COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
July 21, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Guatemala

Guatemala
Republic of Guatemala
Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to COVID-19 and crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to COVID-19 and 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 3 Travel Health Notice for Guatemala due to COVID-19, indicating a 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 information on crime and U.S. government restrictions on personnel.

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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
No

Hague Convention Information

Guatemala is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).

Intercountry adoptions are not currently possible between Guatemala and the United States because the Government of Guatemala is not processing intercountry adoptions with any country at this time. 

In December 2007, Guatemala passed new adoption legislation that incorporated the Hague Adoption Convention into Guatemala’s adoption system, created the Guatemalan National Adoption Council (CNA), and established a transition period for cases initiated prior to its enactment. The Guatemalan government subsequently suspended new adoption applications until they could create a new adoption process. As of 2016, the CNA has completed its processing of the most of the transition cases that were pending when the new law went into effect. The three remaining transition cases are pending in various judicial processes. 

The Department of State remains unable to issue Hague Adoption Certificates or Hague Custody Declarations for new intercountry adoptions from Guatemala, because as of April 1, 2008, when the United States joined the Convention, Guatemala did not and still today does not have a Hague process in place. The Department, however, continues its efforts to work with the Government of Guatemala on establishing procedures to resume intercountry adoptions.          

In ongoing discussions with the Government of Guatemala about their readiness to resume intercountry adoption, they have indicated that their priority is to continue developing their domestic adoption processes, but they are receptive to ongoing discussions.   

Please see our Adoption Notice for more information.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Guatemala, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Guatemala
Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Tel: 011-502-2326-4000
Fax: 011-502-2326-4674
Email: adoptguatemala@state.gov
Internet: gt.usembassy.gov

Guatemala’s Adoption Authority
National Council on Adoption (CNA)
Address:Avenida Reforma 11-50, Zona 9
Tel:  011-502-24151600
Fax:  011-502-24151601
Email: cna@cna.gob.gt
Internet: cna.gob.gt  

Embassy of Guatemala
2220 R Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C.   20008
Tel: (202) 745-4952
Fax: (202) 745-1908
Email: consul@guatemala-embassy.org

Guatemala also has consulates in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Providence and San Francisco.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  adoption@state.gov     
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

Last Updated: February 5, 2019

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