When I moved to Belize, I did it a little bit differently than other people. I rented out my home back in UK and left everything there. I came to Belize with two suitcases, so I cannot answer those questions from personal experience, because it would be misleading. I arrived with two suitcases and have not actually gone through transporting things yet. When I arrived here, we decided to rent rather than buy, and still do. But we have made some investments. For me, the cost of moving was the flight coming here.
Legal and immigration is simple. You have to stay on a monthly basis, and you just walk into the immigration office every 30 days. They will ask you for your name and your address, they give you a sheet of paper and you walk down to the treasury department and you pay Belize $50 (or US $25) per month for the first 6 months and they give you a stamp. Thereafter, you pay Belize $100 (US $50) until you have been here a year. After a year, you can then apply for residency. So it is US $25 for the first 6 months and US $50 for the last 6 months. That is what it costs to be here during the first year.
In order for you to be able to work, vote, own a golf cart licensed in your name, you need to be a resident. To be a resident, you have to be here for a whole year and not leave for any more than 14 days. You have to stay in the country for 12 months without leaving. I have already been here 4 years and have left only for 2 weeks. There is so much to do and see here and my family likes to come over to visit. Therefore, it is not hard to stay in Belize. You can also apply for a work permit. If you buy a business, you need to have a business owner’s work permit. I did that when i had a restaurant and paid $2,000. It usually takes between 2 to 6 weeks for it to be approved, if they approve it.
If you want to work while you are here in Belize, you have to have a work permit. If you are planning on coming here and buying a business, of course you can oversee what goes on. Like me, I had a restaurant. If you want to be on the premises, you want to be cleaning, you want to be helping, want to be greeting the customers, but then that would be considered as working, which you cannot do unless you have a work permit to do so.
You can get a work permit immediately. You just need to get a form and go through the approval process. It would take two to six weeks provided that you have everything for them. Humility is a great quality here in Belize. Ask questions that you need answers for and get to know the immigration officer. Go to town and just ask those questions. These are the people who grant the permits, so even though you have all been given advice on how to circumvent here and how to buy your way into things, I’m afraid I found that asking the people whose jobs are responsible to do it is the fastest course. That is why I put in my application for work permit and i got it in two and a half weeks. I put in my application for residency after one and a half weeks and I got it in four to eight weeks. Because I asked questions, and I depended on people and I shared with them that I feel honored to be here, they gave it to me.