Welcome to Offshore Living Letter, Your #1 Resource for Offshore Diversification

Welcome To Belize: Your All-In-One Offshore Destination

16 Jan
Aerial Drone view of South Water Caye tropical island in Belize barrier reef 

Welcome To Belize: Your All-In-One Offshore Destination

Why I’m Still Long Belize

As I prepare to fly to Belize in the morning to host this week’s Live And Invest In Belize Conference, I’m reminding myself why this country remains on my radar.

I’ve been spending time and money in Belize for more than 20 years. It’s not the white sand or the blue-green sea that attracts me.

Sure, the beaches are beautiful, but I’m not much for sun-bathing.

Belize got my attention two decades ago and has held it since because it’s a custom-built offshore and tax haven.

The country offers good options for planting many offshore flags… from a bank account to residency, a second passport, an offshore structure, a self-sufficient lifestyle, and a seriously tax-advantaged set-up.

International banks in Belize are among the few in the world that will open an account for you without requiring you to visit the bank in person. Of course, they, like all offshore banks today, will insist on “know-your-client” due diligence and paperwork, but you don’t have to get on a plane to go through that process.

Belize banks also have low account minimums compared with bigger private banking centers. You can open an account in this country with as little as US$500… and that account would give you access to multiple currencies including the British pound, the euro, the Swiss franc, and the Canadian dollar (or the U.S. dollar if you’re Canadian).

Banks in other jurisdictions impose minimum balances starting at US$100,000 for an account providing easy access to multiple currencies.

If you have US$100,000 or US$1 million to fund your offshore bank account, you have more options. However, if you’re just starting out with your flag-planting efforts or if you’re working with less available capital, Belize can be a best and easiest starting point for banking.

That’s banking, which is the flag I recommend you address first.

Next comes residency.

Belize Residency

In this context, again, Belize is a top option. The country offers one of the most straightforward retirement residency programs available anywhere.

The income requirement of US$2,000 is higher than that for other options in Central America and even for some European jurisdictions, but the required time in country each year is only 30 days.

You can set up a second (or back-up) residency in Belize and maintain it by taking a couple of two-week vacations there each year… or you could live there full-time if you wanted.

While you can’t work in Belize if you establish residency through its Qualified Retired Person (QRP) program, you can start an online business. Set up a consulting company using an entity outside Belize, and the country’s jurisdictional approach to taxation system allows you to operate tax-free (in Belize, as a U.S. person, you’ll still have to address any possible U.S. tax liability).

One downside to residency through QRP is that it doesn’t lead to citizenship. If a second passport is an objective, your option is to go the permanent residency route.

That requires you to spend an uninterrupted year living in the country, and you’d simply renew your tourist visa every 30 days for a year. Once you have that year under your belt, you can apply for permanent residency… and you can come and go from the country as you like.

After five years of permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship.

Looking For A Structure To House Your Offshore Business Activities?

Looking for a structure to house your offshore business activities?

A Belize IBC (International Business Company) isn’t taxed in Belize because it can’t do business in Belize. If you want to do business in Belize, you’ll need to use a local Belize company instead.

A Belize LLC can also be a good choice as the holding company for offshore investments—for example, real estate in different countries. Again, thanks to Belize’s jurisdictional approach to taxation, you’d pay no taxes in Belize on income or capital gains from your non-Belizean investments held in the Belize LLC.

Banking, residency, structures, and taxes are all great reasons to be looking closely at Belize… and here’s one more…

This country is one of the world’s safe havens… an ideal place to escape the troubles of the world. No terrorist cell is paying attention to Belize, for instance.

Meantime, this country boasts an abundance of fertile land and fresh water, meaning loads of opportunity for growing your own food and embracing an off-grid lifestyle to whatever extent you’re up for. Build a house with solar panels and you could easily live completely off-grid in this country.

You could set up your personal Plan B in Belize and then put it on a shelf where it’d be ready for you and your family should you decide the time has come to bug out.

Belize is close and easy enough to get to from the United States and Canada.

All major U.S. carriers offer daily flights to Belize City… or you can fly into Cancún, which is serviced by flights from most secondary cities in the United States thanks to Southwest Airlines, and then drive down the coast to the border. Friends come and go from Belize this way all the time.

Lief Simon