Mar 222015

The Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Incentive Program for Belize is available to anyone forty-five years and older from anywhere in the world.

The laws governing the QRP program can change and then the prospective Retiree may be faced with inaccurate or out-dated information. At Discovering Belize, we actively research and request up-to-date information right from the source. In the case of the QRP program, the information comes directly from the Belize Tourism Board, as of February 17, 2015. We will strive to update this information any time there is a change to the laws or requirements.

Current Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program Requirements

The Belize Tourism Board offers the “Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Incentives Program” for persons living any where in the world who would like to retire in Belize. Any qualifying person can also include spouses and children under 18, including dependents up to the age of 23, if they are enrolled in a university. To qualify for QRP you must meet the following requirements:

Persons are at least 45 years of age and can prove a permanent and consistent income from investment (abroad or in Belize), pension or other retirement benefits.

The benefits of retiring in Belize include:

  • Tax Breaks
  • English Speaking
  • Good Educational System
  • Sub-tropical Climate all year round
  • Easy access to land for development and construction of a retirement home
  • Close proximity to the United States and Mexico
  • Strong and Stable Belize Dollar
  • Abundance of natural resources
  • Breathtakingly beautiful
  • Friendly people
  • Peaceful Nation

Qualified Retired Persons Application Process:

The Belize Tourism Board processes all applications for QRP in cooperation with the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Immigration and Nationality.

Interested persons please submit completed applications directly to the Belize Tourism Board. You will need the following documents:

1. Birth Certificate – A copy of a birth certificate for the applicant and each dependent

2. Marriage Certificate – If married and spouse is a dependent

3. Authentic Police Report – A police or criminal record report from the applicant’s last place of residency

4. Passport – Clear copies of complete passport (including all blank pages) of applicant and all dependents that have been certified by a Notary Public. The copies must have the passport number, name of principal, number of pages and the seal or stamp of the Notary Public.

5. Proof of Income

a) An official statement from bank or financial institution certifying that the applicant is the recipient of a pension or annuity of a minimum of Two Thousand United States Dollars (US $2000) per month

b) A Financial Statement from a financial institution, bank, credit union, or building society in Belize certifying that the applicant’s investment or deposit will generate the sum, of a minimum of Two Thousand United States Dollars (US $2000) per month or the equivalent of Twenty Four Thousand United States Dollars (US $24,000) per year

6. Medical Examination– Applicants should undergo a complete medical examination including an AIDS test. A copy of the medical certificate must be attached to the application.

7. Photos– Four frontal and four profile passport size photographs that have been taken recently of applicant and dependents.

*Please note that it is also a requirement that all dependents should submit all documents listed with exception of the proof of income.

Income from Pension of other sources:
1. Retired Pensioner

a. Retired pensioner is that person who qualifies under the program and receives a monthly income of not less than US $2000.00 through a pension or annuity that has been generated outside of Belize.

2. Certification

a. When a company grants a pension, that company has to prove that it has been in operation for at least 20 years by submitting proof of registration

b. The company that grants the pension shall certify that the pension of no less than US$2000.00 per month will be forwarded to a reputable financial institution within Belize. This letter must be signed by the manager, president, or by a legal representative of the company

c. Certification by a Certified Public Accountant independent of the company:

i. Stating the date the company was established
ii. Verifying the authenticity of the above mentioned letter< br/>
iii. Certifying that the applicant signed in favor of the beneficiary is of no less than US$2000.00 per month
d. The applicant must present two (2) bank references from the company that is sending the pension
e. The company granting the pension must present a document outlining its pension scheme

*Note: Requirement “b” through “d “can be omitted where the company sending the pension is considered to be a “Fortune Five Hundred” Company.

3. Background Check:

All applications are subject to a background check to be carried out by the Ministry of National Security.


All persons who have been designated a Qualified Retired Person shall be entitled, on first entering Belize, to import his or her personal effects and an approved means of transportation free of all import duties and taxes.

A Qualified Retired Person shall be exempt from the payment of all taxes and duties on all income or receipts which accrue to him other from a source outside of Belize whether that in come is generated from work performed or from an investment.


All privileges, exemptions and regulations herein included are governed by the Retired Persons (Incentives) (Amendment) Act, 2001, and the ACT will serve as the basis for all purposes of interpretation.

1. Personal/Household Effects
Qualified Retired Persons under the program can qualify for duty and tax exemptions on new and used personal and household effects admitted as such by the Product Development Officer in charge of the program. A list of all items with corresponding values that will be imported must be submitted with the application. All items must be imported in country within 1 year after approval into the program.

2. Transportation
a. Motor Vehicle
Qualified Retired Persons are strongly encouraged to procure a vehicle in Belize. However, we will facilitate duty and tax exemption on an imported vehicle.
b. Light Aircraft
A Qualified Retired Person is entitled to import a light aircraft less than17, 000 kg. A Qualified Retired Person is required to have a valid Private Pilot license to fly in Belize. This license can be obtained by passing the requirements set by the Civil Aviation. However, if the participant has a valid pilot’s license, that license only has to be validated by Civil Aviation Department in Belize.
c. Boat
Any vessel that is used for personal purposes and for pleasure will be accepted under this program.

3. Disposal of Duty Free Items
If for whatever reason a qualified retired person decides to sell, give away, lease, or otherwise dispose of the approved means of transportation or personal effects to any person or entity within Belize, all duties and taxes must be paid by that person or entity to the proper authorities.

Qualified Retired Persons must note that only after 3 years and upon proof that the transportation that was previously imported to Belize was adequately disposed of, will another concession be granted to import another mode of transportation.

4. Offenses and Penalties
Any person who knowingly makes any false declaration or entry in order to qualify for or retain any Exemption or privilege granted under the Retired Persons (Incentives) (Amendment) Act, 201 commits an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars.

5. Fee Structure

a. A non-refundable application fee in the sum of US $150.00 payable to the Belize Tourism Board must be submitted with the application.

b. A program fee in the sum of US $1,000.00 payable to the Belize Tourism Board must be submitted upon acceptance into the program.

c. Upon acceptance into the Program, a fee of US$200.00 must be paid to the Belize Tourism Board for the issuance of the Qualified Retired Person Residency Card.

Each dependent is required to pay a Program Fee of US $750 to enter the Program.

*NOTE: All payments must be made payable to the Belize Tourism Board and be in the form of US cash, US bank draft or US cashier’s check.

For the most current application you can download the .PDF Application here:

Belize Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Incentives Program

For more information contact the Belize Tourism Board:
PHONE: 501-227-2420 FAX: 501-227-2487 TOLL FREE: 1-800-624-0686
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 325, #64 Regent Street, Belize City, Belize

Mar 222015

Having gone through the Permanent Residency process ourselves, we realize that there is a ton of information on the Internet regarding becoming a Permanent Resident in Belize; however, even now six years after getting our Residency, it is extremely difficult to get complete, up-to-date information.

So I went by the Immigration office myself and asked for a current list of requirements to obtain Permanent Residency in Belize. This information is current as of February 2015, and comes directly from the Immigration Office, with thanks to Officer Ruben Requena for his wonderful, friendly information and assistance. The current checklist available has not been updated by the Department of Immigration since 2013, but as any updates occur, they will be posted here.**The Alien Registration paragraph will be updated in April, 2015 by Belize Immigration.

First, you must reside in Belize for one complete year, paying the Tourist renewal fee to update your status of $25USD a month for the first six months, and then $50USD a month for the next six months. Note: you must continue to pay the fee monthly during the time your Residency application is being reviewed.


Checklist of required documents and fees. All applications must be presented in person. To obtain the necessary application, you must apply in person at any Immigration Office in Belize.

(a) Evidence that you are in the country legally for one year prior to application (copy of passport pages or refugee card).

(b) An immigration Fee in the sum of BZD $_____ will be charged upon approval. *Note Fees are based on Country of Origin. Please contact the Department of Immigration for information on what the current fees are for your country of origin. You can contact the main office of Immigration in Belmopan at (501) 822-3850 or (501) 822-0284, Fax: (501) 822-2662.

(c) Alien Registration for yourself and members of your family of the age of sixteen, if you remained in the country for at least six months.
**Clarification of Alien Registration – According to Officer Requena (who contacted the main Immigration office for me) It means that any person under the age of eighteen (it says sixteen on the paperwork, which will be updated in April, 2015) and all household members, including children under eighteen, need to have proof of legal tourist status in the country of Belize. ALL family members must have renewal stamps in their passports for the prior six months, and must continue to keep up with the renewal of their tourist status while going through the Permanent Residency process.

(e) Documentary evidence that you have acquired land in Belize or that you have access to land if you make such a claim.

(f) Certificate of Health including HIV & VDRL tests for you and all members of your family.

(g) Three recent passport size photographs of yourself, wife and children if they are to be included. (Photographs must be in color.)

(h) Wife’s/Husband’s Birth Certificate.

(i) Marriage Certificate.

(j) Sworn declaration of support (from husband or common-law husband.)

(k) Recent Local Bank Statement or otherwise, where means of financial support is not indicated.

(l) Temporary Employment Permit if you are or wish to engage in gainful employment.

(m) Income Tax Statement.


A final decision will be made when all requirements have been met. Pending a decision on your application you are required to continue applying for monthly extensions on your documents at the nearest Immigration office.

If you have a change of address while your application is being processed you are strongly advised to inform the Department immediately.

No incomplete application will be accepted.

Leaving the country for more than fourteen (14) consecutive* days at any one time disqualifies the applicant.
*(This is often misunderstood to mean you may only leave the country for a total of 14 days during your residency year. However, it states directly on the Requirement Checklist that you may not leave for more than 14 consecutive days – meaning days following one another in uninterrupted succession or order; successive.)

Mar 222015

We offer an up-to-date list of Registered Belize Realtors. Check to see if your Belize Real Estate Agent is listed.

Listed below are the current 2015 members of the The Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize (AREBB)

Belize Realtors
Member Directory

Company Name Contact Info
Belize Land Properties Ltd. Oscar D Romero
Belize Property Agents DBA
Hummingbird Inn Ltd.
David Gobeil
Boris Mannsfeld and Associates Frik De Meyere
Buy Belize Real Estate Ltd. Ricky Perera
Ceiba Realty Ltd. Jonathan Lohr
Century 21 BTALCO Saira Mahabir
Century21 BTALCO Donna Gartner
Consejo Shores Ltd. William N. (Bill) Wildman
Coral Beach Realty Robert S. Hamilton
Corozal Bayside Realty Lincoln E. Eiley
Corozal Belize Properties Walter Tom Fisher
CPC Real Estate Solutions Ltd. Michael Young
CPC Real Estate Solutions Ltd. Patrick Doyle
CPC Real Estate Solutions Ltd. Dan Dunbar
CPC Real Estate Solutions Ltd. Petra Wolf
D & M Realty Maureen Belisle-Leong
Diamond Realty Daphine Vega
GNC Corporate Services Limited Troy Gabb
I Found Belize Realty James Ping
In Sites Real Estate Marta Hendrikx
Jaseth M. Jackson & Co. Jaseth M. Bassaragh
Northern Coastal Realty Fernando Herman Alamilla
Ocean Breeze Properties Santiago Gomez
Paradise Found Belize Ltd. Mark Leonard
RE/MAX 1st Choice David Kafka
RE/MAX 1st Choice Terry K. Pennington
RE/MAX 1st Choice Sandra K. Pennington
RE/MAX Belize Property Center Brian Cullerton
RE/MAX Belize Property Center Tiffany Swift
RE/MAX Belize Property Center John Acott
RE/MAX Island Real Estate Dennis Kay II
RE/MAX Island Real Estate Jeffery A. Bella
RE/MAX Island Real Estate Sara Warner
RE/MAX Southwind Daniel Hartin
RE/MAX Southwind John D. Turley
RE/MAX Southwind Robert Colon
Sapphire Realty Limited Alfonso S. Silva
SBW Property Management &
Real Estate, Belize
Shawn Welch
Southwind Properties Claudio Azueta
Titoff Realty Ltd. Konstantin Titov
Vista Real Estate Hugo Moguel
Vista Real Estate Eric Reyes
Vista Real Estate Manuel Ayuso
Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law Ryan J. Wrobel
Yearwood Properties Brian Yearwood
Mar 222015

All tourists and non-Belizean citizens traveling through the Philip Goldson International Airport are required to pay departure fees of approximately $35 USD (this fee may be included in your airline ticket, please confirm with your airline that the exit fee is included at the time you purchase the ticket.) For Belizean Residents the Departure Fees are $35.00 BZD, for non Belizean residents or tourists the Departure Fees are $35.50, USD. A Security Fee of 0.75¢ USD ($1.50 BZD) is charged for Domestic Security Screening.

When departing Belize through land borders to either Mexico or Guatemala, there’s a border exit fee of $30 BZD, in addition to a conservation fee of $7.50 BZD. Fees can be paid in US dollars or Belize dollars, but credit cards are not accepted. Departing by boat you’ll also pay the $7.50 BZD conservation fee and the $30 BZD departure fee, in U.S. or Belize dollars.

Those just passing through Belize, staying less than 24 hours, can avoid paying the $7.50 BZD conservation fee but have to pay all other taxes and fees. A portion of the departure tax goes toward the protection and preservation of the environment. Due to the country’s effort to effectively manage their lush protected areas, visitors are asked to pay a conservation exit fee at any of the exit or entry points. The proceeds from this fee goes to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), which is then distributed and used to sustain the protected areas in Belize.

There is a standard 9% hotel tax that is added to your hotel bill. In some of the more exclusive resorts and hotels, a service charge of about 10% may be charged to your hotel bills (restaurant, bar and room), while in other locations, tipping is optional. A 12.5% sales tax is also charged on most goods and services in the country.

Mar 222015

If you have any questions regarding Building in Belize, Construction, Permits, Architects, Engineers or Contractors, please comment below, and we will do our best to answer, we have been through the process multiple times.

Below is information on Construction Permits in Belize
Central Building Authority (CBA) Building in Belize CBA Fees, Does not include Architect, or Engineering fees

If you are thinking of building in Belize, please refer to this schedule of fees and permits needed for construction:

Procedure Time Allowed Associated Fees
Obtain a lot plan
Agency: Lands Department

The property title should include a lot plan. Otherwise, it can be obtained from the Lands Department. In about 30% of cases, the Lands Department will not have the lot plan in its records. In these cases, the construction company can hire a surveyor to draw up a new lot plan, which would take 2-3 weeks to complete at a cost of $600-$800BZD.

2 days $30 BZD
Pay application fee at Commercial Bank
Agency: Commercial BankBuilder/Owner must first pay the appropriate application fee directly to the Central Building Authority’s bank account. Builder/Owner will fill out the application form and receive proof of payment of the application fees.
1 day $175 BZD
Obtain clearance of electrical plans from the Public Utility Company (PUC)

Agency: Public Utility Company

The electrical plans must be designed by a PUC licensed electrician or electrical engineer and then submitted (as per PUC design submittal requirements) to the PUC for review and approval.

4 days $0 BZD (No Charge)
Obtain approval of sewage disposal system

Agency: Ministry of Health

The plans of the sewage disposal system must be approved by the Ministry of Health.

4 days $0 BZD (No Charge)
Request and receive building permit

Agency: Central Building Authority

To obtain a building permit, Builder/Owner must submit to the Central Building Authority an application form with the required fees and documents (see below). Depending on the location, an environmental compliance plan may be required. Other approving agencies would be the health and fire departments. Because they are a part of the committee, this is a one-stop approval process. During construction, an inspector visits the site at least four times to ensure that the structure corresponds to the agreed plans.With the application, Builder/Owner must submit the processing fee and three sets of plans, four site plans, and four location plans. The plans should include a drawing to scale, showing the plot boundaries in relation to adjoining roads, alleys, footpaths, and the position of any proposed building(s) on the same lot.Other information that should be included is the layout of sewerage and drainage and detailed foundation plans, showing each floor and roof with typical cross-sections through the building indicating foundations, each floor, and the roof, with relative heights and levels of the lowest floor of the building and of the adjacent ground. Also complete plans of all water-retaining structures with reinforced concrete detail, where used must be submitted with the application.

These and other plans are required by the regulations under the Belize City Building Act, Chapter 131 and 40 of the Public Health Act (revised edition 2000). The city engineer must be informed of the start date of the above work.

Once the City Council receives the plans, it sends them to the engineering department. The engineering department then sends the plans to the Ministry of Housing, which returns them to the City Council. However, the Ministry of Housing Committee meets only once a month, and it responds to the City Council only once every 2 weeks. The council is responsible for local regulations, while the ministry administers regional regulations.

Throughout the approval process, the Building Plan Committee checks that the proposed project is in compliance with zoning, environmental, and fire safety requirements.

Construction must begin within 6 months of the date the building permit is issued. The permit fee covers four site visits to inspect during four different phases.

Once the plans are approved, the applicant will be requested to complete a an “Application For A Permit To Commence Construction”.

Application fees and permit fees are as follows:


• Less than or equal to 1,000 sq. ft.: $50.00 BZD plus 0.10¢ BZD per sq. ft.

• Over 1,000 sq. ft. $100.00 BZD plus 0.15¢ BZD per sq. ft.


• Less than or equal to 800 sq. ft.: $150.00 BZD plus 0.20¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example, banks, stores, restaurants)

• Over 800 sq. ft.: $175.00 plus 0.25¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example hotels, bars, supermarkets, repair shops, beauty salons)


• Less than or equal to 800 sq. ft.: $150.00 BZD 0.25¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example, private schools or hospitals)

• Over 800 sq. ft.: $175.00 plus 0.30¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example, clinics or churches)

• There is no charge for government buildings (for example, public schools)


• Less than or equal to 1,000 sq. ft.: $125.00 BZD plus 0.35¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example, warehouses, garages)

• Over 1,000 sq. ft.: $150.00 BZD plus 0.40¢ BZD per sq. ft. (for example, factories)

The Doing Business case study warehouse would fall under this category, given its size of 14,000 sq. ft.


• Swimming pool: $150.00 BZD plus $1.00 BZD per sq. ft.

• Pier: $2.00 BZD per (running) ft.

• Fence: $0.25¢ BZD per ft.

35 days $5,600 BZD
Obtain an environmental clearance

Agency: Central Building Authority

Due to the magnitude of the project (a 2-story warehouse of 1300.6 sq m. above ground), the Environmental Department must be informed of the project. The Department will then determine whether an EIA or an ECP (Environmental Compliance Plan) is required and will issue an environmental clearance.

14 days $1,850 BZD
Receive set out inspection

Agency: Central Building Authority

The setting out inspection must be carried out and approved before the actual construction commences. The construction phase must commence no later than 365 days of the date of the “No Objection To Development.” The “No Objection To Development” is automatically deemed null and void 365 days after it has been issued. The City Council schedules two random inspections, based on the building plans. Belize City is comprised of five districts, and each district has one inspector assigned to it.

1 day $0 BZD (No Charge)
Receive random inspection by City Council – I

Agency: Central Building Authority

The CBA will carry out 2 random site inspections during the construction of the project to ensure that the works are being carried out in accordance with the permitted documents.

1 day $0 BZD (No Charge)
Receive random inspection by City Council – II

Agency: Central Building Authority

The CBA will carry out 2 random site inspections during the construction of the project to ensure that the works are being carried out in accordance with the permitted documents.

1 day $0 BZD (No Charge)
Notify Central Building Authority of completion of construction and request occupancy certificate

Agency: Central Building Authority

No later than 1 week after construction is completed, the owner, or other authorized person must inform the CBA of the completion of the construction and request an occupancy permit from the CBA.

1 day $0 BZD (No Charge)
Receive final inspection from Central Building Authority

Agency: Central Building Authority

The CBA will carry out a detailed inspection of the works within 10 working days. If the built work is in compliance with the permitted set of construction documents, CBA will issue the occupancy permit.

14 days $0 BZD (No Charge)
Obtain occupancy permit

Agency: Central Building Authority

Within 3-4 weeks after the inspection, the CBA will issue the occupancy permit.

21 days $0 BZD (No Charge)
*Request water and sewage connection

Agency: Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWS)

The representative of Builder/Owner must apply in person at the Belize Water Services Ltd and provide the following information:• A written request on the company’s letter head and the identification card of the person authorized to conduct the transaction on behalf of the company• Proof of location of the property• Contact details

1 day $450 BZD
Obtain site visit by the Belize Water Services Ltd.

Agency: Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWS)

1 day $0 BZD (No Charge)
Obtain water and sewage connection

Agency: Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWS)

Some areas outside the city limits do not have sewage lines so septic tanks are often required.

27 days $1,000 BZD

*Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.