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Guatemala Visa Policy | Visa-Free and Category A, B, C

A country known for its natural beauty and rich heritage, Guatemala is visited by backpackers on a budget, volunteers and international celebrities alike.

International travelers from over 80 foreign countries can enter Guatemala without a visa. Tourists from other nations need prior authorization from the government of Guatemala to visit the country.

Here's what foreign travelers need to know about the policies related to a Guatemalan visa.  

Explaining Guatemalan Visa

A Guatemala visa is a legal authorization issued by its government to foreign nationals to travel to the country. It also permits them to stay in Guatemala for a particular time period. 

Based on the purpose of the visit, duration of the stay and nationality of the applicant, they need to get different types of visas. 

The Guatemalan government issues Category A, B and C visas and temporary and permanent resident permits.

Who Needs a Visa to Enter Guatemala? 

Foreigners from visa-required countries should get a visa to enter Guatemala. Nations that fall under Category B and C need a visa to enter Guatemala even for tourism-related activities. 

Citizens of Category A (visa-free) countries too need a visa for entering the country if they wish to work and pursue higher education in Guatemala for a period longer than 90 days. 

Citizens of foreign nations listed under Category B or C are required to pay a processing fee for visas. The visas are again divided into two. They are known as single-entry and multiple-entry visas. 

The processing fees for both these visa types are different. 

Category A Countries. Entering Without a Visa 

Citizens of Category A countries can enter Guatemala without applying for prior travel authorization. They can cross the Guatemalan borders with their passports and in some cases with their ID cards. 

More than 80 foreign countries including EU nations, Canada, Mexico, Vatican City, the United States of America, Japan, UAE, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Iceland, Australia, Russia, Panama and Colombia are listed under this category.     

They are allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days within a validity period of 180 days. 

Permanent residency card holders of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras and US Green Card holders too can enter Guatemala without a visa irrespective of their country of origin or nationality. 

Apart from the above-mentioned categories, Guatemala allows visa-free entry to foreign passengers who transit through the country provided they leave the airport within the same calendar day. 

Such travelers need to show an onward flight ticket to a third country. 

Diplomatic, service and official passport holders of foreign nations like India, Cuba, Papua New Guinea and Serbia are not required to get a visa to enter the country. 

Category B Countries

Travelers coming from Category B countries such as Bangladesh, India, Botswana, Moldova, Cambodia and Jamaica need a consular visa to enter and remain in Guatemala. 

They need to apply for a Guatemalan visa at its consular mission in their home country. 

They must contact the embassy and find out the visa requirements and documents needed for the application. 

The visa application is not online and applicants need to schedule an appointment with the Guatemalan embassy.

They can download the application form online and fill it up before going to the embassy to submit them. 

Note that only a Guatemalan embassy can give the exact details of the documents needed for the visa.

The most common documents asked for by a Guatemalan embassy are a completed application form, passport, medical insurance and proof of funds. They may also ask for travel and accommodation itineraries.   

Visa Rules for Category C countries

Travelers from category C countries such as China will have a personal interview before processing their visas. 

The documentation will be almost the same as the category B country visa. The extra step will be the interview. They have to gather all the supporting documents while appearing for the interview. 

Central America for Border Control Agreement  

Singed in 2006, the Central America-4 (CA-4) agreement allows free movement between Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Citizens of these countries cross the borders without any checks.

Foreign nationals in possession of visas from one of these countries can cross the borders without many restrictions. However, they need to enter the other country by road. The facility is not applicable if they plan to fly.  

Like a Schengen agreement between European Union states, the CA-4 visa agreement aims at establishing a streamlined and harmonized border control between the member states.  

Short-term Visas   

A Guatemalan short-term visa is a travel authorization granted to foreigners to enter and stay in the nation for a period not exceeding three months. 

These visas are issued for tourism, education, employment, business and meeting a family member.  

The visa can be extended. For this, they need to apply again at the Guatemalan immigration office with the required documents. 

The temporary residency permit can be extended to a maximum period of two years. However, this is based on the decision of the immigration officials.  

Residence Permit 

A Guatemala residence permit is the legal permission to stay in the Central American nation. 

At first, the government of Guatemala issues a temporary residence permit for 90 days. Applicants must submit the required documents at the immigration office to get one. 

If they want to extend their residence permit for more than three months, they must apply for a Visa Ordinaria.

This will allow them to extend their stay for further six months. The Visa Ordinaria can be extended for two years.  

After this, they are eligible to apply for a permanent residency permit in Guatemala. 


Guatemala is known for its deepest lakes, active volcanos, Mayan temples, waterfalls, bustling cities and rainforests. 

The country is also affordable and people are friendly. Backpackers can have opportunities to earn a few bucks to support themselves while staying in this beautiful country. 

Foreign nationals who wish to explore the Central American nation and lend a helping hand in its conservation efforts must know about Guatemala's visa policy.

It will help them to legally enter and stay in the Central American nation.

They are also required to follow the rules and regulations associated with the visa so that their stay becomes an enriching experience.
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