 (for investors).
Belizean nationality may be acquired following a minimum of five years' permanent residency. Currently, there is no requirement for permanent residents to spend a specific amount of time in the country during this five years. However, it has been suggested that this should be taken into consideration when application for citizenship is being made; therefore, residents should keep themselves abreast of changes in the laws to avoid future problems.
RETIRED PERSONS ACT FINALLY IMPLEMENTED
The Retired Persons Act, which gives tax and residency breaks to those retiring in Belize, passed by the Belize legislature earlier this year, has at last been implemented. Key features of the act include:
For further information and an application for the program, contact Anthony Mahler of the Belize Tourist Board, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember... Residency cannot be applied for from outside the country; you must be legally in Belize to make these applications. For information contact the Immigration and Nationality Department: 501-8-22611.