Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Guatemala Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
Guatemala is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. The United States and Guatemala are parties to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol. The U.S. Central Authority for the treaty is the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation, Washington, D.C. Requests for service under the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol may be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice's contractor, Process Forwarding International (PFI), for transmittal to the Guatemalaian Central Authority.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Guatemala is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters.
Guatemala permits the taking of voluntary depositions of U.S. citizens and permanent residents in Guatemala on notice or pursuant to a commission. However, American attorneys would be well-advised not to participate in the taking of a deposition in Guatemala without the supervision of a Guatemalan attorney. Some Guatemalan legal experts believe that the taking of a deposition in Guatemala by a foreign attorney without the supervision of a Guatemalan attorney could possibly subject the American attorney to the criminal charge that he is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Guatemala. Contact the U.S. Embassy directly to make arrangements to schedule the availability of U.S. consular premises for the taking of a deposition or to schedule a deposition outside of consular premises.
Guatemala is not a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Documents issued in the United States may be authenticated for use in Guatemala by (a) contacting the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office and (b) then having the seal of the U.S. Department of State authenticated by the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington, D.C. Documents issued in U.S. states must first be authenticated by the designated state authority, generally the state Secretary of State.