Lan Sluder on Permanent Residence:
Here's how Lan describes the current situation.
"PERMANENT RESIDENCY APPLICATION FEES JUMP Costs for foreign nationals to apply for permanent residency status in Belize have increased significantly. Not including actual living costs (lodging, food, transportation, etc.) the cost just for government fees to apply for permanent residency now comes to around US$5000 to US$6,000 per couple. The fees involved:
• After the first month, the tourist card renewal is US$25 for the first three months, then US$50 a month thereafter, per person.
• New requirement reported by recent applicants: If you are staying more than three months you must apply for a work permit, even if you do not intend to work. The work permit fee is US$1500 annually for professional workers (with a college degree) and US$1000 for technical workers (non-degreed), self-employed workers and most other workers. Immigration rather than the Labour department is now processing work permits.
• After one year in Belize, not leaving for more than 14 days, there is a US$1000 application fee, again per person, to apply for permanent residency.
All together, the cost for a couple to stay a year and then apply for residency would be US$5000 to $6000, plus living costs and any incidental costs related to the application (such as costs for visits to Belmopan). For a family of four, the cost would be significantly higher.
On a per person basis:
Tourist cards renewals for 12 months: US$525
Work permit: US$1000-$1500
Residency permit application: US$1000
Although Qualified Retired Persons status has some disadvantages compared to residency (e.g. you have to deposit US$24,000 a year in a Belize bank, can't work for pay and must pay the regular tourist exit tax when leaving Belize), the QRP application process is much less costly.
Observers say that with the increased costs of apply for permanent residency and the
reported delays in getting approval, it may make sense for foreigners to simply renew tourist cards. (August 15, 2005)
Lan Sluder publishes BelizeFirst, a
wonderful magazine on Belize. You can read all of his most recent update
on the situation in Belize here.
Rick Z (December 2005)
NEWER. Lan has an
excellent article on requirements for permanent residence here.