Relocating to Belize is becoming increasingly popular among American retirees. With its warm, sunny beaches and countless breathtaking natural wonders, Belize provides the ideal laidback atmosphere. It’s perfect for those eager to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and live in a relaxing paradise without having to move too far away from home.
Belize is well aware of its wide appeal to new residents from around the world, and luckily, they’ve established a system to make retiring in the country even more appealing. This incentive is called the Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP).
The Belize Qualified Retirement Program
If you’ve decided to retire in Belize, one of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is whether you want to become a resident of Belize or apply for the Qualified Retirement Program. To make the best choice for you and any family members joining you in Belize, you’ll need to know what the QRP qualifications are, what are the specific benefits, and how the application process works.
What is QRP?
QRP is a system designed specifically for individuals not originally from Belize, who wish to retire here, and have sufficient funds to do so. It makes it easier and less costly for QRP members to travel in and out of Belize and maintain a high quality of life while residing here. Anyone who meets a small number of requirements can make the most of their retirement in Belize as a QRP member.
How to Qualify for QRP
Qualifying for QRP is simpler than you might expect. You only need to meet the following criteria:
- You must be retired.
- You must be 45 years or older.
- You must live in Belize for 30 or more consecutive days a year. (To become a long-term resident, you’d be required to spend at least 50 weeks a year in Belize.)
- You and your family must not break any national laws.
- You and your family must not work for pay within Belize. (Online work for clients outside of the country, however, is permitted.)
- You must have no dependents aside from a spouse and/or children younger than 18 (although exceptions may be made for children under 23 if they are students).
- You must pass a background check by the Ministry of National Security.
- You must receive a pension or annuity of $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year from a source outside of Belize.
The last criterion has a few requirements for the company providing you with your pension or annuity. That company must be at least 20 years old and provide information on their pension program and documentation stating that they are giving you sufficient funding to a bank, credit union, or licensed financial institution in Belize. These claims will also need to be verified by a certified public accountant who is not employed by the company, and two bank references.
QRP Incentives and Benefits
Qualifying for QRP comes with plenty of perks. Once you obtain your QRP Resident Card, you will be able to enjoy the following benefits:
- You can live in Belize and re-enter the country as many times as you like without a visa.
- You are tax exempt for any money earned outside of Belize, capital gains, and inheritances.
- Within your first year as a QRP member, you will not have to pay taxes on personal belongings you ship into Belize, including a boat, car, and plane.
How to Apply for QRP
Once you’ve decided that the Qualified Retirement Program is the right choice for you, you’ll need to provide the following to apply:
- Identification including a birth certificate, passport, and eight passport photos (four taken from the front and four taken from the side) for each member of your family
- A marriage certificate if you have a spouse as a dependent
- A police record from your previous place of residence, issued within one month of your application date
- Proof of income stating that you receive at least $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year
- Medical certificates for each family member detailing the results of a complete examination, including an HIV test
- A nonrefundable $150 application fee
After submitting this paperwork, all you need to do is wait to receive your QRP status, which shouldn’t take very long. Applicants are typically approved in just a few months.
Should You Apply for QRP?
When deciding whether or not to apply for the QRP, you should take all of the above into consideration. The most important factors to think about are how much time you plan on spending in Belize, your ability to meet the necessary income requirements, and your willingness to do international work online if you need more income. If the lifestyle of a QRP member doesn’t seem right for you, you may wish to research becoming a resident of Belize instead.
Where to Live in Belize
Whether you decide to become a QRP member or a full-fledged resident of Belize, you’ll need to find the perfect home, and there’s no place quite like Orchid Bay. Orchid Bay is a gorgeous coastal community full of retirees like you. With conveniences like a boat dock, beach club, restaurant, pool, and walking trails right on the grounds, as well as an on-site grocery store and medical clinic in progress, you’ll feel right at home.
Homebuyers can choose between a Village Bungalow or Beach Villa. What’s more, Orchid Bay makes living in paradise even more affordable if you take advantage of our Paradise Payment Program and our Rental Program, which helps offset the cost of homeownership.
Contact us today to learn more about how Orchid Bay can help you live out the retirement of your dreams.