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Gwido Mar of Grupo Mar Realty Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Maya archaeological site in western Belize. Xunantunich – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLet’s say you are moving to Belize in the next month. When you arrive at the airport, you will get a 30-day visa stamp on your passport. If you want to stay beyond that period of time or if you have decided to move to Belize permanently, you are going to have your monthly visa stamped at the immigration office. There are several immigration offices. There is one in Belmopan, northern, southern, eastern, and western Belize. You are going to get your monthly stamp each month for 12 months. After that 12-month period, you can apply for residency. For the first 6 months that you are in Belize, the cost you will pay is US $25 for the stamp. The remaining 6 months costs $50 per month. During the 12-month period, you are only allowed to leave Belize for 14 days. The government imposed that rule because they want to be sure that you are actually living in Belize most of your time and that is the reason why you are applying for a residency.
 
After you have your residency, you are then allowed to come and go to Belize, since you are a resident. Being a resident allows you to open a bank account, it is easier to get utility accounts under your name, you could get a driver’s license, etc.
 
On the other hand, citizenship is when you are officially a Belizean, per se. You can apply for citizenship after you have been in Belize for four years. That process requires a vetting process. It requires you to get character references from Belizeans you know. You need to provide a permanent address and a utility bill. You also need to undergo a physical examination and also get a HIV and a TB test done. You will then be called in for an interview.
 
There is not much of a difference between being a resident and a citizen in Belize. The only noticeable difference is that when you are a citizen, you are considered a Belizean and you will get a Belizean passport.
 
Some expats who I’ve met are happy just being a resident of Belize because being a resident of the country makes things easier for you. The primary advantage of being a resident is that it allows you to get a bank account. I just spoke with a gentleman from Florida who has been here for 3 years and has his residency. He told me that he wants to get a citizenship and he’s excited. He wants to stay here and own property here in Belize. (You don't have to be a citizen to own property in Belize.)  I guess he just really wants it, but it is not really necessary because it doesn’t provide a lot more benefits than being are resident. 
 
(Xunantunich, Maya archeological site in western Belize, pictured.) 
Christian Burn of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Getting a residency in Belize means that you are committed to staying in Belize. Essentially, as a resident, you are in the system and you are paying taxes. As a Canadian, I have an advantage living in Belize, because Belize is a British Commonwealth nation. As a Canadian, I just have to register, because, as a Canadian, I am already part of the Commonwealth and I am a resident of Belize. I can vote in Belize.
 
Residency is not the same as citizenship. Residency is where you reside and pay taxes based on services you use. Citizenship, from my understanding, is a secondary process whereby in Belize, you have to become a resident before you become a citizen. 
Frik De Meyere of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Belize, “residency” grants you the right to reside in the country, but not the right to work in the country. If you have a residency, you can retire here in Belize and spend your money, but you can’t get a job. If you want to work here, you would have to then acquire a work permit.
 
In Belize, there is temporary residency and permanent residency. With a temporary residency, you would have to get your passport stamped every 30 days, which costs US $25. After one year of full time temporary residency without leaving the country for fourteen days in a year, you can then apply for permanent residency. I believe you would have to renew that every year. After you become a permanent resident for five years in Belize, then you can apply for your citizenship. So, it would take 6 years in total to get a Belizean citizenship. Once you have your citizenship, just like you would in the US, you can go to the post office and apply for your passport, because you are a Belize citizen.
 
If you have either temporary or permanent residency, you are not entitled to work, unless you get a work permit above and beyond the temporary and permanent residency. If you are a citizen, you have the right to live and work and you don’t have to report to anyone.

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