How to Enter Guatemala

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

A valid U.S. passport is required for all U.S. citizens to enter Guatemala and to depart Guatemala for return to the United States, regardless of age. Even if dual nationals are permitted to enter Guatemala on a second nationality passport, U.S. citizens returning to the United States from Guatemala are not allowed to board their flights without a valid U.S. passport. Certificates of Naturalization, birth certificates, driver's licenses, and photocopies are not accepted by Guatemalan authorities as alternative travel documents. While in Guatemala, U.S. citizens should carry a photocopy of their passports with them at all times due to the high rate of passport theft and leave the original passport in a safe place.Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (Spanish only) website for the most current visa information.

An exit tax must be paid when departing Guatemala by air. The exit tax (currently $30) is generally included in an airline ticket price, but may be charged separately. There is an additional airport security fee (currently 20 quetzales, or approximately $2.60) that all travelers must pay at the airport.

Minors under 18 years old traveling with a valid U.S. passport do not need special permission from their parents to enter or leave Guatmala.

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less. That period can be extended for an additional 90 days upon application to Guatemalan immigration. (If the initial period of stay granded upon entry is less than 90 days, any extension would be granted only for the same number of days as the initial authorization.) There is a fine of 10 quetzales, or approximately $1.30, for each day that a traveler overstays his/her permission to be in Guatemala, which must be paid directly to the Guatemalan Immigration Agency. (U.S. citizens born in Guatemala are currently exempted from this fine.)

In June 2006, Guatemala entered a “Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement” with El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Under the terms of the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at immigration checkpoints. U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals who legally enter any of the four countries may similarly travel among the four without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries. Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum period of 90 days. Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the region beyond the period initially granted for their visit are required either to request a one-time extension of stay from local immigration authorites in the country where the traveler is physically present, or to travel outside the CA-4 countries and reapply for admission to the region. Foreigners “expelled” from any of the four countires are excluded from the entire CA-4 region. In isolated cases, a lack of clarity in the implementation of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to travelers. U.S. citizens who are also citizens of another country and who choose to travel within the CA-4 region using their non-U.S. passport should consult in advance with the appropriate regional authorities regarding visa requirements within the CA-4 zone.

A U.S. citizen whose passport is lost or stolen in Guatemala must obtain a new passport at the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible and present it, together with a police report on the loss or theft, to the Guatemalan Immigration Agency (Dirección de Migración), Sub-Director for Migratory Control ( Sub-director de Control Migratorio ) in order to obtain permission to depart Guatemala. The agency is located in Guatemala City at 6a Avenida 3-11, Zone 4. Office hours are weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; the telephone number is 2411-2411. No fee is charged by Guatemalan immigration for this service.

For further information regarding entry, exit and customs requirements, travelers should contact the Guatemalan Embassy at 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 745-4953, extension 102; fax (202) 745-1908. Visit the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry website, or contact the nearest Guatemalan consulate. (Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Providence, Phoenix or San Francisco).

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Guatemala. Neither a medical certificate nor an HIV test result is required when entering the country. Foreigners with a known HIV infection are not subject to specific residence regulations. There are no regulations regarding the control, deportation or expulsion of those concerned.

Special Travel Circumstances in Guatemala

Customs: Guatemalan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Guatemala of items such as antiquities and other cultural property. You should declare any amount of cash exceeding $10,000 that you bring into the country or the money may be confiscated by the authorities. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington, D.C. or one of Guatemala’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Enforcement of laws to protect intellectual property rights in Guatemala has been inconsistent. As stated above, in Guatemala, counterfeit CDs and DVDs are openly sold on the streets of major cities in violation of copyright laws. A number of raids, cases, and prosecutions have been pursued; however, resource constraints and lack of coordinated government action impede efficient enforcement efforts. Piracy of works protected by copyright and infringement of other forms of intellectual property, such as trademarks, remain problematic. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Access for the disabled: Travelers who are disabled and need to use a wheelchair will find access for the disabled limited in Guatemala. Except for major hotels, some government buildings and major museums that have special access ramps for the disabled, most buildings remain wheelchair-inaccessible. Visitors in wheelchairs to Mayan ruins such as Tikal are advised that these sites do not provide special access for the disabled.

Marriage: Non-Guatemalan citizens who wish to marry in Guatemala are required to provide proof of identity and civil status (indicating whether they are single or divorced). Prior notice of the marriage must be given in the Diario de Centro América (Guatemala's Official Record) and any large-circulation daily newspaper for fifteen days. The marriage must take place within six months of the publication of the notice or the publication loses validity and a new one is required with additional expense.

Pacific Beaches: Beware of strong currents, riptides, and undertow along Guatemala's Pacific coast beaches. They pose a serious threat to even the strongest swimmers. In July 2011, a U.S. citizen drowned as a result of the undertow in this area and two U.S. citizens drowned in the same area in February 2012. Signs warning of treacherous surf are rare and confined mostly to private beaches owned by hotels. Lifeguards are rarely present on beaches.

Volcanic activity: There are currently four active volcanoes in Guatemala. Volcanic activity has on occasion forced evacuations of nearby villages. In September 2012, increased activity of the Fuego Volcano caused the evacuation of several villages. Past eruptions of the Pacaya Volcano near Guatemala City have briefly closed Guatemala City's international airport.

Tourists planning to climb the Pacaya and/or Agua volcanoes during Guatemala's rainy season (May through October) should plan their climb for the morning hours when thunderstorms are less likely to occur. Climbers should monitor the weather situation and return to the base of the volcano as quickly and safely as possible if thunderstorms gather. INGUAT has organized an active community-based tourism program in San Vicente Pacaya to minimize the risk of armed robbery on Pacaya. Climbing volcanoes in groups is still highly advisable to reduce the risk of assault. ( Inguat website)

Earthquakes: Guatemala is a geologically active country. Visitors should be aware of the possibility of earthquakes at any time and the need for contingency plans. Typically, the country experiences minor earthquakes on a fairly reguar basis, every few months. On November 7, 2012, an earthquake registering 7.4 on the Richter scale struck the northern region of the country. The earthquake’s epicenter was just off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, near the Mexican border, where widespread damage was reported. More recently, on September 6, 2013, a 6.5 earthquake struck, again with an epicenter located in the northern part of the country, near the border with Mexico, no injuries were reported in that earthquake.

Storms: Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Guatemala are vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms from mid-May through November. Mudslides and flooding during the May to November rainy season often kill dozens of people and close roads. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available locally from the National Disaster Reduction Coordination Office (CONRED) and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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