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Citizenship in Belize

Citizenship in Belize

Citizenship in Belize can be obtained after a minimum number of years spent in the country lawfully residing for business or employment purposes, among others. While there is no direct citizenship by investment route, this remains an accessible option for those who wish to open a company in Belize as they can first obtain a temporary residence permit for investment, followed by permanent residence and, finally, citizenship.

 Quick Facts  
Minimum time in the country before applying for citizenship   5 years with a permanent residence permit

Minimum time of residence out of the country 

 No more than 30 consecutive days or a total of 3 months in any 12-month period.

 Citizenship for children

Yes, the child can be included in the parent’s citizenship application.
 Citizenship by descent   

For individuals born outside of Belize to a parent who is a Belizean citizen

 For individuals born outside of Belize when a grandparent is a citizen of Belize 

For a woman married before Independence Day (21 Sept 1981) to a Belizean citizen

 Citizenship by adoption

 Yes, subject to conditions

 Residence requirements for citizenship applications

The applicant needs to have been a holder of a permanent residence permit. 

 Minimum age for citizenship applications

 18 years

 Citizenship for dependents who join the permit holder to Belize

 Subject to the same conditions for minimum time in the country and other requirements.

Citizenship for foreign nationals married to a Belizean citizen 

For individuals married to a Belize citizen for at least 1 year 

 Citizenship application documents  Application form, photographs, proof of permanent residence, passport, police record, medical certificate and medical tests, birth and marriage certificate, other documents as applicable.
Special conditions for documents 

 Duly translated into English; original documents are also to be provided.

 Citizenship application fees

$300 for citizenship by registration 

 Naturalization ceremony

Applicants are subject to a swearing-in ceremony. 

Citizenship applications processing department 

The Immigration Office and The Nationality Department for the replacement of citizenship cards. 

Dual citizenship permitted    Yes, except for Indian nationals who are required to provide a Declaration of Renunciation of Citizenship.

Read below to find out more about the main conditions that apply to those who wish to obtain citizenship in Belize in 2024. Acquiring permanent residence status, and then becoming citizens, can be the main goal for those who initially plan to start a business here.

Belize is an attractive international business destination and the International Business Company, or IBC, the legal entity commonly used for offshore purposes, is easy to set up. If you are ready to open an IBC, our team can help you.

Requirements for obtaining citizenship in Belize

Becoming a Belizean citizen is subject to a number of conditions that are related to the period spent in the country. If you want to open a company in Belize, and remain here, you will have to observe the following in order to become a citizen after being a resident:

  1. Hold a permanent residence permit for a minimum period of 5 years;
  2. During this 5-year time, remain in Belize permanently or leave the country only for a maximum period of 30 consecutive days or 3 months in any 12-month period;
  3. You can also apply for citizenship if you were absent from the country for the purpose of extended travel when there is sufficient proof to show that this took place as part of employment in Belize or for medical/health reasons;
  4. Marry a Belize national and, after at least 1 year after marriage, apply for citizenship; the spouse needs to be born in Belize or needs to have acquired Belizean citizenship before the date of the marriage.

A different set of requirements applies in case of citizenship in Belize by descent:

  • born outside of Belize, however, one of the parents is a Belize citizen;
  • born outside of Belize before Independence Day (September 21st 1981) and one of the grandparents is a Belize citizen;
  • a woman married to a Belizean husband before Independence day.

Foreign investors who are interested in company formation in Belize and wish to remain in the country to run their business will qualify for citizenship through registration, for which the minimum 5-year period of residency applies. Read below to find out more about the application process.

We also invite you to watch a video about gaining citizenship in Belize:

Belize citizenship application FAQ

We answer a set of common questions about citizenship in Belize below.

1. What are the needed documents for citizenship through registration in 2024?

The applicant is generally asked to bring the following set of documents:
– the filled-in application form;
– recent photographs;
– the proof of permanent residence;
– passport;
– police records;
– medical certificate;
– referee identification (two Belizeans will be the applicant’s references)
– declaration of renunciation (only in case of Indian nationals);
– birth and marriage certificate;
– additional documents are required in case of an accompanying child.

2. What are the documents for citizenship through marriage?

When the applicant has married a Belizean citizen and wishes to apply for citizenship, the required documents will include those previously mentioned for the citizenship through registration, as well as the marriage certificate issued by the Vital Statistics Unit (if married in Belize) or the marriage certificate authenticated and apostilled if married in another jurisdiction. The spouse’s proof of Belizean citizenship is important for this application.

For those who are interested by citizenship by descent, as opposed to marriage or registration, the process will rely on gathering the needed documents to show that the applicant is of Belizean descent. Original and copies of the documents that serve as proof for this will be required, along with the applicant’s birth certificate.

3. What are the applicable citizenship fees?

The following fees apply at the time this article was written:
– nationality by registration: $300;
– nationality by descent: $40;
– nationality certificate replacement fee: $100.

Statistical data on Belize’s population

The Statistical Institute of Belize provides essential information about the population of Belize. Here are the key details based on 2022 estimates:

  • The estimated mid-year population in 2022 was 441,471 individuals.
  • Out of the total population, approximately 220,739 were men and 220,732 were women.
  • The largest age group consisted of children aged 5 to 9 years; There were also 51,618 children aged 10 to 14 years;
  • There were 31,269 individuals in the age group of 30 to 34 years, and 20,473 people aged 45 to 49.
  • The senior population included 3,508 individuals aged 75 to 79 and 4,291 individuals aged 80 to 84.

The list of documents, as well as the applicable fees can be subject to change. We advise those interested in seeking updated information through one of our agents. Contact our team of Belize company formation experts if you wish to know more about citizenship in Belize, as well as the main conditions applicable to foreign investors in 2024.