How to get a 90 day tourist visa renewed in Guatemala City – as of April 2018.

Immigration Building
Immigration Building
Photograph Place
Photograph place right beside it

updated october 2018 after going through the process again

Visit 1: submitting the paperwork

A) Go to the DIRECCIÓN GENERAL DE MIGRACIÓN (Migracion y Extranjeria) building on the corner of Avenida 6 and Via 3 in Zona 4 of Guatemala City. (*1) You should aim to arrive before 11am.

B) Take with you:

  • your passport
  • one black and white passport photo. I got mine taken there (*2).
  • two photocopies of the photo page of your passport (they don’t need to be colour).
  • a completed VISA DE PRÓRROGA DE TURISTA form. Stick the photograph in the rectangle in the top right corner of the form.

plus one of the following:

– a photocopy of a credit card in your name, back and front on the same page (*3).

– a printout of a booking for travel outside the CA-4 region within the next 90 days (*4).

– bank letter or $400 US traveller’s check in your name plus a (legalized?) photocopy.

If you don’t have any of these last three then forge the flight details because the other option (getting a Guatemalan guarantor) is a major hassle for both of you.

None of the photocopies need to be legalised or notarised (except maybe the traveller’s checks. I don’t know anyone who has ever used this option). If anyone says they should be then question their sources.

Also take a pen in case you have to rewrite your form, a book to read and some snacks. You could be there all day.

(*5) is a few things I was told I would need but actually didn’t, so you probably won’t need either.

C) Walk straight into the building, through the left side of the door, through the electronic security gate, ignoring any queue of people lined up outside. (The first time I went I waited in the 2 hour long queue outside the building – because I don’t like to be a pushy Westerner – but when I finally got inside I discovered that they were all waiting for something else so I didn’t actually need to wait behind them.)

D) If you already have all the paperwork in order, skip to instruction E. If not, go to the photocopy booth at the back left of the small entrance foyer (blue sign) and ask for a VISA DE PRORROGA DE TURISTA (*6). It will cost you 1Q. You will probably have time to fill this form in while you are waiting in the queue upstairs. If you don’t read Spanish and won’t have a translation device with you then print off the translation guide below (*7).

E) Go upstairs (stairs are right beside the door you came in) to the SEGUNDO NIVEL (or UK’s first floor). Don’t be hindered by people waiting on the stairs. They are probably waiting for something else.

F) Go to the information desk on the right side of the big waiting room (to the right of booth 1). The clerk will check your papers then give you a ticket with a letter and a number e.g. C 115.

He can also stick your photo to the form if you didn’t do that yet. If you didn’t collect your photos yet (because they are still being developed next door) you can still ask for a number “Recogeré mi foto en unos minutos. ¿Puedo tener un número por favor?”

G) Sit in a seat and wait for your number to be called. There is a TV screen in the middle of the room where the called numbers appear along with the desk that you have to go to. If the screen is broken and you don’t know what your number sounds like in Spanish ask the person beside you “Disculpe. Como se dice esto en español?” Or just keep an eye on the person who was before you in the queue. Unless you were one of the first people in the building you will have time to go back out to pick up your photos at this point or get something to eat. If you come back in and your number has already been called just go up to the desk that seems most popular and hand over your stuff. They will almost certainly serve you without making you wait until the end. I found all the staff to be very friendly and helpful.

H) When your number is called, go to the assigned desk. They will give you a form to take down to the bank cashiers on the ground floor. There you will pay the fee of $25 but you have to pay it in Quetzales (about 200Q).

I) Take your receipt back to the desk you were at upstairs. Go straight to the desk and the clerk will process your request quickly (without asking any questions) then give you a form to bring back in a few days. They will write on the form what day you should return and what desk you should go to. I did this on a Wednesday and was told to return on the Monday (5 days later). I went on Tuesday instead and that was no problem.

 

Visit 2: collecting your passport

A) Go to the same building between 2 and 4pm on the day you were told, or any day after that. Walk straight into the building and up the stairs to the room with the 12 numbered desks. All you need to take is the form you received on your first visit: go directly to the numbered desk they wrote on your form.

B) Hand over the form, take a seat and listen for your name to be called. This is the only real wait of visit 2. It was 20 minutes for me, eventhough I turned up at 3:20pm after almost everyone else had been and gone.

C) The clerk will ask you to write your name, signature and the date in a book. Give you your passport and you are good to go.

D) Check your passport to make sure the visa extension is in it before you leave, just in case.

Notes

(*1) The office is on 6th Avenue of Zone 4 where Via 3 meets Ruta 4. 350m south of the 4 GRADOS SUR Transmetro stop. 200m north of the EXPOCISION stop. 250m northwest of the PLAZA DE LA REPUBLICA stop.

The office is open from 8am until 4:30 pm but you need to get your numbered ticket from the information desk BEFORE NOON (See instruction F) or you will not be seen that day. I got to the desk at 12:15 and was told to come back tomorrow, but I begged and pleaded and nearly cried and eventually he gave me ‘the last ticket of the day’. I wasn’t called to the booth until after 2:30pm.

(*2) Walk South East on Ruta 4 (after turning right out of the building) and the next place you come to (pictured) can do your black and white passport photos as well as photocopy your documents. I got 4 photos for 100Q. I didn’t have to wait to get them taken but it took 45 minutes to process (they said it would take 30). Rather than wait at the shop I joined the line outside immigration and made friends with the people in front so they would hold my place while I went back to get the photos later. As I say above, I don’t think I needed to wait in the line outside the building so this may be a moot point. You could probably start the process in the immigration building without the photo and go back when they are ready.

(*3) Debit card is not sufficient. Must be an unexpired credit card in your name. I photographed the two sides of my credit card then printed them out on the same piece of paper which was easier than trying to photocopy them both on the same sheet. The man at the desk blocked out the three digits on the back of my card (on the print out) because he doesn’t trust his colleagues not to use my card on line. I should have blanked them out before I printed it because they can probably still read them. I took the credit card with me to show the officer which was lucky because she found my printout hard to read and might have rejected it without the real card as evidence.

(*4) If you don’t have a credit card you need proof that you plan to leave the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua before the extended visa expires. A ticket for land, sea or air is sufficient. I didn’t have these so I forged them – though it turned out I didn’t need them since I had the credit card. The website said you need both but that is not true. To forge them I just clicked ‘forward’ on an email of some old flight details so that I could change the dates and destinations before emailing it to my other email address. Then printed it out and no one would ever know the difference. I didn’t have to test these out but I have heard it works. If you don’t agree with forgery for these purposes (I do plan to fly to Panama the month after next, I just hadn’t booked the flight yet) then the cheapest advanced bus ticket I have found is $30 from Nicaragua to Costa Rica with Ticabus.

(*5) I didn’t need to take any of these things with me so if you don’t have them don’t worry, you won’t need them.

A grey folder, a separate ID to get into the building, more than one photo, a photocopy of the Visa stamp that is about to expire, the details of a Guatemalan Guarantor who will sponsor you to stay in the country.

(*6) The VISA DE PRÓRROGA DE TURISTA is the form I filled in. If you can’t print it off here email me and I will send you one. I had printed off and filled in the VISA DE PRÓRROGA DE TURISTA form from the website but was told that it was the wrong form when I finally got to the desk upstairs. I tried to suggest they change the form on the website but you can guess how far that got me. I got this form from the ground floor photocopy booth for 1Q. You could do that too if you are unable to print it off in advance. They can also photocopy your passport page for you there.

(*7) This should be all the questions you need to answer on the VISA DE PRORROGA DE TURISTA form including other things they might ask you just for fun.

SPANISH ENGLISH POTENTIAL ANSWER
Datos Personales del solicitante. Personal data of the applicant
Nombre completo (según pasaporte) Full name (according to passport)
Nacionalidad Nationality Británico, irlandés, canadiense, estadounidense, australiano,
Profesión u Oficio Profession or occupation maestro, doctor, enfermera, piloto, ministro, traductor
Sexo Sex circle the male or female icon
Información migratoria del solicitante. Migratory information of the applicant.
Número de Pasaporte Passport number
Lugar de expedición Place of Issue (of Passport)
Fecha de vencimiento de pasaporte Passport expiration date
Fecha de expiración de la visa guatemalteca anterior Date of expiration of the previous Guatemalan visa 89 days (or 12 weeks and 5 days) after the date on your 90 day entry stamp.
Motivo de su solicitud de prórroga en territorio guatemalteco: Reason for your request for extension in Guatemalan territory: quiero visitar mas del pais
Dirección prevista en Guatemala: Address planned in Guatemala make it up if you don’t know, they are not going to check
Número de teléfono Guatemalan Phone number
Dirección de residencia y trabajo: Residence and work address
Correo electrónico Email Address
Información de contacto del solicitante. Applicant contact information

 

Good luck.

Please let me know if anything I said is no longer valid or true so that I can change it.

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