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Guatemalan Residence and Work Permits


This information is being provided as a courtesy to U.S. citizens who wish to apply for temporary or permanent residence or a work permit in Guatemala.  The U.S. government has no authority over this process, and the process is subject to change according to the laws and regulations of the Government of Guatemala.


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 residence permit 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.

Guatemala’s central immigration authority is located at:

Instituto Guatemalteco de Migración (IGM)

6a. Avenida 3-11, Zona 4

Guatemala City

Tel. (502) 2411-2411


Working hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

US Citizens are not required to have any kind of visa to enter Guatemala.  However, Guatemalan law only authorizes entry for a 90-day period as a tourist.  If you wish to remain longer in Guatemala, you either need to leave and be readmitted for another 90-day period or apply for one of the following categories of temporary residence.  If you remain longer than the 90-day period without authorization from the Government of Guatemala, the fine accrues at GTQ 15 per day and is payable in cash upon departure.

Here is a link to IGM forms and requirements and IGM Fees (in Spanish).  These requirements are subject to change.  Below is a summary of the requirements.  Please consult the IGM website for a complete list of forms and requirements.  If there is any discrepancy what is written below and what is on the official IGM website, please defer to what is listed on IGM’s website.


Categories of Temporary Residence

Foreigners may apply for the following categories of temporary residence at IGM’s Oficina de Extranjeros (workers, students, artists, athletes, investors, religious workers, intellectual researchers and scientists, and refugees and political asylum seekers).  Note that the fee for all applications is USD 25 in addition to the cost associate with the respective category.  Any foreign documents to be presented to the Government of Guatemala must be apostilled according to the Hague Convention and Guatemalan law.

The following documents must be submitted in support of an application for temporary residence:

  1. Residence application form;
  2. Valid original passport and complete certified (legalized) copy by a Guatemalan notary;
  3. Certified copy of your passport done by your country’s Embassy or Consulate who is accredited in Guatemala.
  4. Original (lack of) criminal history record;
  5. Immigration record indicating the last entry into Guatemala (movimiento migratorio);

Additional requirements for some categories are listed below (otherwise consult IGM’s website):

    • Workers (cost for 1-year period is USD 200; cost for 2-year period is USD 300; and cost for 3-5-year period is USD 500).
      • Original job offer letter;
      • Sworn declaration by a Guatemalan guarantor;
    • Students (cost for up to 5year period is USD 100 per year).  This category of residence is required for elementary school, high school, and university students.
      • Current school enrollment, recent proof of registration, or letter of acceptance;
      • Proof of financial solvency (by one’s self or by the person responsible for paying)
      • Valid and current birth certificate (if the applicant is a minor);
      • Notarized parental consent or a certified court order for minors to enter Guatemala (if the applicant is a minor);
      • Certified (legalized) copy of the parent’s identification document (if the applicant is a minor);
      • Proof of the parents’ immigration status in Guatemala (if the applicant is a minor).
    • Artists (cost for up to 5-year period is on a case by case basis).
    • Athletes (cost for up to 5-year period is on a case by case basis).
    • Investors (cost for up to 5-year period is on a case by case basis).
    • Religious Workers (cost for up to 5-year period is USD 50).
    • Intellectual Researchers and Scientists (cost for up to 5-year period is on a case by case basis).
    • Refugees and Political Asylum Seekers (cost for up to 5-year period is USD 50).


The Labor Ministry issues work permits to foreigners in Guatemala in the following categories:

  • Foreign residents who have a Guatemalan spouse or Guatemalan children. The following are the requirements for applicants in this category:
      • Written offer of employment
      • Photocopy of the applicant’s residency visa or temporary visa (or documents showing such visas have been applied for)
      • Police records
      • Children’s birth certificate
      • Marriage certificate
      • Written request addressed to the Ministry of Labor
  • Resident foreigners who do not have a Guatemalan spouse or children:
      • Applicants should request the work permit application form at the Ministry of Labor. The prospective employer has the responsibility to submit the application.

Once all documents are presented to the Ministry of Labor, work permits are usually granted to eligible foreigners within 15-20 days.

The Ministry of Labor is located at:

7ª. Avenida 3-33, Zona 9
3er. Nivel, Edif. Torre Empresarial
Oficina de permiso para extranjeros
Tel. 502-2422-2538