COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
October 8, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Guatemala

Guatemala
Republic of Guatemala
Do not travel to Guatemala due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to Guatemala due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.  

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Guatemala due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Guatemala.

Do not travel to: 

  • San Marcos Department (except the city of San Marcos) due to crime
  • Huehuetenango Department (except the city of Huehuetenango) due to crime
  • Zone 18 and the city of Villa Nueva in Guatemala City due to crime.

Country Summary: Violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics trafficking, is widespread. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. U.S. Mission personnel are prohibited from traveling to/throughout the above-mentioned areas, but are permitted to travel throughout the rest of Guatemala, including Tikal, Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Pacific coast areas in the Santa Rosa and Escuintla departments.

Read the country information page

If you decide to travel to Guatemala: 

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19.  
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.    
  • When traveling to Tikal, travel in organized groups that fly into Flores Airport. Remain in groups, stay on the principal trails leading to the Central Plaza and Temple IV complex, and avoid remote areas of the park.
  • When traveling to Lake Atitlán, use certified tourist providers and travel between villages on the lakeshore by chartered boat, as perimeter paths pose a serious crime risk and are not easily accessible by emergency services. Hiking in the area, while popular, is best undertaken with the assistance of a local guide to ensure safety, as criminals are known to target some routes.
  • When visiting Pacific coast beaches and resorts in the Santa Rosa and Escuintla departments, arrange travel through hotel, resort, or charter agents. Travel to and from hotels, resorts, and fishing charters via road from Guatemala City during daylight hours only.  
  • Visitors are strongly advised to avoid swimming in the Pacific Ocean, since currents and undertows are strong, and beaches lack adequate lifeguards and emergency response.
  • Visitors should not leave drinks unattended in bars and restaurants, and are advised to decline invitations from strangers to private parties or gatherings.
  • Consider hotels that offer secure parking, doormen, and a dedicated and professional security staff. 
  • Request security escorts, available for tourist groups, from the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT). 
  • Be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Avoid walking or driving at night. 
  • Do not attempt to hike walking trails or volcanoes without the services of a qualified local guide. Robberies are commonplace, and emergency response is lacking. 
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. 
  • Do not use public ATMs. 
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.  
  • Avoid using mobile devices in public. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Guatemala. 
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist

San Marcos Department – Do Not Travel

All U.S. Mission personnel and family members are restricted from traveling to San Marcos Department for personal travel, with the exception of the city of San Marcos. Narcotics trafficking is widespread and large portions of the department are under the influence of drug trafficking organizations. Several municipalities lack police presence and local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Avoid areas outside of major roads and highways.  

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.   

Huehuetenango Department – Do Not Travel

All U.S. Mission personnel and family members are restricted from traveling to Huehuetenango Department for personal travel, with the exception of the city of Huehuetenango. Narcotics trafficking is widespread and large portions of the department are under the influence of drug trafficking organizations. Several municipalities lack police presence and local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Avoid areas outside of major roads and highways.  

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.   

Zone 18 and Villa Nueva within the Guatemala Department – Do Not Travel

U.S. government personnel and family members are free to travel within Guatemala City with the exception of zone 18 and the municipality of Villa Nueva. The following zones in Guatemala City are of elevated concern to Embassy security staff due to crime: 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 17, 19, 21, and 24. These zones do not overlap with the typical tourism and visitor areas, with the exception of Zone 13, in which Guatemala International Airport is located.  Zone 13 should be avoided unless traveling directly to and from the airport itself. U.S. citizens should take appropriate security measures when traveling to and from the airport such as only using vetted transportation services, not displaying valuables or other signs of wealth, refrain from using mobile devices in public, and do not linger outside of the airport. U.S. citizens are advised not to hail taxis on the street in Guatemala City. Use radio-dispatched taxis (Taxi Amarillo), INGUAT approved taxis from the “SAFE” stand from the airport, hotel taxis, or vetted private drivers. 

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.   

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Guatemala

Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Telephone: +(502) 2326-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(502) 2331-2354
Fax: +(502) 2331-3804

General Information

Guatemala and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since January 1, 2008.

For information concerning travel to Guatemala, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Guatemala.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here

 

Hague Abduction Convention


The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Departmen's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Guatemala.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Fax: 202-485-6221
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website 

The Guatemalan Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Procuraduría General de la Nación, (PGN).  The PGN’s role is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.  They can be reached at:

Procuraduría General de la Nación
15th Avenue 9-69, Zone 13
Guatemala City, Guatemala 010013
Licda. Sara Payes
Tel. 22148787 ext. 2011
Email: procurador@pgn.gob.gt
Website:

To initiate a Hague case for the return of, or access to, a child in Guatemala, the left-behind parent must complete a Hague application and submit it to the PGN.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the PGN, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Guatemalan central authorities.  After the case is filed and accepted with the PGN, the PGN assigns an attorney to represent the Hague Convention application during the Hague judicial process in Guatemala, at no cost.  It is important to note that the attorney does not represent either parent's interests; rather, the attorney represents the Hague Convention application.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Guatemala.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Guatemala.  Once the case has been filed with the Court at the request of the left-behind parent visitation rights will be re-established.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to file Hague Convention applications with courts in Guatemala. The PGN assigns an attorney to represent the Hague Abduction Convention application. While not required, a parent may choose to hire a private attorney to represent his/her interests in the case. If a parent retains a private attorney, the attorney should contact the PGN as soon as possible after the filing of the Hague Abduction Convention application.

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City maintains a list of attorneys on its website. 

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Guatemalan law requires that a mediation meeting take place in every civil and family dispute, including Hague Abduction Convention cases, prior to a court’s hearing of the case. During this meeting, the judge informs the interested parties of the benefits of mediation. If the parties decline to pursue mediation, the case proceeds to litigation.

If the parties are interested in mediation, they must secure a private mediator as neither the court nor the GCA provides mediation services.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 26, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Guatemala
Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Telephone
+(502) 2326-4000
Emergency
+(502) 2331-2354
Fax
+(502) 2331-3804

Guatemala Map