Ten years ago, the government of Belize enacted legislation to allow Qualified Retired Persons (QRP's) to obtain permanent residency in this country. In many ways, this program is the most efficient route to foreign residency anywhere in the Americas. And, while the QRP visa allows you full-time residency, you can enjoy the benefits of being a QRP even if you spend as little as two weeks a year in Belize.
Belize's QRP program offers not only the equivalent of a U.S. Green Card to foreign residents aged 45 and older, but it also grants a host of other incentives designed to encourage foreigners to come and bring their money. These incentives include a permanent exemption from all Belize taxes, including income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, and import tax on household goods (up to US$15,000), automobiles, boats, even airplanes. The only requirements are that you or your spouse be 45 years of age or older, that you consider yourself to be retired, and that you show that you have at least $2,000 a month in income to support yourself in Belize (from a pension or some other regular income).
In practical terms, the "consider yourself to be retired" requirement means that, as a QRP, you can't apply for a work visa. This is not to say that you couldn't do international, Internet, or even local Belize business as an entrepreneur. You just can't take on traditional "employee" work.
Under these circumstances, the benefits of the QRP program could be significant, especially if you have active business income from outside the States. In this case, as a non-resident American, your first US$92,900 (or US$185,800 as a couple) in foreign-earned income would be exempt from U.S. tax. And, again, as a QRP, you're also exempt from Belizean tax.
For more information on qualifying as a QRP resident in Belize, get in touch here, or access our Belize Country Page.
Publisher, Live and Invest Overseas
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