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|Belize Property Buying Information|
Belize Property Information
Belize is part of the British Commonwealth and has a legal system that is based on British Common Law. Property purchasers in Belize can take title to freehold property in one of three different ways:-
Belize Deed of Conveyance
The Belize Deed of Conveyance is the oldest form of title ownership and is a registered right to ownership of a property. Ownership by conveyance can be converted to a Certificate of Title via an application for first registration. Any subsequent buyer is issued a Transfer Certificate of Title. It should be noted, however, that a Deed of Conveyance is a valid legal title once an attorney has confirmed that the seller has good title to the property.
Transfer Certificate of Title
The Belize Transfer Certificate of Title is a physical title to a particular parcel of land. This form of ownership is secure. It is more costly and time consuming to transfer title on a Transfer Certificate of Title than on a Deed of Conveyance.
Belize Land Certificate
The Belize Land Certificate is an absolute title and applies to property purchases in new or specially designated areas. Under the Registered Land Act of 1987, the Belize Government is re-registering all freehold lands to eventually achieve a uniform system of nationwide land ownership. However this will take time, as some areas will need to be surveyed.
Closing Costs in Belize
When purchasing property in Belize, title insurance is not necessary and closing costs are very minimal as there is no capital gains tax.
Belize Stamp Duty
The Government of Belize has recently reduced the stamp duty on real estate title transfers. The new rate is 0% up to US$10,000 in purchase price and 5% for any amount above US$10,000.
Belize Non-Citizens Additional Duty : there is an additional tax of 10% for non-residents and for persons who have resided in Belize for less than 3 years.
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Our local representative in Belize can be contacted by emailing us through our Contact Us page.
Belize Residency Programme
Citizens of the United States, Canada, U.K. and Northern Ireland who are 45 years or older and their dependants include spouses and children under 18, or up to the age of 23 if enrolled in a university, all qualify for residency in Belize, under the September 1999 Belize Retired Persons Program.
In this programme the qualifying person is required to have either an income from a source outside of Belize of US$1,000 or more per month, or US$12,000 or more per year; or a pension or annuity. The income can be from any source, property rental, investment portfolio or from a company owned by the applicant, provided that the source of the income is outside of Belize.
The qualifying person is required to deposit the above income, pension or annuity into a Belize bank on a monthly basis, or if paid as a lump sum, by 1st April each year.
Under the act, the qualified person can legitimately run their business from Belize and set up an office in Belize, providing that the company is only trading outside of Belize.
As an additional benefit, the qualified person is also exempt from taxation on income from sources outside of Belize and may import up to US$15,000 in personal effects, without paying duty. The qualified person may also import duty free a vehicle that is 3 years or older, a boat or light aircraft.
There is no minimum residency period necessary to qualify for this program or any other obligations.
There is a non-refundable fee of US$100, paid on the submission of the application, a further US$500 to be paid on approval of the application and a further US$100 to obtain the Retired Person Status ID card.
These fees are paid only by the qualifying person, with any spouse or dependants accorded the same status as the qualifying person at no additional charge, making this act incredibly good value.
Belize General Information
Location & Geography
Belize lies on the Eastern or Caribbean coast of Central America and is bordered to the North by Mexico, to the West and South by Guatemala and on the East by the Caribbean Sea.
The inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with over 200 small islands, extending the entire length of the country. These cayes range in size from a few hundred feet to 25 miles long. The spectacular Belize Barrier Reef offers scuba diving unrivalled anywhere else in the World and runs for 187 miles parallel with the coastline. There are only 4 Atolls in the entire Atlantic region and 3 of them are off the coast of Belize. These immense Atolls (Lighthouse, Turneffe and Glovers) account for another 140 miles of reef making a total of some 337 miles of coral reef to explore in Belize.
The area of the mainland and cayes is 8,867 square miles. The country's greatest length from north to south is 174 miles and its greatest width is 68 miles.
Belize is in the Central Standard Time zone, and does not utilize daylight saving time.
Belize has been an Independent nation since 1981 and is a Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and CARICOM. Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State. Belize is a parliamentary democracy with two major political parties and currently led by Prime Minister Said Musa.
The climate in Belize is sub-tropical, with the prevailing winds from the Caribbean Sea. The average annual temperature averages about 80 degrees. The rainy season is between June and August.
U.S. residents are permitted a $400.00 duty-free tax exemption per person. They can also return with 200 cigarettes and citizens 21 years or older can bring back one quart of alcohol duty free. Belizean dollars may be used in duty-free shops. Duty free shops are located at the airport and the Mexican/ Belize border.
It is illegal to take firearms and ammunition into or out of Belize.
Power is provided by Belize Electricity Limited. The electrical system is the same as in the United States, 110 Volts A.C. Electricity is supplied to both households and businesses in the country. Service is intermittent and most hotels have backup generators.
Belize Entry Requirements - Visas
Visas are not required for most nationalities, including citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth countries, as well as most members of the European Union. People from the above countries do need a valid passport and an onward or round-trip ticket to enter.
Other nationals will need to obtain a Visitor Permit through the Belizean Consulate, Belize Embassy, British Counsel, or contact the Department of Immigration and Nationality, Belmopan, Belize, Central America. A moderate fee is charged for the Visitors Permit and applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for their stay, as well as return ticket.
Bringing Animals to Belize
Animals being imported into Belize must be accompanied by a certificate of freedom from infection or contagious disease, that has been issued by a veterinarian following examination not more than 48 hours prior to entry. Animals must also be certified as having been vaccinated against rabies not less than one month nor more than six months prior to entry; and must be free of open wounds. Dogs must have a valid certification of vaccination against distemper, parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis and leptospirosis. Animals may also be required to be re-vaccinated against rabies on arrival if certifications are deemed unsatisfactory.
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Please note that the information on this page is subject to constant change and revision and may not be fully up to date. Users are advised to verify any information that could effect their decision on buying a property, visiting this country or any other matter of importance.
Copyright 2007 Caribbean Land and Property Limited
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