Getting Belizean citizenship and passport is a good way to transition into citizenship and facilitate international travel. It is a CARICOM passport as the country is a member of the English-speaking Caribbean Community. Belizeans can travel without a visa to CARICOM, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica the U.K. and several other countries. The Belize passport currently ranks 56 of 199 passports globally on the Henley Passport Index. Belizeans enjoy visa free access to 103 countries. Image above shows old Belize passport (left) and new 2021 version (right) which is a darker navy blue colour.
The process to getting Belize citizenship and passport can seem challenging. But if you do your home work and have all your documentation in order, it will be a smooth process. Here is how to do it.
1. Be a Belizean citizen. Any person born in Belize is a citizen of Belize. You may also be a Belizean if you have obtained a Nationality Certificate that is issued to individuals who have become citizens through naturalization, marriage or descent through their parents.
2. Prepare your documents. You will need your birth certificate, wedding certificate or divorce certificate if applicable, Nationality Certificate if applicable and personal identification such as previous passport, voters identification card or social security card. You need two recent passport-size color photographs 2 inches by 2 inches. Recommender is to certify the photograph with the following quote “I certify that this is a true
[image/picture/likeness] of [insert name of Applicant or child]”, signed by recommender. The pictures that you supply will be used to vet your application, and will not be used to prepare your passport.
3. Fill out the passport application form which you can obtain online (see below for download) or at any Belize Embassy or Consulate abroad, or at any immigration office in Belize. Belizeans living abroad are now limited to 3 choices for recommenders: a medical or legal practitioner or a registered minister of religion. Applicants abroad now require that their application form be notarized.
4. If living in Belize, submit your completed application form and documents in person to the passport office in the City of Belmopan or Belize City along with $50. for adults, or $30. for applicants under age 16. All payments are in cash. Your documents will be vetted and if everything is in order you will be photographed and fingerprinted. Your passport will be ready in 2 to 4 weeks. Emergency passports can be processed within 5 days for a fee of $100.
If living abroad, Belizeans can apply for a passport at the embassy or consul of Belize in Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago. Outside North America you can apply at the Belize Foreign Mission in London or Taipei, Taiwan. At these foreign missions which are the only ones equipped with biometric capture equipment, the process is the same: you will be photographed and fingerprinted.
You will be informed when your passport will be ready usually in two weeks. In cases of documented medical emergency or urgency passports may be expedited at the discretion of the officer in charge.
Express passport service is also available. For an additional charge of $200. the immigration department will process and deliver your passport within 24 hours.
September 2022 Update: In October 2022, the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Immigration launches a new application process for electronic passports through the Electronic Passport Issuance and Control System (e-PICS).
The new e-PICS system and e-Passports is more secure and allows for efficient processing through modern border management systems. The e-passport includes an electronic chip to safeguard the user’s personal information and photograph as well as a verification feature for use at smart gates at international borders.
Tips and Warnings
The Immigration Department Headquarters is located at the City of Belmopan. Office Hours: 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Address: Mountain View Boulevard, City of Belmopan, Cayo District, Belize Tel: + (501) 822-3860 | + (501) 822-0284 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Making a false statement on your application, either by the applicant or recommender carries a penalty upon conviction of $500. and / or one year in prison in Belize. It is suggested that you return to the same office where you applied to pick up your new passport. You can also arrange to have your passport sent to any municipality for retrieval from a government office, but this can and does lead to additional delay.
This Commonwealth country allows its citizens to hold dual nationality – with the exception of those born in Guatemala who must renounce their previous citizenship. Due to increasing cases of passports and other travel documents being improperly obtained, immigration authorities have increased their vigilance and vetting process. Thus it is useful for the applicant to carefully check that his or her documents are in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
Belize Passport Application Forms
As of October 2022 the new Electronic Passport Issuance and Control System or “EPICS” system is now active and all applications and processes fall under the new system. The passport application process has been streamlined and most of it can be completed online. Below you can find and download the new EPICS passport application form and instruction on how to fill out and submit your application. Source: Belize Immigration Department
Article by M.A. Romero Chief Information Officer (RET) to the government of Belize.
© Copyright 2022 M.A. Romero & Belize.com Ltd.