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International Travel

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Country Information

Belize

Country Information

Belize
Belize
Last Updated: July 19, 2016
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Embassy Messages
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 

 

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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

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Destination Description

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

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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.

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.

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. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page

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Safety and Security

Belize is rated high for crime. Gang members and other criminals have historically used high-powered weapons to resolve disputes. U.S. citizens are not known to have been the victims or targets of terrorist activity in Belize. No areas are closed to travel but visitors should exercise caution, 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.

The majority of 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.

Theft of cash and credit cards happen frequently in some areas of Belize. It is believed that 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:

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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 current criminal code states that “carnal intercourse” with any person “against the order of nature” shall receive a punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment. This law is interpreted as including only sex between men, but the law is rarely enforced and it is currently facing a challenge before Belize’s Supreme Court.  Additionally, the Immigration Act prohibits “homosexual” persons from entering the country, but immigration authorities have not enforced that law. The Caribbean Court of Justice dismissed a case June 12 challenging the law, agreeing with the Belizean government which argued that Belize’s interpretation applies to persons who may be living on or receiving proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior, and not to LGBTI writ large.

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 and 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.

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Health

Medical care for minor ailments is generally available in urban areas.  Advanced medical treatment is 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.

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

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does 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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

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

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers.  For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

The following diseases are also prevelant:

  • Malaria
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Diarrheal illness

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

For further health information, go to:

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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 not advised.

Roadside assistance can be difficult to summon as there are very few 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 injuries are not severe, wait for the ambulance. 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 even 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. 

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.

Please refer to our road safety page for more information.  Also, 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.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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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

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General Information

Belize and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1989.

For information concerning travel to Belize, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, currency and entry regulations, and crime and security, please see country-specific information for Belize.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Belize.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign central authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov

The Belize Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation.  The role of the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.  They can be reached at:

Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation
West Block, Independence Hill
Belmopan
Telephone: 501-822-2161 or 501-822-2684
E-mail: secretary@humandev.gov.bz
Website: Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Belize, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Belize central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Belize.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Belize.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a local private attorney is required in Belize Hague Abduction Convention return cases if the LBP is not present in Belize.  The case will not be filed in court if a LBP lives outside of Belize and does not hire an attorney.  LBPs living in Belize may file a case in court without legal representation.  Local attorneys are not provided by the Belize Central Authority, and the litigant in a Hague Abduction Convention case in Belize is responsible for all legal fees. 

U.S. Embassy Belmopan maintains a list of attorneys who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be offered by the Family Court in Belize free of charge, but this service is limited to individuals with cases already being handled by the court.  Parents interested in mediation outside of a court case should consult a local attorney.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

WARNING: Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. If you wish to immigrate your adopted child to the U.S. following the adoption, do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Belize before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." See the "How to Adopt" section for more information.

Belize is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Belize and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations.

All adoptions in Belize must be processed in coordination with Belize’s designated Central Adoption Authority, which is the Belize Department of Human Services, within the Ministry of Human Development. There are no private adoptions in Belize or adoptions through extra-judicial processes. All adoptions in Belize must be processed through the Supreme Court of Belize.

Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued. Prospective adoptive parents are required to provide quarterly reports on the child’s well-being during this period. Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill this one year period in Belize, or may be authorized by the Supreme Court of Belize to fulfill the probationary period in their country of residence. “Provisional”, “Interim” or “Preliminary” adoption decrees issued by the Supreme Court of Belize before the one year probationary period of custody is fulfilled can be considered permission for the prospective adoptive parents to take the child out of Belize during the probationary period, and to pursue an adoption process in accordance with the laws of their country of residence after fulfillment of the one year probationary period of custody. In such cases, quarterly reports regarding the child’s care and progress must still be provided to the Belize Department of Human Services during the probationary period.

Children adopted by residents of Belize may be documented as lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens after completion of a two year period of physical and legal custody abroad by either filing an I-130 visa petition or by filing an application for a certificate of citizenship. For more information on these processes direct questions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Belize is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Belize, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

Therefore all adoptions between Belize and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations. In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Belize also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Belizean law prohibits the issuance of a final adoption order unless the non-Belizean prospective adoptive parent resides in Belize with the Belizean child for 12 months. A social worker will visit periodically to assess the parent-child relationship.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 25 years old and no fewer than 12 years older than the child.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both married and single individuals can adopt in Belize. Single men cannot adopt female children. These restrictions can be waived if the court finds that special circumstances warrant it.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific income requirements, prospective adoptive parents’ financial status will be included as part of the home study.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: A person who is not a citizen of Belize may adopt a Belizean child if he or she:
    • Does not have a criminal record
    • Has a current recommendation concerning his suitability to adopt a child from his country’s probation and welfare office or other competent authority. A social services practitioner must verify this recommendation in writing as well as submit a report of the findings of the inquiry to the court. (Please note that U.S. immigration law requires that in Hague Convention countries like Belize the determination of suitability (home study) must be completed, supervised, or approved by a U.S. based Hague accredited or approved adoption service provider.)
    • In addition, the court may request a report/recommendation from an additional person or authority
    • Has satisfied the court that his country of origin will respect and recognize the adoption order.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Belize must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Belize attempt to place a child with a family in-country (i.e. in Belize) before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Belize’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. 

Belizean law only provides for the adoption of children who are citizens of Belize. A child who is not a Belizean citizen cannot be the subject of an adoption in a Belizean court, although Belizean courts can issue custody orders for any child residing in Belize.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Children in Belize may only be adopted through the judicial process. There are no private adoptions or adoptions through extra-judicial processes. Intercountry adoption placements are made on a case-by-case basis. Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued.

  • Relinquishment Requirements: Under Belizean law, consents provided by birth parents or legal guardians of the child become irrevocable upon issuance of a provisional adoption order. However, once entered with the court, the consents by the parent or legal custodian are not revocable by the parent or guardian themselves, but are only revocable by court action.
  • Abandonment Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Age Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Sibling Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Requirements for Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Determined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Waiting Period: Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued. Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill this one year period in Belize, or may be authorized by the Supreme Court of Belize to fulfill the probationary period in their country of residence. “Provisional”, “Interim” or “Preliminary” adoption decrees issued by the Supreme Court of Belize before the one year probationary period of custody is fulfilled can be considered permission for the prospective adoptive parents to take the child out of Belize during the probationary period, and to pursue an adoption process in accordance with the laws of their country of residence after fulfillment of the one year probationary period of custody.
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How to Adopt

BELIZE'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Belize Department of Human Services, within the Belize Ministry of Human Development

THE PROCESS

Because Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Belize must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed an I-600A with USCIS before April 1, 2008, or completed a full and final adoption in Belize prior to April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Belize
  6. Bringing your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Belize is to select an accredited or approved adoption service provider in the United States. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Belize.

    Intercountry adoptions must be decided by a Supreme Court Judge and require the services of a local attorney authorized to present cases to the Supreme Court of Belize. Contact the Belize Central Authority or a Belizean attorney for forms and procedures for intercountry adoption. A list of local attorneys can be found at https://bz.usembassy.gov.

    Prospective adoptive parents should fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, prospective adoptive parents may wish to contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing authority in the U.S. state where the agency is located or licensed.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Belize.

    Belize’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Belize’s adoption law. Sections 137 and 141 of Belizean Adoption Law specify the requirements for Non-Belizean citizens who would like to adopt a Belizean child.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Belize determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Belize may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    A child who is not a Belizean citizen cannot be the subject of an adoption in a Belizean court, although Belizean courts can issue custody for any child residing in Belize.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval of a petition to immigrate a child through adoption (Form I-800). Form I-800, like Form I-800A, must be submitted in the United States. USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After the I-800 is provisionally approved by USCIS, the entire case file is transferred to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center, which immediately forwards the case file to the U.S. Embassy. Upon receipt of the file the Embassy makes contact with your adoption service provider to arrange for submission of a visa application. The Embassy will ask for an immigrant visa application form known as the DS 230 Parts I and II, an original or certified birth certificate for the child, photos of the child and, if practicable, a medical exam conducted by a panel physician. Once the Consular Officer receives the visa application, the officer reviews the child’s information and evaluates the case and the application for compliance with the Hague Convention and for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will notify the Belize Central Authority of this initial determination in a letter known as the Article 5 letter. When the Belize Central Authority receives the Article 5 letter from the Embassy, it will issue a letter known as the Article 17 letter to the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the Adoption Service Provider. The Article 17 letter notifies the prospective adoptive parents that they may proceed with the adoption. For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until both the Article 5 and Article 17 letters have been issued. You cannot initiate the adoption process prior to issuance of the Article 5 and Article 17 letters.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Belize:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Belize, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Belize. 

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Belize generally includes the following:

    • Role of the Adoption Authority: The Adoption Authority processes the adoption application and upon approval forwards the dossier to the Supreme Court of Belize.
    • Role of the Court: Upon any application for an adoption order, the court may postpone the determination of the application and may make an interim order giving the custody of the child to the applicant for a probationary period not exceeding two years with terms regarding provision for the maintenance, education, supervision of the welfare of the child specified as the court may think fit.

      All consents required for a full and final adoption order are also required for an interim adoption order. Under Belizean law, consents provided by birth parents or legal guardians of the child become irrevocable upon issuance of a provisional adoption order. However, once entered with the court, the consents by the parent or legal custodian are not revocable by the parent or guardian themselves, but are only revocable by court action.

      As mentioned above, according to sections 137 and 141 of Belizean adoption law, the Supreme Court of Belize may (and usually does) postpone the granting of a final adoption decree and instead issues an interim or provisional adoption order. Under this circumstance, the prospective adoptive parent(s) will have custody of the child for a probationary period of one year during which there must be quarterly reports regarding the child’s care and progress. Prospective parents who receive an interim order from the Supreme Court of Belize and would like to carry it out in the U.S. may seek an IH-4 visa for the child. This visa is granted to the prospective parents only with the understanding and agreement that they will also seek a final adoption decree from their state of legal residence. Even though the child will be living in the U.S., the Supreme Court of Belize may request home study reports from U.S. Social Services agencies during the interim.

      Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill the interim one year probationary period in Belize. In this case prospective adoptive parents would obtain a final adoption decree from the Supreme Court of Belize after fulfilling the one year period and would then apply to the U.S. Embassy for an IH-3 immigrant visa for the child.

    • Role of Adoption Agencies: International adoptions occur before a Supreme Court Judge and require the services of a local attorney authorized to present cases to the Supreme Court of Belize. Those persons desirous of information regarding the forms and procedures to follow for adoptions should contact a Belizean attorney see list of attorneys in Belize.
    • Time Frame: The processing time for adoptions can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. The Belize Department of Human Services reports that “ward adoptions” (children in the custody of the Department of Human Services) can take up to one year or more to process because of the need for home study reports, matching, placement and legal proceedings. For children not in the custody of the Belize Department of Human Services, the processing time can be shorter.  If the prospective adoptive parents request a specific child, the matching and placement determination can take less time. These adoption proceedings take from 3 months to one year.
    • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents will file the adoption application to the Belize Human Services Department.
    • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

      Prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay attorney’s fees for adoption services in Belize ranging from $1,500 USD to $5,000 USD. The cost can vary based on the attorney selected, the type of adoption (local vs. international) and the number of children being adopted. Attorneys’ fees include all costs related to the adoption process, such as court costs and filing fees.

      The U.S. Embassy in Belize discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted. In addition, “donations,” or “expediting” fees, which may be requested from prospective adoptive parents, have the appearance of “buying” a baby and put all future adoptions in Belize at risk. U.S. citizens adopting a child in Belize should report any exorbitant fees to the U.S. Embassy in Belize or to the U.S. Department of State.

    • Documents Required: The following documents are required by the Belize Human Services Department:
      • A valid police certificate;
      • An approved home study;
      • Proof of home government approval to adopt (for U.S. citizens, this is an approved I-800 or I-800A).

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

  6. Bringing Your Child Home:

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to acquire the following:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will need to apply for a birth certificate so that you can later apply for a passport.

      Contact the Belize Vital Statistics Unit for information on how to obtain a birth certificate for the child.

    • Belize Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Belize.

      Contact the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department for information on how to obtain a passport.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain an immigrant visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      Adoptive parents will need the following documents for the immigrant visa application:

      • An original of the child’s birth certificate issued by the Belize Vital Statistics Unit indicating the name of both parents, if known;
      • If the child’s birth parents are not deceased: court documents indicating that the Government of Belize has terminated parental rights and made the child a Ward of the Belize Department of Human Services (note: this is usually included in the Home Study Report);
      • If a sole or surviving birth parent voluntarily relinquished the child for the adoption: a report from the Belize Department of Human Services indicating that the birth parent was incapable of proper care of the child;
      • The Provisional Adoption Order issued by the Supreme Court of Belize which shows that all pre-adoption requirements have been met;
      • A valid Belize passport issued in the child’s name;
      • Three 2x2 inch color passport photographs;
      • Medical examination results. (Note: this medical examination must be conducted by one of the Panel Physicians located in Belize City and in accordance with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. Detailed instructions and forms are provided by the Embassy once the I-800 is received.)
      • If the minor has a physical or mental disability, a notarized statement will be required from the prospective adoptive parent(s) in the United States that indicates that they are fully aware of the disability of the minor and they have the intention of finalizing the adoption. This statement can be included in item 19 of form I-800 and also in the home study if it is more convenient.
      • IH-4 visa applicants only: An Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) completed by the adoptive parent(s), as well as the required supplementary documentation (generally copies of their most recent federal tax returns, including W-2s.)
      • In the case of an adoptive child to be escorted to the United States by a third party, a notarized statement will be required authorizing that person to take the minor to the United States with the purpose of placing him or her with the prospective adoptive parent(s).

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Belize. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa for Belize. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Belize, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll your trip through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program (STEP) Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Belize, enrollment in STEP allows the U.S. Embassy to reach you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Belize require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Under Belizean law, adoption orders made under section 141 remain provisional for 12 months during which time quarterly reports regarding the progress of the child must be submitted to the court by a competent authority in the country where the adopted child lives. After the 12 month period has expired, an application can be made to a designated court for the adoption to be made final.

We strongly urge you to comply with Belizean reporting requirements and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Belize’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Belize
4 Floral Park Road
Belmopan, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-822-4011
Fax: ++501-822-4012
Internet: https://bz.usembassy.gov/

Belizean Adoption Authority
Department of Human Services
40 Regent Street
P.O. Box 41
Belize City, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-227-7451, 501-227-2057
Fax: ++501-227-1276

Belize Immigration and Nationality Department
Dry Creek Street
Belmopan
Central America
Tel: ++501-822-3860, 501-822-0739

Belize Vital Statistics Unit
Gabourel Lane
Belize City, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-223-7405
Fax: ++501-223-5635

Embassy of Belize
2535 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-332-9636

Permanent Mission of Belize
820 2nd Avenue
Suite 922
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-599-0233

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

None

General Issuing Authority Information: None

 

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates
 

Available

Fees:  BZ$4.00 (approx. USD $2.00)

Document Name:  Birth Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All birth certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal.  There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The office of the Registrar General signs off on all birth certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining: For births after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

 

Death Certificates
 

Available

Fees: BZ$4.00 (approx. USD $2.00)

Document Name:  Death Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All death certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal.  There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:The office of the Registrar General signs off on death certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining: For deaths after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage
 

Available

Fees: BZ$5.00 (Approx. USD $2.50)

Document Name:  Marriage Certificate

Issuing Authority:  Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All marriage certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal. There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:The office of the Registrar General signs off on marriage certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining:  For marriages after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

 

Divorce / Decree Absolute
 

Available

Fees: US$7.25

Document Name: Decree Absolute

Issuing Authority: General Registry

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Gold color seal with bright green ribbon

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Deputy Registrar General of the Supreme Court – Edmund Pennil

Registration Criteria: Divorce Absolute has to be finalized

Procedure for Obtaining: Once the divorce is finalized, particulars are given to the assistant Marshall at the General Registry in Belize City where a search is conducted then the document will be prepared.

Certified Copies Available: Upon request 

Alternate Documents: No alternate document is available.  Original document needs to be certified by the Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court

Exceptions: No

Comments: Process for a Decree Absolute can be completed in one day.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards
 

Available

Fees: There is no charge. The card is free. However, if the card is damaged or lost a police report is required and a fee of BZ $25.00  (Approx. USD $12.50) is charged for a replacement card.

Document Name: Social Security

Issuing Authority: Social Security Board

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Special features on the card showing the flag of Belize and name “Belize”.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Social Security Board

Registration Criteria: All social security applicants must have proof of nationality.

Procedure for Obtaining: Forms can be requested at any social security office countrywide or online from the Social Security Board website.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Certificates
 

Available

Fees:  BZ $12.00 (approx. USD $6.00) or $25.00 (approx. USD $12.50)  for express same day service

Document Name:  Police Certificate

Issuing Authority: Police station in Belize

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Embossed seal saying “Belize Police Department” with police star.  There is no color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Signed by the Criminal Records Office and Assistant Commissioner.

Registration Criteria: The applicant must present a photo ID; submit a completed application form with three recent passport-size photographs.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Applications are accepted in person. Individuals outside of Belize must mail the completed application (only available in Belize), three photographs, a copy of their photo ID, and twelve Belize dollars (BZ$12.00, approx. USD$6.00) to:

Criminal Records Office
Police Headquarters
Belmopan, Belize

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Processing time takes about two weeks if it is not a requested express police report.

 

Court Records

Available

Fees: No Fee

Document Name: Court Record  

Issuing Authority: Magistrate Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: None

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Clerk of Court

Registration Criteria: Outside checks requested of the Consulate General for exceptional cases must contain three recent photographs and a set of fingerprints. 

Procedure for Obtaining: Document can be requested from the Clerk of Court.

Certified Copies Available: All copies are certified

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: Processing time varies from 30 to 60 days. Outside checks for immigrant visa clearances will contain the same information as listed in Belize Police Record. Records prior to 1961 may be unavailable due to flood damage from hurricane Hattie.

 

Prison Records
 

Available

Fees: No fee

Document Name: Prison Record  

Issuing Authority:  Superintendent of Police and Prisons, Belize City.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Not Applicable

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Not Applicable

Registration Criteria: Not Applicable

Procedure for Obtaining: Can only be given out if requested by an attorney.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

Military Records

Available

Fees: No fee

Document Name:  Military records

Issuing Authority: Commanding Officer, Belize Defense Force, Police Barracks, Ladyville, Belize.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All documents have a certified embossed seal

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  The Colonel is the issuing authority

Registration Criteria: Not Applicable

Procedure for Obtaining:  Request information from the Colonel. [MC41]

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: In the past, the military forces of Belize have been called "British Honduras Volunteer Force," "British Honduras Territorial Force," "British Honduras Volunteer Guard" and presently "Belize Defence Force".

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Unavailable.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Belmopan, Belize (Embassy)

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Belize.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 332-9636 (202) 332-6888

Los Angeles, CA (323) 634-9900 (323) 634-9903

Wilmington, NC (910) 256-6689 (910) 256-6617

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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Belize
Belize
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Embassy Messages
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 

 

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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

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Destination Description

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

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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.

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.

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. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page

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Safety and Security

Belize is rated high for crime. Gang members and other criminals have historically used high-powered weapons to resolve disputes. U.S. citizens are not known to have been the victims or targets of terrorist activity in Belize. No areas are closed to travel but visitors should exercise caution, 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.

The majority of 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.

Theft of cash and credit cards happen frequently in some areas of Belize. It is believed that 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:

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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 current criminal code states that “carnal intercourse” with any person “against the order of nature” shall receive a punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment. This law is interpreted as including only sex between men, but the law is rarely enforced and it is currently facing a challenge before Belize’s Supreme Court.  Additionally, the Immigration Act prohibits “homosexual” persons from entering the country, but immigration authorities have not enforced that law. The Caribbean Court of Justice dismissed a case June 12 challenging the law, agreeing with the Belizean government which argued that Belize’s interpretation applies to persons who may be living on or receiving proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior, and not to LGBTI writ large.

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 and 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.

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Health

Medical care for minor ailments is generally available in urban areas.  Advanced medical treatment is 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.

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

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does 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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

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

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers.  For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

The following diseases are also prevelant:

  • Malaria
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Diarrheal illness

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

For further health information, go to:

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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 not advised.

Roadside assistance can be difficult to summon as there are very few 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 injuries are not severe, wait for the ambulance. 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 even 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. 

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.

Please refer to our road safety page for more information.  Also, 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.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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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

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General Information

Belize and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 1989.

For information concerning travel to Belize, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, currency and entry regulations, and crime and security, please see country-specific information for Belize.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Belize.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign central authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov

The Belize Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation.  The role of the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.  They can be reached at:

Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation
West Block, Independence Hill
Belmopan
Telephone: 501-822-2161 or 501-822-2684
E-mail: secretary@humandev.gov.bz
Website: Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Belize, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Belize central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Belize.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Belize.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a local private attorney is required in Belize Hague Abduction Convention return cases if the LBP is not present in Belize.  The case will not be filed in court if a LBP lives outside of Belize and does not hire an attorney.  LBPs living in Belize may file a case in court without legal representation.  Local attorneys are not provided by the Belize Central Authority, and the litigant in a Hague Abduction Convention case in Belize is responsible for all legal fees. 

U.S. Embassy Belmopan maintains a list of attorneys who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be offered by the Family Court in Belize free of charge, but this service is limited to individuals with cases already being handled by the court.  Parents interested in mediation outside of a court case should consult a local attorney.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

WARNING: Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. If you wish to immigrate your adopted child to the U.S. following the adoption, do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Belize before a U.S. consular officer issues an "Article 5 Letter." See the "How to Adopt" section for more information.

Belize is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Belize and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations.

All adoptions in Belize must be processed in coordination with Belize’s designated Central Adoption Authority, which is the Belize Department of Human Services, within the Ministry of Human Development. There are no private adoptions in Belize or adoptions through extra-judicial processes. All adoptions in Belize must be processed through the Supreme Court of Belize.

Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued. Prospective adoptive parents are required to provide quarterly reports on the child’s well-being during this period. Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill this one year period in Belize, or may be authorized by the Supreme Court of Belize to fulfill the probationary period in their country of residence. “Provisional”, “Interim” or “Preliminary” adoption decrees issued by the Supreme Court of Belize before the one year probationary period of custody is fulfilled can be considered permission for the prospective adoptive parents to take the child out of Belize during the probationary period, and to pursue an adoption process in accordance with the laws of their country of residence after fulfillment of the one year probationary period of custody. In such cases, quarterly reports regarding the child’s care and progress must still be provided to the Belize Department of Human Services during the probationary period.

Children adopted by residents of Belize may be documented as lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens after completion of a two year period of physical and legal custody abroad by either filing an I-130 visa petition or by filing an application for a certificate of citizenship. For more information on these processes direct questions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Belize is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Belize, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

Therefore all adoptions between Belize and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA implementing regulations. In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Belize also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Belizean law prohibits the issuance of a final adoption order unless the non-Belizean prospective adoptive parent resides in Belize with the Belizean child for 12 months. A social worker will visit periodically to assess the parent-child relationship.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 25 years old and no fewer than 12 years older than the child.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both married and single individuals can adopt in Belize. Single men cannot adopt female children. These restrictions can be waived if the court finds that special circumstances warrant it.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific income requirements, prospective adoptive parents’ financial status will be included as part of the home study.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: A person who is not a citizen of Belize may adopt a Belizean child if he or she:
    • Does not have a criminal record
    • Has a current recommendation concerning his suitability to adopt a child from his country’s probation and welfare office or other competent authority. A social services practitioner must verify this recommendation in writing as well as submit a report of the findings of the inquiry to the court. (Please note that U.S. immigration law requires that in Hague Convention countries like Belize the determination of suitability (home study) must be completed, supervised, or approved by a U.S. based Hague accredited or approved adoption service provider.)
    • In addition, the court may request a report/recommendation from an additional person or authority
    • Has satisfied the court that his country of origin will respect and recognize the adoption order.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Belize must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Belize attempt to place a child with a family in-country (i.e. in Belize) before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Belize’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. 

Belizean law only provides for the adoption of children who are citizens of Belize. A child who is not a Belizean citizen cannot be the subject of an adoption in a Belizean court, although Belizean courts can issue custody orders for any child residing in Belize.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Children in Belize may only be adopted through the judicial process. There are no private adoptions or adoptions through extra-judicial processes. Intercountry adoption placements are made on a case-by-case basis. Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued.

  • Relinquishment Requirements: Under Belizean law, consents provided by birth parents or legal guardians of the child become irrevocable upon issuance of a provisional adoption order. However, once entered with the court, the consents by the parent or legal custodian are not revocable by the parent or guardian themselves, but are only revocable by court action.
  • Abandonment Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Age Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Sibling Requirements: Determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Requirements for Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Determined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Waiting Period: Belizean law requires that prospective adoptive parents complete a one year probationary period of custody of the child before a final adoption decree for purposes of immigration can be issued. Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill this one year period in Belize, or may be authorized by the Supreme Court of Belize to fulfill the probationary period in their country of residence. “Provisional”, “Interim” or “Preliminary” adoption decrees issued by the Supreme Court of Belize before the one year probationary period of custody is fulfilled can be considered permission for the prospective adoptive parents to take the child out of Belize during the probationary period, and to pursue an adoption process in accordance with the laws of their country of residence after fulfillment of the one year probationary period of custody.
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How to Adopt

BELIZE'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Belize Department of Human Services, within the Belize Ministry of Human Development

THE PROCESS

Because Belize is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Belize must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed an I-600A with USCIS before April 1, 2008, or completed a full and final adoption in Belize prior to April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Belize
  6. Bringing your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Belize is to select an accredited or approved adoption service provider in the United States. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Belize.

    Intercountry adoptions must be decided by a Supreme Court Judge and require the services of a local attorney authorized to present cases to the Supreme Court of Belize. Contact the Belize Central Authority or a Belizean attorney for forms and procedures for intercountry adoption. A list of local attorneys can be found at https://bz.usembassy.gov.

    Prospective adoptive parents should fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, prospective adoptive parents may wish to contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing authority in the U.S. state where the agency is located or licensed.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Belize.

    Belize’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Belize’s adoption law. Sections 137 and 141 of Belizean Adoption Law specify the requirements for Non-Belizean citizens who would like to adopt a Belizean child.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Belize determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Belize may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    A child who is not a Belizean citizen cannot be the subject of an adoption in a Belizean court, although Belizean courts can issue custody for any child residing in Belize.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval of a petition to immigrate a child through adoption (Form I-800). Form I-800, like Form I-800A, must be submitted in the United States. USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After the I-800 is provisionally approved by USCIS, the entire case file is transferred to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center, which immediately forwards the case file to the U.S. Embassy. Upon receipt of the file the Embassy makes contact with your adoption service provider to arrange for submission of a visa application. The Embassy will ask for an immigrant visa application form known as the DS 230 Parts I and II, an original or certified birth certificate for the child, photos of the child and, if practicable, a medical exam conducted by a panel physician. Once the Consular Officer receives the visa application, the officer reviews the child’s information and evaluates the case and the application for compliance with the Hague Convention and for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will notify the Belize Central Authority of this initial determination in a letter known as the Article 5 letter. When the Belize Central Authority receives the Article 5 letter from the Embassy, it will issue a letter known as the Article 17 letter to the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the Adoption Service Provider. The Article 17 letter notifies the prospective adoptive parents that they may proceed with the adoption. For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until both the Article 5 and Article 17 letters have been issued. You cannot initiate the adoption process prior to issuance of the Article 5 and Article 17 letters.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Belize:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Belize, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Belize. 

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Belize generally includes the following:

    • Role of the Adoption Authority: The Adoption Authority processes the adoption application and upon approval forwards the dossier to the Supreme Court of Belize.
    • Role of the Court: Upon any application for an adoption order, the court may postpone the determination of the application and may make an interim order giving the custody of the child to the applicant for a probationary period not exceeding two years with terms regarding provision for the maintenance, education, supervision of the welfare of the child specified as the court may think fit.

      All consents required for a full and final adoption order are also required for an interim adoption order. Under Belizean law, consents provided by birth parents or legal guardians of the child become irrevocable upon issuance of a provisional adoption order. However, once entered with the court, the consents by the parent or legal custodian are not revocable by the parent or guardian themselves, but are only revocable by court action.

      As mentioned above, according to sections 137 and 141 of Belizean adoption law, the Supreme Court of Belize may (and usually does) postpone the granting of a final adoption decree and instead issues an interim or provisional adoption order. Under this circumstance, the prospective adoptive parent(s) will have custody of the child for a probationary period of one year during which there must be quarterly reports regarding the child’s care and progress. Prospective parents who receive an interim order from the Supreme Court of Belize and would like to carry it out in the U.S. may seek an IH-4 visa for the child. This visa is granted to the prospective parents only with the understanding and agreement that they will also seek a final adoption decree from their state of legal residence. Even though the child will be living in the U.S., the Supreme Court of Belize may request home study reports from U.S. Social Services agencies during the interim.

      Prospective adoptive parents may fulfill the interim one year probationary period in Belize. In this case prospective adoptive parents would obtain a final adoption decree from the Supreme Court of Belize after fulfilling the one year period and would then apply to the U.S. Embassy for an IH-3 immigrant visa for the child.

    • Role of Adoption Agencies: International adoptions occur before a Supreme Court Judge and require the services of a local attorney authorized to present cases to the Supreme Court of Belize. Those persons desirous of information regarding the forms and procedures to follow for adoptions should contact a Belizean attorney see list of attorneys in Belize.
    • Time Frame: The processing time for adoptions can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. The Belize Department of Human Services reports that “ward adoptions” (children in the custody of the Department of Human Services) can take up to one year or more to process because of the need for home study reports, matching, placement and legal proceedings. For children not in the custody of the Belize Department of Human Services, the processing time can be shorter.  If the prospective adoptive parents request a specific child, the matching and placement determination can take less time. These adoption proceedings take from 3 months to one year.
    • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents will file the adoption application to the Belize Human Services Department.
    • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

      Prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay attorney’s fees for adoption services in Belize ranging from $1,500 USD to $5,000 USD. The cost can vary based on the attorney selected, the type of adoption (local vs. international) and the number of children being adopted. Attorneys’ fees include all costs related to the adoption process, such as court costs and filing fees.

      The U.S. Embassy in Belize discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted. In addition, “donations,” or “expediting” fees, which may be requested from prospective adoptive parents, have the appearance of “buying” a baby and put all future adoptions in Belize at risk. U.S. citizens adopting a child in Belize should report any exorbitant fees to the U.S. Embassy in Belize or to the U.S. Department of State.

    • Documents Required: The following documents are required by the Belize Human Services Department:
      • A valid police certificate;
      • An approved home study;
      • Proof of home government approval to adopt (for U.S. citizens, this is an approved I-800 or I-800A).

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

  6. Bringing Your Child Home:

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to acquire the following:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will need to apply for a birth certificate so that you can later apply for a passport.

      Contact the Belize Vital Statistics Unit for information on how to obtain a birth certificate for the child.

    • Belize Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Belize.

      Contact the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department for information on how to obtain a passport.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain an immigrant visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      Adoptive parents will need the following documents for the immigrant visa application:

      • An original of the child’s birth certificate issued by the Belize Vital Statistics Unit indicating the name of both parents, if known;
      • If the child’s birth parents are not deceased: court documents indicating that the Government of Belize has terminated parental rights and made the child a Ward of the Belize Department of Human Services (note: this is usually included in the Home Study Report);
      • If a sole or surviving birth parent voluntarily relinquished the child for the adoption: a report from the Belize Department of Human Services indicating that the birth parent was incapable of proper care of the child;
      • The Provisional Adoption Order issued by the Supreme Court of Belize which shows that all pre-adoption requirements have been met;
      • A valid Belize passport issued in the child’s name;
      • Three 2x2 inch color passport photographs;
      • Medical examination results. (Note: this medical examination must be conducted by one of the Panel Physicians located in Belize City and in accordance with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. Detailed instructions and forms are provided by the Embassy once the I-800 is received.)
      • If the minor has a physical or mental disability, a notarized statement will be required from the prospective adoptive parent(s) in the United States that indicates that they are fully aware of the disability of the minor and they have the intention of finalizing the adoption. This statement can be included in item 19 of form I-800 and also in the home study if it is more convenient.
      • IH-4 visa applicants only: An Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) completed by the adoptive parent(s), as well as the required supplementary documentation (generally copies of their most recent federal tax returns, including W-2s.)
      • In the case of an adoptive child to be escorted to the United States by a third party, a notarized statement will be required authorizing that person to take the minor to the United States with the purpose of placing him or her with the prospective adoptive parent(s).

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Belize. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa for Belize. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Belize, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll your trip through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program (STEP) Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Belize, enrollment in STEP allows the U.S. Embassy to reach you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Belize require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Under Belizean law, adoption orders made under section 141 remain provisional for 12 months during which time quarterly reports regarding the progress of the child must be submitted to the court by a competent authority in the country where the adopted child lives. After the 12 month period has expired, an application can be made to a designated court for the adoption to be made final.

We strongly urge you to comply with Belizean reporting requirements and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Belize’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Belize
4 Floral Park Road
Belmopan, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-822-4011
Fax: ++501-822-4012
Internet: https://bz.usembassy.gov/

Belizean Adoption Authority
Department of Human Services
40 Regent Street
P.O. Box 41
Belize City, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-227-7451, 501-227-2057
Fax: ++501-227-1276

Belize Immigration and Nationality Department
Dry Creek Street
Belmopan
Central America
Tel: ++501-822-3860, 501-822-0739

Belize Vital Statistics Unit
Gabourel Lane
Belize City, Belize
Central America
Tel: ++501-223-7405
Fax: ++501-223-5635

Embassy of Belize
2535 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-332-9636

Permanent Mission of Belize
820 2nd Avenue
Suite 922
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-599-0233

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

None

General Issuing Authority Information: None

 

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates
 

Available

Fees:  BZ$4.00 (approx. USD $2.00)

Document Name:  Birth Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All birth certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal.  There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The office of the Registrar General signs off on all birth certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining: For births after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

 

Death Certificates
 

Available

Fees: BZ$4.00 (approx. USD $2.00)

Document Name:  Death Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All death certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal.  There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:The office of the Registrar General signs off on death certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining: For deaths after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage
 

Available

Fees: BZ$5.00 (Approx. USD $2.50)

Document Name:  Marriage Certificate

Issuing Authority:  Registrar General, Vital Statistics Unit

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All marriage certificates are authenticated with an embossed seal. There is no special color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:The office of the Registrar General signs off on marriage certificates.

Registration Criteria: Go to the Vital Statistics Unit to obtain the certificates and complete the request form.

Procedure for Obtaining:  For marriages after 1986 please contact the Registrar General, Supreme Court Building, Belize City.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

 

Divorce / Decree Absolute
 

Available

Fees: US$7.25

Document Name: Decree Absolute

Issuing Authority: General Registry

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Gold color seal with bright green ribbon

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Deputy Registrar General of the Supreme Court – Edmund Pennil

Registration Criteria: Divorce Absolute has to be finalized

Procedure for Obtaining: Once the divorce is finalized, particulars are given to the assistant Marshall at the General Registry in Belize City where a search is conducted then the document will be prepared.

Certified Copies Available: Upon request 

Alternate Documents: No alternate document is available.  Original document needs to be certified by the Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court

Exceptions: No

Comments: Process for a Decree Absolute can be completed in one day.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards
 

Available

Fees: There is no charge. The card is free. However, if the card is damaged or lost a police report is required and a fee of BZ $25.00  (Approx. USD $12.50) is charged for a replacement card.

Document Name: Social Security

Issuing Authority: Social Security Board

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Special features on the card showing the flag of Belize and name “Belize”.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Social Security Board

Registration Criteria: All social security applicants must have proof of nationality.

Procedure for Obtaining: Forms can be requested at any social security office countrywide or online from the Social Security Board website.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Certificates
 

Available

Fees:  BZ $12.00 (approx. USD $6.00) or $25.00 (approx. USD $12.50)  for express same day service

Document Name:  Police Certificate

Issuing Authority: Police station in Belize

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Embossed seal saying “Belize Police Department” with police star.  There is no color.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Signed by the Criminal Records Office and Assistant Commissioner.

Registration Criteria: The applicant must present a photo ID; submit a completed application form with three recent passport-size photographs.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Applications are accepted in person. Individuals outside of Belize must mail the completed application (only available in Belize), three photographs, a copy of their photo ID, and twelve Belize dollars (BZ$12.00, approx. USD$6.00) to:

Criminal Records Office
Police Headquarters
Belmopan, Belize

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Processing time takes about two weeks if it is not a requested express police report.

 

Court Records

Available

Fees: No Fee

Document Name: Court Record  

Issuing Authority: Magistrate Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: None

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Clerk of Court

Registration Criteria: Outside checks requested of the Consulate General for exceptional cases must contain three recent photographs and a set of fingerprints. 

Procedure for Obtaining: Document can be requested from the Clerk of Court.

Certified Copies Available: All copies are certified

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: Processing time varies from 30 to 60 days. Outside checks for immigrant visa clearances will contain the same information as listed in Belize Police Record. Records prior to 1961 may be unavailable due to flood damage from hurricane Hattie.

 

Prison Records
 

Available

Fees: No fee

Document Name: Prison Record  

Issuing Authority:  Superintendent of Police and Prisons, Belize City.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Not Applicable

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Not Applicable

Registration Criteria: Not Applicable

Procedure for Obtaining: Can only be given out if requested by an attorney.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments:  None

Military Records

Available

Fees: No fee

Document Name:  Military records

Issuing Authority: Commanding Officer, Belize Defense Force, Police Barracks, Ladyville, Belize.

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: All documents have a certified embossed seal

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  The Colonel is the issuing authority

Registration Criteria: Not Applicable

Procedure for Obtaining:  Request information from the Colonel. [MC41]

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: In the past, the military forces of Belize have been called "British Honduras Volunteer Force," "British Honduras Territorial Force," "British Honduras Volunteer Guard" and presently "Belize Defence Force".

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Unavailable.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Belmopan, Belize (Embassy)

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Belize.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 332-9636 (202) 332-6888

Los Angeles, CA (323) 634-9900 (323) 634-9903

Wilmington, NC (910) 256-6689 (910) 256-6617

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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.