Visas and Residency in Guatemala: Which Options do You Have?
In order to visit Guatemala, you must know the visas or permits available for you and if you’re planning to move to the country, you need to know which residency options you have. Today we’re going to be talking about visas and residencies in Guatemala.
Guatemala 90-day Residence Permit
When you enter Guatemala, depending on your country, you can apply to get a stamp, and it’s kind of like a visa. That stamp is considered like a visa for US citizens, Europeans, and for the most part of the country. The permit is for 90 days. I do know that there are other countries that only allow you 30 days, but overall you will get a stamp for 90 days when you enter the country.
How can I stay in Guatemala for longer than 90 days?
Here’s the thing. Guatemala is part of this group of countries, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The 90-day permit applies to these four countries. So you cannot exit and get a re-stamp in any of those four countries because it’s considered part of those. Unless you fly to the other countries and come back, then you get a whole new stamp.
So after 90 days, technically you do need to leave the country for three days in order to come back and get a new 90 days stamp. A lot of people either go to Mexico or Belize if they cross the border, and then they come back. Or again, as I said, you could fly out to any other country and then come back.
90-day Residence Permit Extension
However, there are quite a few loopholes. One is you could go to migration in Guatemala City and ask for an extension, and you will get another, usually 90 days. Again, it will depend on the day of the migration, but the norm is usually an extra 90 days.
If you do the extension, you cannot overstay more than six months without paying that fine. So you do technically get the 90 days, and then you could do another 90 days. But after that, if you’re going to be overstaying, and you want to fly out, make sure that your flight leaves when the bank is open in Guatemala City Airport and arrive there in time to do the whole payment process. Because it does take extra time, sometimes it could take an hour more because of the lines.
If you overstay, and you plan on going anywhere, you get to the airport, you will just have to pay a Multa, like a fine or a fee. It’s 15 quetzal per day, which is around $2 per day extra. But again, very important to remember, that you need to pay for that at the bank, which is inside the Guatemala City airport.
However, the bank is not open for 24 hours. And if you have a super early flight or super late flight, and you have to pay the fee, you might get screwed and not be permitted to fly out. So make sure you find out when you fly out because you can pay that fee right there. But if not, then you still have to go to the migration office and do the whole thing. And in that case, you might just want to do the extension.
That is just your basic tourist visa.
Now, if you want to apply for a residency, there are many different ways to do so. If you have a child in Guatemala and your child is born here, obviously you could go through that.
I have an entire episode talking about giving birth in Guatemala. So make sure you go and check that one out. So you could go and start the process like that. And once the process is started, then you already are in the system. And you don’t really need to go through the tourist visa thing.
Types of Residency
Obviously, if you’re married to a Guatemalan, that’s another way to get a residency. If you are going to be investing in Guatemala, buying a home here, or opening up a business, you’ll need to do something similar. And this is all done through the legal system, through the lawyer.
Residencies available in Guatemala:
- Marrying a Guatemalan
- Have a child in Guatemala
Do you need a Lawyer?
You do need to hire a lawyer. You can do it on your own, don’t bother. Get a lawyer. It’s so much easier. You’re not even going to be spending that much money, and they handle so much more for you.
There are many fantastic lawyers here that can help you and a lot of them speak English or your language to go through that process. And once you start the residency process, that’s when you don’t have to worry about renewing your visas and leaving the country and all that other stuff.
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