Belize is well known for its gorgeous Caribbean seascapes, idyllic offshore cayes, beautiful beaches, eco-adventures and Maya ruins. But in addition to the country’s natural beauty, eco-adventure options and cultural offerings, Belize has established an enticing benefit program for retirees. The program is governed by the Retired Persons Incentives (Amendment) Act of 2001.
Fortunately, you need not wait until you’re over 55 to qualify for the retirement benefits offered by the Belizean government. As soon as you reach 45 you can apply for the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). And unlike most other countries’ retirement programs, you won’t be required to live in Belize full-time as a retiree. Once you become a QRP you’ll need to spend only one month a year in Belize to maintain your status. Once you receive a special QRP status card you’ll be able to come and go freely from Belize. Each year QRPs renew their status, but it’s a fairly simple process.
QRPs are allowed to import all of their personal effects into Belize without paying any import duties or taxes. They can also import a personal car, boat, and plane duty-free and tax-free during their first year in Belize.
Another major advantage is that QRPs are exempt from Belizean taxes on their foreign-earned income. And although Belizean residents and citizens cannot have offshore U.S. dollar accounts in Belize, or offshore International Business Corporations, QRPs are allowed to have both.
If you are interested in the QRP program the most significant requirement is that you’ll need to deposit the equivalent of $2,000 U.S./month, or $24,000 U.S./year into a Belizean account each year to maintain your QRP status. In order to qualify to become a QRP you’ll need to prove that you have adequate income from a pension, social security or annuity to cover your required deposits. An alternate option is to prove that you have adequate IRA deposits or other investments that will allow you to make the required transfers. Each year, when you renew, you’ll be asked for proof that you deposited the required $24,000.