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Abroad - Retirement in Belize
to Belize - Information and Advice for Retirement
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- The place to retire, if you want a relaxed Lifestyle
you can afford
are adventurous and crave a relaxed retirement in
a tropical setting, then Belize is the place to
be. The national
language of Belize is English
This country was once only known for its
spectacular scuba diving and eco-adventure tours
but, it is developing into something of an
international hot spot. Francis Ford Coppola has
already developed two upscale resorts in the
country and international celebrities like Robert
De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio own property in the
short History of Belize
|Belize was until
1973 known as British Honduras It is about the
size of new Hampshire (or half the size of
Switzerland) and has 250,000 inhabitants (2006).
Initially a British Settlement, it became a
British Crown Colony in 1871. British Honduras
gained self government in 1964 and as Belize,
independence from Britain on September 21, 1981.
country adopted the principles of a Parliamentary
Democracy based on the Westminster System. It is
a sovereign, democratic state governed by a Prime
Minister and Cabinet , the Executive Branch,
supported by a legislative two chamber
Parliament, made up of a 29-member elected House
of Representatives and a nine-member appointed
Senate. Belize is a Constitutional Monarchy and
the British Monarch is the constitutional Head of
State. Queen Elisabeth II is represented in
Belize by a Governor-General, who must be a
is a very stable developing country that has
never had a military coup and enjoys membership
in the British Commonwealth, the United Nations,
the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of
American States and the newly-formed Association
of Caribbean States. Diplomatic relations have
been established with many countries. Belize is
also a member of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) and related institutions.
about the Geography
in the Northern Hemisphere, of Central America
bounded on the North by Mexico and the South and
West by Guatemala. In the East, is the Caribbean
Sea with its 174 mile coastline. The Total area
is 8,866 sq. miles and includes 266 sq. miles of
The offshore atolls, known as cayes (pronounced
keys) and the barrier reef are one of the main
attractions to Belize. The barrier reef is 185
miles long. It is the longest in the Western
The mangrove cayes
provide a fantastic habitat for birds and marine
life. Belize's island cayes, distinguishable by
their palm trees, have provided the foundation
for the development of many fine resorts that
serve the water sports enthusiasts and the marine
can enjoy a wide variety of environments in this
country: mountains, rain forests, sandy beaches
and the largest barrier reef in the Western
hemisphere.If water sports and beach side
activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling,
fishing, boating, sailing, sail boarding, and sea
kayaking are something you crave for or if you
just want a laid back tropical atmosphere, this
could be your retirement paradise.
Belize is truly "Mother Natures" best
Banking, Offshore Banking, Currency, Investment
and the Economy
|There are four large commercial
banks, the Belize Bank Ltd., Barclay's
Bank PLC, the Bank of Nova Scotia and Atlantic
Bank Ltd., and a Government
Savings Bank. Recent amendments to the
Banking Act permit offshore banking and offshore
banking is one of Belize's claims to fame.
Though, there are strict rules to keep illegal
money (e.g. from drug trading) out of the banking
A central bank has replace the Monetary Authority
of Belize. It issues the country's currency, the
Belize Dollar (Bz$); which is fixed to the
American dollar at a rate of $2 Bz dollars to $1
A variety of local Investment Incentives are
being offered by the Government of Belize. These
were developed specifically to encourage foreign
investment in Belize.
Tax-free offshore accounts, offshore Trusts,
merchant accounts, online trading and new company
formations in Belize are straight forward. Belize
is recognized as being one of the best
offshore jurisdictions for offshore company
formations and offshore Trusts. Belize is a well
protected tax haven for offshore banking,
offshore accounts and other offshore investments.
Belize does not have an
estate tax or capital gains tax.
Investment in Belize is actively encouraged and
many investment incentives are presently being
offered to entice foreign investment in Belize.
If you want to invest locally, under the Belize
Fiscal Incentives Act of 1990,
enterprises approved by the Belize government may
be granted tax holidays of five,
ten, twelve, or fifteen years depending on the
nature of the enterprise and the degree of
ownership in conjunction with Belize national(s).
Under this act, foreign nationals may
repatriate 100% of their investment and profits,
provided they register with the Central Bank of
Belize. Belize provides four main elements sought
by international investors:
Long-standing, democratic tradition
exchange rate fixed for 25 years
Buying Property in Belize
|Property and Real estate
transactions in Belize are straight forward. No
one should be put off by the idea of uncertain
and the legality or complexity of the process.
Also, unlike some other countries in the region,
Belize allows US citizens and other foreigners to
own coastal land, with title guaranteed by the
Who may purchase
land in Belize?
Anyone. A non-Belizean
may purchase land and property in Belize. Full
title is granted to non-Belizeans. If you wishing
to purchase land consisting of a half acre within
city, towns or villages and in excess of 10 acres
anywhere in Belize, you need a permit to purchase
the property. This permit is regulated by the
Aliens Land-holding License issued by the
Department of Natural Resources.
of Land by a Non-Belizean
Non-Belizeans pay 15% of
the selling consideration as a Stamp Duty
or Transfer Tax to the Government of
Belize. Registration and fees are very
minimal (approximately $15.00BZ / $7.50
US). Lawyers Fees for Legal
Services for Conveying property is
approximately 1-3% of the Selling
is entitled to seek their own personal
Legal Council. Approximate total closing
cost for a Non-Belizean citizen is 16-18%
of the selling consideration.
Property tax generally consists of between
1-1.5% of the set value of the property assessed
by the Department of Natural Resources and is due
on the 1st of April of each year.
Belize has a well developed real estate market
and it is not difficult to
find the right, reliable realtor or lawyer to
complete a transaction.
|Belize has what is known as the Retired
Persons Incentive Program
Anyone over 45 from anywhere in the world
qualifies. A person who qualifies can include his
or her dependents. These include spouse, children
under 18 and can include dependents over 23 if
they are enrolled in a university.
To qualify for the program you
must prove that you have a monthly income
of not less than $2,000 a month through
a pension or annuity generated outside Belize.
You will have to prove that the company
supplying the pension has been in business at
least 20 years.
Fees for the program are as follows:
1. a non-refundable application fee of $150.00 is
payable to the Belize Board of Tourism
2. a program fee of $1,000.00 is payable to the
Board of Tourism upon acceptance
3. upon acceptance a fee of $200.00 must be paid
to the Board of Tourism for issuance of the
Qualified Retired Person Residency Card
4. each dependent has to pay $750.00 to enter the
This residency entitles the holder to import
personal belongings and an approved means of
transport free of all duties and taxes.
A Qualified Retired Person is also exempt from
payment of all taxes and levies on all income or
receipts which accrue outside of Belize, whether
from work performed or investment.
want to have a quick look at Belize, but are not
yet sure that you want to live there permanently,
go there as a tourist.You can stay on a tourist
visa and renew it every 30 days. After 6
months, you can get a work permit (probably),
which costs about US$750.
being in the country for one year showing a
stable income (currently $750 per month for a
single and $1,000 per month for a couple)., you
can obtain permanent residency. You can
then work without a work permit and come and go
as you please. This means you do not have
to reside here year-round.
For more information consult the Belize
Board of Tourism
Care and Insurance in Belize
medical clearances are not required for
entry into Belize. However, we would
recommend a polio booster and a tetanus
booster. You should also bring your own
prescription medicine and anti-malaria
tablets if you are planning
extended visits to jungle areas in
Belize. Potable water is available in most areas,
but if in doubt ask or boil your water.
There are no endemic diseases reported in Belize
at this time.
The basic structure for medical services and
health care delivery in Belize is provided by a
network of seven district hospitals which are
divided into four regions with the Karl Huesner
Memorial Hospital being the national referral
hospital in Belize.
There is also an infirmary for the care of
geriatric and chronically ill patients in Belize.
Local medical training for nurses and midwives is
provided at the Belize School of Nursing. Many
nurses have been trained in Britain.
American based, offshore medical University is
presently operating in the country. To date, most
physicians and physician-specialists have been
trained in medicine either at the University of
the West Indies, UK Universities, or at one of
the Latin American Universities (Guatemala, Costa
Rica or Mexico).
Belize medicine, doctors, health care and medical
services are considered above average for
USA Medicare and Medicaid is not valid in Belize.
are insurance companies in the USA which provide
international insurance. However, it would be
better to take out a local Insurance (mostly
British owned) in Belize. It is cheaper
and easier to deal with, when you need
and From Belize (from the USA)
|Belize is easy to get to from the
USA with daily direct flights
from Miami, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. Current
prices from these airports for a coach class
return ticket start at around US$ 970, all fees
included (Oct 2009)
negative about Belize?
|Belize offers a warm climate,
cheap land and a generally lower cost-of-living.
There are a few negative points, though most
people can live with them. Traffic
in the urban areas, even though they are small, can
be a nightmare. Belize City is
full of "small urchins" (kids) and street
people who will ask for your money.
Hurricanes are a potential threat,
although most don't come close.
will be a culture shock for
anyone used to a busy existence and modern
conveniences at every turn. But, if you
have a bit of adventure in you and a desire
to relax and take life slowly (sometimes
very slowly), it will be the retirement place of
you are retired, so slow down!