Thursday, March 21, 2013

Posting a bond for our Jeep

Bringing a vehicle into Belize, for the ease of exploring is not as simple as it sounds. 

All the internet research and time spent pre-immigration was little preparation for the reality of crossing the border with a 2012 Jeep. Our intent for visiting Belize at this time of our life was to take our time--up to 12 months--and hit every district, stay a while, explore the non-touristy areas, live like a local and rent or housesit along the way. 

We immigrated to Belize December 1, 2012 - as tourists. We presented our Jeep title to the Customs Department, after some paperwork and stamping, Larry's passport was encumbered with the vehicle. Our understanding was that we could renew the vehicle each month for up to 3 months (90 days total) and then buy a nonrefundable bond that would carry us up to 12 months. 

At February's renewal time, we decided to ask Customs the procedure for getting a bond. A convoluted series of events then took place that even now, I'm confused as to what we did and when.  Discussing the process with Larry, we've been able to create a somewhat muddy chronological's our Cliff Note's version:

GET A BROKER!!! May we suggest Riverol's Brokerage (email: Hernan, Rony and their staff are go-getters who helped us wade thru the murky waters of getting a bond. They can be found at the North border, in a bright blue 1-room office just past the customs clearance area on the right hand side.

Riverol's Office
Office looking back toward customs clearance
Contact Information
Rony Riverol

Next step is to visit the Queen's Bond area. This building is across the street from the Immigration/Customs house.  The north side entrance to the building the entry fee is $3bze, you must present your title to gain entrance here; then proceed to the west side of the building. Meet the broker and a Customs Officer to obtain all the pertinent vehicle information. At this point they will consult the Kelley Blue Book for the current value. This value is then used to calculate the bond.

An official form is then generated. You take this form to the Insurance Company. We used ICB (Insurance Company of Belize) not only because their office is convenient to Riverol's, but we have comprehensive car insurance with them as well. The insurance agent completes the transactions, you pay, more forms are generated. This packet of forms is taken back to the broker.

You and the broker again return to the Queen's Bond area, more forms, more stamps, $10bze for the insecticide spray receipt and final approval. All this resulted in 3 copies of the bond forms: 1-kept at cashier's desk of Queen's Bond customs, 2-surrendered at the Customs gate officer and 3-ours to keep (with the original title stapled to it).

This process took us over 3 hours to complete. 


  1. Hi Babs,I have been following your blog and find them informative and very interesting. We are from Chattanooga and are seriously thinking of moving out of country in a few yrs. Hoping to get to Belize in the near future but meanwhile, we look forward to reading more of your blogs.

    1. Thanks for finding us Diane - glad to have you along for the tour! Best of luck with your research and in your travels!-babs

  2. Hi Babs, We hope to move to Belize in 2 years. We are coming on June 1 for 2 weeks to explore. We have accommodations on Ambergris through our barter group. I know it is not the most convenient place to explore from but…gotta use those barter dollars.

    I love your blog it is so informative and funny!

  3. Hi Deb-thanks for finding us! 2 weeks will be great! You can always take excursions to the mainland and even check out Caye Caulker. Happy travels!-babs

  4. Hi Babs, May I please ask what the total cost of your non refundable bond was on your 2012 Jeep? do you know what the breakdown formula is for determining that figure? ie. the percent of vehicle cost etc.
    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Keith! Thanks for finding us! Sorry it took so long to respond, we wanted to give you the most accurate numbers as possible so we found the paperwork to support the information.

      Let me reiterate--get a broker! It's a maze that they can guide you through-impossible without help. Also, push to get to meet with the "main" customs guy-upstairs from immigration- he's has the final say and signature that you need. The Riverol guys will take good care of you!

      The sequence of events is complicated (types, codes, percentages) but here goes:

      Based on the engine cylinders (6 for the Jeep) and the vehicle’s age came to a
      bond value of 76.9% of the Kelley Blue Book value. The bond (through Insurance
      Corporation of Belize) was 1-1/2% of the bond value. These are in Belize dollars.

      This was calculated as follows (not sure what some of these are, but these are their
      formulas-Belizean math):

      There were 4 line items, each shows the value of the item and the percentage rate

      Import Duty: $56,650.00BZE, Rate 45.0% = $25,492.50BZE

      Revenue Replacement Duty: $82,142.50BZE, Rate: 5.0% = $4,107.12BZE

      Environmental Tax: $56,650.00BZE, Rate 5.0% = $2,832.50BZE

      General Sales Tax: $89,082.12BZE, Rate 12.5% = $11,135.26BZE

      Total: $43,567.38BZE

      The bond required was based on $43,567.38BZE. The bond was 1-1/2%, or $653.51BZE. This is non-refundable and paid to the insurance company.

      A quick estimate for the bond cost for a 2012 Jeep is 1-1/2% times 76.9% of the
      Kelley Blue Book Value. This will get you close...

      Hope this helps!
      -babs & larry