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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Belize

Aug 16, 2008
So you are considering moving to Belize?

Belize is a country full of natural beauty, warm sea, cool breeze, and friendly people. But before you just pack up and move to Belize there are a few things you need to know.
Helpful Facts

* after living in Belize for one year you qualify for permanent residency

* there is a retirement program for people 45 years and older

* unless you are under the retirement program you may have to pay duty taxes

* there are public and private schools if you are moving with children

* you can bring your pets to Belize

* Belize has excellent communication services, including cellular and Internet


If you are moving to Belize for a short period of time then you only need a valid passport to enter the country. Once you arrive your passport will be stamped and you will be allowed to stay for a month. After that, any immigration office can extend your stay for thirty days at a time, for a fee of course.

If you are planning to make Belize your new home then after one year you can apply for permanent residency.


If you are considering retiring in Belize you should know that there is a retirement program available for people 45 years and older. This program has some excellent benefits.


Unless you are qualified for the retirement program, you may have to pay duty. However, as long as your personal effects are at least one year old, you will not have to pay duty on them. You will most likely have to pay duty on any vehicle you import, including cars and boats.

If you are not a Belizean citizen, you must be a legal resident before you can bring your stuff into the country duty free.


Your children will do just fine in Belize. There will be many opportunities for them to make friends. Almost everywhere in Belize accepts and accommodates children. Most places are family focused. You will know right away which establishments are not appropriate for children.

There are public schools and private schools for your children to attend. The public schools are free. But just like everywhere else you will have to pay for a private education.

The education system provides a pretty solid foundation for your children. They should have no problem returning to your home country to pursue higher education. Most Belizean students studying abroad do extremely well.


You are allowed to bring your pets with you. Dogs and cats can enter Belize without being quarantined. However, they must have a veterinarian certificate declaring your pet free of any infectious disease. Your pet must also have been vaccinated against rabies.

Just please bear in mind that Belize is not suitable to all pets. They may not adjust well to subtropical climate.


Belize has a pretty reliable phone service, including cellular phones. The majority of people who own cell phones in Belize use prepaid cards. It works out much cheaper that way.

Internet service is widely available for your computing needs. Cable television service is also available for your entertainment.

Getting Your Things There

The recommended way for getting your personal items to Belize is to ship it down. You can ship either a half container load or a full container load. The most cost effective way is to load the container yourself and then arrange for it to be shipped to Belize City.

Once in Belize you can clear the container through customs yourself, although this is not recommended. The easiest way to do it is to hire a customs broker.

Once it is cleared through customs it is not difficult to find someone to help you unload.

I hope that these tips have been helpful in addressing some of the concerns that you may have before moving to Belize.
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