Friday, February 1, 2013

Our First Tourist Visa Renewal

Our 30-day tourist visa was set to expire tomorrow. We have the added complication of a vehicle in country which involves 2 separate government offices: Immigration and Customs. Thinking we should act a day ahead of time-"just in case"-took us to the northern border crossing this morning.

We arrived at the border crossing building, parked in the adjacent lot and could only access the Immigration side through the departure side....we asked the departure desk where to go to have our tourist visa extended, we were guided to the center hallway (connects the entrance side with the departure side) and crossed over to the entrance side.

The Immigration desk was the first one we came to--we asked the officer if he would stamp our passport for the 30 day extension. We were told, "No, you have to go to Corozal Town to have your passport stamped"---confused,  because he was stamping the immigrating visitors' passports left and right, we proceeded to the Customs desk to have our vehicle permit extended. We were greeted with, "we cannot stamp the passport without an extension on the visitors visa-go to the Immigration desk and have him stamp the passport and then return here." We were just there.....

Defeated that we had to return to Corozal Town for our extension stamp, we walked back to the Immigration desk and whined about having to drive "all the way back" blah, blah, blah. The officer then told us he could not give us a receipt--we think that's Belizean code for "pay me and I'll do it"--we consented to not needing a receipt (as long as we do not have to have one to produce later), paid the $50bzd each, got both passports stamped. We hope he had a nice dinner out with the family last night!

Triumphant, we returned to the Customs desk for the vehicle extension. There was a guy ahead of us, he and an officer were in a heated discussion about committing a federal offense and impounding his vehicle. The other officer motioned us to the desk, took the passport and vehicle permit form and proceeded to fill out some paperwork--it took about 10 minutes, asked us, "Why do you want to stay in Belize?" we answered, "Because we are having fun", he smiled and handed back our original permit with a small box checked off and dated in the upper right hand side. He emphasized the date stamp on the form-to make sure we do not exceed the time. Done, 30 more days!


NOTE: We spoke with some expats later in the day about the tourist extension---yes, the proper way to do it is to: 1) go to the Immigration Office in Corozal Town, then 2) pay at the "statistics" office, between the Court and the Post Office at Town Square, 3) return with the receipt to the Immigration office and get the stamp.


Corozal Immigration Office

Court, Statistics Office, Post Office Building
Statistics Office

2 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying your blog! I love how detailed and clear you explain each situation. I'm thinking of visiting there someday and possibly move my family down there. Do you think Corozal is a good place to raise children? I have three and a husband. Thank you for sharing your adventures. :)

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    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for finding my blog! My information is 3 years old, so don't take it as current!! As for raising children in Belize...do your research. Check out Facebook: Corozal Women's Forum, Belize Expats, etc...they have covered this topic in detail there. Your best bet is to visit Belize for an extended period of time (not a week or 2 vacation)...live like a local, go grocery shopping, hit up the farmer's market, meet the expats...visit every district because each one is different and has it's own charm...Hope this helps! Happy research!

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