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please help with visa rules

i have a US passport, i understand i can enter without a visa and stay for up to 30 days, then i can extend in 30 day increments for $25 a pop (is that $US or $Belize?). is that correct?

suppose i want to go to Mex or Guatemala at the end of the 30 days, stay there a few days or weeks then come back to Belize for another 30 days.  is that considered ok? will my free 30 days start over again.

thanks

I'll take a stab at this. The $25 (not sure if it went up to $38.50, I thought I saw something about that) is US dollars. And it's an EXIT tax, not an entry. Meaning, you pay it when you LEAVE (or, if you go renew it, you pay the equivalent of an exit, and THEN they'll give you a new 30 days). So yes, you can go anywhere, long or short, since you pay on exit. There are no limits on how many times or 30-days renewals you cab get (but, after 6 months, it goes up to $50 each times...)

ok thanks. actually i'm thinking mexico may be a better option for me to live in, better visa rules, cheaper cost of living, availability of more stuff like import foods etc. so i'll probably just coming to visit Belize periodically anyhow, but good to know. thanks

The exit fee is different from the visa stamp. The visa is $25 US for the first six months and $50 US after that. It's a good point, though, that people sometimes leave to skip their stamp but end up paying more or almost as much. I think you have to be gone a certain amount of time in order for it to negate your need for the visa stamp, but I can't remember how long that is.

steveh2112 :

i have a US passport, i understand i can enter without a visa and stay for up to 30 days, then i can extend in 30 day increments for $25 a pop (is that $US or $Belize?). is that correct?

Steveh2112, you are correct that US citizens can enter Belize without an "Entry Visa". When you arrive you will be issued a "Visitor Visa" valid for a maximum of 30 days but could be shorter depending on your departure ticket at the discretion of the Immigration Official that you deal with. On or before the day that visa expires, if you wish to remain in Belize, you will be required to have it renewed and will pay USD 25.00 (BZD 50.00) for the first 6 renewals, after that the price is increased to USD 50.00 (BZD 100.00) for each renewal. Visitor Visas can be paid for with either USD or BZD.

The second part is where things get fuzzy, and why you may get different answers to most questions on Belize based on individual experience. While most proceedures are well documented somewhere, officials are not neccesarily trained on the intent of the rules and are left to interpret it for themselves. When dealing with most proceedural things in Belize, this individual interpretation is what leads to different experiences from person to person, and in fact even for individuals from visit to visit .

steveh2112 :

suppose i want to go to Mex or Guatemala at the end of the 30 days, stay there a few days or weeks then come back to Belize for another 30 days.  is that considered ok? will my free 30 days start over again.

thanks

Departure Tax is a different tax that is paid each time you leave Belize. The total is comprised of four fees, a ticket tax, a conservation tax, an airport security fee, and an airport development fee. The total tax was just raised from US $39.25 to US $59.25 and must be paid in cash (credit cards not accepted) and must be paid in USD. This is often included in your airline ticket, but sometimes is not so it is best to check. That is probably not relevant to the situation you have discribed but may be for future readers. I have heard that in some cases children under 12 were exempt, but other cases where the tax was applied per person including children.

With the recent increase in the departure tax there may be little financial benefit to leaving for short periods. It used to be that if you left for 72 Hrs. you would be issued a new 30 day visitor visa on reentry. People often left for 72 hours after the six month period, maybe a quick visit to Mexico or Guatamala as you suggested to keep the visa cost at the initial BZD 25.00. So, the enforcement of that rule has been changed.  As a result I have been told by some people that if the officer determines that your intention is to skirt the fees, shorter visa are issued. For example if you leave for a few days before your existing visa expires, the new visa will only be issued to expire when your previous visa would have. Or, if you appear to be staying Belize but have just left for a quick trip, you may well be issued a very short visa on reentry, again all of this is depending on the discretion of the official that you see.

I hope this helps.

thanks billdoesbelize, this helps a lot. i'm used to the Thailand way of doing things where you pop across the border to Malaysia for 5 mins and get a new 30 days thai visa on return, so good to know about the exit tax. that obviously makes the border hopping thing very expensive.

as i mentioned in a prev reply, i'm thinking of basing myself in mex anyhow and drive over to Belize for a month maybe. so i guess that trip will be free to enter but US $59.25 when i leave, not real cheap, guess i will not be doing that a lot.

thanks for the info

I think it's cheaper when you leave by land than by air.

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