Guide to filming in Belize

1.  Letter of Intent

Any company or individual wishing to film in Belize should first submit a letter or email of intent to the Belize Film Commission. This letter should give a detailed outline of the project, script or treatment, and indicate what they would like to shoot in Belize. It should include:

(i) Proposed Locations

A list of proposed locations and a detailed explanation of what is to be shot there; explanation should mention if any special effects, stunts, aerial or water sequences are envisioned.

(ii) Name of Local Coordinator and contact info

The services of a local coordinator are mandatory for any filming done in Belize. The individual must be attached to the project for its entire duration and act as the local representative for interaction with the Belize Film Commission and other Belizean entities. A local coordinator is defined as a Belizean citizen or legal resident of Belize. If a local coordinator has not yet been hired, the BFC can assist with finding one.

(iii) Additional Production Assistance

A list of any specific production assistance, talent and personnel should be attached to the application.  This list should highlight the number of non-Belizean personnel, and Belizean personnel expected to be hired for the production. 

2. Film License Application

Upon receipt of the Letter of Intent, an application for a Film License will be forwarded. The completed application with required fee and documentation can be submitted to the Belize Film Commission by the Local Coordinator before arrival or upon arrival of film crew in Belize.  Approval Process is usually 2-3 days working days after receipt of application.

3. List of Non-Belizean Personnel

This list should be submitted before arrival to the Belize Film Commission and include Names, Nationality, Passport Numbers and flight information for clearance by Immigration.

(i) Visas:

All persons intending to film in Belize should indicate upon their immigration card that they are here on Business and not as a Tourist. 

(ii) Work permits

Work permits are not required for the crew if they will stay less than 30 days in the country. However, if the production will last 30 days and over, the company will have to either:

a)       Pay for a work permit or

b)       The Belize Film Commission will apply for WORK PERMIT EXEMPTIONS.

Applications are available on request and must be submitted at least 15 days prior to arrival.

4. List of Equipment

A list of any equipment along with their serial numbers and method of importation into Belize must be sent at least two weeks before arrival to ensure duty exemptions. This list should include all explosive substances to be used on any location in Belize.  Excess luggage via air is the easiest method of entry and persons arriving in the country will be met by a representative of the Film Commission to ensure ease of entry. However, any cargo imported into the country, must be checked by customs and the services of a custom broker must be enlisted for this purpose.

5. List of Vehicles

All vehicles with foreign license plates entering the country will have to pay for temporary vehicle registration and insurance. In some instances an additional non-refundable bond based on vehicle value may be required. HAVE TO CHECK THIS ALSO.

6. Film Location Application Forms

A separate Film Location Application Form is required for each location. Accompanying documentation includes:

a)       Map of Locationclearly indicating the areas to be used

b)       Signed Location Consent Form

Negotiation for Permission to use any Building, Tourist Sites and National Parks under control of the Government of Belize will be done with the relevant authorities by the Belize Film Commission Office only.  Normal entry fees pp will apply in most cases for the tourist sites and fees may be charged if the park has to be closed down to accommodate film crews. Protected Areas will not consider major productions.

Consent and terms of use for those locations which are not under the control of the Government of Belize must have already been negotiated by the film crew in advance and the Consent Form attached to Application.

c)       In the event of any special effects, stunts, aerial or water sequences to be shot at that location, a storyboard illustrating how these are to be accomplished should also be submitted at this time.

d)       If the location is in an urban area or on a major roadway, a parking plan will need to be submitted indicating where production vehicles will be parked near to the location.  This shall include the specific type of vehicle and registration number for each.  Parking must comply with local parking regulations.

e)       Dependent on the type of production and the location itself, a security plan may also need to be submitted.

7. Filming Schedule

Once Locations have been approved by the Belize Film Commission, a schedule for filming shall be provided which outlines dates and times at each location for filming, construction, etc.

Belize Film Commission