Bring Vehicles in Belize
Bringing a vehicle into Belize can be expensive, with duty ranging from 25 percent to 60 percent or even sometimes 70 percent of the vehicle’s value, which includes 10 percent sales tax and a 2 percent environmental tax. Duty on cars is calculated on the size of the engine. For trucks, duty is calculated based on a gross vehicle weight rating of either above or below five tons and then by engine size. Duty on vans is determined by seating capacity and then by engine size. People entering Belize under the Qualified Retired Persons Program are entitled to bring a vehicle duty-free into Belize every five years, as well as a duty free import of a boat and even a light aircraft.
When crossing the border into Belize, you’ll be asked about your reason for entering the country as well as what your intentions are with your vehicle. If you intend to import your vehicle, customs officials will often give their own assessment of your vehicle’s value, which may or may not be accurate. Usually expatriates importing vehicles end up paying a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in duty. In case of a disagreement, you may leave your vehicle in the care of customs and hire a customs broker, which would be recommended. If crossing at the border, you will often be approached by unofficial customs assistants who will help you through the process for a few dollars tip. While there are no guarantees, these assistants generally mean well and may save you a little time and money.
Make sure you have all of your original documents for your vehicle as well as a few photocopies for officials. You will be required to buy Belizean insurance after customs lets you through. People may approach you selling insurance, though you should get it at an authorized insurance seller.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an appropriate vehicle for Belize. Vehicles undergo a fair amount of wear and tear on the country’s rough roads, so new vehicles don’t stay new for very long. As such, a majority of expatriates and Belizeans drive sturdy four-wheel-drive SUVs or trucks. It can sometimes be difficult for Belizean mechanics to repair or replace parts on some vehicles, so it would be wise to choose a vehicle that’s both common in Belize as well as durable. Gasoline is expensive in Belize, so a car with good gas mileage is very important, and diesel engines are common.