Live in Belize

A Beautiful English-Speaking Land On The Caribbean

Belize is a safe, friendly, welcoming, unassuming little country where the English-speaking population values personal privacy, self-determination, and freedom.

In the 20 years since we first visited this country, we've joked perennially that "the good news from Belize news from Belize." This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with but 330,000 people and three highways.

On the other hand, little Belize offers a whole lot of what many tourists, retirees, and investors are looking for: sandy beachfront, both along its mainland coast and encircling its offshore cays. Prices for a bit of sand on Ambergris, the most developed of Belize's islands, are through the stratosphere, and values along the mainland, especially south around Placencia and north at Corozal, are following suit.

Still, Belize, both its coast and its way of life, can be a great buy. We favor its interior Cayo region, which boasts Mayan ruins, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and rain forest.

For non-Americans, Belize offers the opportunity for tax-free living. Legal residency is easy to obtain through the country's Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program. Foreign residents pay no tax in Belize on non-Belize income. Thus, be you British, German, Australian, or Irish, for example, you could become a QRP and reduce your overall tax burden to virtually nothing.

Belize is also a banking haven, one of the few remaining in the world, a jurisdiction where every bank must maintain a minimum of 24% liquidity at all times and where bankers respect bank secrecy. It's one of the easiest places in the world to open an offshore account. You don't have to visit the country in person, and, at our preferred Belize bank, you can open an account with as little as US$500.

For all of those reasons, Belize claims a spot every year at or near the top of our Best Retirement Havens in the World List.

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Population 321,115 (July 2011)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $2.651 billion (2010 est.)
GDP Per Capita $8,400 (2010 est.)
Inflation Rate 0.9% (2010 est.)
Currency Belizean Dollar (BZD)
Exchange Rate Versus U.S. Dollar 2 Belizean dollars per 1 U.S. dollar (2012)
Languages English (official), Belize Creole English, Spanish
Capital Belmopan
Population of Capital City 79,600 (2009)
Time Zone GMT minus 6
Seasons Tropical; hot and humid;rainy season lasts from June to November
International Dialing Code 501
Electricity 110/220 V / 60Hz; Plug Types: B, G
System of Government Parliamentary Democracy
Name and Party Affiliation
of Current Leader
Dean Barrow
United Democratic Party
Income Tax Rate for Residents 15% to 45%
Property Tax 1% to 1.5% of the value of undeveloped land.
Capital Gains Tax None
Inheritance Tax None
Rental Income Tax 12.5% for occupied properties and 2% for unocupied properties.
Transfer Tax 10%, attorney fee 2%
Sales Tax 12.5%
Restrictions on Foreign
Ownership of Property
Local Chamber of Commerce
63 Regent St
P.O. Box 291
Belize City
Tel: 501-227-3148
American Chamber of Commerce
5 1/2 Miles Western Highway
Cucumber Beach Marina
Belize City
Tel: 501-222-4344
Primary Exports Sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish, molasses, wood.
Residency and Visa Requirements Tourist Visa: automatic 30 days upon entry, renewable for up to 6 months
Residency: visa extended every 3 months for people living in remote areas away from the Immigration Office, potentialinvestors, and business people
Citizenship: After 5 years of legal residency
Special Benefits for Foreign
Residents or Retirees
Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act includes tax-free import of household goods, including vehicle, boat, or airplane; no Belize income tax. Pension Income is exempt of tax.
National Airline None