Getting your Guatemala visa extension in one hour 2020

guatemala visa extension

Update 25/05/2020 : Until the state of calamity is over in Guatemala, anyone with a valid visa on March 5th can stay in the country without getting an extension.

Updated 4/3/2020 following reports of another change in the procedure.
Step by step guide to the new express Guatemala visa extension procedure including maps, Transmetro and chicken bus directions to the immigration office.

Sometimes, three months is not enough time in Guatemala, and tourists are required to get their visa extended once their initial visa on arrival is up. In our case, we were living and working in Antigua Guatemala, and as the 90 days mark approached, we began researching ways to get that visa extension. We quickly realized there is a lot of conflicting information online about how to get your Guatemala visa extension. At first, it seems pretty simple, you can either do a visa run, where you exit and re-enter the country, or you can get your visa extended at the immigration office in Guatemala City.

But how exactly these need to be done is where it gets confusing. Guatemala changed its visa policy in December 2018, in late 2019, and even in early 2020. The procedure to get a new visa is now very different than it used to be. Under the new guidelines, you no longer need to wait a week to pick up your visa in Guatemala city. For this reason, the once very popular visa run is no longer the best option. We will update this article if we hear of new information and as always, feel free to leave us comments below about your own experience so that we may help other travelers!

How long do Guatemalan visas last?

For people coming from one of the 85 visa-free countries, you get a stamp on arrival that is good for up to 90 days. Make sure that the customs officer manually writes 90 days. While the stamp is from Guatemala, the duration of your stay is within the C-4 border agreement zone. This includes Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. This means that even if you exit Guatemala to go to one of those countries, you will not get a visa extension, only a new stamp in your passport.

What is the difference between a visa run and a visa extension?

So when you travel to Mexico to get permission to continue your stay in Guatemala, your re-entry stamp is a new visa, not a visa extension. It works the same as a visa extension for your first extension.

For example, say you go to Guatemala in January and you get a visa stamp for 90 days. As the 90-day mark approaches in March, you can either get your next 90 days by getting an extension at the capital or by getting a new visa by going to out of the country and back. For you, each will give you another 90 days in the country. So even though you went to, say, Mexico to get your visa extended, technically that stamp is a new visa, not an extension. Beware, as of December 2019 we are getting reports that the extensions given on visa runs are 30 days, and official extensions either 30 days or 90 days. Nobody seems to know what determines the length yet. In 2020, we are getting word that part of this problem may stem from your original visa. If you were awarded just 30 days the first time, your following extensions will potentially just be 30 days. Beware, this information is changing rapidly and is controversial.

So why does it matter what we call it if the outcome is the same? Because after you have stayed 180 days in the country, regardless of whether your visa was extended or renewed, your next extension has to be done by leaving Guatemala and coming back in, not by going to the capital.

Doing a visa run to extend your Guatemala visa

Doing a visa run out of the country and back used to be the favored method. Until 2018, the visa extension process took 8 days, with two trips to Guatemala city. This is why the concept of a visa run got so popular. People instead preferred going out to Mexico for a while and return to Guatemala with a fresh 90 days stamp.

In late 2019 however, this seems to have changed. Many people have reported only getting 30 days on their way back to Guatemala. Visa runs may no longer be an option! We have yet to hear an official confirmation why but it seems the border agents have had enough of the scheme and want people to apply for a residency and get standard visa extensions. Reports also say that visa extensions granted in Guatemala city are only for 30 days now but some people are still getting 90 days. We are investigating.

Today, the visa run is an option if you already had an extension in this 180 days period. You must leave the country and the C-4 zone to get a new visa. But if you’re doing a run for the first time, here is what you need to know about using the visa run procedure to get your Guatemala visa extension.

After this, we’ll cover in-depth the process for getting a visa extension in one hour in Guatemala City.

Where should you go for your visa run?

First, consider your destination. As we’ve highlighted before, the C-4 agreement means you cannot use Honduras, El Salvador, or Nicaragua to extend your visa. Your nearest options, therefore, are Mexico and Belize. Costa Rica is also a possibility but much farther away.

Normally Mexico is the favored choice. As long as you stay within the “free border zone” of about 25km and don’t stay more than 72 hours in the country, you do not need to pay the tourist tax of $25. Belize will charge you $20 upon exiting the country regardless of the time spent within. Belize is also much more expensive than Mexico and Guatemala to travel, so as far as Dirt Cheap Travel goes, it’s not our choice.

Going to Mexico for your visa extension

The favored option for doing a visa run is normally through Tapachula, Mexico. It’s one of the easiest borders to reach by public transport. Be sure to get an exit stamp from Guatemala and an entry stamp from Mexico as the border agents on both sites are known to be scam friendly. While you can try to extend your visa run into a little side vacation, remember to stay within the 25km border area and keep in mind there really isn’t that much to do near the border.

Officially, you have to stay 72 hours in Mexico before you can re-apply for the Guatemalan visa but most people we’ve talked with say a couple of hours should suffice. In any case, double check that you’re getting stamps upon exit in Mexico and entry in Guatemala and that the number on the stamp is, again, 90 days. This procedure can be repeated forever, until you want to apply for a residency in Guatemala. This may no longer be the case as of November 2019! Many have reported getting only 30 days extensions, both on visa runs and at the immigration office in Guatemala city while others are still getting 90 days.

We personally have not taken this route, as we simply used the one-hour visa extension option described below. For this reason, we won’t go too far into details as we like to write from our own experience rather than hearsay.

Getting your Guatemala visa extension in one hour

"Direccion General de Migracion" is the building you want.
“Direccion General de Migracion” is the building you want.

As we’ve said above, you no longer need to wait eight days to get your visa extension. You can now get it the same day and the whole procedure from the moment you walk into the immigration office to your exit with a visa extension can take as little as one hour! All within Guatemala City.

This was a life-saver to us as we had spent a lot of time doing research trying to figure out which option was best. Between spending days in Mexico or having to wait a week for the extension to be done in Guatemala city, the process seemed annoyingly long. Accounts of both methods hinted at bribery and corruption attempts being frequent, especially if you don’t speak Spanish well.

Then we heard that the method had been updated. No one could tell exactly how, but Guatemala was issuing visa extensions at a much faster rate. We were told the processing time had gone done from 8+ workdays to a mere half a day. To our surprise, it was even faster.

After deliberating a little bit, we decided to try this new method. Below you will find our step by step instructions, including transport and maps from Antigua to the Immigration office. We were happy to do this all in the same day: leaving morning, getting our extensions and even visiting a cool museum before being back to Antigua by the early afternoon.

Step by step guide for getting your Guatemala visa extension

Getting from Antigua to Guatemala City

Santa Cecilia Transmetro station from Antigua chicken bus
Get from the chicken bus to station Santa Cecilia, 330 meters.

For this part, we’ll assume that you are like us and like to travel for cheap. Likewise, if you are ready to extend your visa you probably have been in Guatemala for long enough to know about chicken buses. If you want more information on the matter, you can read our articles on How to get from Guatemala City airport to Antigua and Safety on chicken buses.

  • Take a chicken bus from Antigua bus station to El Trebol (Q10).
    -These buses are generally blue and will take about one hour.
  • Exit at El Trebol.
    -The bus will take a turn left and drop you next to some taxis waiting.
  • Walk towards the Santa Cecilia Transmetro Station. The path from the chicken bus to the station shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes and is, from our experience, the safest place to be in Guatemala city. This is because there is a big police station just by the transmetro station. One time, we counted 24 police cars and 16 policemen in only 5 minutes.
Map of the Transmetro in Guatemala City
Map of the Transmetro system in Guatemala City (click to expand)
  • Take the Transmetro that’s headed towards Plaza Barrios (As opposed to Centra Sur) and hop off at Plaza Municipal.
  • Here some suggest taking another Transmetro towards the immigration office. We can’t find why. It’s longer to backtrack to the station, wait for the bus, ride for one station and then backtrack again 1 ½ block towards the office.
  • Instead, we suggest you simply walk from Plaza Municipal towards the Migracion office. The Direccion General de Migración is a seven-story building on the corner of Via 3 and Ruta 4 in Zone 4. Note that there are two offices really close together, the other is the passport office (centro de Emision de Pasaportes) on Avenida 6a, two blocks away. The annoying thing is that even when you type in the exact name of the correct office into Google maps, it still gives you the passport office. The office you want for your visa extension is a couple of blocks away.

    Beware: many blogs have this information wrong. Their official address, on Google maps, appears in the wrong location: a passport office. We double checked and went to both places, trust us only one of them will give you your extension (see our pic as proof ;).) Its coordinates are, in Google maps, 766FJFCM+C9. The building is right on the corner of the main road.

Extra info:
Corner of Ruta 4 and Via 3, Zona 4, Guatemala City (Plus code for Google maps is 766FJFCM+C9)
Hours : Monday-Friday 8am-4 :30pm
Number : +502 2411 2411
Website :

Map from Zona 1 to Immigration office in Guatemala city
Final stretch of road, from Plaza Municipal to the Immigration office

The visa renewal procedure in Guatemala City

You will need:

  • Visa extension application (Get it at Migracion for Q2, the online version is always outdated)
  • Passport with 6 months validity
  • A copy of both sides of your credit card (Or proof of onward travel)
  • $25 (pay in quetzales, about Q190, you will be given an exact exchange rate)
  • Pen

Until November 2019, the following items were also required: one passport sized photo, 2 copies of your passport info page, a copy of your passport’s Guatemala entry stamp page. As of March 2020 we are getting many reports that this is no longer the case. We will be getting our new extensions in April 2020 and will, as usual, update this guide accordingly. Many thanks to all those who commented on their own experience, we really appreciate!

*note: Photocopies can no longer be made directly at the migración office. A shop next door will sell you the form and copies for Q2 each. Rest in peace, tiny copy shop. Making copies in Antigua should cost only Q0.15 per page but sadly, the form is never kept up to date on the migraci ó n website. We will post the most up to date one next time we go. Feel free to do the same in the comments!

Alright, so you’ve found the right office. Time to get that visa renewed! For us, it was 10:25 when we walked in. If you’re Guatemalan, expect to go through some security. If you’re a foreigner, expect to be let in no questions asked. If you need photocopies or don’t already have the immigration application filled, you need to get it next door for Q2.

The clerk with the forms and the printer used to be conveniently hidden to the left of the bank kiosk and was so easy to miss! Recent reports all point out that he no longer exists. Whether this is temporary or permanent, we don’t know. At the very least, toilets are located near to where he used to be so there’s that.

Completed application in hand, go upstairs to the second floor, wait in line for the next available attendant at the ‘information’ window, on the right. It shouldn’t take too long. When we got to the window, the attendant asked for our passport photos, and accepted them even though they were color, because they were on matte paper. As passport photos are no longer required, you can expect this step to be a bit different. We will update when we get our next extension in April 2020.

The attendant will also ask for your visa extension application and the copy of both sides of a credit card. Then the attendant will hand all of your documents back, give you a number and ask you to sit in the waiting area until your number is called. We waited for only 25 minutes!

When our number was called and we went up to the correct window, the attendant asked for visa application and credit card copy. After looking at our form and gluing some information to it, she then gave us a formal invoice, asked us to go downstairs and pay, and return with the receipt. This was 11:00.

We went downstairs, paid Q193.25 at the Banco Rural window ($25), and went back upstairs with our receipt in hand. Remember, while the fee is quoted in US Dollars, only Quetzales are accepted.

When you get upstairs, go directly to the window you were at, no getting a new number or waiting forever. The attendant looked at our bank receipts, stapled it with our applications, took our real passports and told us to sit down and wait about 10 minutes until she called us.

Within 10 minutes, she called us and handed back our passports with our visa extension sticker inside. We left the building by 11:25. Simple as that.

The new visa extension procedure is so much faster!

What a huge difference from the majority of information we found online! From claims that you have to go through this process while leaving your passport for 8 days, to the corruption experienced by some during their visa run in Mexico, we are more than happy with the new procedure.

Overall, we were quite impressed with the efficiency. The last time we had to do a visa extension was in Egypt, and that was one of the most chaotic, trying parts of our adventure in the country.

We should note that a lot of the info online about visa extensions in Guatemala is conflicting. It’s not that people are necessarily wrong, as the procedure has changed. Regardless, we are worried that most websites, including Google maps, list the incorrect location of the migración office. We update this guide regularly but as we do not get extensions every month, we also rely on your comments to help us keep the information up to date. Thanks!

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That was so quick we got to visit Guatemala City

The time saved allowed us to spend a bit more time in Guatemala City. While most tourists don’t visit it because of safety concerns, we can certainly vouch for it. Zona 1, or downtown, is safe during day time and has a wealth of interesting sights and museums.

The Postal museum is free and is along your way, if not overly exciting, while the Coffee District of Guatemala will remind you of the most hipster neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Also, consider the Museo del Ejercito, the Ex Fort San José. It is cheap with good views and very interesting! As a bonus for tourist-phobics like us, nobody ever visits it. If you go on a weekday, the staff will probably be very surprised to even see someone try to get in. We got a free tour, in Spanish, of this interesting historical site.

3 more months in Guatemala

And that’s it! You now have another three months to explore Guatemala, and it only took you an hour; half a day if you count transport. We’ll keep this article up to date as we hear new information.

Be sure to like our Facebook page to keep up to date on the visa renewal policies!

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Have you, dear Dirt Cheap Travelers, got your visa extended in Guatemala recently? Do you advocate for the visa run instead? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get more helpful advice on cheap world travel. Share this!

60 thoughts on “Getting your Guatemala visa extension in one hour 2020”

  1. Hi there,
    We just did the extension yesterday and we can give you some updates.
    Firstly we wanted to thank you for this post, it was really helpful!

    So we took the chicken bus from Antigua to the “Estación El Trebol. This costs Q20 per person.
    Then you walk to “Estación Santa Cecilia”. There you take the Transmetro. It is actually a bus and not a metro 😉 It’s just called Transmetro. You hop off at “Estación Municipalidad de Guatemala”. This costs you only Q1. From there you walk 10 minutes to the “Instituto Guatemalteco de Migración”. This is the building where are you doing the extension.
    You can just type in all these places in Google Maps like we wrote in the brackets and you will find it.
    So we arrived 09.45 a.m. at the migration and there were already people waiting with blank forms in their hands. We just told them, that we want to do the extension (Spanish “prórroga”). He handed out the form at no costs. After that we had to wait in line for 1 hour on the sidewalk until we could enter the building. The rest of the procedure is exactly like described in the post.

    You have to show them either a copy of your credit card or an onward ticket to make the extension. Both copies, no matter if credit card or onward ticket, must have the same name as the person who is doing the extension!!!!
    We had some hassle, because although we had 2 credit cards, but both cards are in my name (Marco). They didn’t accept one of these cards for my wife. So even we are married, they wanted to see a credit card which has the name of my wife. So the only way out is to buy a fake onward ticket.
    We actually could trick them with a debit card 😉 My wife found an image of her debit card on her phone and we said it is a credit card. They guy didn’t check it.

  2. Hello,

    Do you know how much is the fine fee for for going 12 days over the 90 day limit? I assume they will fine me at the airport when i exit.

    Appreciate all the info!

  3. Thanks for the helpful info. Just renewed my visa today (5/28/2021).
    Some updates:
    – Address & step by step process are all accurate
    – Do arrive early. I arrived at 10 AM, and had to stand on the line for 2+ hours on the sidewalk. There were many people.
    – Application form the website is up to date. My suggestion: use the one from their website and once you arrive, go to the shop next to the building where they sell it for Q2, if it’s different, then just buy and fill it out again, otherwise, you can save a bit of money.
    – Required documents are all listed on the application form. Nothing more or less.
    – If you forget your pen, there is a small kiosk next to the building selling Bic Pen for Q2.
    – Process was very fast and efficient. I spent about 40 min total in the office, mainly because I had to wait long when making the payment at the bank. Otherwise, it’s only around 15 min total. Amazing.
    – Listen carefully when your number is being called. The announcement was only in Spanish and was not clear at all. The screen showing the numbers being called showed wrong numbers.

  4. Wonder wonder

    Great info, thank you! I arrived in Guatemala on January 2, 2021 but I already know that I will want to extend. Being that I’ve only been here less than a month, how soon can I go to the city to get my extension? Does it need to be within a certain time frame of it expiring or can I go now?

  5. Hola! First of all that’s a great article. I’ve been looking for info on how to get it done and your article plus all the great comments covers all the bases.
    I’m an expat. Been on lockdown since about February 2020. Passport up for renewal around April 15, 2020. Haven’t got an extension. Now I’m getting ready to travel to Colombia. Question: Before heading to the airport should I go to Immigration and get the extension? Do you have information on how the airport processes visas and overstays during coronavirus?


  6. hi there,

    I know this may sound like a silly question but is this visa renewal system only applicable to US citizens? I have a UK passport and need to extend my visa and am just wondering if I can also benefit from getting a visa extension in one hour?

    Thanks to anyone who may be able to inform!

    1. It’s applicable for any foreigner in Guatemala. I am Guatemalan and my Canadian friend has this benefit too

      1. Very helpful article. Jannia, we noticed you are the most recent reply to this post. We are US citizens and need to extend 3 months in mid-June. Is there any updated information concerning the extension process?

        Thanks, Bill and Denise

  7. Regarding Visa Runs: We’ve heard of an incident of El Salvador (one of the C-4 countries) not accepting a visa renewal for a stay outside of Guatemala less than 72 hours. Although this rule may have changed for Guatemala itself, it may not be accepted by the other C-4 countries. Like the 30-day vs 90-day renewal, this may be dependent upon the individual border official. We’ve always stayed outside for more than 3 days and view it as a mini-vacation. Be friendly with the immigration personnel and don’t irritate them. They are the ones determining your fate.

  8. Hello! Thanks for the detail on this post. I have a question that hopefully someone can answer. I was driving my van to Costa Rica and stopped at Lake Atitlan for Spanish lessons when COVID started. I flew home in May and left my van in Antigua. I arrived here two weeks ago so I know my passport is fine for myself but can I get an extension for my van now because I now only have two weeks left on the vehicle visa? I’m not sure how the vehicle visa works and I don’t particularly want to drive through the city unless completely necessary. Thanks!

    1. Hey thanks for your comment, sorry, no we don’t have experience with Car documents and all. Tell us if you find some information so that we may update our ressource accordingly!

      1. Is this still the process after COVID stuff has let up? I got here in October and will need to renew my visa soon.

        1. As far as we are aware, yes. Previously, the Guatemalan government had suspended need for renewal. However, they have resumed standard practice. Please keep us updated when you get your extension, we like to keep this guide up to date for everyone and we much prefer relying on user feedback than official sources, especially in Guatemala.

          1. Hi there very helpful! I was wondering when was the standard practice resumed and when getting an extension is a credit/debit card absolutely necessary?

  9. I just followed your superb directions! Everything was as you said! Well done! Just a few tips to help:

    • Instead of walking, catch an Uber (if you don’t have a cell phone, your hotel or host can help).

    I’m staying in Guatemala City, Zone 10. 15 minute drive and the trip was 25 Q ($3.30 USD), and took me exactly to the Migracion building!

    • Everyone was very kind and helpful. Relax!

    • I arrived into Guatemala March 02, so technically my passport stamp expires 90 days later, or May 30.

    Surprisingly GOOD news: However! Due to the Covid-19 shut down (Which was enforced May 16 and continues as of today), those days will not be counted against any tourist!

    What that means is I’ve used March 02-15 (14 days) of my passport stamp. Once the shut down is lifted completely, then the tourist days will resume, giving me 76 more days beginning the day AFTER the quarantine is lifted!

    I repeated the information to the Migracion official in English and Spanish to make sure I understood what she was saying, and she assured me I was fine, and wouldn’t have any complications at the airport (when I depart in late June) once my original 90 days end on May 30. So, I could just toss my application (shredding it at the hotel)!

    Thanks again for posting your wonderful tips. They were very helpful, and I hope mine will help other tourists!

    1. Thanks! I actually have just added an update at the top of the article about not needing extensions for the moment, hope you enjoy your stay in the country!

  10. Pingback: Backpacking Guatemala: Where to go and what to do - Out There

  11. First of all the post is very detailed, thank you!!!
    I need to ask, do to the new situation we are currently going through (Corona) is there any way to get an extension on line? Or will there be any exception for people who go over there 90 day limit?

    1. Sadly, I wish I knew! Guatemala is notoriously unstable when it comes to policy. At the moment, they believe washing the streets of Antigua will stop the infection. Its possible they will be lenient with overstays but we haven’t heard anything about it. As far as we know the transport system was put to a significant halt. We evacuated last Friday when we saw things going to shit, as they say. If anything, I’d say don’t put yourself to harm just to get an extension. Visa runs are not an option but driving out of country to Mexico still is, if you need. Beware Mexico is ignoring the crisis at the moment.

      Best of luck

  12. Good info here. I’ll chime in and say the official form only states you need a copy of credit card, form filled and passport. Copy shop on the first floor is gone, so you have to go next door and buy the form and make copy for 2q each! Better to do elsewhere before coming.

    Please note that there’s something sneaky going on with the expiry dates on visas though. I had 90 days from Dec 4, 2019 which I thought would expire March 4 (based on my previous extension sticker saying Sept 6 to Dec 6, or actually 91 days, implying that 1 day is Sept 6 to 7th, rather than 6 AND 7).

    However, they said I was 2 days late, which is simply impossible. I’d accept 1 day late – perhaps the extra day from my previous extension was an error, but it’s impossible that I was 2 days late. We literally counted it on the calendar and he deferred to the typical Guatemalan excuse that “fíjese, the system says you’re 2 days late”. Another person who entered on Dec 5 (exactly 90 days, or even 1 day early if the math on my previous sticker was correct) had to pay a one day fine – Q15/day.

    My extension is only for 88 days, so they’ve counted my 2 “extra” days against me,and expires May 31, I and is in fact 88 days. So, the previous extension of 91 days (while saying 90), seems to be an error. However going by that math – counting the start date as 1 – 180 days from Dec 4 is June 1. So, yeah, they robbed 1 day and 15q from me, and their previous error cost me the other 15q. It’s not the money, but the principle and time lost.

    So, I recommend counting all of the calendar days starting on the day you entered Guatemala, and going to renew at least one day earlier than that. Losing a day on your potential stay is worth not having to deal with numerous extra steps.

    The process is otherwise quite efficient now.

    1. Thanks for this information, we’re working on a slight rewrite to include your comments. Policy has been changing non stop since November it seems. We’ll be extending ours again in just a few weeks as well.


      1. No problem.

        A couple other things

        “Normally Mexico is the favored choice. As long as you stay within the “free border zone” of about 25km and don’t stay more than 72 hours in the country, you do not need to pay the tourist tax of $25.”

        This isn’t accurate. You can get a 7 day visa for free and go anywhere in country with it. 25km zone is for vehicles to enter without permit.

        ” At the very least, toilets are located near to where he used to be so there’s that.”

        Security told me there’s no toilets and directed me down the street. You’re correct that they don’t check foreigners at all – I had a pocket knife in my bag once.

  13. Thanks for all of this information!

    So if I get an extension in Guatemala, will this also cover me for travel through El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras? Or is the visa extension just for Guatemala?


    1. Hi Michael,
      You’re welcome! The visa extension applies to all countries within the C4 agreement, so it includes El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. Any time spent in those countries counts against the 90 day extension.
      Happy travels!

        1. Got my extension today ?
          Arrived at around 2pm and it took 90 minutes. All I needed was the form (which I got from the copy shop next door), passport, copies of debit card and $190ish quetzales.
          They accepted my debit card which was great. They didn’t seem to look too closely at the copies.
          I received a 90 day extension on top of what I already had left on my original 90 days.
          Thanks again for this amazing guide!

  14. Just went there today. I just provided the below:
    – my passport
    – application form (Q2 from the shop next to the office building)
    – front & back copy of my credit card
    – Q192 (=$25 visa fee)

    *Everything done in 50mins

    Thanks for clarifying the immigration office and the passport office, as well as the picture. When I ordered the uber, I typed in the “General Directorate of Migration”, the driver still dropped me at the passport office.?

    1. 50 minutes, that’s great! And yeah people confuse those buildings all the time. Thanks for reading, and be sure to like us on our Facebook page for more travel content.

  15. Update as of 12/12/19,
    The link to the old form above is obsolete, the new form can be purchased in the copy shop next to immigration for Q2
    Passport photos are not required
    Nor photocopies of the passport
    Debit cards are still not accepted
    Bank letters are no longer accepted

    1. Thanks for the update John! That’s a very interesting update! We know the form online is outdated, sadly. Procedures seem to change very often. Just to clarify, you say you needed 0 photos, 0 passport photocopies. What photocopies did you need, otherwise?

      Thanks for helping us keep this updated!

    2. If “Bank letters are no longer accepted” what IS accepted for financial proof? I have not bought travelers checks in years, and use only my debit card in Guatemala. What is required then?

      1. Proofs of onward travel were accepted when we did ours. This would be for example, a fake or refund(able) ticket to Mexico. I’m currently making mine here:

        As of late, however, the rules have been changing non stop and it’s hard to really know what’s going on.

  16. 11 December 2019: Updated the article regarding visa runs. It seems like this can only be done for 30 days now, no more 90 days. Can anyone confirm?

    1. I just got 90 extra days. I got the form from the copy shop next door. I just needed to bring my passport, form, and copy of my credit card. It took me 2 hours because the bank line to pay was so long. I got there at 8am right as it opened

      1. Excellent! We’re working on yet another rewrite of the procedures and your comment helps a lot! There has been a lot of conflicting information lately but seems there’s a clear trend now.

    1. Great useful post.
      Dereck one detail I am missing, so here is my question.
      II entered Guatemala the first time in April 2019, I had been 2 months trip in Mexico. Came back in Guatemala in september.
      Am I still eligible to apply for the visa extension one hour?


        1. regarding the new application form we need less documents see the google translation below

          Submit duly folded for admission, without studs or alterations.
           Original passport valid where the stamp of the last entry to Guatemala or
          immigration control certification.
           You can submit one of the following documents:
          to. Travel ticket
          b. International Credit Card
          c. Proof of inscription of Guatemalan guarantor updated.
           Proof of payment.

          1. Hello Arnaud sorry for the delay! Our email provider lapsed as we were in Irak (go figure!) Thanks for your comment. Did you go for your renewal yet? The form you listed is from 2018, it’s the one we also link to in our article. We found out, however, that the most current version has different requirements. Those are the ones we highlight in this article. We intend to go through the renewal procedure again by March, normally and will update accordingly. As a side note, I have just updated the article as it seems that the Visa Run option is no longer an option. Many people have reported getting only 30 days upon their re-entry instead of the usual 90.
            By the way, like us on Facebook! 😉


  17. The advice I was given by the people at migration was to blank out the three digit number on the back of the card. That should prevent anyone from using it online.
    The easiest way I found to do this was to take a photo of both sides of the card and paste them into a document. Then I blanked out the numbers before I printed it out. You could also blank out the expiry date if you wanted to be super secure.

  18. Thank you for sharing this great write up. I am actually planning to move out to Guatemala for a short term stay of 6 months. As a US citizen, I realize i get 90 days without a visa, but what is the easiest way to get the additional 90 days? I was already planning on visiting Columbia at the halfway point of my stay in Guatemala. Would my re-entry into Guatemala, qualify me for an extended 90 day visa? or would i still need to go to the immigration office?
    Sorry, If my question is basic, but im new to all this and its hard to find clear guidance. Thank you!

    1. Indeed, flying out to Colombia will get you a new visa upon re-entry. Just be certain to get an exit stamp at the airport and upon return, you should be fine! If you are moving, eventually you’ll want to apply for a residency permit which will allow you much more leeway. We are returning to Guatemala soon and will be able to update this guide is we hear of any changing procedure, as well as adding more information to the country! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. We don’t don’t often but you will receive updates when a new article is added.

      Live from the black sea coast,

  19. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be
    book-marking and checking back frequently!

    1. Thanks Simona!
      Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter and like our Facebook page for more budget travel advice. We try to consistently update our articles to give the most accurate info possible.

  20. Thanks so much for this useful step-by-step process and the valuable info of this post.

    If you ask your bank, a copy of both sides of your credit card is something you should never give to anyone (even authorities). It basically allows the person with that info to use your credit card online and purchase whatever they want…

    When you say “or proof of onward travel, copies of 4 traveler’s cheque worth $100 each”, would an exit plane ticket work instead of the credit card copy?
    Alternatively, what if you can proove you have a certain amount of money in the bank, which would show that you can financially sustain yourself for 3 months in Guatemala?


    1. Hey Julien,

      We’re glad you found the article useful. We really wanted to make something easy to follow and as painless as possible. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter for updates 🙂

      As for your question, I agree we’re all uncomfortable giving it and only reluctantly did so. While some places allow bank statements, we were not told that it was an option. We also did not specifically ask for it.

      As a proof of onward travel, a copy of your flight ticket should be plenty!

      If you go through the process, let us know if anything changed! This is most recent as of April-May 2019. We’ll certainly be updating it when we return to Guatemala later this year. For now, we’re heading to Turkey and Iraq!

      1. Thank you for your prompt answer Dereck!

        Then I will just get a flight ticket out of Guatemala. It’s possible to get flight tickets which are cancellable within 24h at no cost (using for instance). I’ve been doing this when travelling to new countries with no return ticket… But I bet you know that trick already 🙂

        Enjoy Turkey and Iraq – Would love to visit those one day too!

  21. Thanks for a great guide. I have already shared it with others. Here is another blog I find super helpful (especially for those of us who don’t live in Antigua) with info on how to get there from other parts of the capital and where to get photos taken near Migracion.

    The best advice I got was just to walk straight into the building and not to stand in line outside. You might worry about looking pushy but the line outside is for something else. And also to cover over the three digits on the back of your credit card before you photocopy it.

    I have been through the process 3 times and it gets quicker and easier every 6 months! Well done Guatemala!!

    1. Hi Naz,
      We’ve never experienced or heard of an instance where a debit card was allowed as an alternative to a credit card when getting a visa extension in Guatemala.

  22. Hi,
    thanks for such awesome info!
    Quick question what happens if I don’t have an entry stamp for Guatemala and overstayit my 3 months visa?

    1. Good questions! For overstaying your visa you’ll have to pay a modest fine. Make sure to get a receipt for overstaying. As for not having an entry stamp, we’re honestly not sure what the protocol is for that, sounds tricky. We’d love if you let us know how it works out! Good luck to you in your travels.

  23. Can the passport photo copies be any photo do they have to be the same one in your passport ? And also to get straight to the office not just from Antigua is it better to get a Uber or something like that I don’t want to have to walk and be lost trying to find my way there I prefer just to be dropped exactly where it’s at .

    1. Hey Bri! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
      The photos have to be “Passport style”. This doesn’t mean they should be exactly the same as your passport but the measurements and style should match those specifications. As to getting there, Uber is an option. More expensive of course, but Guatemala can be slightly disorienting! Just take with you copies of the small maps we provide in this article and have look at our article on travel apps so you can save on your phone an offline map of the area to be sure!

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