Upgrading the Belizean passport process results in increased fees

Friday, April 14th, 2023

At a time in Belize, an adult could apply for a 10-year passport for as low as $50. Those days and commodities are long gone after the government introduced the new passport fees on April 1st, posting a regular passport for an adult at $200 and from $30 to $150 for minors. Following these new fees, the Ministry of Immigration explained the increase and listed the price rise for other passports.
Most people applying for a passport said they knew an increase was imminent but did not expect it to be so high. The fee increase has now seen fewer applications for the travel document. One of the reasons hinted that the country has upgraded and introduced in October 2022 an Electronic Passport Issuance and Control System and E-Passports. This upgrade in the immigration department is to end required visits to the main offices in the Capital City of Belmopan, where applicants often used to stand in line for hours. The new passport application process can be done online, requiring one visit to the data capture site and another to the issuance center to pick up the passport. Many Belizean holders of the new passport have shared that the process is now more efficient than an extended visit to Belmopan.
However, the new passport came with new fees, and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Immigration, Gilroy Middleton, explained the increase. He said the new pricing is the regional standard. “In Grenada, the price is equivalent to BZ$210, the United States of America is BZ$260, Barbados is the lowest at BZ$150, Mexico is BZ$384, and Panama prices their passports at the equivalent of BZ$200 for five years,” said Middleton. He added that the cost to produce the new passport books in Canada has also increased. Therefore, another factor in increasing the fees in Belize.
Middleton also noted the application increase that led to a backlog and shortage. “People realized they could pay $50 for a $200 world-class document. So, this increase in demand led, in the simplest sense of economics, to a shortage,” said Middleton. “We have had an extremely high demand for passports.” However, with the new fees, the number of applications has reportedly decreased, relieving the ministry from running out of passport books and avoiding delays. The ministry estimates to issue about 25,000 passports every year.
Fees for other types of passports
As per the website of the Ministry of Immigration, https://immigration.gov.bz/passport/passport-fees/, expedited service fees (within 24 hours) include an additional $300 to the regular price. If you lose your passport, there will be an additional charge of $200 to the standard $200 application fee. For those needing a medical emergency e-passport, there is a $100 additional fee, while a temporary passport costs $300.  These services are only available at the Belmopan headquarters office.
Other alternative travel documents Belizeans can access include a border permit for $40 to enter and exit Belize and Guatemala through western and southern border stations. The other option when traveling north to Mexico, it’s a border crossing card for $40 per year to exit the country through the northern border. The equivalent card is also available on the Mexican side at no cost.


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