Message for U.S. Citizens Regarding Restrictions by Government of Guatemala in Response to COVID-19

August 3, 2020

Location: Guatemala

Event: The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala reminds U.S. citizens that the Guatemalan government implemented a nation-wide tiered system of health alerts July 27, which provides updated information on levels of health risk by locality throughout Guatemala, in an effort to prepare for the country’s gradual re-opening. Nevertheless, the Embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens in Guatemala continue to restrict their activities and movements to the maximum extent possible, and to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times when in public spaces. The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala has limited travel for its U.S. employees to Guatemala City and Antigua only. The Embassy continues to offer limited consular services on an emergency basis and is restricting on-site staffing to only essential personnel.

Below is a review of COVID-19-related restrictions currently in effect, operational status of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, and information on flights from Guatemala to the United States.

Curfew Hours:

The Guatemalan government’s mandatory curfew remains in effect, running 9:00 p.m. each evening through 4:00 a.m. the following day. These curfew hours will remain in effect through August 10 and may be extended at any time. Every individual in Guatemala – including U.S. citizens – is required to remain inside their domicile during curfew hours (with exceptions for health and security, restaurant delivery services, certain media and legal personnel in pursuit of their duties, and patients receiving urgent treatment for chronic conditions).

Locality-Specific Tiered Health Alerts and Restrictions Implemented:

Effective immediately, Guatemalan authorities will impose COVID 19-related restrictions on movement and activities on a locality-by-locality basis based on the health alert level in each location. This system replaces Guatemala’s previous system of nation-wide restrictions on movement and activities. The overall threat ranking is as follows:

Type of Alert:              Threat Level:

Green                            Normal

Yellow                           Moderate

Orange                          High

Red                                Maximum

The activities that will be permitted at each threat level are summarized on the Ministry of Health’s website: https://mspas.gob.gt. The Embassy advises U.S. citizens in Guatemala to familiarize themselves with the threat level in their areas, and to keep abreast of any changes.

Nationwide State of Calamity and Municipality-Specific State of Siege

In a July 27 declaration, Guatemalan President Giammattei declared a 30-day extension of Guatemala’s State of Calamity. The Guatemalan government also declared a State of Siege for 15 days in three municipalities (El Estor, Morales, and Livingston) of Izabal department and in two municipalities (Panzos and La Tinta) of Alta Verapaz department, due to the presence of active criminal organizations. The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid these areas for their own safety and security.

Guidance on Inter-Department Travel:

The suspension on inter-departmental travel has been lifted. The Government of Guatemala requests that individuals do NOT travel unless absolutely necessary. U.S. citizens should remain cautious about traveling to/from departments with continuing high rates of infection and are advised that some municipalities maintain their own restrictions and checkpoints and may only permit local residents to enter their communities.

Mandatory Use of Masks in Public:

All individuals must wear masks in public spaces, including in grocery stores and on the street, to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Failure to comply with this requirement will result in fines of up to 150,000 Quetzales.

Closing of Borders:

The Guatemalan government is currently barring entry to most non-Guatemalans (with specific exceptions for accredited diplomatic personnel, health and security personnel, and exceptional cases as designated by the Guatemalan government) – by its land, sea, and air borders.  Airport operations and routine commercial flights out of Guatemala have been suspended.

Update on American Citizen Services:

As a reminder, due to COVID-19-related health and safety measures, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City has suspended all routine consular services for U.S. citizens as of Monday, June 22, and will continue to do so until further notice.

While this suspension is in effect, the Embassy will provide passport services on an emergency basis only. U.S. citizens with expired or soon-to-expire passports who have imminent travel plans to the United States may request an emergency appointment at the Embassy through the following email address: amcitsguatemala@state.gov. The Embassy urges U.S. citizens to communicate all requests and confirm all appointment times through this e-mail; for health and safety reasons, the Embassy may not be able to accommodate walk-in requests.

The Embassy continues to accept adult passport renewal applications by mail. For more information on this process, please click here.

Due to reduced operations at U.S. domestic facilities, U.S. citizens who have previously applied for routine passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) services may expect delays in receiving their documents. Applicants with documents in transit who have imminent travel plans to the United States may apply for emergency passports by scheduling an emergency appointment through the email address listed below. As a reminder, U.S. citizen children do not require a CRBA to qualify for an emergency passport.

Repatriation Flights: 

The United States Embassy in Guatemala continues to facilitate repatriation flights to the United States during the period in which international air travel is suspended due to COVID-19. At present, United Airlines has flights scheduled through August 14 to the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Passengers seeking tickets or information for these flights and passengers seeking assistance with inquiries related to any cancelled flights should reach out to the airlines directly at https://www.united.com or VentasGUA@united.com.

Guidance for American Citizens: 

The United States Embassy in Guatemala urges all U.S. citizens to comply with the restrictions imposed by the complete closure of the country, as well as all other restrictions and regulations outlined above.

As a reminder for U.S. citizens registered in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), your registration expires automatically based on the dates entered and you will not receive updates after that date. Update your account to show that you are still in Guatemala.  Follow these instructions to keep receiving messages from the STEP Program. From within your account settings, update to INDEFINITE to ensure that you continue receiving messages. If you have any trouble, please email CASTEP@state.gov.

Please contact AmcitsGuatemala@state.gov for any urgent inquiries.

Assistance: 

U.S. Embassy Guatemala City https://gt.usembassy.gov Tel. (502) 2326-4000 Amcitsguatemala@state.gov

State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Guatemala Country Information and Travel Advisory:

Page Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates

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