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Belize

Belize
Belize
Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime.

Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime.

Violent crime, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Belize:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Belize.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Embassy Messages
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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Length of stay

 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays of 30 days or less

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$5,000 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

$5,000 

 

ALL /
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Belmopan

4 Floral Park Road
Belmopan, Belize
Telephone: +(501) 822-4011
Emergency After-Hours telephone:+(501) 610-5030
Fax: +(501) 822-4012
Email: 

Destination Description

See our Fact Sheet on Belize for additional information on U.S. - Belize relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

You must have a U.S. passport valid beyond your planned departure date, proof of an onward or return ticket, and sufficient funds to cover the cost of the length of stay.  If you enter Belize by land, you will be charged different fees depending on if you are staying for less than or more than 24 hours.  Belize does not require specific immunizations for visitors; vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control can be found at Belize vaccinations.

If you are visiting as a tourist, you do not require a visa.  Visitors planning to stay more than 30 days must have their passport re-stamped by a local immigration office and pay an additional fee for every additional month they wish to stay up to 6 months; for stays longer than 6 months, you may need to provide further documentation to the local immigration office to explain the reason for a longer stay and pay additional fees.  Visit the Embassy of Belize to the United States website for the most current visa information.   

Traveling with Minors: If you are traveling with children, you may be asked by immigration officials to show U.S. birth certificates for each child.  When children are not traveling with both parents, immigration officials often request documentation to establish the children are traveling with the permission of both parents.  Such documentation may include notarized letters from the parent(s), custody or adoption papers, or death certificates in situations where one or both parents are deceased.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: We are unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Belize.  Please verify this information with the Embassy of Belize before you travel.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  . 

Safety and Security

Belize is rated high for crime and has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world.  Gang members and other criminals have historically used high-powered weapons to resolve disputes.  Visitors should exercise caution throughout Belize, particularly in southern Belize City and remote areas along Belize’s borders.

CRIME:  Crime may occur anywhere in Belize, and criminals frequently target tourists, including those at resorts and on the roads and riverways.  Crime, including sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, remains high and has spread to areas that were previously unaffected by crime.  Sexual harassment and/or assault of persons traveling alone or in small groups have been reported. 

Most crimes remain unresolved and unprosecuted. A lack of capacity, resources, and training impedes the ability of local police to effectively investigate crime and apprehend serious offenders.

Thefts of cash and credit cards happen frequently in some areas of Belize.  It is believed several credit card fraud rings are currently active in Belize, particularly in San Pedro.

Scams occur in Belize, especially in resort areas.  Tourists, in general, are particularly vulnerable to these crimes, resulting in visitors being pick-pocketed, robbed and/or extorted.  See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:  Report crimes to the local police by dialing 911 and contact us at the U.S. Embassy at 822-4011.  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.  See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: The Belizean government in September 2016 conceded the decriminalization of homosexuality, but is questioning a section of a July 2016 Supreme Court ruling that made “sexual orientation” a protected class. The Immigration Act prohibits “homosexual” persons from entering the country, but immigration authorities have not enforced that law. 

There continues to be significant hostile sentiment towards individuals who identify themselves as LGBTI. Tourist friendly areas, including San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, remain relatively open and welcoming to the LGBTI community. Outside of these areas, LGBTI persons, especially males, are reluctant to display affection in public (including holding hands) because incidents of verbal or physical assault have been reported. There have been some instances of violence reported against LGBTI individuals, and LGBTI groups have reported that the police at times refused to accept reports of crime from LGBTI persons.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues: While in Belize, individuals with disabilities will find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The law does not expressly prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air or other transportation, access to health care, or the provision of other state services. The law does not provide for accessibility to persons with disabilities. Most public and private buildings and transportation are not accessible.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Women traveling alone or in small groups have been targets for sexual assault, even in tourist areas. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Medical care for minor ailments is generally available in urban areas. Advanced medical treatment is very limited in Belize City or Belmopan and is extremely limited or unavailable in rural and remote areas. Pharmacy services are generally acceptable in larger cities. Specialized prescription medications may be completely unavailable. If you bring your own prescription medications, you must carry a current doctor’s prescription for each medication. Please contact the Belize Customs Department at (501) 223-7092 or via e-mail at cusnet@btl.net for more information.

Emergency services will be either unavailable or significantly delayed. Serious injuries or illnesses normally require evacuation to another country.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Veteran’s Administration health benefits do not apply overseas.

Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Zika Virus: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies Belize as a Zika risk area. The Zika virus is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

The following diseases are also prevalent:

  • Malaria
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Diarrheal illness
  • Dengue Fever

Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Belize range from two-lane paved roads to dirt or gravel tracks. Roads often lack markings, reflectors, and shoulders, which can contribute to cars overturning. Even in urban areas, most streets lack lane markings and contribute to chaotic conditions. Bridges on the major highways are often only a single lane. The Manatee Road (Coastal Road), leading from the Western Highway east of Belmopan to Dangriga, is mostly unpaved, easily flooded after storms and without services. Driving at night is discouraged.

Roadside assistance can be difficult to summon as there are no public telephones along the road and emergency telephone numbers do not always function properly. While cell phone service is fairly reliable, reception in remote areas is spotty or non-existent.

Traffic Laws: Drivers operate vehicles on the right side of the road. Valid U.S. or international driver’s permits are accepted in Belize only for a period of three months after initial entry.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, dial 911 and explain the emergency. If you or someone with you is critically injured, then go to the nearest hospital. If there are no injuries or risk of life, do not move the vehicles and wait for the police to arrive. If possible, take pictures before any vehicles are moved. Do not leave the scene if there are no injuries. If you hit someone on the road, stop and give assistance; call 911 and report the accident.

Bicycles are numerous and constitute a regular part of traffic. Cyclists, like drivers, do not always obey basic traffic laws. They commonly fail to obey red lights or stop signs and often ride against traffic. Cyclists and pedestrians often do not have any reflectors or bright clothing and can be difficult to spot traveling along Belize’s poorly lit roads.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Public Transportation: Taxis are prevalent in cities but not as common in rural areas. Most visitors will need to call a taxi service to summon a taxi. Buses are used to travel between cities and are not common for short commutes. We suggest that you visit the website of Belize’s national tourist office.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Belize, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Belize’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Last Updated: February 15, 2018
Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Belmopan
4 Floral Park Road
Belmopan, Belize
Telephone
+(501) 822-4011
Emergency
+(501) 610-5030
Fax
+(501) 822-4012
Belize Map