Reminder to U.S. Citizens Regarding COVID-19 Guidance

July 9, 2020

Location: Guatemala

Event:  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 July to the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). The availability of flights in August and beyond is not yet known, but the Embassy will post information as it becomes available.  The Embassy reminds American citizens that there is no guarantee that these flights will operate indefinitely through the end of the COVID-19 crisis.  American citizens who wish to return to the United States and, in particular, persons with underlying medical conditions or who are otherwise at high-risk for severe illness with COVID-19, should consider taking one of these flights.

Passengers seeking tickets or information for these flights and passengers seeking assistance with inquiries related to cancelled flights should reach out to the airline directly at https://www.united.com or VentasGUA@united.com.  The Embassy will continue to work with the airline to provide letters requesting permission for inter-departmental travel to the airport.  Passengers will receive these waivers from the airline upon ticket purchase.

Reduced ACS 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 continuing 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 email address listed below.

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.   To schedule an emergency appointment, please email  amcitsguatemala@state.gov.

Ongoing COVID-19-Related Restrictions:
The United States Embassy in Guatemala reminds U.S. citizens that the following restrictions remain in effect for the week of July 6, 2020:

Restrictions on Vehicular Mobility: In the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla, Sacatepequez, and Quetzaltenango, all personal vehicles with license plates that end in an odd number (for example P001AAA) are permitted to circulate Tuesday, July 7; and Thursday, July 9; and Saturday, July 11.  All personal vehicles with license plates that end in an even number (for example P002AAA) are permitted to circulate on Wednesday, July 8; and Friday, July 10.  Motorcycles, pedestrians, and other modes of non-vehicular transportation are exempt from these restrictions.  All private vehicular mobility will be restricted on Sunday, July 12.

Curfew Hours: Guatemala’s national mandatory curfew remains in place, running from 6:00 p.m. each evening through 5:00 a.m. the following day.  In addition, a 24-hour curfew has been instituted for Sunday, July 12.  All persons are required to stay in their residences from 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, to 5:00 a.m. on Monday, July 13.  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).

Inter-Departmental Travel: All travel to and from the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla, Sacatepequez, and Quetzaltenango is prohibited.  The Embassy is not able to assist in procuring waivers to this prohibition on an individual basis.

Operating Hours for Essential Businesses: Supermarkets, grocers, other markets, and essential businesses are permitted to operate from 6:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.  Shopping malls and large commercial centers remain closed.

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.  The U.S. Embassy continues to work with Guatemalan authorities to allow passengers manifested on outgoing commercial flights to travel to the airport in Guatemala City.  These passengers will receive letters requesting safe passage from their commercial carrier.

Suspension of Public Transportation: Public transportation within Guatemala is suspended.

Suspension of Public and Private Sector Labor Activities: Public and private sector labor is suspended, with the exceptions for certain essential government and health personnel, and for specific industries and utilities whose activities are essential to Guatemala’s security, food production, sanitation or infrastructure.

Prohibitions on Alcohol: The sale and purchase of alcohol is permitted only during limited hours.   Consumption of alcohol in public areas is prohibited.

Other Restricted Activities:  All beaches, lakes, rivers, and other tourist sites in Guatemala remain closed.  Public religious gatherings and celebrations of any size are prohibited.  Visits to individuals in hospitals or prisons are prohibited.  Academic activities at all levels are  suspended until further notice.

Additional Department and Municipality-Level Restrictions: Beyond the national-level restrictions mentioned above, different municipalities within the country may adopt additional restrictive measures on travel and outdoor activities.  Please monitor local news reports to receive the latest information.

State of Prevention: The government of Guatemala has announced an extension of the State of Prevention, until July 30, 2020, for the municipalities of Nahualá, Santa Lucía Utatlán, and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, of the Department of Sololá.  The State of Prevention is due to the ongoing security situation in the area caused by territorial disputes. Increased military and police presence can be expected in the area throughout the State of Prevention period.

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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