Applicants should be aware that while the following requirements appear straightforward, applicants for residency often report that unexplained delays in the issuance process makes obtaining a resident visa very difficult. Delays of one, two and even four years are common.
During such delays, an applicant’s residency status may be uncertain, requiring regular departure from and reentry into Guatemala in order to re-establish temporary status. Intending residents should understand that, as foreigners living in another country, they are subject to the Guatemalan legal system.
Guatemalan Immigration Central Office
6a. Avenida 3-11, Zona 4
Working hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Step One / Application for a 90-day Residence Permit
To apply for the 90-day residence permit at Guatemalan Immigration, the applicant must provide:
Present the application and supporting documents at the Guatemalan Immigration central office (see address above).
Generally this visa is issued fifteen days following application.
Step Two / Application for Visa Ordinaria
Before expiration of the 90-day residence permit (step one), an intending resident must apply for a “Visa Ordinaria” which permits residence in Guatemala for six months and is
renewable thereafter. The applicant must re-submit:
Pending approval of the visa ordinaria, an applicant may work if permission is granted by the Ministry of Labor in Guatemala City. According to Guatemalan immigration authorities, processing of the visa ordinaria requires up to two months, during which time only a validated photocopy of the passport is retained by the immigration office.
Step Three / Visa Ordinaria Extensions
The Visa Ordinaria may be extended in six month increments. All the documentation required in steps one and two must be re-submitted again when applying for the extension. At the expiration of the fourth extension, i.e., after two years of residence under the visa ordinaria, the applicant may qualify as a legal permanent resident of Guatemala.
Cost (subject to change)
The Oficina de Extranjeros at the Immigration central office also issues other types of visas to foreigners: