Visa Renewal in Guate City

It happens to all of us…you find yourself towards the end of your 90-day visa and Tapachula just isn’t calling your name. While going to Mexico can be easier if you’re coming from Xela or westward, sometimes you just can’t resist the appeal of the big city.

Renewing your passport in Guatemala City isn’t as difficult as it’s made out to be. However, there are two things you need to know about this process: first, you can only do this once. Second, you need to do this at least 8 days before your visa expires. With that in mind, it’s easy-peasy if you bring all your required documents.

Those documents are:

Black and white passport photo (one photo). You can get this done in Xela in 24 hours but there are places in Guatemala City that will do it in less than five minutes. They are clustered around the U.S. Embassy and there’s one in the immigration building, too.

B&W photocopy of your passport main page with your photo (two copies). You may want to make a photocopy for yourself. There’s a photocopy place in the building.

B&W photocopy of the page with the entry stamp (two copies).

B&W photocopy of a credit card (two copies). Cross out the last three or four digits of your credit card number and the code on the back near your signature.

A form. You can either download it online or complete it when you get to the office. It’s brief.

Go to the “Oficina de inmigración.” If your taxi driver asks which building you want (there are two, about a block apart), specify the one for immigration, not passports. If you haven’t gotten your photocopies yet, there’s a photocopy shop on the first floor. On the second floor, if you haven’t completed your form, go to the first teller on the right of the half-moon of tellers and ask for the form for extending a 90-day tourist visa. Complete the form and stand in line for teller 3.

Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that you might be attended to by the teller who wears half of a “best friends” broken heart necklace. She might look like your friend’s younger sister, but she’s definitely capable. Hand over your pile of documents and wait while she sorts them and confirms that you’ve given her everything on the list. She’ll hand you a receipt and tell you to come back in 8 days.

This is the main drawback of this process: you have to come back. But if you have plans to come back anyway or if you just really like Guatemala City, this won’t be a problem. You can come back for your passport any number of days after 8 later. Go to teller 2 and hand in your receipt. Wait until she calls your name, and then get a document from teller 2 on the other side of the room. Pay Q115.95 downstairs and photocopy the receipt of payment. Bring this back to the first teller 2 and hand it all in. She’ll bring back your passport momentarily, and you should confirm it’s been stamped. Sign it out in the big book and then go on your way for another 90 days and keep on enjoying Guate!


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