For years Belize has been one of the most attractive choices as a retirement destination. From being one of the ever dwindling numbers of safe tax havens in the world to the laidback lifestyle and people, Belize is one of the most desirable countries for retirement. Check out our article to find out why and where to retire in Belize.
Now, for the real question…
How do I Apply for the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Incentive Program?
To apply for the program, you must submit an application along with the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- A police record from your most recent place of residence, issued within a month prior to the application and stating that you don’t have a criminal record
- A copy of each page (including blank ones) in your passport. Retain a notary public to certify the copy with his seal and state how many pages are in the passport, the passport number, and your name
- Proof of income. This can be in the form of a statement from a pension of annuity company or from your bank. The statement must show that your income is at least US$2,000 a month or the equivalent of at least US$24,000 a year
- Medical certificate stating that you are in good health and not HIV-positive
- Four recent front-view and four side-view passport-size photographs of yourself and any dependents who are applying
- You must also submit a non-refundable US$100 application fee plus a “program fee” of US$500 for yourself and US$350 for each dependent. If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll owe an additional US$100. Also figure on $2,500 to $5,000 to retain an attorney who can steer you through the application process and, often more importantly, run into interference with the bureaucracy.
Certification of Retirement
The company that grants the pension has to prove that it has been in operation for at least 20 years by submitting proof of registration. They are also required to certify that the pension, of no less than US$2000 per month, will be forwarded to a reputable financial institution within Belize. This letter must be signed by the manager, president, or by a legal representative of the company.
Certification of retirement must be accompanied by a letter from a Certified Public Accountant independent of the company stating the date the company was established; verification of the authenticity of the aforementioned letter, and certification that the obligation signed in favor of the beneficiary is of no less than US $2000 per month.
The Applicant must in turn present two (2) bank references from the company sending the pension and the company granting the pension must in turn present a document outlining its pension scheme.
All applications are subject to a background check to be carried out by the Ministry of National Security in Belize.
Disposal of Duty Free Items
If for whatever reason a qualified retired person decides to sell, give away, lease, or otherwise dispose of the approved means of transportation or any personal effects to any person or entity within Belize, all duties and taxes must be paid by that person or entity to the proper authorities.
NOTE: Qualified Retired Persons must note that only after 3 years and upon proof that the transportation that was previously imported to Belize was adequately disposed of, will another concession be granted to import another mode of transportation.
Offenses and Penalties
Any person who knowingly makes any false declaration or entry in order to qualify for or retain any exemption or privilege granted under the Retired Persons Act 1999 commits and offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars.
A non-refundable application fee in the sum of US $102 payable to the BTB must be submitted with the application. Upon acceptance into the program, a fee of US$102 must be paid to the Immigration Department for the issuance of the Qualified Retired Person Status along with a program fee of US$504 to be made payable to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). A BZE $10 stamp must be attached to each application that is submitted to the BTB for processing.
Terms and Conditions
Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed to seek employment or work for pay while in this program or in Belize. Qualified Retired Persons within this program must inform the BTB regarding any changes stated on the application form. Failure to do so may result in the revocation of applicant’s status. Qualified Retired Persons must adhere to all existing laws of Belize, in addition to the Retired Persons (Incentives) Act. All benefits provided by this program will be exclusively used by the Qualified Retired Persons and his or her dependents. The BTB has the authority to carry out any investigation with respect to the validity of any document provided by the applicant under this program. Participants within this program must inform the BTB prior to leaving the country indefinitely so that assets received under this program can be liquidated. All documents presented to the BTB become the property of the board. The applicant must not have any criminal matters with the law at the time of application. Applicants must present a listing with all necessary information with regards to his or her dependents. If the applicant has dependents over eighteen and in school, he or she must present proof of enrollment from that institution. Qualified Retired Persons must submit a yearly bank statement showing compliance with the financial requirements of the program.