Are you planning to move to Belize? Great decision. Belize is a tropical paradise and you will love every part of it. The warm temperatures, the blue waters, the incredible views, the lush green forests, the local food, the performance of those live bands, the dance parties on the beach, and the warm locals. Sounds fun? Yes, it is, and this holds true in all cases whether you live along the beach or away from the shores.
But before you get to enjoy all of this, you will have to plan your move. Do this right, and the process will be smooth; make one mistake, and your experience will be nothing short of a nightmare. In this article, we will discuss all the things that can make your move as simple as possible.
Finding an Apartment
Finding an apartment is not difficult in Belize. Go through the internet or their local newspapers and you will come across many vacant properties. If you want, you can visit them first, get accommodation in a hotel, and then search for suitable units. Generally, the towns located close to the coastal line are more expensive. Wherever you choose to live, make sure it has some good schools and educational institutes close by since you are moving with your children.
The average monthly rents are around $400 to $700.
Belize Visa Requirements
As an American citizen, you do not to apply for a visa beforehand. Just visit Belize, and you will be given a tourist visa. This will be valid for 30 days, after which you have to get it renewed. For the first six months, $25 per month have to be paid and after six months have passed, the charges are increased to $50 per month.
During this time, you must not leave Belize for more than 14 days if you want to apply for a permanent residency later on. Moreover, if you are planning to work and can get a work permit, you will have to renew your visa.
Permanent Residency in Belize
Once you have stayed in Belize for a year, you will be able to apply for permanent residency and buy your own home. Submit your application along with your passport size photos, health certificate, birth certificates of your children, marriage certificate, work permit, and some other documents. As long as your application is complete and your police records are clean, getting residency is not difficult.
Stay a resident for five years if you want to apply for citizenship. You can reduce this time to a year if you marry a Belize citizen.
Packing your Belongings
Probably the most difficult part of all. Does it make you nervous? Heed onto our advice, and you will quickly be over with it.
This is really very obvious, but we will say it all the same because so many expats fail to understand this. Belize is a country where everything is easily available, which means that you do not have to take all of your belongings with you. We will actually ask you to take only the minimum of these because the fewer belongings you have, the easier it will be for you to pack and manage your stuff. If your belongings are too much, you will not be able to take them with you and will have to hire international movers for the job.
Go through all your items and separate the ones that are valuable to you. This includes any precious collections that you have, your jewelry, photo albums, and other similar things. Other than this, you should also take some bed sheets with you. You will not be able to find good quality ones in Belize and take belts with you as well if you wear them. Belize does not have any of these. Keep a handful of clothes with you, but do not laden your luggage with too much of these. You should also take your electronic items like laptop and camera with you, since these are expensive even in Belize.
Finding a School for your Kids in Belize
Belize has many schools which provide quality education, but none of them are American. This does not really make much difference since the national language of the country is English. Other languages are also spoken but all locals are fluent in English, and so communication is not a problem.
You can find a school for your kids after you have moved in. Take advice from some locals and they will be happy to guide you about good schools located in your area. Once your child has finished his elementary and middle school, he will be enrolled in a college. In the United States terms, this is just high school.
Getting Employed in Belize
Finding a job in Belize is not that hard. Once you are hired, you will also receive a work permit, the process of which will be managed by your employer. If you want a high level job, you should apply while you are in the United States. As for labor jobs, you will easily be able to get them once you reach Belize. You can also start your own business.
Please note that there are certain jobs for which only the locals can apply. An example of this is a tour guide.
Settling In Belize with Kids
Great, at this stage, you will be done with all the essential and official things. Now you can focus on settling in and enjoying your life. Get in touch with your neighbors, visit local bars, and indulge yourself in different activities. Reach out to people; you will find the locals friendly and you will also come across many expats. Become friends with them, and Belize will feel like home in a really short time.
So now that you know what you have to do, start packing and make the move. Settle down and then start exploring Belize. Trust us, there are great times ahead of you, and we really hope you enjoy Belize as much as we do.
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