International travel is complicated. You may not know what papers and documents you need to bring to enter the country you want to visit. And because each country has different rules and regulations, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not know what other entry requirements there are.
Belize, a small but culturally rich Central American country, has pretty simple requirements for entry, even including their COVID-19 restrictions.
But yes, you do need a passport to visit. Read on to learn more about the country’s entry requirements.
Traveling to Belize
Originally, Belize was a British colony called British Honduras until 1973. It gained independence in 1981. It is located on the Caribbean sea and shares a border with Mexico and Guatemala. It has a variety of biomes ranging from the ocean to swamps and jungles, making for an incredibly biodiverse country.
While the country is mainly flat land, it is also home to the Maya Mountains. These mountains are part of many protected parks and reserves.
Belize is a beautiful country with a subtropical climate. Despite there being a few colder months, the weather is pleasant year-round. It usually ranges from 50 degrees to 95 degrees. While it gets cooler around Fall, come Spring, it will start to warm up again.
Belize’s blue waters are home to one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. Outside of the wonders of their ocean, Belize is full of stunning flora and fauna with a rainforest home to thousands of different plants and animals, including hundreds of bird species.
Before you leave home, ensure you have the proper travel documentation. For United States citizens, if you plan on staying for longer than 30 days or are not visiting for tourism, visas are required. So if you only plan on a short stay as a tourist, that saves the hassle of getting a visa. If you are visiting for other reasons than tourism or want to stay longer than 30 days, you will need a visa.
If you are a tourist staying less than 30 days, you will have to provide proof that you intend to leave, like your plane ticket back, and show that you can afford the stay in their country.
Traveling with Children
Things can get complicated if you are traveling with your child. Belize has a few rules to ensure their safety. They may ask you to show your child’s birth certificate, and if you are not traveling with the other parent, they may ask you to provide proof that the child has the permission of both parents to travel internationally.
Traveling with Pets
If you want to bring your pet instead of boarding them or leaving them at home, they can come on your trip as long as you meet the requirements.
First, you must bring a Veterinary Health Certificate from a veterinarian from your country and contact BAHA (Belize Agricultural Health Authority) for a permit. Your pet will have to be up to date with their vaccinations.
Find out the other requirements to bring your pet with you, such as any quarantine period for rabies.
For pets such as birds, the process is more complicated. Your import license will tell you what requirements you must meet to bring your bird. There will be a required quarantine period and strict rules for what you bring in with them, such as their bedding.
Bring Your Passport
Do you need a passport to go to Belize? Yes!
Belize requires people who enter to have a passport no matter what country they are coming from. Your children need passports, too.
If you don’t already have a passport, be sure to apply for one at least four months before you leave the country to ensure you have it in time. The process is estimated to take 7-11 weeks, but it can take up to two weeks to start processing, and the mailing times vary. You can speed things up by paying to expedite the process and paying for faster shipping.
If you only need to renew your passport, you need to mail in the proper form, your passport, a new photo, and payment for the fees. You can get the process expedited by paying, too.
To apply for a passport, you need to fill out a form. You can either print this form out or fill it out online. Then you decide which type of passport you want or if you want both a passport card and a passport book. You also need to provide documents that prove your citizenship, a government ID, and a photo. If you are applying for your child, you need to provide a photo ID for them. Finally, you go to a passport office to submit your application. You may need to make an appointment.
Your Health and Safety
Along with requiring a passport, Belize also has a few new health requirements due to COVID-19. Travel during COVID-19 brought in new rules that vary from place to place.
In Belize, you must have proof of vaccination to enter through the shared borders with Guatemala and Mexico and the international airport.
Unvaccinated travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test or take a test when they enter to ensure the safety of others. You can submit a rapid test or a PCR test.
- You need to take a rapid test within 48 hours of arrival
- You need to take a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival
Young children under five years old do not need to provide a negative test for entry.
While You Are There
In Belize, there is an abundance of activities to enjoy. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore their blue oceans and see some of the animals that inhabit the waters. You can visit beaches, tour Mayan sites, or visit some of their islands. If you are an experienced scuba diver, you may even be able to see the Great Blue Hole for yourself. If you aren’t, you can book a tour in a helicopter.
Mayan culture is a large part of Belize, as the Maya still make up a portion of their population. This gives you the incredible opportunity to learn about Mayan culture from the source.
Belize has the largest cave system in Central America, so there are countless caves to visit like St. Herman’s Cave or the Rio Frio Cave in the Cayo district. On the opposite end of the geographical spectrum, you can also visit the Maya Mountains and see the beautiful scenery of their waterfalls and forests.
Before You Leave
Before you leave Belize, be sure to have the exit fee ready. It will be about $40. Check with your airline to learn if your return ticket expense includes the fee.
Have your passport ready once again. If you brought children, have theirs ready, too.
Things to Know
You may have some important questions and things you need to know before your visit. Will you need to carry Belize dollars? Do you have to convert your money? Will you have to interact with a language barrier? Here are a few things to keep in mind for a smoother trip.
- The US dollar is equal to about two Belize dollars
- You do not have to exchange currencies
- You will get change back in Belize dollars
- Prices are shown in Belize dollars, be careful not to overpay
- The official language in Belize is English
Whether you’re visiting Belize for its beaches or for the immersion in Mayan culture, your trip will surely be unforgettable. Now that you know what to prepare for your trip, you can enjoy your relaxing beach vacation.