There was much talk about requirements for and getting a Belize driver’s license recently on Facebook. Seems there was a lot of speculation and confusion about the requirements. It was on Ronnie’s list of things to do after getting the captain’s license so here goes!
Town Council Building in San Pedro…
We went down to the Town Council building Tuesday morning on the first floor to the Transport Department. For those of you taller than 5’ 10” be careful of your head! The ceilings are short. In fact, there is one part of the office that is so low, we were surprised there wasn’t padding on it. Definitely not a place to wear a ball cap… or anything else that limits upward visibility. I bet they get 10 people a week bang their head on that one.
Don’t forget to duck when entering!
Just a note, it is a requirement that if you are in Belize for 90 days that you get your Belize driver’s license. But if you are stopped, you should be able to explain to them that you can’t get it until you have your permanent resident or QRP card. This is the confusing part for most expats here. Also, there is no written test. However if you want to get well versed on driving laws, here is a link we found. http://belizecitycouncil.org/information-for-the-written-test. Some of them are humorous – like the one about driving with a baby on your lap, also the part about the radiator is informative but strange for a driving test.
Ronnie waiting his turn at the Transport Department door –
The Transport Department was pretty slow that day, so Ronnie walked right in. They handed him a form and told him to come back with the following.
- Copy of US Driver’s License
- Copy of Permanent Resident Card
- Copy of Qualified Retirement Person (QRP) Card
- Doctor’s Signature
Either permanent resident card or QRP card are fine. You do not need both. So, we left, walked down to Gecko Graphics to get copies of the US Driver’s License and the QRP cards. $2 later, we were on our way.
Note – the license expires on your birthday – so if you have a birthday coming up – wait until after!
Here’s the form Ronnie was handed –
But what is this “Doctor’s Signature”? This was strange at first to us as we don’t remember this being a requirement for our license in the states. After looking at the details, we need to have a doctor sign off on “physique, vision, hearing, bodily and metal fitness”. Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. We take a vision test at the DMV in the states among other things, so that makes sense that they’d want it here. We walked a few blocks down to the San Carlos Clinic to meet with Dr. Giovanni. He’s a very funny doctor, he always makes us laugh, so we always enjoy seeing him. We walked in, there were a few people in line ahead of us so we waited around 15 minutes. Then, we went into his office and he signed off on Ronnie’s request for permit (after poking fun at Lisa for a few minutes). Signature, stamp, $22 BZD and we were out the door!
Now back to the Transport Department with all the required items! But what time is it? This is an important question when conducting official business in San Pedro. From 12pm to 1pm, everything shuts down. It was only 11:30am so we were early enough to get in without worry about getting bumped to after lunch. Also not too close to noon, so we didn’t get the stink eye.
Ronnie, went in dropped off the paper work, and got an invoice for $60 fee for the license. He then had to run upstairs to the cashier… time is a-ticking! Again, very easy, there was no line at the cashier’s desk.
Receipt – driver’s license paid in full!
So, 5 minutes later he went back in to the Transport Department office, showed his receipt, sat down, said “Cheese!” and walked out with his shiny new license. He received a classification “A” which allows him to drive all vehicles with a white license plate. Basically a personal vehicle. Golf cart, motorcycle, ATV, scooter, car or pickup. All set.
Hard to believe we could make a trip to any DMV and still have smiles on our faces.
It all seems surreal to have our first foreign country license. Seems we are really putting down roots here. Love it!
Hope you find this helpful. Surprisingly it only took one trip to town to get this accomplished. You now have all the information to get your own.
Good luck on your Belize DMV adventure!