I have been living full-time in Belize since early 2007 and have been a Permanent Resident since 2010. This is the equivalent (for those in the US) of a Green Card. I can legally stay in Belize indefinitely.
In 2009, I’d fulfilled the requirements for the application – living in the country for a full year – taking less than 14 days out of the country during that time. I applied and I waited…
You can read my blog How I Got My Residency here.
Permanent residency lets me live in Belize and work in Belize legally. I am a citizen of the US, I have a US Passport – but I have a stamp in that passport that says I can stay in Belize indefinitely.
I am officially a “Manager”.
And I could leave it at that. It would be like, to put it in American terms, having a Green Card forever.
But I love this country – it is my home, my community. When people ask me if I “picture living in Belize forever” or when they asked me at the beginning of the pandemic “Do you think you’ll stay in Belize?” – they felt like very odd questions.
I mean…I live here. I’ve been here for 14 years – my house, my dogs, my job. Where else would I go?
So why apply for citizenship?
Voting. I can vote in Belize. Each election cycle, I follow the election closely – Belizeans are very “into” politics. So much so that you can hear sessions of parliament playing on radios as you walk around town. I want to vote, I know the candidate, I feel strongly about all the issues, everyone around here talks about politics all the time- this is my home. In a town with just under 7000 voters, my vote would matter! And that is an amazing feeling.
SO…I began the process yesterday. In my estimation, it is a decent time to do it. You want to avoid overlapping your application with elections – a change in party can sometimes lead to a change of staff at government offices and your application might fall into some cracks. You also want to avoid a time of say…turmoil or investigation in the immigration department. Obviously, that is hard to predict but if you see we are in the midst of one…you might want to sit on the sidelines.
Either way, before you submit anything make sure you have scans and copies in case anything gets lost!
I returned to the Immigration Office in San Pedro after an over 10-year hiatus.
I can’t say I was happy to be back. There were about 4 or 5 people in line…but things move slowly…I waited about an hour to pick up my form. I had to present my passport to make sure of my eligibility. You can watch planes landing…traffic going by…
Citizenship requirements: I must be a Belize Permanent Resident. Yes. I must be living in Belize for over 5 years. (I could have applied as early as May 2012. I am WAAAY behind)
I have things to DO. A physical (including HIV testing and VDRL – venereal diseases!). police record, birth certificate (I might need a time machine!)…
She told me to bring back my completed application and that, once submitted, the wait could be as little as six months.
What?! This is VERY promising 🙂 I just need to get this done!
(I wish I could write a blog post about the types of Americans I met waiting in the San Pedro immigration line – the one escaping the Biden administration before she is forced to get an experimental vaccine from the “new world order”, the bossy NY or California-er who charged in right past the line of us waiting outside..but it’s too small of a town for that 🙂 )
I went to do the most important – buy a protective sleeve for my paperwork at Caye Supplies. The form is a wonky British size – bigger than US legal…maybe A2? A3? I can’t find my measuring tape to find out the exact amount of millimeters.
Purple for me, Green For Jeff. Flower and cherry tomato seeds for me.
Now…I need to start learning the national anthem…ALL OF IT!
Over the next few days, I’m going to share a VERY comprehensive write-up from a gentleman who applied and received his QRP. Stay tuned.