Belts are earned by proving you meet the knowledge and skill requirements at each belt level. After the instructor sees you are ready, we will schedule in a test day where you will demonstrate what you know. At the end of your test, if you pass, you earn your next belt.
These tests and promotions cost no extra fees than the regular class. You will not need to buy the belt, it is a gift from the instructor because you earned it.
When you have a belt, it is asked that you wear it during class. It not only shows your level but is a sign of respect to the instructor and those around you. As you progress, you are still expected and required to remember and practice the things you learned for the previous belt. You can't progress without keeping up on everything you have learned.
You are not required to wear a uniform (gi) to every class, but it is required for tests.
Our system is not a place for instant gratification as far as leveling up. It normally takes about 10-20 years before you earn your black belt and the title of master, though there have been exceptions in the past.