Passports and Visas
To enter Belize, only a valid passport is necessary for citizens of the United States, European Union countries, Australia, Canada, CARICOM member states, Commonwealth realms, Great Britain, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Tunisia, South Africa, and Venezuela; no visa is required. Nationals of most other countries require a visa and/or clearance by the immigration office. Check the Belize Tourist Board website for updates on visas. You can also check with the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department, the Embassy of Belize in Washington, DC, or other Belize embassies.
If upon arrival the customs official asks how long you expect to stay in Belize, give the longest period you might stay—you may be granted a stay for up to 30 days on the tourist stamp you'll receive for your passport on entry—otherwise, the official may endorse your passport with a shorter period.
You can renew your entry permit at immigration offices for a fee of BZ$50 per month for the first six months; after six months, it costs BZ$100 a month for up to six more months, at which time you may have to leave the country for 72 hours to start the process over (sometimes this rule isn’t enforced). Note that renewals aren't guaranteed, but normally are routinely granted.
If you're young with a backpack and entering Belize by land from Mexico or Guatemala, there’s a slight chance you’ll be asked to prove you have enough money to cover your stay. You're supposed to have US$60 a day, though this requirement is rarely enforced. A credit card also may work.
Citizens of the United States, Canada, and most other Western countries do not need a visa when entering Guatemala from Belize.
Info in Belize
Belize Immigration and Nationality Department (822/0284 in Belmopan. www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz.)
Belize Tourism Board (64 Regent St., Belize City, Belize. 227/2420 in Belize; 800/624–0686 toll-free in U.S. and Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.travelbelize.org.)
Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) (10 N. Park St., Belize City, Belize. 227/1144. www.btia.org.)
U.S. Passport Information
U.S. Department of State (877/487–2778 passport information. www.state.gov.)