Travel Advisories

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Travel Advisories

Belize Travel Advisory

Travel Advisory
January 10, 2018
Belize - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
O E N H U T C

Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime.

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

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

If you decide to travel to Belize:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Belize.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Travel Advisory Levels
1 Exercise normal precautions, 2 Exercise increased caution, 3 Reconsider travel, 4 Do not travel

Belize
Belize
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
Email: 

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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.   

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

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

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

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Safety and Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can:

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

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

For further information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Health

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

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

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

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

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

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

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

The following diseases are also prevalent:

  • Malaria
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Diarrheal illness
  • Dengue Fever

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

For further health information, go to:

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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 discouraged.

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

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

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

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

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

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

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

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
Email: 

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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?
Yes
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
Yes
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Hague Convention Information

Intercountry adoptions to the United States from Belize and from the United States to Belize are possible.  

Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States.  We urge prospective adoptive parents residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with the Belize’s Central Authority, Belize Department of Human Services, for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.

Belize is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention).  Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Belize.

Note:  If any of the following occurred prior to June 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Belize), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your case:  1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Belize as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Belize, or 3) the adoption was completed.  Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees.  For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases.  Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

More information on the definition of transition cases as applied to adoptions from Belize is available on the USCIS website.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Belize must meet the following requirements imposed by Belize:

  • Minimum Residency:  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 of Adopting Parents:  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.  There is no maximum age to adopt.  However, as a best practice, a guardian may be appointed if the prospective adoptive parent(s) are elderly.
  • Marriage:  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.
  • Minimum Income:  None.
  • 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 intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Belize have determined that placement of the child within Belize has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

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.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Belize:

  • Eligibility for adoption:
    • Relinquishment:  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, only the court may revoke the consent.
    • Abandonment: Belizean Human Services determines if a child has been legally abandoned.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  There are no specific minimum or maximum age requirements in Belize.  Please note that for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).  Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Sibling Adoptions: There are no specific provisions regarding sibling adoptions.
  •  Disabilities or Medical Conditions: There are no specific provisions for children with special needs or medical conditions.     
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: 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.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption.  In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Warning:  Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Belize before:  1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Belize has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case.  Read on for more information.

Belize’s Central 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, adoptions from Belize must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.  A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below.  You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements.  Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
  2. Apply to Belize’s Authorities to Adopt, and Be Matched with a Child
  3. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Article 5 letter)
  4. Adopt the Child in Belize
  5. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

 

1.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Belize, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Belize and U.S. immigration law. 

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.  You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application.  Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

 

2.  Apply to Belize’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority 

After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Belize as part of your adoption application.  Belize’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Belize’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority 

If both the United States and Belize determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Belize’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Belize may provide you with a referral.  The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child.  The adoption authority in Belize will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral.  We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child.  You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child.  Learn more about Health Considerations.  If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Belize.  Learn more about this critical decision

 

3.  Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility 

After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.  USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application 

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Belize.  

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child.  An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.  A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Belize’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Belize if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States.  This letter will inform the Belize’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning:  Do not attempt to adopt a child in Belize before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5 Letter” for your adoption case.

Remember:  The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

 

4.  Adopt the Child in Belize

Remember:  Before you adopt a child in Belize, you must have completed the above steps.  Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption in Belize generally includes the following:

  • Role of 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:  The court determines the adoptability of a child, and issues the final adoption decree. 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. 

  • 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 United States 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 United States, 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 Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers:  There are no approved adoption service providers in Belize. The only authorized adoption agency is the Belizean Central Authority.  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. Contact a Belizean attorney for information regarding the forms and procedures to follow for adoptions.  See list of attorneys in Belize. Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider.  Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    • Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
    • Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
    • Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
    • Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
    • Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or 
    • When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.
  • Adoption Application:  You will file the adoption application with the Belize Department of Human Services
  • 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.  These adoption proceedings take from six months to one year
  •  Adoption Fees:  We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Belize, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry.  Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Belize at risk.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.  Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action. 

In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider 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 US$4,000 –US$5,000. 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.  Some examples of service fees include:

  • Administrative fee charged by the Belize Central Adoption Authority - None
  • Visa fees – US$325
  • Fees charged by specialized professionals (legal services, legalization of documents  translator, etc.) – US$4,000-US$5,000
  • Birth certificate – US$3.50
  • Passport – US$15 Children under 16; US$25 Children over 16
  • Medical Fees – US$155
  • Emigration/Exit fees – US$55.50 (some airlines include in ticket cost)
  • Other – (courier fees) – US$100

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 child 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 Department of Human Services:
    • 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.

  • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.  The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

 

5.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have been granted legal custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will be in your child’s birth name.

To apply for a Belize birth certificate contact:

Belize Vital Statistics Unit
Cor Hydes Lane & New Road
Belize City, Belize
Central America
Tel: +501-223-7405
Fax: +501-223-5635

Adoption Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Belize, you will first need to apply for a new Adoption Certificate from the Belize Vital Statistics Unit for your child.  Your name will be added to the new Adoption Certificate.   

Adoptive parents can be issued an Adoption Certificate which lists the adoptive parent’s names. Normal processing time is two weeks which cost US$2.00. One day processing time is US$7.50 and expedited request is US$15.00 which is done the same day.

Belize Passport

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

To apply for a Belize passport please contact:

Belize Immigration and Nationality Department
3401 Mountain View Boulevard

Belmopan, Belize
Central America
Tel: +501-822-3860, 501-822-0739

The cost of a Belizean Passport is US$15.00 for children under the age of 16, and US$25.00 for adults.

http://www.mfa.gov.bz/index.php/what-we-do/consular-matters/belize-passport

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan.  After the provisional adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan by email at consulbelize@state.gov to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment.  As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child along with original civil documents such as birth certificate, etc.  A police record must be presented if the adoptee is sixteen years of age or older.  Read more about the Medical Examination.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number.  You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 confirmation page to the visa interview.  Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.    

Issued visas are passed back every Tuesday afternoon at 2pm.  It is usually not possible to provide a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan before making final travel arrangements.  Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon admission into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s admission into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s admission into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for international travel.  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 Department of State’s 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 a Visa to Travel to Belize

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  Where required, visas are affixed 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 is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country.  Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Belize, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Belize, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

We urge you to comply with Belize’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to Belize’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.  Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Belmopan, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.  Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800/A petition process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards.  If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider.  If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

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

Belize’s 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 Internet:  humandevelopment.gov.bz/index.php/cpss/

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition: USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):  
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local);
Fax: 1- 913-214-5808 
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov  

For general questions about immigration procedures: USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)  
Internet:  uscis.gov  

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 Map

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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.