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Expat in Belize: Moving to Belize and Working Remotely

I receive a bunch of questions each day…some about booking a trip, many about where to eat or what to see, some about moving to Belize but my #1 question?  Can I get a job in Belize?  Obviously lots of people dream of moving to a tropical location…


but the working and making money part is the biggest hurdle.

Jason Southwell is an expat who has been living and working in San Pedro for a few years now.  You might also remember him from his afternoon of galavanting with 70 odd naked British soldiers.   (View at your own risk.)

Here he is with the rare clothed one.


Who knew Jason had a website?  I was under the impression that I thought of that!  He describes his job as entrepeneur, Bitcoin enthusiast and poker player (among other things…).  He has always helped me with my rudimentary internet questions so I asked him to help you with ones a bit more technical…

Thanks very much Jason aka TechnoScoop.  And the pictures that don’t really seem to fit with the post?  Those are mine.  I did my best.

It is easy to make a life of Belize, it’s hard to make a living in Belize. For the pre-expat, figuring out how to make your Belizean dream a reality can be a chore. Some come to Belize with loads of cash, buy a business and work 90 hours a week to see it succeed. Others come with nothing, think they can find some local bartending job or waitress gig and end up returning much sooner than they would like.


The harsh reality is that making a living in Belize is very difficult. As an expat, you cannot work locally for a Belizean company without first getting a work permit. And getting a work permit that allows you to do a job that Belizeans do (bartending, waitressing, mechanic, etc) is nearly impossible.

For me, I was fortunate to come to Belize working for an American company that allowed me to telecommute from anywhere. I am able to make an American paycheck, get paid in US dollars and use those US dollars to provide a comfortable Belizean life for my wife and child.

While telecommuting is becoming more common, it isn’t yet in the comfort zone for a lot of employers. Even so, if you are seriously considering a move to Belize, the first thing I would do is approach your boss about the idea of telecommuting as part of your job. If they are supportive, then you will have a very easy life here in Belize. If not, then it will be time to start looking for another gig.

Finding jobs that are telecommuting friendly is a lot of work but thankfully there is a great resource to help you in your search. If you haven’t checked out Flex Jobs, you should do so immediately. The people behind this site scour the web looking specifically for jobs that provide either part-time or telecommuting opportunities. Set your filter to Telecommuting only and start browsing the industries that best fit your qualifications.

I highly recommend getting set up in your new job before you actually make the move. Finding new work from Belize is much harder and getting that stream of income going before you get on the flight will help you a ton once you get here.


If you do manage to set up a good telecommuting job, there are some things you should know about working it from Belize. The quality of internet here will be your biggest hurdle. But the good news is that it’s getting significantly better as time passes. Since April 2013 when BTL stopped blocking VPNs, Skype and VOIP services, the quality of the connection overall has improved significantly. And not having to deal with complex workarounds to get basic communications out with your employer is a huge stress reliever.

Here are a few quick hints to help get you through any internet issues that you will encounter:

  1. Use BTL internet. It’s expensive and sucks, but it’s faster than anyone else and you’ll need the speed.
  2. Internet is expensive, but buy the fastest connection you can afford, and nothing less than 2Mbps (everything 2Mbps and up have the same 1Mbps upstream).
  3. Get backup service from SMART. It will cost you an additional $90bzd every three months, but will save your hide when BTL is on the fritz.
  4. Sign up for a VPS server to use as a backup workstation. Load it with the apps you need to work on a daily basis and remote in whenever the connection here isn’t stable enough to do what you need to do. This is especially useful when working with huge files that can often get cut off mid transfer here.

I personally use two VPS providers, Digital Ocean for linux ($5 a month) and Cytanium for Windows ($20 a month).

This should give you a good idea of how to make a living here without having to make your living here. I’ve found that trying to work from Belize can be a bit more stressful at times due to the infrastructure, but in the end, it’s completely worth it. And when you feel yourself getting a bit stressed out, just look out over the beautiful blue-greens of the ocean and out to the white caps on the reef.


That view cures a whole lot of ills.

(For a FEEL for the prices of the internet, here is a picture that I took at the recent 2013 Belize Market Expo.  These prices are for Belize City and are in Belize dollars.)


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72 thoughts on “Expat in Belize: Moving to Belize and Working Remotely

  1. Bill Harter

    Good info. Question though — does one need a work permit to open your own business? Or just to work for an existing one?

  2. JOhn

    AFAIK you do NOT need a work permit to own a business. But you WILL have to hire locals to operate it, unless you do get one. What I do is place ads over the internet for a US based company. There are a few costs involved, but it is very lucrative. Money goes to my bank account in Canada. And they are always looking for more ad placers.

    1. Belize Blog

      You need a work permit if you plan to work at that business…thanks for the feedback John. Can you syphon a bit of that money my way? TIJA.

      1. JOhn

        Correct.. You can OWN the business, but you have to hire a local to be able to DO anything with it :-). Or pay the $2k Bz a year. Residency does eliminate the need for the permit. Sent you a tweet with the method.. Facebook svstoneage. It IS serious and lucrative. I can even show you how to have $2.99 sent to your paypal account all day long :-).

        1. Daylan Grovewatcher

          I would love to hear how to do that too. My wife and I would love to move to Belize but I only have a military pension of around $1600/month right now.

  3. SPmQQse

    why would anyone want to move to a despotically run country…
    where poverty and crime are by design…
    where rape ,stabbing ,murder…ect… happen nearly every day..
    where the enviroment is destroyed to make profits for foriegners…
    where the police ,and judiciary are crooked and corrupt…
    like really….why would anyone want to be there…?

        1. William Yarbrough

          yep, that ex-pat rape, assault and murder rate is crazy out of control. I stand corrected. Thanks for the warning! 🙂

    1. Belize Blog

      I’ve lived here 7 years and as in all places, NOTHING is perfect but it’s a pretty great place to live.

      1. SPmQQse

        sure….until one gets stabbed ,raped, shot…or murdered.
        then…as so many have found out…’s probably not so nice .

          1. SPmQQse

            ok…where is your page/section… with the information about the crime and poverty and the despotism that holds a grip on the majority of the belizean people.

        1. Qurstijn

          So you’ve been stabbed and raped? Is that the first hand experience you speak of and if so why do you still live there if it is that bad…

      2. darlajane

        Do you have a blog? I’d like to know more about your experience living in Belize. I’m on SS. Would it be possible to live there on just that?

        1. Malcolm Reynolds

          Detroit? Washington DC?
          You’ll have to be more specific. Which leftist hole are you talking about?

          1. Malcolm Reynolds

            a not unexpected FAIL…
            You could just as easily have been describing several places in the U.S.

          2. SPmQQse

            well….i guess you could have been doing that…but…unfortunately..i wasnt….
            if you have still missed the point…..
            i was speaking about the sad/bad side of belize.
            [that info isnt on the tourist brochure,or most expat sites]

    2. jason

      are you kidding me? dont you see the news in the USA? Police killing people every day. im moving to Belize in the next 4 years

      1. SPmQQse

        no…i am not kidding you… after 23 yrs…i believe i have the personal experiences and the first-hand knowlege, to state those truths….
        i dont quite understand your reasoning……what does , usa police killing people… have to do with, belize.?
        maybe it is you, who should be reading the ”belize” new media reports on crime.[ and i hope you do]…
        so as to realize that bzean and expat alike, shoild be more aware of the dangers.that be.
        i do hope you have no troubles.. and can enjoy the wonderfull things that belize, also offers…. that hasnt been destroyed …as of yet…!.
        [there is more to belize…than is on the tourist brochure]

    3. Robert Gonzalez

      Sir, you should be more up front about your personal feelings, its hard to figure out what you really feel about Belize, my question is why the vitriol? ???

        1. dueyftw

          Not funny, Go anywhere and you find the same sort of nonsense. I live in a rural part of NY, but there is a near by city that in some parts can be very dangerous at night.
          A while ago, someone from the Philippines was telling me how much safer the Philippines is over the USA. Ya, right.

          1. SPmQQse

            i am not to disagree with you on that point….but….i dont live anywhere…i live in belize…and have seen the increase of the social crap, first hand…over 25 yrs….therefore i comment on it and put out the facts.

          2. dueyftw

            I live in NY and say the same about the changes here. I work, long hours sometimes. I know of others that don’t, they are more than happy to get free handouts, from housing to food. They are everywhere in the world and they can become the dangerous because they don’t care about themselves or anyone else. The one thing I can say about the states is you can avoid them. Being lazy they have no transportation and stay in a few certain areas. The problem is that they are a growing and at some point something will have to give. Now the question is: ‘Is it possible to avoid them and the trouble they bring or is it everywhere in Belize, like some country’s in the world.

          3. SPmQQse

            yu pose a great ques.,……..i believe it is getting harder all the time to avoid the bad apples….in belize…possibly other places as well….as the corruption grows within the political arena here..coupled with the further influx of wealthy xpats…and lack of adiquate infrastructure…the crime seams to grow accordingly !…as for the ques. of ”everywhere in belize”…it seams so.!

          4. dueyftw

            OK, thanks. It is starting to sound like some parts of Florida. The rich live in gated communities with beach front homes and the rest are trying to make ends meet and barely surviving. Even so I still might take a chance and visit Belize.

            Thank you for your time.


    4. Kemp Ster

      unfotunately there is a lot of bad press on the internet about Belize and you cannot believe most of it. I have been all over the country in depth and have found, from experience, that the crime stats are localized mostly to Belize City, a place that even locals will not tread through longer than they have to. Competing drug cartels fight for turf and that creates a lot of static, and in turn, death. Also, most of the murders are not tourists but locals killing each other for the above reasons, or Guatemalans fighting with each other as well.

      In terms of Poverty, that term is relative to your quality of life: If you need a range rover and $600 shoes to feel good about yourself, then Belize is not for you. Belize is an amalgamation of 6 different cultures from the Creole, Mestizo, Mayans, Garrifuna, Mexicans and Menonnites that enjoy a much simpler existence. Does crime happen?Obviously. I am Canadian myself and grew up on military bases before venturing out on my own and let me tell you that the police here, or in America are worse by 2000% in every way. Over entitled, insecure bullies on a power trip are not the types of police that i ran into mostly, and I talked with a lot of them.They were mostly respectful and courteous with no air of elitism that so many in western society are becoming known for thanks to the endless police brutality that is taking place daily.

      Is the government corrupt? Have you ever known a govenment not to be? The Belizean gov is not nearly as deep and experienced at scandals and corruption as are most world governments because the country doesnt do a lot of business with other countries because everything is local and 100% self sufficient: there is no McDonalds or Wal-mart anywhere in the country. As to why anyone would want to go there? As part of the Brittish commonwealth it is very appealing to canadians, americans and the Britts. The dollar is set at 2:1 US so our money goes twice as far. Rules and regulations are minimal: smoke where you want, drink where you want, drive where you want. No one hastles you and the pace of life is slow and relaxed. in one word: Freedom. Freedom from the overbearring murderous father figure of our poliitcal parties telling us one thing and then blatantly doing the opposite for the sake of a dollar. Chemicals in our food, police oppression, down markets, constantly soaring costs of living, all the while striving for the all mighty dollar.

      Belize is not for everyone. But thankfully those who are quick to judge based on some uninformed stats will never enjoy the beauty of Belize, with the worlds second largest Barrier Reef, the Great Blue Hole, one of the worlds only Jaguar preserves, and a slew of flora and fauna that are local only to Belize.

  4. Pete Baker

    I am a 44 year old American looking to relocate to either Belize or Uruguay within the next 36 months and I am curious as to whether or not I will be able to continue my profession from Belize. I am in medical staffing and can do my job from anywhere in the world with internet and VOIP capabilities. Can anyone render some direction?

    1. StoneAge

      Shouldn’t be a problem. Internet is quite good in Belize. AND your tax bill will get virtually eliminated. WHEN you do – ask your accountant about the foreign resident tax exemption. It’s a beautiful thing :-). Oh – and if you don’t PHYSICALLY work in Belize – i.e. take a Belizean job? No income tax there either.

      12.5% General Sales Tax on just about everything you buy including real estate. I think Riceandbeans are exempt

  5. Wanda Woman

    My background in computer graphics, office supplies, copy print industry & teaching painting to children/adults. I get 1200 in SS, but am desperately in love with Belize, particularly Placencia. Am ready to move w my best friend. Please advise steps.

    1. StoneAge

      Placencia is fantastic. We spent a couple of years there. If you get a work permit, the international school might be interested in hiring you. Here’s their website and it has a post on it saying “Teachers Wanted! There ya go.

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  8. Robert Gonzalez

    Seems to me rhat there is a difficult situation with the workers permit, how adout bring a business there. Seem to mixed info on whether or not a non resident can own and operate in Belize? Any information you provide would be a great help.

    1. Belize Blog

      A non-resident can…but you need to get a work permit. If you plan to hire Belizeans, that’s not much of a problem.

  9. Catherine Regan

    My husband I are planning to leave San Diego and visit Ambergris Caye/Placenia for 6 months to a two years. Any recommendations for health insurance?

    1. Belize Blog

      There are expat programs for sure…I know a popular one is BUPA. Many people just – pay as they go – which, is risky for the BIG STUFF. Like some sort of long term diagnosis but basic health care on the island is quite affordable…

  10. Tom

    I am married to a belizean and actually have a job that could go remote, in the states now though. I lived in Belize a year but that was volunteer work, now we’re thinking of moving there to work and live? Arn’t I a resident already? Also what about getting paid by my employer? Tax issues?

    1. Belize Blog

      You need to apply for residency…as for tax issues. Hmmm…not my specialty at all! Sorry…but I believe money paid by the US is…US income.

    2. StoneAge

      Hi Tom. If you are earning our $$ outside of Belize, there are no Belize income taxes. FOr US Citizens working remotely, you would qualify for the foreign resident tax exemption. about $100,000 per year tax free.

  11. Mary Murray

    I have a business here in Corozal Town and have been living here since July of 2014. I have never had a problem with anything. Never been robbed or accosted. I live in town with the natives and love all of my neighbors. Life here is the way it used to be when people cared for and helped their neighbors. People say Good Morning on the street even if they don’t know you. I love it here. Now children coming here to go to school that is another story and one of the schools here in Corozal should be avoided at ALL COSTS from personal experience. Other than that Even my daughter loves it here. I will leave that for another time.

    1. J Ramsey

      Hi Mary….it is so nice to see a post from Corozal Town. We visited there for our 1st time in March 2015. We purchased property in Progresso Heights about 9 years ago. It would be lovely to chat with you via email if you do not mind. 🙂

    2. Liz Farge

      Hi! I am contemplating making this move from Canada with my partner and my 11yr old daughter. I am trying to get some information about schools and maybe hook up with some expats with children to hear about what it’s really like for the kids. Would you be willing/able to share some info with me? Thanks 🙂

      1. StoneAge

        Hi Liz. There is a GREAT ex-pat community in Belize. San Pedro has a great school and so does Placencia (southern Belize) Lots of kids and both communities have great sailing programs for the kids.

  12. Boris

    Hello, guys!
    I’m wondering is 1500 euros per month enough to have a good life in Belize?
    Right now I’m living in Serbia and work as an online teacher. I am thinking about moving to Belize.
    Thank you!

    1. StoneAge

      That would give you an adequate living. We spent on average $1000 – 1200 USD per month when we lived there. We didn’t have any rent or mortgage however.

  13. Mongo_the_GoofyBastard

    I was wondering about your income tax situation in Belize. Are you required to pay income tax to the Belizian government if you are being payed by and taxed already by a foreign company?

    1. StoneAge

      Hi Mongo. If you are a US citizen and live and work in Belize it’s basically this: You would pay zero taxes to Belize because you are not working in the country. For taxes in the USA, you would qualify for the foreign resident tax exemption – You don’t live in the USA so your first $100,000 (or so – it changes every year) is non taxable. I believe you would have to prove your Belize residency before you would qualify. 45 Years old and over with a $2,000 USD per month income qualifies you for the Qualified Retirement Person status and residency can be had very easily (considering red tape that the government likes).

      Hope that helps.

  14. kndpeanut

    I am thinking about retiring in a few years and am looking at a few areas I might possibly move to…San Pedro is one of them! Any info you can give me on how I would find long term rentals there? I would like a 2 bedroom unit in a buildiing with a pool….does that exist there and if so how much would the monthly rent be?

  15. Josie Oliv

    Hi, Guys! I know this is an old discussion, so I was wondering what the outcome of those who was looking to move to Belize a few years ago was? I am considering moving to Belize and working remotely for my US company. I will probably have to guide them as far of any risk etc. Any recommendations of where I can start, I don’t think there is an issue for a US citizen to live abroad and work for a US company?

    I am also looking for areas of the good school system as my 12 years old will be accompanying me.

    Lastly, I am planning on a “Belize exploration” visit in January 2017 to visit St. Ignacio, Placencia, St Ambergris and Corozal to weight the pros and cons of short & long terms life in those locations. Any thoughts or recommendations?

  16. John Schroeder

    I work for a U.S. company but can work from anywhere. What work permit would I need to work remotely from Belize for my U.S. employer? I’d still owe U.S. income tax but what would I need to pay to Belize? Thanks for the help.

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