Retiring In Belize As A U.S. Citizen
Retiring in Belize as a U.S. citizen is a well-traveled path. This means that you can arm yourself with all the information you need before you move.
We believe that Belize is one of the very best places in the world to retire. An ever-growing number of expats and retirees agree.
Why Are U.S. Citizens Retiring In Belize?
Belize has a number of unique features for U.S. retirees that you don’t find in any other country.
One of the biggest attractions of retiring in Belize is the proximity to the States. Flights are quick, easy, and affordable. You can even drive here if you prefer. However the roads can be a little rough and ready, so make sure you have a 4×4.
Belize is an English-speaking country, the only one in Central America. For U.S. expats, English-speaking retirement options can be limited. There’s Ireland of course, but the weather isn’t great. Plenty of Caribbean islands speak English, most of them are eye-wateringly expensive.
Belize has the perfect combination of being affordable, sunny, and English-speaking.
Belize is also affordable. The cost of living here means you can even live well on your Social Security alone. Luxury communities can be found too, but affordable Caribbean real estate is one of Belize’s major selling points.
And What About British Citizens?
Britain has a long history with Belize.
The country used to be known as British Honduras, and remains part of the Commonwealth.
Brits can stay in Belize for up to one year on a tourist visa. That’s plenty of time to decide if you want to live here full time.
But It’s A Long Way From Home
That’s true. But it’s part of the attraction. Belize has the kind of climate and landscape that you just can’t experience anywhere in Europe.
Although there are no direct flights, getting from London to Belize is easy. There are multiple daily flights from London to the US and from the US to Belize. In total your journey should take less than 12 hours.
I Thought British People Only Retired To The Spain And The Algarve?
They are two of the favorites.
But times are changing that these destinations are no longer the bargains they once were.
These two, and other traditional countries for British retirees have become very expensive over the past decade.
Countries like Spain and Portugal are now no longer affordable places to enjoy a sunny retirement. A move to Belize allows a higher standard of living than might be possible in Europe.
Other retirees who currently live in the EU are also assessing their options.
Brexit could force them to find new places to live. Countries like Belize that offer easy residency are becoming very attractive options.
What Are The Visa Requirements For U.S. And UK Citizens Retiring In Belize?
There are two visas on offer for the U.S. retiree. The first is to go for permanent residency, the second is to go for the Qualified Retirement Persons (QRP) visa.
The conditions you need to meet in order to get this visa are straightforward.
- You need to be over the age of 45.
- A guaranteed yearly income of at least US$24,000 from outside of Belize.
- Pass a security check.
- Commit to living at least 30 consecutive days in Belize each year.
How Do I Apply For The QRP Visa?
The following documentation is required for every applicant
- A birth certificate
- A police record (this must be recent to one month so get this done after all your other paperwork is finished)
- A copy of your passport
- Proof of income. This must be from your bank or pension.
- A medical exam
The total fees involved are US$1,150. There is an annual charge of US$50 to renew.
Thanks to the perks involved, most people agree that the QRP visa is good value for money. However not everyone bothers to renew.
What Are The Benefits Of This Visa?
This visa was setup specifically to attract expats from North America and Europe over the age of 45, and comes with some nice perks.
For a start, you will pay no income tax in Belize. A residency card is also included. All your existing goods and possessions can be bought to Belize, duty free.
A spouse and any dependents can also be bought to Belize under the terms of this deal.
Any Other Questions?
Contact the Belize tourism board
Where Do Most Of The Expats Choose To Live?
Most people come to Belize for the white sand beaches and Caribbean waters. Not only does Belize offer great beach towns, there is also the option for living on one of the many small islands known as cayes.
Some expats prefer to live inland. There are off-the-grid communities as well as mountain and jungle options.
Ambergris Caye is the most popular expat destination in Belize. Belize’s largest island is famous for its diving, fishing, and pristine beaches.
The main town of San Pedro has plenty of bars and restaurants and a thriving expat scene. If you’re looking for an established expat community in Belize this is the place to go.
Prices have increased over the past few years but compared with elsewhere in the Caribbean it is still a bargain.
San Ignacio is where you go to experience countryside living in Belize. A small town in the Cayo district, it is famous for the nearby Maya ruins.
Most expats here choose to live in the country, often miles from their nearest neighbors. The expat community meets in San Igancio where there are bars and cafes to enjoy.
Cayo is also home to a number of off-the-grid communities. If you like the idea of being completely self-sufficient this is where you should go.
Carmelita Gardens is one of these places. Here you can become totally independent. Solar power will provide your electricity. Rainwater can be collected and converted for safe drinking water. The land is fertile too. Fruit and vegetables grow well here.
In Belize you can live life on your own terms.
Thanks to the hands off approach of the Belizean government, things are likely to stay this way.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to retiring in Belize as a U.S. citizen. Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.