The amnesty program announced by the current government has begun its awareness campaign. The program, designed to grant amnesty to CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and Central American migrants, will start in April. The awareness campaign saw members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Immigration Department, and the International Organization for Migration in Belize recently meeting in San Pedro Town. The visit focused on the requirements needed to qualify and apply for permanent residence in Belize.

The process explained on February 16th by members of the campaign indicated applicants will not obtain the application forms for the residence at the immigration department. Instead, a temporary center/office will open on the island, where these specific application forms will be made available and processed. The application form will carry the word amnesty in brackets to tie it to such a program. Individuals can apply for themselves, and in the case of a family, only one person needs to apply for an entire household. Applicants note that the amnesty starting in April will only be available for four months.

Requirements

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, registered asylum seekers automatically qualify. Irregular immigrants who have resided continuously in Belize for five or more years also qualify. Applicants must present a identification document with a photo such as a passport and a medical exam and police record for applicants 12 years and over. If the applicant needs a translation, it must be an authorized translator. Other conditions considered are those with Belizean children, persons who may have completed primary and or secondary studies here, and those married to a Belizean for at least one year or in a common-law union with a Belizean for a continuous period of five years or more. Any person who has resided in foster care homes and recommended by the Ministry of Human Development can also qualify. People that have maintained gainful employment in the country for at least five years can also apply to change their immigration status in Belize.

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