Guatemalan citizen
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Becoming a Guatemalan Citizen

During the 47 years that I have lived in Antigua, I have co-founded and participated in many committees, associations and foundations to improve the quality of life for our residents.

Ranging today from education to micro-credit and promoting cultural activities, many of these meetings usually relate to finding solutions to problems that we have identified over the years. Four-plus years ago, I was attending one of the group association meetings (where a number of local committees meet), and mentioned that I didn’t vote—but I did enjoy having a voice. It was right before the 2007 elections.

While no one commented, it struck me like lightning that I should become a Guatemalan citizen, particularly since the U.S. allows dual citizenship. And the process began.

Many thought it was a “no brainer” since I married a Guatemalan (widowed), have two Guatemalan children, a Guatemalan business and have lived here so long. It was more work than I thought!

First to Migración, then to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, then to Gobernación in Guatemala City, back to Migración, Relaciones Exteriores (countless times).

Since it is a presidential decree, the paperwork was then sent to former President Colom—oops, they needed more flight information—back again—oops, they didn’t notice a stamp in my passport. Back again to the president’s desk.

Much to my dismay, Migración does keep track of all the airport paperwork we fill out —over 43 years, that was quite a few items. (I thought they made firecrackers out of old paperwork as they did in colonial times!)

This time, President Pérez Molina did sign it on April 9th and the presidential decree was published in the Diario de Centro América. I could have written a book and a half with all the paperwork and certainly have the side-stories to share.

All in all, at least now we can call the government offices and they find the information on their computers! I joined 18 other foreign nationals at Relaciones Exteriores on May 30th to be sworn in as a Guatemalan. I didn’t hire a lawyer and there were no fees (except for the Spanish language test). If “time is money,” it is priceless!

While I missed voting in the 2011 elections, I can now call it my country. That is priceless.

Guatemalan citizenshipRevue article: GUATEMALA INSIGHT by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian.


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  • Hello,

    Does Guatemala have a Citizenship program by investment? If yes, please let me have more information.



    • Thank you for your inquiry. I am not sure about a citizenship program by investment. You will want to ask at the Ministerio de Migracion office or ask a lawyer.

  • This is promising. I am an American Born person with a Guatemalan father. I am now 47 years old. I want to obtain my Guatemalan passport at this time, without relinquishing my USA passport. I understand many do this. However, as a person born here, do you know the procedure? Emails to the Consulate here in NYC result in various replies. I plan to visit Guatemala in Feb 2018. My father lives just outside of the city therefore can help me. However, he doesn’t know more than I. The internet is full of “yes, you can.” but I have not been able to confirm/secure any official process. If I don’t have to go to Guate, that’s great, but I don’t mind going either.

    Do you happen to know anything about this? Thank you kindly! Any information you can supply would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    • You will want to check directly with Migracion here in Guatemala as they have have changed their procedures this year. It is much easier if your father is Guatemalan. You could also check with a Guatemalan lawyer familiar with Migracion “tramites”.