How Long Can I Stay In Belize?

by Larry Waight

For visitors who fall in love with Belize and want to stick around as long as the law allows, this question is one of the most frequently asked! You don’t want to leave. The beaches are too seductive. The food is divine and the dress code consists of shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. Further, you haven’t made enough snorkeling pilgrimages to the Belize Barrier Reef.

“But what if I’m not a citizen?”

Then leave you must if you’re not a Belize citizen because the nation’s laws are no different than those of other nations. Tourists are welcome to stick around for up to 30 days if they didn’t apply for a tourist visa before leaving the U.S., so if your original plans include a longer stay, you’re going to need that tourist visa upfront. This is where things get tricky, say officials at the Belize High Commission, London office. You can’t decide on day 30 of your visit that you’d like to remain in Belize 6 months longer because visa processing takes around a month and if your passport expires before your visa does, Belize will send you home to sort things out.

Understanding these parameters, timing is everything. Allow 30 days to get your hands on your visa, whether you file online or in person. You’ll pay US$50 per month for that visa, but you get 6 more months in country. Do you have recourse once that 6-month deadline passes? You can file for a visa extension. That stated, you could be asked why you don’t want to go home after 6 months, so do come up with an imaginative story because “I haven’t had enough sun, fun and Belikin beers” might not be the answer the authorities want to hear! 

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