Belize: Update to BLZ20393.E of 11 April 1995 on the rights, privileges, and obligations of permanent residents; how a person could lose and regain permanent resident status (January 2005 - May 2005)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||17 May 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||BLZ43525.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Belize: Update to BLZ20393.E of 11 April 1995 on the rights, privileges, and obligations of permanent residents; how a person could lose and regain permanent resident status (January 2005 - May 2005), 17 May 2005, BLZ43525.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60ac1a.html [accessed 5 March 2015]|
|Comments||Corrected Feb 06|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on the rights, privileges, and obligations of permanent residents was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
According to the Website of the Belize High Commission in London, "Belize welcomes immigrants who are in a position to come to the country and establish themselves without government assistance" in the following fields:
Professional fields that are in demand in Belize
Sponsored employment (n.d.).
However, the Website added that those seeking to open or manage shops or restaurants would "not likely ... be approved (Belize High Commission n.d.)."
A tourism Website that appears to be endorsed by both the Municipality of San Pedro and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) (San Pedro Sun 12 July 1996) stated that a person had to legally reside in Belize for one continuous year before applying for permanent residency status (Ambergris Caye n.d.; see also Sluder 2004). Certain categories of immigrants, however, such as retirees or investors, may apply for permanent residency immediately upon their arrival in Belize (Ambergris Caye n.d.). The Website further indicated that those who plan to work in Belize require a temporary self-employment work permit until such time as they receive permanent residency status (ibid.). A person may acquire Belizean citizenship five years after having been granted permanent residency status (ibid.). While the information was undated, the Website added that there was no requirement for permanent residents to remain in Belize for any specified period of time during the five years wait before obtaining their citizenship (ibid.).
According to Section 10 of Chapter 156 of the Belize Immigration Act,
Without prejudice to any other provision of this Act, a person who entered Belize as a minor (whether legally or illegally) and has been continuously residing in Belize for a period of at least ten years shall be eligible to apply for permanent residency (Belize 31 Dec. 2000).
An e-book entitled Easy Belize, written by an expert on expatriate life in Belize who also contributed to Fodor's Belize & Guatemala 2005 (Belize First 2005), mentioned that the requirements and benefits for permanent residents in Belize were similar to those under the Retired Persons Incentive Act, a program that the Belize Tourist Board has implemented since 2000 to attract financially self-sufficient retirees to Belize (Sluder 2004). However, the book indicated that, unlike retirees, permanent residents did not have to deposit any funds in a Belizean bank but they did have to prove financial independence (ibid.). In addition, the book appeared to indicate that permanent residents could work in Belize, but that they could not vote and had to pay a 5 per cent "stamp duty" on real estate purchases (ibid.). Corroboration of this information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.
According to Social Security Programs Around the World (SSPTW), published by the US Social Security Administration (SSA), Belizean women aged 65 or older who are citizens or permanent residents are entitled to social assistance in Belize (Mar. 2004). However, it was unclear if there were any other categories of individuals who were entitled to the same privilege (United States Mar. 2004). Belize has a dual social insurance and social assistence system relating to old age, disability, and survivors' benefits for employed persons from 14 to 64 (ibid.). For further information, please refer to
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Ambergris Caye. n.d. "Immigration and Permanent Residency."
Belize. 31 December 2000. Immigration Act, Chapter 156. "Section 10."
Belize First [Asheville, North Carolina]. 2005. Lan Sluder. "Why Isn't the Qualified Retired Persons Program Achieving its Full Potential?"
Belize High Commission in London. n.d. "Residing in Belize."
San Pedro Sun. 12 July 1996. Vol. 6, No. 28. "Island Website Endorsed." (Ambergris Caye Website.)
Sluder, Lan. 2004. "Options for Residency in Belize," in Easy Belize: How to Live, Retire, Work or Invest in Belize. EscapeArtist.com (Belize First Website.)
United States. March 2004. Social Security Administration. Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2003. "Belize."
Additional Sources Consulted
Neither the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department nor the High Commission for Belize in Ottawa responded to requests for information within time constraints.
Internet Sites, including: The Belize Times, Embassy of Belize in Washington, DC, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC).