Now that the build of the house is soon to commence in earnest we are giving serious consideration as to whether we shall apply to be admitted to the Qualified Retirement Programme (“QRP”). This is a programme launched in 1999 by the Belize Tourism Board to encourage investment by foreigners who wanted to live in Belize .
There are certain conditions that you need to meet eg must be over 45 years of age, no criminal record, US$2,000 per month ‘income’ , clean bill of health, etc. There is a paperwork process that you have to go through and there are various fees to pay ( more on this later when we actually make the application) and – all being well- it takes about 3 months to gain admittance but once qualified it generates some benefits that are worth serious consideration. For example you can ship in personal goods ( household appliances, furniture, clothing, etc) up to a value of US$15,000. You can also bring in a golf cart (or car/truck),a boat ( and a plane!) exempt of tax and import duties . And there is a one year time window to do so from the point of entry into the programme.
OK under the programme you cannot work in Belize ( even charitable non paid work ) but we have not come here to work !
The other benefits you get are that you no longer have to go to the Immigration Department on a monthly basis (time) and pay the US$25 per person (money) 30 day Visa fee ( this increases to US$50 after six months).
So far I have only read the paperwork a couple of times ( seems a straightforward process) and am now considering whether to ‘do it’ myself or employ the services of one of the companies that will take care of it for us. I’ll let you know which we elect for very soon . Can’t wait , can you!