Belize has one of the world’s best retiree programs. Through the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program, the government gives qualified retirees an exemption from taxes on all income derived from sources outside Belize, whether such income is earned or passive, and whether or not it is remitted to Belize. The Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to facilitate eligible persons who have met the income requirements, to permanently live, retire and relax in Belize.
Who Qualifies for Belize’s QRP Program?
You don’t have to be retired—or even of retirement age—to take advantage of Belize’s QRP program. However, you must be at least 45 years old and be able to show that you have adequate resources to deposit a monthly income of $2,000 or more per month and comply with several other minor requirements. To keep your QRP status you must spend a minimum of 30 consecutive days per year in Belize. Additionally, the regulations state that you must show a pension or other regular income. In reality, if you can demonstrate that you have adequate savings to transfers USD $24,000 per year, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) accepts accordingly, since many expats do not have pensions but do have IRAs/401Ks. Alternatively, you can also make a single USD $24,000 deposit a year or make it in monthly installments.
In addition to tax benefits, qualified retirees can import their personal and household goods as well as a car, boat, and plane, without having to pay import duties or taxes on those goods that they import into Belize during their first year as a QRP resident. QRPs are considered non-residents for purposes of banking, meaning they can set up a U.S. dollar bank account with a local or offshore bank in Belize. QRPs are also allowed to engage in gainful employment as long as most of their business activity takes place outside Belize and is conducted exclusively with non-residents of Belize. This is especially important for expats who wish to maintain a consulting business from their second home in Belize. Nonetheless, all QRP applicants must pass the security clearance by the Ministry of National Security in Belize.
Incentives and Benefits
Any person who has been accepted into the QRP Program is entitled to the following under the Belize Retired Persons Incentives Act, Chapter 62 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011:
- QRP Resident Card – QRP’s and their dependents shall receive QRP Resident Cards that entitle them to remain in the country and allow multiple entries into the country without a visa.
- Duty Exemptions – QRP’s shall be entitled to duty exemptions of the following items for personal use only within the first year of acceptance into the program:
- Personal and Household Effects
- Personal Boat (1)
- Personal Aircraft – Light aircraft less than 17,000 kg (1)
- Personal Motor Vehicle (1) – Model of must be within the last 5 years (Allowed to purchase a new vehicle every 3 years with proper disposal of the previous vehicle)
- Tax Exemptions – QRP’s shall be exempted from all taxes and duties on incomes received from a source outside of Belize, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
How to Apply to Belize’s QRP Program
Application forms for the Qualified Retirement Program in Belize can be acquired on the Belize Tourism Board website at www.belizetourismboard.org under Resources – Tourism Forms. Completed Application forms and the list of supporting documents for the applicant and each dependent must be submitted to the Belize Tourism Board office on #64 Regent Street, Belize City, C.A. Meanwhile, all payments must be made payable to the Belize Tourism Board; USD cash or USD Cashier’s check is accepted.
- Birth Certificate – for the applicant and each dependent.
- Marriage Certificate (If applying for dependents and spouse)
- Authentic Police Record – from the last place of residency. (within 1 month of application)
- Passport – clear copies of complete passport for applicant and all dependents.
- Proof of Income – official statement from bank with a pension or annuity amount and written undertaking for required USD $2,000 monthly or USD $24,000 annual deposit.
- Medical Examination – medical certificate with HIV results for applicant and dependents.
- Photos – 4 (front) and 4 (profile) recent passport photographs of applicant and dependents.
Fee payable at application submission (USD):
$150.00 – Application Fee (non-refundable)
Fees payable at acceptance (USD):
$1,000.00 – Applicant Program Fee
$750.00 each – Dependent Program Fee
$200.00 – QRP Program Card Fee
Meanwhile, the Annual Renewal Fee is BZD $50.00.
The QRP Card
The new QRP machine-readable cards carry additional information, via the Immigration Department, which becomes effective immediately. The QRP Card:
- Carries the information of your Biometric Passport Page.
- Is to be scanned at least once by the Immigration Department. This is to link your membership record to the card and the Immigration Departments’ System.
- Can be used as a form of Identification/Immigration Status, if requested while moving within Belize.
- Cannot be used alone in crossing border points, but instead, is to be used in conjunction with your National Passport.
It should be noted, all QRP Cards expire on the 31st of December of each year.
Source: The Belize Tourism Board Header photo by Kevin Quischan Photography