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What if I don’t have residency?

This is such a common question. People want to move here but don’t yet have residency. They are concerned with the process, what if they move here and don’t get it and so on. Having obtained residency in three Central American countries, I consider myself at least close to an expert.

First, if you don’t have residency and even if you don’t think you won’t qualify for residency, don’t panic. If you love it here, move here. While you will need documents from your home country, you should be able to do all that by mail. 99% of the time, things will work out.

Now, the official scoop can be found at http://www.migracion.gob.gt/ which includes all the residency options, listed in Extranjería. That said, what happens if you don’t have residency?

  1. Assuming you entered on a tourist visa, you can stay for 90 days.
  2. When your 90 days is up, your passport needs to leave the country. I said passport because I know people who pay someone to take their passport to Mexico and back. Legally, of course, you need to go but there are options.
  3. If you over-stay your visa you can be fined. But, apparently the fine is negotiable.
  4. If you never going to leave Guatemala, you can probably stay and just ignore the law. You could “get caught” but, in general, it won’t happen.

OK, bottom line, just do it. Am I suggesting you do something illegal? No. I am simply suggesting that you should worry less and go for what you want. It is extremely likely all will work out.


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