Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Belize
Yes. Anyone can buy property in Belize.
A full, fee simple title giving complete ownership will be issued in individual names or under companies, trust etc.
There is stamp duty which is a tax payable to the Government of Belize on all transactions. It is 5% of the purchase price less US$10,000. There is also the broker or lawyer fee. You may also have to pay a small bank fee and FedEx fee if you’re not in the country.
Yes. All property documents can be sent by Fed-Ex to you for original signatures in front of a Notary Public.
For most transactions, you have a choice between using an attorney or using our property broker who is very experienced in property transactions. On some older forms of titles, we may recommend that you use an attorney.
Annual property tax (Land Tax) is very low in Belize and is definitely not a source of concern. The tax is due on 1st April annually. If it is not paid on time, a very small interest fee is added but do not worry too much if you miss a payment. Many people here haven’t paid their taxes for 10 years or more.
If your property is within town limits, it is paid at the town hall. If it is elsewhere, it can be paid at any Land’s Department in the country. An exception is Ambergris Caye properties which have to be paid in San Pedro.
Getting financing to buy property in Belize can be difficult and expensive and you are strongly advised to borrow money in your home country, if possible. Some property sellers do offer self-financing but these are few and far between and it should not be taken for granted that this option is available.
The Belize high street banks do not normally give loans to non-residents and you will have to apply at an international bank. You can contact Amalia Quiroz at Atlantic International Bank for more information – 001-501-824-2634 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You are advised to spend a few days travelling the country to decide where you want to live before buying property. The main locations for ex-pats are: San Ignacio and Belmopan (Cayo District); San Pedro (Ambergris Caye); Placencia (Stann Creek); Hopkins (Stann Creek).
Both car and home insurance are very inexpensive in Belize.
Your North American health insurance is probably not valid in Belize. Local and international health insurance is available but can be expensive.
Good medical treatment is available in Belize, Guatemala City, and Merida, Mexico at a far lower cost than you would pay in North America.
When you arrive in Belize, you will be given a 30 day tourist visa which has to be renewed every 30 days at your nearest Immigration Department. After you have been in the country for 12 months, you can apply for Permanent Residence. The 12 months have to be continual, although they do normally allow you 2 weeks away from Belize during that time.
The Qualified Retiree Programme is implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and is designed to attract more retirees to Belize. Anyone forty-five years and older can apply but must receive a monthly income of not less than US $2,000 (or US$24,000 annually) through an approved pension or annuity that has been generated outside of Belize.
This of course depends on your lifestyle and whether or not you are renting accommodation. Some things will be more expensive than what you are used to but overall, you can live very cheaply in Belize.
If you are in Belize under the QRP programme, you cannot work. If you are in Belize under the visa system, you need to get a work permit before being employed. After you have attained residency, you do not need a work permit. You should be advised that wages in Belize are very much lower than your home country.
Bringing a pet into the country falls under live animal importation and is regulated by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). It is relatively simple but you must obtain an import permit before your journey.
The cost of actually building a house in Belize is relatively inexpensive but, unfortunately, everything required for finishing the house has to be imported, which raises the cost. It also depends where the property is located.
An American builder friend works on an average price of US$100 per square foot for a house built and finished to American standards. A Belizean builder friend says US$60 per square foot.
There are several shipping companies that will move your goods from the US to Belize.
Cayo Cargo – https://www.cayocargo.com/
Belize Freight – http://belizefreight.com/
Sterling Freight – http://www.sterlingfreight.com/
There are several companies offering internet in Belize. The fastest speed offered by the top competitors, Belize Telemedia Limited and Smart, is 16 MBPS.
Over the last few years the US Treasury Department has put pressure on all regional banks to tighten up their banking regulations. It is now not normally possible for a non-resident to open an account at a local “high street” bank, unless they have a company or business.
The only option is to open a US dollar account at an international bank. You can contact Amalia Quiroz at Atlantic International Bank for more information – 001-501-824-2634 or email@example.com
Mail is normally only delivered within town or city limits. However, it is usually possible to get a P.O. Box at your local Post Office. Alternatively, mail can be sent via your local Post Office and you can collect it yourself.
Yes, a passport is needed to enter Belize and you will be given a 30 day visa (this does not apply to all countries) on your arrival.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Belize. It is recommended that you bring your own prescription medicine and anti-malaria tablets if you are planning extended visits to jungle areas in Belize.
The overall climate of Belize can be described as sub-tropical. The average annual temperature is 80° F (27°C).
Your cell phone will work in Belize if it is an unlocked GSM or CDMA phone. If you bought your phone from Sprint or Verizon on a plan, more than likely it is not unlocked. You can easily buy unlocked or also known as International version, phones on Amazon or Best Buy.
The official language is English and this is spoken by just about everyone, although Spanish is the first language for many Belizeans living near the Western and Northern borders.
The Belize dollar has been fixed at US$1 = BZ$2 for over 40 years. US dollars may be used countrywide.
The current population of Belize is approximately 380,000.
Traditionally, all house were made from wood and were built on stilts to catch the breeze and to let air flow under the house to make it cooler. Nothing to do with snakes and floods.