About Belize

About Belize

Belize is a land that’s mostly undiscovered, with scores of flora and fauna, wildlife still swinging from the trees, underwater magnificence, and boat rides that are sure to take your breath away. Life in Belize is mostly laid-back with bright sunny skies and a tropical climate year-round. Our country is known for its unrivalled beauty and bountiful natural resources that remain unmatched in the Americas.
Belize City, BZ
October 3, 2022
27°C
scattered clouds

People and Culture of Belize

Much like the beauty of our country, the life that runs through our country’s veins stem from the hospitable people who make up our melting pot of cultures. Cultures like the Mestizo, the Garifuna, the Maya, the Creole, and all other cultures that have infused their uniqueness into this country’s DNA to be called Belizeans.

Although each culture has their own unique dialect, Belize is primarily an English-speaking country with Spanish as a second language. Belize is the only English-speaking country in all of Latin America and with a consistent $2 BZD to $1 USD currency exchange, it’s no wonder expats and snowbirds find it easy to call this haven – home.

Where is Belize Located?

Belize is the tiniest country in Central America that’s bordered on the north by Mexico, to the west and south by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize has the region’s only unspoiled marine and rainforest reserves and is home to the only Jaguar reserve in the world. Belize also boasts some of the world’s best deep-sea diving thanks to our Great Blue Hole located along the second largest living barrier reef in the world – famously known as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

History of Belize

Belizeans take their rich heritage seriously and are proud of the fact that the country gained its independence from Great Britain on September 21, 1981. Belize, once known as British Honduras (1783-1973), was a British Crown Colony until it was renamed in June 1973. The colony grew out of the Treaty of Versailles (1783) between Great Britain and Spain, which gave the British right to cut logwood between the Rio Hondo and Belize rivers. This ushered in numerous English settlements across the country that gave rise to piracy, indiscriminate logging, and sporadic attacks by pre-America natives and neighboring Spanish settlements.

Belize became a crown colony in 1862; this encouraged several constitutional changes which allowed the expansion of representative government. Full internal self-government under a ministerial system was granted in January 1964 which paved the way for independence on September 21, 1981.

Financial and Real Estate Transactions in Belize

Belize has four (4) major banks with the ability to facilitate foreign currency transactions:

  1. Atlantic Bank Limited
  2. Heritage Bank Limited
  3. National Bank of Belize Limited
  4. The Belize Bank Limited

As it relates to real estate transactions in Belize, the Central Bank enforces exchange control regulations which stipulate that every financial transaction between residents and non-residents involving exports and imports; the purchase, sale, and transfer of property and securities; and the borrowing and lending of funds must be approved by the Central Bank.

Non-Belizeans are free to own property in Belize and pay similar taxes as Belizeans and with the landmark decision made by the Government of Belize in 2020, land title transfers involving foreigners no longer require the approval of the Central Bank prior to processing by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Although the Central Bank will no longer be required to approve land title transfer requests, the Government will still require that the Central Bank be notified of these transactions. This will allow the Central Bank to easily identify specific suspect transactions requiring further investigation.

How Can I Retire in Belize?

In addition to the ease of property ownership in Belize, the Government has made it even easier to retire and live in Belize. With the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP), eligible persons from anywhere in the world who meet the requirements can live legally in Belize without having to pay taxes and import duties on the personal effects that they bring into the country. Personal effects in this instance also includes a motor vehicle, light aircraft and/or motorboat.

The QRP exempts qualified retired persons from the payment of all taxes on income and receipts earned from a source outside Belize. The QRP also entitles any qualified person and their dependent(s) to receive Belize residency status.

Who qualifies for the QRP?

  • Any person 45 years or older
  • Dependents include spouse and children under 18 years
  • Must be the beneficial recipient of a retirement income of $2K monthly or $24K annually generated from a source outside of Belize in an approved foreign currency [US Dollar, Pound Sterling, The Euro and Canadian Dollars].
    • Retirement Income includes:
      • Pension
      • Annuity
      • Social Security Benefits
      • Investment Account
      • Inheritance
      • Reverse Mortgage
      • Personal Savings
      • Retirement Contribution Plans
      • And other means of retirement income
    • Must be able to provide a written undertaking to deposit the requisite amount in a bank, credit union or licensed financial institution in Belize
    • Must pass a security clearance check carried out by the Ministry of National Security in Belize
    • Must be able to remain in Belize for a minimum of 30 consecutive days annually.

Which Countries Qualify for the QRP?

  • All Commonwealth countries excluding Belize
  • United States of America
  • Member States of the European Union [EU]
  • Asian-Pacific countries of Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • All South American Countries

What Benefits does my Dependent have under the QRP?

  • Engage in any employment in Belize
  • Carry on any business, trade, or profession within Belize if such business relates to activities carried on mainly outside of Belize and conducted exclusively with persons not resident in Belize
  • Make any investment in Belize
  • Practice philanthropy in Belize

Life and Cost of Living in Belize

Once you’ve decided to make the move to Belize the toughest decision you’ll have to make is where to hang your hammock! Belizeans live a laid-back lifestyle and business attire on the weekdays mainly consist of slacks, a polo, and some comfy shoes. The real estate industry is booming with potential and is swiftly rebounding from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With local financial institutions eager to facilitate a housing loan to qualified buyers.

The average monthly income required to live a comfortable life in Belize is approximately $2,000. Most luxury items are imported and carry slightly higher prices including fuel. However, the cost of construction, business services, and local produce costs are significantly lower than regional and international prices. Cost per square foot for construction and renovation varies depending on location, availability of materials, and labor.

So, what are you waiting for to make your move to Belize? Come enjoy the sweet Caribbean breezes, turquoise waters, peace, and tranquility rivalled by many. Reach out and let us show you the unparalleled beauty in Belize real estate. Luxury and adventure await you in sunny Belize!

Compare listings

Compare