Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to Guatemala

Guatemala is a Central American country that is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and a little of the Caribbean Sea. It is a representative democracy, and its capital is Guatemala City. While Spanish is the official language, there is also a presence of 22 local indigenous languages. Guatemala is very diverse. Its population is mainly Ladino (mixed Native and Spanish) and White (Spanish, Italian, German, British and Scandinavian). There are also sizable native populations, like K’iche, Kaqchikel, Mam and Q’eqchi, and “other Mayan” groups. There are also some mixes of Arab and African groups, and some Chinese. It is a developing country with wide gaps in wealth distribution. It also suffers from high crime and violence statistics.


To enter Guatemala, many nationals do not need a tourist card or visa.

If you do require one, you must submit the following to stay for up to one month:

1.       2 application forms

2.       2 passport photos

3.       Passport

4.       Travel tickets

5.       Stamped envelope, if applying through mail

6.       Bank statements for past 3 months

7.       Photocopy of credit cards, if applying through mail

Work Permit

To work in Guatemala as a foreigner, you are required to obtain both a work permit and residence permit. They both last for a year and can be renewed. You must have a job lined up. Your employer must initially arrange the application process. You can apply for it while you are in or out of Guatemala.

First you must obtain a residence permit, then a work permit, both of which you get in Guatemala. The Guatemalan entity must maintain a ratio of nine Guatemalan workers for every one foreign worker, unless this is a management position. The entity must pay a fine if this statistic is outnumbered.

Your Guatemalan sponsor (employer) is required to present the following documents:

1.       Sworn declaration of responsibility

2.       Sworn guarantee

3.       Job offer letter

4.       Act from Board of Directors

5.       Accounting certificate/tax return forms

You must submit the following documents:

1.       Complete passport copies for you and all of your dependents

2.       Resume, in Spanish

3.       Two passport photos

4.       Job title, description of duties in Guatemala

5.       Police records

6.       Certification of passport

A residence permit takes 3 months to process. A work permit takes 1-2 months.

Student Visa

To apply for a student visa in Guatemala, you are required to submit the following to your nearest consulate or embassy:

1.       Passport

2.       Recent photo

3.       Copy of passport certified by your nearest Guatemalan consulate

4.       If under age, letter of authorization from parents

5.       Acceptance letter from educational institution

6.       Police records

7.       Proof of funds

Moving Pets

In order to move your pet to Guatemala, you are required to get it microchipped. You must also have it vaccinated against rabies, and prove that the vaccination is working, like with a blood test certificate. You must also obtain an International Health Certificate, showing that your pet is healthy and is safe to travel. This document must be endorsed by a Guatemalan embassy.

Other Information

Click here for a directory of Guatemalan embassies.

Click here for a directory of Guatemalan government websites.

Click here for information about real estate in Guatemala.


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