Get Your Permanent Residency in Guatemala

By Babs

Are you tired of doing border runs? Thinking of staying in Guatemala for a while? Maybe you have thought about making it your permanent or part-year home? If so, getting your residency has probably crossed your mind.

Rather than hire a lawyer that charges US$600-1,000, why not save your money and brave a truly authentic Guatemalan experience? It’s easier than you think. If you haven’t married a Guatemalan sweetie or given birth to/fathered said sweetie’s child, you must obtain temporary two-year residency first. A Guatemalan marriage or child gives you the right to go straight for the gold – permanent residency.

The requirements for the temporary residency are exceedingly similar to the permanent one – minus a birth certificate or marriage license. So, what are the requirements? Simple, oh so simple:

A color photograph – oddly size doesn’t seem to matter · A complete copy of your passport, authenticated

Certification from your embassy that your passport is valid

You shifty-eyed estadoudinenses (i.e. Americans) need a current police report, a verification that the police have nothing to report on you. You Canadians, Europeans and even you penal-colony Australians can skip that

Translation of the police report

A Guatemalan sponsor who promises to pay to send you home if you don’t behave yourself. Oh, and she or he must make a reported, taxable income equal to what the immigration office thinks it costs to fly you home. That would be $5,000 for an estadoudinense. What! You don’t know a Guatemalan with that much legal income?! No worries for you can hire a sponsor for the bargain price of Q3,000.

 Oh, and one tiny detail: all this has to be done con pasos de ley. Translation, after a 4-hour bus ride in the madrugada and waiting in line for another two, you discover that you need one more stamp from an office that closed 10 minutes ago and won’t re-open until Monday.

Remember, this is Guatemala and the process isn’t difficult, but it takes about a year on average.

For a fee, you can stop byXelaPages (in the Calvario neighborhood) and get a detailed copy of the steps needed to obtain residency. Babs is trying to recuperate her bus fare for all those extra trips she made to Guate for not following (er, not knowing) all the pasos de ley.

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