COMING TO BELIZE
Who Can Buy in Belize? What additional costs can I expect?
Non-Belizeans are free to own property in Belize and pay similar taxes as Belizeans. Costs in acquiring property include:
- Standard legal fees for processing searches and transfer documents. This ranges between 1.5% to 2.5% with a professional attorney.
- Escrow Fee, normally 0.5% of purchase price.
- Stamp Duty Tax payable to the Government of Belize upon transfer of ownership. This is a 8% tax of the assessed value less the first BZ$20,000.00.
- Registration and Certificate fees also payable to the Government of Belize are BZ$15.00 each.
Foreign Investment Incentives
Stamp Duty Tax for non-residents was formerly set at 15%. However after careful consideration, the Government of Belize believed that by lowering the tax to meet that of 8% for residents, it would attract foreign investment. The Government of Belize offers income tax and importation tax exceptions to qualified entities whose investment plan is to expand Belize’s economic growth by creating employment opportunity, introduce new technology, utilizes and encourages preservation of Belize’s natural resources, and/or would earn foreign exchange and increase exports.
Visa, Residence, & Citizenship
Residents of the UK and most members of the EU do not need to have a visa to enter Belize, with similar protocol applying to citizen of the US or Canada. Residency may be applied for after one (1) year of continuous legal resident within the country of Belize. Citizenship may be applied for by a ‘resident’ after being living in the country of Belize fir a minimum of five (5) years.
Through an application to the Belize Labour Department, a work permit may be granted to non-nationals for a period of three (3) months to twelve (12) months and renewable upon reapplication due to expiration.
Qualified Retirement Program
Guidelines to applying for the Qualified Retirement Program include the following:
- Applicant must be of the age of 45 years. They may include dependents (wife and children under 18 years of age unless a student)
- Income from an outside source. This may include pension, property investment returns, etc. at a minimum of $2,000.00 US Currency forwarded monthly to a financial institution within Belize.
- Background check. All applicants are subject to a background check carried out by the Ministry of National Security.
General incentives for the Qualified Retirement Program include no taxation on income forwarded to your financial institute located in Belize. Additionally, qualified retirees are excepted from import duty for personal effect including but not limited to; furniture, car, boat, etc.
The Diaspora Returnee Incentive Program was introduced in 2010 as a mechanism to foster the embracement of high value diaspora skills of Belizeans who are presently in the overseas and are considering repatriation. The program is aimed to attract Belizeans who have a reoccurring monthly pension or income from a granted source to be deposited and spent in the local economy.
Benefits of Diaspora Returnee Program:
- To enter and remain in Belize with dependents in accordance with current immigration laws at the time of entry.
- Exemption from all import duties on personal effects, tools of trade, personal transportation upon entry to Belize.
Who can Qualifies?
- Must be a citizen of Belize.
- Has resided for at least ten (10) consecutive years outside the country of Belize – proven through presentation of official documentation.
Living in Belize & Cost of Construction
Calling Belize your home is quite less expensive than living in larger developed countries. With a budget ranging $1,500 to $2,000 monthly, one can live comfortably within the Caribbean jewel of Belize. Imported goods and fuel tend to be high priced due to importation taxes however services and local products are priced substantially lower. Construction cost are averagely $120 Belize currency per square footage. This range may vary depending on location; accessibility to materials, resources, and work force. Building cost on the islands tend to be 40% more than the average estimated cost due to transportation of material and supply of work force. In opposite, cost of construction in rural areas are cheaper as access to material and work force would be easier.
Buying process explained in the following Steps:
- Request Offer to Purchase form.
- Submit Offer to Purchase form to the respective agent. This process may include a negotiation period with counter offers.
- Acceptance of Offer
- Sales Agreement drafted outlining the price, payment schedule, and terms.
- Security Deposit submitted into Escrow Account.
- 30 to 90 days for due diligence, which includes title search, preparation of ownership documents, central bank clearance where applicable (Foreigner – Foreigner no central bank required, Local-Foreigner no central bank required).
- Closing Date: Seller surrenders legal title and transfer of ownership documents to the Buyer; Buyer authorizes release of full payment to Seller. Buyer authorizes closing agent to submit transfer of ownership documents for processing at the lands department with a 8% stamp duty charge.
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