Monday, March 23, 2015

A step by step guide to getting your passport stamped....from Placencia, Belize to Independence/Mango Creek! No car needed.

If you are here longer than 30 days, you will need to get your passport stamped. This feels really daunting the first time you do it. At least, it did to me. :) I wish I could have found a step by step guide, so I decided to write one, complete with pictures!
Step 1:
Look at the date stamped in your passport when you come in the country. Write this date on your calendar so you don't forget!
 
Step 2: Day of, walk to the Hokey Pokey water Taxi by MnM. Walk up to the pier, there is usually a guy sitting at the table, tell him you want a ticket for the 10am ferry to Independence. If no one is sitting there, walk into the office and buy it. Don't lose this ticket as they collect it when you get on. You want to take the 10am because time wise this works out the best-if you take an earlier one you will have hours to wait in between taxis. Fare may be quoted anywhere from $6bz-$5us. You can try asking for locals price :)
Step 3: When the boat taxi pulls up, no one is going to announce it, just walk up as it is probably the one. Ask someone if it is going to Independence if you feel unsure. Just pile in as it is probably going to be crowded. They will hand you a life preserver, just put it on, no one wants to wear it or is happy about it, but it is a new rule.
Here is me on the way last time:
Step 4: When you get to Independence, everyone will pile out and taxis will be waiting. Tell any of the taxi guys that you want to go to the immigration office. They have all done this. Perhaps you can find a taxi friend going to the same place and split fare. (Have about $20bz just in case.) The taxi will wait for you which is best. This is a small immigration office and it shouldn't take too long.
Step 5: Hand immigration officer your passport and have either $50bz or $100bz available to hand him. If you have been here less than 6 months it is the former amount. They will ask where you are staying, just give the city. They will stamp it and you are free to leave!

Step 6: Go with cabbie back to water taxi station, buy a ticket for 11am taxi back to Placencia. You can buy a water or a drink from the stand there.

Step 7: You will be home before 12 so go enjoy your day!
 Passports can be stamped Monday through Fridays (excluding holidays) in Independence/Mango Creek.  (Note: the immigration office in Independence is only open a half-day on Mondays and Fridays.)  6 months is the maximum amount of time that a visitor can extend his or her stay without leaving and re-entering the country -- or paying a higher monthly visa renewal fee. (50 goes up to 100bz).

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this guide! I had a question about the hours on Mondays and Fridays, which part of the day is the office open? (Also sorry if this question appears twice!)

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  2. I believe it is open the first half of the day.....although the phone numbers in Belize always seem to change, it is always a good idea to all before you make the trip as well, as there are a lot of holidays where the office is closed and this is a huge bummer. This is the only latest phone number I could find, but they are not open yet for me to test it :) 523-2022

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    1. Thanks so much for the reply! Unfortunately I can't call, but I'll try to find someone who can today since I have to renew on Monday. Very glad I found your blog!

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  3. Just wanted to reply with an update in case anyone stumbles upon this and has the same question I did. The office is open on Monday mornings!

    Also a good tip I got is the the water taxi often leaves a little earlier. I got there around 9:35 and they left around 9:40. I do believe they send other boats as demand dictates, but may as well catch the early one to try and avoid a line at immigration.

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  4. Hi Laura,
    Love your blog! I'll be in Palencia late March/16. Will need to get passport stamped end of March. Just want to make sure nothing has changed regarding your "A step by step guide to getting your passport stamped...."

    Thanks so much!
    Monique

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    1. I don't believe anything has changed :) Always good to call if you can and go a day or 2 early just to be safe :)

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