Russia Travel Advisory
October 4, 2022

Do Not Travel and Leave Immediately

Intercountry Adoption

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Country Information

Guatemala

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

Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.

 

Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

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 extortion, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, narcotics trafficking and gang activity are common in Guatemala.    Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to criminal incidents resulting in a low arrest and conviction rate.  Guatemala’s National Tourist Assistance Program (PROATUR) provides 24-hour emergency assistance and routine guidance to tourists.  They also provide additional security in locations frequented by tourists.  The call center is staffed with Spanish and English speakers and can be reached 24/7 by calling 1500 or +502-2290-2800.

U.S. government personnel and family members are prohibited from traveling to/throughout the above-mentioned areas for personal travel but are permitted to travel throughout the rest of Guatemala, including tourist hotspots such as Tikal, Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Pacific coast areas in the Santa Rosa and Escuintla Departments.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Guatemala.

If you decide to travel to Guatemala:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the Embassy COVID-19 page for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • 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.  We recommend traveling 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 or 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 staying in hotels or other lodging facilities that offer secure parking, doormen, and a dedicated and professional security staff.
  • Request security escorts, which are available for tourist groups, from the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT).
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Do take radio-dispatched taxis (Taxi Amarillo), INGUAT-approved taxis from the “SAFE” stand at the airport, hotel taxis, vetted private drivers, and/or Uber.
  • Do not take public transportation, including white car taxis.  U.S. government personnel and their family members are prohibited from using these forms of transportation.
  • 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, and avoid using mobile devices in public.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts while in Guatemala and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Guatemala.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

San Marcos Department – Level 4: Do Not Travel

All U.S. government personnel and family members are prohibited from traveling to San Marcos Department for personal travel, except for 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 – Level 4: Do Not Travel

All U.S. government personnel and family members are prohibited from traveling to Huehuetenango Department for personal travel, except for 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 – Level 4: Do Not Travel

U.S. government personnel and family members are free to travel within Guatemala City except for zone 18 and the municipality of Villa Nueva.  The following zones in Guatemala City are of elevated concern due to crime: 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 17, 19, 21, and 24.  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, refraining from using mobile devices in public, and not lingering outside the airport. U.S. citizens are advised not to hail white-car taxis on the street in Guatemala City.  Use radio-dispatched taxis (Taxi Amarillo), INGUAT-approved taxis from the “SAFE” stand at the airport, hotel taxis, vetted private drivers, or Uber.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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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