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How to bring your car to Belize

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Belize, were there any formalities that needed to be completed beforehand? What were they?

What is the best way to export your car? Is there a limit on the number of vehicles, or perhaps the age of the vehicle? Are there limits on emissions or emission controls in Belize?

What are the expected costs of exporting a car? In your opinion, is it worth it?

Once you arrived in Belize, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Belize?

Is it best to buy a car once you have arrived or to bring your car with you, in your opinion?

We look forward to hearing from you!

Bhavna

I also would like to know this information.  I have researched online but have gotten conflicting info.   I am driving my vehicle to Belize in July .  I read you can get a temporary permit stamp in your passport but after 90 days you must pay duty but I don't know where you pay it or where to get a belize license plate.

Plates and registration happen at the transport office. Most of the larger towns have one. I'm not sure about where to pay duty, but I think I looked it up when I redid the expat guide. Menu bar-handy tools-expat guides-Belize. There should be one or two articles on transportation.

There have been several good threads here in this forum on both importing and driving into Belize. I strongly suggest reading them, then come back with more focused questions.

I also would suggest rethinking why you really need your own car. 😄

I have a home in Placencia Village. For day to day things, most things are within walking/biking distance. Cabs are plentiful and not expensive for the times I get lazy. For the few times a year I really really need a car, I rent one from a local company for around $60 USD/day. Everyone and area is different....I could never every consider not having my own car during my months back in Texas....but for where I live in Belize, not owning a car is a valid money saving option.🤑

Gas is over $5 USD/gal. Import duties/taxes/fees are very high. Roads tend to be really rough on cars do to poor conditions and SPEED BUMPS. Belize relies heavily on SPEED BUMPS (signage if any gives them several names) for speed control on highways and main roads. 😦 Miss slowing to a crawl at one and .....well dont. North American speed bumps are ripples by comparison.

Aerodex,
I have to bring my vehicle to Belize , my dog is too big to fly .  I am moving there in July . I am driving from Washington State to Mango Creek where I will live.   I will drive to Placencia for day trips to the beach, they won't let my dog on the Hokey-Pokey.  Im trying to figure out how and where to pay duty to get Belize license plates.   At the border, they give you a stamp in your passport for a temporary vehicle permit .  You have to renew monthly at the Mango Creek police station but can only renew for 90 days.   I have been searching online what to do after the 90 days and cannot find information about where to go.  I assume Belmopan but which agency?  Any answers will be greatly appreciated.

Monkey town brew,
I copied and pasted your web address given for handy tools but found nothing.  Can you give me the exact web address?

terilynnd :

Aerodex,
I have to bring my vehicle to Belize , my dog is too big to fly .  I am moving there in July . I am driving from Washington State to Mango Creek where I will live.   I will drive to Placencia for day trips to the beach, they won't let my dog on the Hokey-Pokey.  Im trying to figure out how and where to pay duty to get Belize license plates.   At the border, they give you a stamp in your passport for a temporary vehicle permit .  You have to renew monthly at the Mango Creek police station but can only renew for 90 days.   I have been searching online what to do after the 90 days and cannot find information about where to go.  I assume Belmopan but which agency?  Any answers will be greatly appreciated.

Hi again,
I posted accidentally as Aerodex, as I had totally forgotten I had originally signed up on this forum using that handle on my iPad. I seldom use the iPad and had forgotten that old user name. :huh:

Actually you renew your visa monthly at the Port Authority office in Big Creek/Independence.
Mango Cleek and Independence are so close together it's hard for me to tell them apart. Big Creek is the 2nd  largest deep-water port in Belize after Belize City. For me the Port Authority office  is a 6-7 min cab ride from the Hokey Pokey dock in Mango Creek. Any cab driver in Independence can tell you the way, as taking expats there from the Hokey Pokey happens often.

I am guessing the Port Authority will be able to handle the vehicle import duty collection when your temporary vehicle duty exemption runs out. I had a neighbor from Canada that drove to Belize through Mexico that got a temporary vehicle duty exception, I think she said the temporary was good for 90 days. She was going to apply for an extension the last time I talked to her. She got the initial exception when she entered Belize via the Northern Border with Mexico. If you don't get a temporary duty exemption you will have to pay it in full at the border before they let you drive into Belize.  She also mentioned getting something similar from Mexico to drive through there. She moved away, or I would ask her for more info.

Placencia Village is about a 15 min Hokey Pokey ride from Mango Creek, or almost an hour drive around the lagoon. The last time I counted there were 35 speed bumps down the Placencia Peninsula  :o

I really do hope you have read the several threads in this forum about driving to Belize through Mexico!

HI. I looked through all the articles, and there wasn't anything on this. I agree with Will. Ask at the immigration office in Big Creek. They'll know. My guess would be at the customs building across the street from immigration.

Just a couple of thoughts and limited nuggets of info - there is a document you can find with a quick Google search that spells out the duty rates on vehicles brought into Belize.  They differ according to type, GVW, etc.  There are some discounts or allowances on certain types of vehicles if they can be considered work or farm vehicles - such as larger PU trucks that are diesel and can tow a lot - for example, hauling horses, equipment, etc. 

I do know that SUV's are at the highest Duty rate and Jeeps are considered an SUV. 
We have to have a couple of vehicles - one older diesel 2500 4WD and the other we hoped to be a Jeep, but since have decided on newer 1500 4WD truck that we will trick out a bit for off-road use (mainly the Coastal for suspension and ground clearance).

A friend of ours in Hopkins said that the #1 expense that they really underestimated was vehicle maintenance costs.  the roads in Hopkins, up in Cayo, and the Coastal are brutal on standard road vehicles.  Parts take time to fly in, repairs are slow, and make sure you research which vehicles can easily be serviced in Belize - or at least Mexico.  We own an LR3 Land Rover and while this would be a great vehicle in Belize - there is no way to get it worked on down there - at least easily.

I don't know about age of vehicles - but if you plan on being on the QRP - I think they will not let you bring in a vehicle older than 3-years, Duty Free.  Maybe someone on this Blog can clarify if you can bring in older vehicles if you pay the Duty.  I also don't know how the Duties are calculated - is it on purchase price?  Estimated Value?  Blue-Book Value?  I have never been able to figure this one out.
If driving through Mexico - you will have to travel through Mexico City region.  They have very strict driving restrictions for air pollution.  It is based upon your license -plate number and there are times - even days where you will not be allowed to drive your vehicle in that state.  Just FYI.
I hope this helps a little bit : )

Quick question for anybody on this thread - are there any restrictions on bringing down vehicles that are not fully paid in in full?  Was just wondering....

Unless it has changed within the last few months, you could not import a vehicle that was not fully owned by you. That includes lease cars and those with a car note still in force payable outside of Belize. These rules are also applicable to QRP.
People have also had problems having a car driven down through Mexico into Belize if the owner of the tittle is not with the vehicle during the journey. Often it is suggested you get a car driven down by someone else which is not a simple move. There are specific Companies that can do it but not a family member or friend.

Does duty apply if you buy the car in Chetumal in the duty-free scheme? I remember there was some provision to pay a daily fee (to Belize) to shop there and bring stuff back duty-free. $35 seems to ring a bell.

Seems reasonable there would be a limit on the stuff. Just curious.

Never heard of a scheme that allows you to shop duty free with an up front fee. Unless you are a resident you have to pay an exit fee to cross into Mexico  per boarder crossing regardless of days spent in Mexico, but on all stuff you buy there you will be liable for duty. last time crossed was about a year ago was about $40 if my memory serves. I once was told there was a special rate for those who live within a certain distance from Border who get a certificate of residence or some such, but don't know more as it would not apply to me.

There is a specialist Land rover dealer out in Cayo around holdfast I think. if that helps, he does work on them and gets in spares for them.

Hmm.  I was perhaps confusing it with what I had read about the Corozal Free Trade Zone.

Corozal Free Trade Zone description

I don't know any of the particulars, but if one could buy a car this way (even a used car) that would be of huge benefit.  This one could be gone now for all I know--its tough to find reliable and not outdated info.

So my Dodge Ram 1500 is out of the question? Who makes up these Rules?

Rkenehan :

So my Dodge Ram 1500 is out of the question? Who makes up these Rules?

Not sure what question you are referring to, but a fully paid for Dodge Ram 1500 should not be a problem to import, simply bring enough money to cover the large duty and buy gas to feed it at $5+ USD per gallon.

The laws are made by the government of Belize. They are then enforced (or not) at the whim and discretion of the local official one is dealing with at the moment. If one can't accept those realities , then living in Belize is probably not a good choice.  :blink:

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