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Declarations | Importation of Currency | Red Line/ Green Line System
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN….
Ham and Turkeys | Animals and Pets | BAHA | For passenger who intend to visit with pets
ON DUTY EXEMPTIONS…

 

The following section provides additional information on Customs procedures on arrival at The Phillip Goldson International Airport.

Declarations
Before you arrive in Belize you are issued a Passenger Arrival form that must be filled out (one form per family). You must indicate whether you are bringing any of the following:

  • Plants, fruits, vegetables, meats or live animals Arms or ammunition
  • More than $10,000.00 Belize Currency or its equivalent in other currencies

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Importation of Currency

Under the Customs Laws of Belize, all persons are required to declare any currency in their possession in excess of $10,000.00 BZ or foreign currency equivalent. No duties are payable on the importation of currency. If you are carrying in excess of $10,000.00 BZ. or foreign equivalent you must complete a "Report of Currency Importation" form C300, to be supplied by a Customs Officer.

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Red Line/ Green Line System
The "Green Line notice" means persons arriving at a place of entry who:

  1. have no uncustomed or prohibited goods; or have no dutiable goods in excess of the allowance approved under item 3(a)(5) of the "List of Conditional Duties"
  2. Exemptions in the Customs and Excise Duties Act". That person may proceed along the Green Line and leave the Customs Area after surrendering his/her declaration form to an Officer, unless requested to stop for the purpose of being searched by the officer on duty at the Green Line or any other part of the Customs area at the place of entry.
    1. a person who takes up a position in the Green Line for the purpose of leaving the Customs area and
    2. Carries with him/her excess of the allowance approved under item 3(a) (5) may be prosecuted for fraudulent evasion of Customs under Chapter 49 of the Customs Regulation Act. Unless he/she satisfies the Comptroller that he/she did not know that he/she was committing a offense.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN….

Belizeans residing or vacationing abroad who will return to Belize as well as foreigners who intend to visit Belize should be aware of certain policies and regulations that are in place at the different points of entry. These policies are practiced uniformly at all the border stations and international airport.

A very important fact is that after passport check-ins with Immigration and Nationality, the Customs and Excise Department is the first body travelers have to interact with. Customs is responsible for the processing of baggage, cargo and goods of any kind. Customs also performs agency duties for a number of other Government departments that cannot be present for various reasons. In some cases Customs may retain items that require direct processing by one of these agencies. These items or goods will only be released with the proper permits or clearance from these agencies. Passengers should ensure that they get a Temporary receipt from Customs for anything retained. The receipt will detail the items and the reason for retention. The passenger or importer of the retained goods has ten days to clear them, after which they may be disposed of as the Comptroller of Customs sees proper.

Other Government departments (e.g.: Belize Agricultural Health Authority) which may be present at the point of entry have secondary contact with passengers passing through with baggage. In all cases, Customs will identify any item or cargo that may need the other department's attention and direct the passenger or importer to that other department. When the passenger or importer has fulfilled the requirements of the other department, he/she must return to Customs to complete processing, or he/she may leave if done with Customs.

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Ham and Turkeys

During the Christmas season, the importation of ham and turkey is very common, especially through the International Airport. Many passengers who import these items have difficulty understanding the regulations and policies that govern their importation. The following attempts to clarify any preconceived notions and dispel any misunderstanding.

Passengers are reminded that all questions on the Customs Form C200 (declaration form) must be completed before approaching the Customs ramps for baggage checks. Please check with Customs if clarification is required on any issue.

If the passenger is importing ham or turkey, the following will apply:

A) Make sure that for question #9 the box labeled "yes" is checked.

B) There is no "quantity" of ham or turkey allowed "duty free" through any point of entry. Passengers must refer to the reverse side of the C200 form (declaration form) and see the List of Duty Exemptions section. Number (2) specifies that if you are a Belizean passing through the airport, you are entitled to duty exemption on accompanied goods acquired abroad for personal or household use or as souvenirs or gifts, with an aggregate value of $200.00 BZ twice a year. Therefore, if the passenger has made his first or second trip abroad for the year, and if his ham or turkey has a value of up to $200.00 BZ, it may be exempted. However, if the passenger has made his third or fourth trip for the year, then his ham or turkey becomes dutiable.

C) The same policy applies for passengers who enter Belize through other points of entry, except that the total aggregate value is $50.00 and the allowable time is twice a month instead of twice a year.

D) Sections "B" AND "C" above only applies to Belizeans and persons in possession of Belizean residency and passport. Any other persons are required to pay the applicable duties for these items.

E) Duty on Ham:

Import Duty - 35% of value
General Sales Tax -- 12.5% of (Import Duty + value)
Environmental Tax - 2% of value

Duty on Turkey:

Import Duty - 40% of value
General Sales Tax -- 12.5% of (Import Duty + value)
Environmental Tax - 2% of value

F) Section "E" above applies only if Belize Agricultural Health
Authority allows the ham or turkey to be imported into the country.

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Animals and Pets

Many people visit Belize and bring their pets along for the trip. The following will apply where Customs is concerned:

A) Make sure that for question #9 the box labelled "yes" is checked.

B) If the pet arrives at the airport and is accompanying the passenger, it is not treated as cargo requiring airway bills or any other shipping or freight documents; therefore the pet is not considered dutiable. However, if the pet arrives as cargo with airway bills and other freight or shipping documents then it is considered dutiable for which the following duty and taxes apply:

Import Duty - 40% of value
General Sales Tax -- 12.5% of (Import Duty + value)
Environmental Tax - 2% of value

C) Section "B" above applies only if Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) permits the pet to be imported into the country.

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BAHA

When checking with Customs, passengers may be required to report to the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). If passengers have to report to BAHA, it means that Customs has identified an item(s) which require BAHA's attention. Please note that BAHA is a separate institution from Customs with its own regulations and policies and any decision made by BAHA is to be considered independent, separate and binding. Customs only performs agency duties on BAHA's (and other Government departments and institutions) behalf. Customs does not govern these other departments or institutions and hence does not make decisions for them. Decisions to confiscate any item or goods by BAHA before final clearance of the said goods is solely BAHA's and any concerns passengers or importers may have regarding the confiscation should be forwarded to BAHA.

The following factoids were obtained from BAHA's office in Belize City.

A) Passengers should note that all fruits will be confiscated by BAHA upon inspection.

B) In regards to leafy vegetables, they may be released at the discretion of the BAHA Officer after he has inspected them.

C) During the Christmas season, passengers coming through the International Airport and the border points are allowed one ham or turkey per family.(Protection of local market)

D) It is recommended that passengers contact BAHA at 501-224-4794 or Fax: 501-224-5230 or email: foodsafety@btl.net to request a permit to import ham or turkey. BAHA will issue the permit by fax. If BAHA faxes the permit to the passenger's location abroad, the passenger will have to pay a fee of $50.00BZ to BAHA at the point of entry when they present their goods for BAHA inspection. If BAHA faxes the permit to the point of entry, (will be at BAHA office when passenger arrives) the passenger has to pay a fee of $15.00 BZ.

E) If the passenger arrives without a permit for the ham or turkey, the BAHA Officer may allow the release of the ham or turkey based on its packaging (bearing a label with the USDA approval stamp) and providing that the passenger has indicated on the Customs C200 (declaration form) that he is importing ham or turkey. In this case there will be a $20.00BZ fee for the permit for the ham or turkey. If the ham or turkey has not been declared at all and has been discovered, then BAHA's fee is $50.00BZ. (This fee is subject to change depending on the quantity imported.) If the ham's or turkey's packaging does not bear the USDA stamp on its label, then BAHA will automatically confiscate it.

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For passenger who intend to visit with pets:

A) In the case of dogs and cats, passengers are required to present the animal's most recent health and vaccination certificate. Obtaining a permit for these pets from BAHA is the same as is described above for obtaining a permit for ham or turkey.

B) In the case of monkeys, passengers are to obtain a Cites (a special permit which comes with a letter stipulating conditions) from the Ministry of Natural Resources (under whose umbrella institutions like Belize Audubon Society fall). A permit from BAHA is also required and passengers must present the monkey's recent health and vaccination certificates. Remember that these permits must be obtained before hand in so as not to delay the clearing process. Links and numbers to important Government department and ministries will be provided below.

C) In the case of birds, passengers must provide a Cites from the country of origin along with its health certificate. A permit from BAHA is also required (obtain before arrival). Note that these permits will specify whatever conditions the passenger needs to satisfyy before importing their pets or items. Note that BAHA will not allow any birds to be imported from Mexico. However, passengers passing through Mexico to Belize with pet birds will be allowed to import their birds providing they present BAHA with the documents aforementioned.

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ON DUTY EXEMPTIONS…

Passengers and importers who import goods may seek to obtain duty exemptions on the tariff of their goods. Below are the Government institutions set up for this purpose.

  1. Ministry of Finance
    This ministry gives duty exemptions on Import Duty and may give exemptions on Revenue Replacement Duty and Sales Tax. Environmental Tax remains applicable for this exemption. Applications can be made in writing to the Financial Secretary.
  2. Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE)
    This Institution gives duty exemption on Import Duty only. Applications can be made in writing to the Executive Chairman.
  3. Department of Sales Tax
    This department may give exemption on Sales Tax. Applications are to be made in writing to the Sales Tax Commissioner.

When goods or merchandise are granted duty exemption, the importer will receive a letter from the proper exemption body. This letter will specify the conditions of the exemption and the goods exempted. Be advised that for proper record the goods must be documented on a Customs Entry (declaration) on which the reference number for the exemption letter must be noted.

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