Belize is moving onto the radar screens of emigrating Brits thanks to its generous retirement programme and relaxed pace of life.

The retired persons incentive programme allows expatriates to live in the central American country tax-free, as long as they meet a number of conditions.

They include being at least 45 years of age and having a qualifying non-Belizean based income of at least US$2,000 (£1,300) a month.

Foreigners already make up almost 60 per cent of the population, attracted by the low cost of living, slow-paced lifestyle, nature and water sports. Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef.

Property is also affordable. Luke Smith, managing director of UK-based Crystal Investment and Real Estate (, said: "Ambergris Caye is the most popular place for retirees and other expats to live in Belize. It offers the beauty of the Caribbean in a fairly compact, accessible package. You can dive, snorkel, swim and fish to your heart’s content.

"Brits are among the most popular nationality to retire in Belize. It is easy to purchase property, especially since Belize laws and legal systems are patterned after the British system and business is conducted in English. The visa system is also very simple and straightforward.’’
Under the retirement scheme, foreigners are free from taxes on all income derived from sources outside Belize, whether such income is earned or passive, and whether or not it is remitted to Belize.
Although it is not necessary to be retired, those moving to the country must be aged at least 45 and have adequate resources to deposit a monthly income of $2,000 or more a month - which would typically be pension income or annuity.

However, the Belize Tourist Board ( has accepted that since many expats do not have pensions, they can make a single $24,000 deposit once a year or pay it in monthly installments.
On top of the tax benefits, qualifying expats can also import a specified amount of personal and household goods as well as a car or boat, without having to pay import duties or other taxes on goods, up to the value of $15,000.
Belize-based international property guru Macarena Rose ( said: "The British always have found Belize a lateral move from the UK and in the past 18 months, I have seen a rise in British expats coming in to buy to live. Prior to this, they were buying second homes and investment rental units.’’