Belize - Economic Citizenship Investment Programs

Butterfield, Reimer & Associates


Butterfield, Reimer & Associates
Belize Environment
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Economic Citizenship programs are offering a completely new concept to achieve financial independence and freedom for people around the world. The popularity of such programs is growing rapidly and, an individual may currently choose from around 10 - 20 different programs. Existing programs which are available include: citizenship, permanent residency, and non-resident passports.

These immigration programs are offering new vistas of opportunities which might be helpful:

  • Insurance policy - A second citizenship (immigration program) can be an insurance policy against negative political or economic developments and future unpleasant scenarios in any hot spot in the world.
  • Visa Free Travel - For many nationals, it is extremely difficult to travel to another country, Their nation has almost no visa free treaties and the application for and issuance of a visa can take months. For those people, it is more convenient to adopt a second passport which entitles them to visa free entry or easier issuance of visas.
  • Tax Status - Many countries have become areas of high taxation in which people have to pay most of their income or profit to their government. Therefore, an increasing amount of high income earners look for an alternative citizenship which does not have high taxes and which protects them from the tax regime of other nations.
  • New Horizons - Nowadays, in many countries the prospect of wealth and peace seems more and more limited. The possibility of exploring new business opportunities in a friendly climate is probably the biggest advantage a citizenship program can offer.

The Belize Economic Citizenship Investment Program

The Belize Passport is an excellent travel document allowing visa free entry to over 80 destinations including Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Venezuela. Under the developing Schengen program from the European Union, a visa now permits travel within Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Additionally, Austria, Italy and the Scandinavian members will join the common travel area in 1997. Furthermore a visa for those countries and others such as the United States can be obtained within a few days.

After an amendment to the Country's Constitution, it was possible for Citizenship to be granted to incomers who made a "substantial contribution to the economy and or well-being of Belize" In January of 1995 the Government of Belize, led by the Rt. Hon. Dr. Manuel Esquivel published a policy document entitled "Policy on Economic Citizenship Program" in an attempt to stimulate foreign investment into the country.

Applicants who qualify in terms of good character, good health and financial standing can apply for Belizean Citizenship upon paying a registration fee; and subsequently, upon acceptance of their application, making a contribution to a special fund known as the Belize Economic Citizenship Investment Fund.

Both the applicable registration fees and contribution to the fund are used in the following ways:
  • 40% of all money collected is transferred by the Central Bank into a consolidated fund. This fund is used exclusively by the Ministry of Finance to service the Government's external debt.
  • 30% of the sum raised is transferred by the Central Bank into a special Economic Development Fund. This money is used solely to finance Capital Projects in the country.
  • The remaining 30% of the money collected is transferred by the Central Bank to an account administered by the Reconstruction and Development Corporation. This is then used to provide low interest financing to entrepreneurs in the Agriculture, Tourism, Construction and other productive sectors of the Economy, to support the work of Religious, Charitable, Benevolent and non governmental organizations.

A fee of US$10,000 is charged for processing an application for Belizean citizenship regardless of the family status of the applicant. In addition, the applicant is required to make a total investment of US$50,000 to the Government that goes into different economic funds and will not be refunded. There is no extra fee/investment required for the applicant's spouse and two children who are under 18 years of age.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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