Immigration & Residency In Belize



Belize's policy when it comes to residency is easily found online. You're passport is stamped when you enter Belize which is good for 30 days. Upon expiry and every 30 days after that you must visit the immigration office to get another stamp (tourist visa). The cost is $50 BZ for the first 6 months and $100 BZ after that. Everything I read before I got here said that you must be in the country 6 mos before you can apply for a business permit and 12 mos for a work permit but this just isn't so. They do like to see some permanency when considering a work or business permit but the application is actually the same for both and it is only recommended that you be here 6 mos. *The tourist visa extension (passport stamp) states that you can remain in the country provided you agree not to conduct business or work during that time.



The (immigration) policy states that you must be able to prove that you have the financial means to remain in the country which I believe is set at an amount of $60/day (pp). This is not always asked of you when visiting the immigration office. As a matter of fact I think they are more concerned with you getting there by the required date. *Note: The office is not open on weekends so according to a very helpful immigration officer who we interviewed last week, if your stamp expires on a Saturday then you must come in no later than the Friday prior to expiration. If it expires on a Sunday then you are okay to come in the next day. However he did stress that it is wise to err on the side of safety and go in on Friday anyway as it is at the individual officer's discretion how a tardy visit will be handled. You may be given a warning or could be refused your stamp. In which case, it's "Adios amigo!"

A typical visit consists of waiting in line, requesting an extension, receiving an invoice (a hand-written piece of paper) which you need to take down the hall to the treasury office and pay, then return to the immigration office with your receipt and get stamped. Simple as that.
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