New Policy on Immigration and Nationality







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 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:

  • Central Americans (Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans) - $525
  • (Guatemalans and Mexicans) - $250
  • Caricom Nationals - $600
  • Other Commonwealth Nationals - $1,000
  • All Other Nationals - $1,250
  • Permanent Residence Card - $125
  • Permanent Residence Replacement Card - $50
  • Nationals of the People's Republic of China will be charged a non-refundable fee of $3,000.
The Permanent Residence fees specified above will be in lieu of deposits currently being charged. Border Permit Fee

There shall be a flat fee of $20 per annum for a border permit.

Work Permit Fees

  • Professional and Technical workers - a fixed fee of $1,500 per annum.
  • General Workers (except seasonal agricultural workers) - a fixed fee of $200 per annum.
  • Seasonal agricultural workers - $50 per crop.
  • Entertainers performing in groups of two or more but less that six persons - $500 for any period up to one week.
  • In groups of six persons or more - $750 for any period up to one week.
  • Entertainers performing alone - $300 for any period up to one week.
  • Religious, educational and voluntary workers - a fixed fee of $50 per annum.
Categories of Work Permits

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 - $25 per month.
After six month's stay - $50 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.

Nationality Fees

The new fees will be as follows:

  • Registration as a citizen of Belize under section 10 and section 11 of the Belize Nationality Act - $300.
  • Inclusion of the name of a minor child under section 12 - $100 per child (no change).
  • Certificate of Citizenship in case of doubt under section 6 - $100.
  • Resumption of citizenship by descent under section 8 - $100 (no change).
Other matters affecting Nationality:

Refugees

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.

Pending Applications

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.

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.







New Policy on Immigration and Nationality


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