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Guatemalan Residence Requirements

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

Guatemala City

Tel. 2411-2411

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:

  • Two recent photographs
  • A valid passport
  • A letter of sponsorship from a Guatemalan sponsor
  • Evidence of the financial resources of both the applicant and sponsor

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:

  • Another statement of support from the applicant’s Guatemalan sponsor
  • Evidence of the applicant’s financial resources
  • A report on the applicant’s police record in Guatemala
  • A medical report
  • A police report from the applicant’s prior place of residence in the United States
  • A birth certificate authenticated by a Guatemalan Consulate in the U.S.

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)

  • 90-day visa                                    Q115.35
  • Visa Ordinaria                                Q115.35
  • Visa Ordinaria Extension             Q115.35

The Oficina de Extranjeros at the Immigration central office also issues other types of visas to foreigners:

  • Student Visa: Valid for one year. Required for elementary school, high school and university students.
  • Courtesy Visa: Valid for one year. Issued to members of the diplomatic community.
  • Visas for Foreign Retirees.
  • Visas Temporales: Issued for 12 months to teachers or foreign students.
  • Visas for Religious Workers: Valid for two years.