Jan 152015
 
A Visitor Visa allows you to stay in Belize.

A Visitor Visa allows you to stay in Belize until residency has been granted. This visa is issued for 30 days only and must be renewed monthly.

Visitor Visa vs. Entry Visa.

A visitor visa is issued to everyone that enters Belize. They are issued based on your expected visit time, but typically for a maximim of 30 days. The visitor visa should not be confused with the entry visa that is required by the citizens of some countries. Citizens of most countries do not require a visa to enter Belize. Click here to see which nationalities are required to obtain an entry visas. If your country of nationality is not listed, you need to apply for an Entry Visa before you arrive.

Requirement To Renew Your Visitor Visa.

Once you enter the country, you will be responsible to renew your visitor visa every month or portion of a month until you leave. Or, until you become enrolled in either the QRP Program or are issued your Permanent Residency status. The cost is BZ$50.00 per person for the first six months, and increases to BZ$100.00 per person after that.  This fee must be paid in Belize currency. Click here to get more information on the QRP and Permanent Residency programs.

People used to leave for 72 hours after the 6 month mark (maybe a few days in Mexico). They would pay their departure tax and be issued a new visa upon their retun. This would rest the 6 month clock and the fee would return to the initial lower price. I have heard that lately if the immigration officer suspects that your reason for leaving is solely to avoid paying the higher fee, then the new visa issued will expire at the same time as your previous stamp would have. Also that the 6 month clock does not reset. These rulings seem to be at the sole discretion of the the individual immigration officer.

Procedure To Renew Your Visitor Visa.

The process to renew your visitor visa is quite easy. You will attend your local “Immigration and Naturalization” office. At that point the officer will review your passport and determine how many renewals have already been issued. Based on that, you will be issued a fee. That fee must be paid in Belize dollars to the “Department of Revenue” and a recipt of payment received. You will then return to the immigration officer with your receipt of payment to have your passport stamped with the up-to-date visitor visa stamp as shown in the picture above.

The picture is hard to read so I will tell you what it says;

PERMITTED TO REMAIN ON CONDITION THAT
THE   HOLDER   DOES   NOT  ENTER   INTO
EMPLOYMENT PAID OR UNPAID.  DOES NOT
ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS OR PROFESSION
WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF
IMMIGRATION AND DOES NOT REMAIN IN
BELIZE LONGER
THAN THE  ________________________________
DATE _______________RCR _______________
SIGNATURE ______________________________
IMMIGRATION OFFICE SAN PEDRO TOWN.

The blanks are filled in with a pen and you are on your way.

Be Prepared. The Process Is Easy, But Not Always Quick.

As I mentioned earlier, the process to renew your visitor visa,  is easy enough. But depending on which office you must visit, you may be required to pack enough patience to get you through the entire day.

In San Pedro, we never took longer than a ½ hour to visit the immigration officer and get our fee. Then to pay our fee to the “Department of Revenue” in a different office at the opposite end of the same building. And then finally to return to the original immigration officer to receive our stamp.

In Belmopan however, we must sign out a number.  I recommend that you arrive no later than 7:00AM to get one that will get you in the door before noon. Now in fairness, the process is just as quick, but the wait at some offices can be several hours before your number is called, and you make your first contact with the immigration officer.

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