How hard/easy is it to apply for a tourist visa in Guatemala for Filipinos?
Guatemala Visa for Filipinos: Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply as a Philippine passport holder plus my personal experiences. Note that you can apply for this visa anywhere in the world, not just in the Philippines.
Reader Mail: Hello Trisha! Thanks to your blog that guides all Philippine passport holders to travel the world. I really salute you! I am currently in Costa Rica where Filipinos are visa-free and I am planning to continue my trip in Central America. How was your experience in applying for a Guatemala visa for Filipinos? I heard it’s a little bit harder than other countries but I want to see if I can apply here in San Jose, Costa Rica even if I don’t have a Costa Rican residency? Thank you for all your help!
– Melissa Cañete, Philippines
Thanks for your e-mail! Actually, you are the first Filipino to ask me how to apply for a visa to Guatemala. That’s amazing! Lots of Filipinos don’t consider this as a destination but I am glad you did. I am sure you are going to love it!
Applying for a tourist visa in Guatemala as a Philippine passport holder is relatively easy as you can do it anywhere in the world. However, in my experience, the Guatemalan consulates all over the world have different rules so you need to find an embassy that will be able to process your visa.
I will guide you through the application process in this post but if you have any questions that weren’t answered here, feel free to connect with me on Instagram.
Good luck and I hope you’ll be able to get to Guatemala. I really love this country!
My American and European friends’ mouths gaped open when I told them that I need to apply for a tourist visa to Guatemala. “What?! Seriously?! Guatemala??? Wow, your passport sucks.”
I know it does. But that didn’t stop me from traveling the world for 13 years now. I feel like very few Westerners don’t know how hard it is to travel with a third-world passport like ours as they are very privileged to enter any country they like with their Western passports.
Personally, I like the challenge of applying for passports because even though it’s hard, I know that if you really want it, you will get it.
In my case, it was just that I had no choice. I was backpacking Latin America (for 3.5 years) and in order for me to continue all the land border crossing, I had to apply for a visa. I was already there and was left with no option. Guatemala is a great country to visit and not a lot of Filipinos (or Asians) go here so I took up the challenge.
It wasn’t my first rodeo anyway. I already applied for visas in Chile, Argentina, Panama, Uruguay, etc while backpacking so Guatemala was not that of a challenge for me.
I must warn you though – Guatemala visa for Filipinos is not that easy only because it takes time. Lots of Filipinos I know skipped it because of the tedious visa application process but once you get it, you’re going to love Guatemala! My blog thrives through reader questions so please feel free to keep those visa questions coming!
Is Guatemala open for tourism?
Guatemala reopened tourism on September 18, 2020. One of the requirements, when you enter Guatemala, is to register to the Guatemalan Health Pass, 24 hours before your arrival. A negative PCR test or antigen test is also required (valid for 72 hours) to enter the country. Apart from flying, you can also enter through their land borders with Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize but you need to show a negative PCR test if you opt to travel by land.
Guatemala visa for Filipinos: step-by-step guide
Step 1: Check if you need a visa
Philippine passport holders fall in category B of the Guatemala tourist visa policy. Meaning, Filipinos need to apply for a visa to enter Guatemala. For other nationalities, you can check this list to see if you need a visa to Guatemala. category A means “visa-exempt.”
However, if you are a Philippine passport holder but holds a valid visa from the USA, Canada, or Schengen, you can enter Guatemala without applying for a visa in the Guatemalan consulate. With your USA/Canada/Schengen visa, the immigration officer will give you a 30-day tourist visa.
If you want to stay for more than 30 days, you can go to the local immigration office in Guatemala to extend your stay or simply just cross to Belize or Mexico. They will give you another 30 days upon your return.
You might also like: Colombia travel guide for Filipinos
Based on my experience, it is easier to do a border run to renew your visa than to extend it in the local office in Guatemala. One of my local friends there said their country prefers that you leave so that process is easier. They don’t have any problems with you going back as long as you legally exited their country.
However, only Filipinos who have a valid USA/CA/Schengen visa have the liberty to do this. If you don’t, then you have to apply for another tourist visa outside of Guatemala.
Step 2: Check where you can apply for a visa to Guatemala
The Guatemala Consulate in the Philippines is not allowed to process tourist visas for Filipinos. The Embassy in Japan is the one in-charge in processing the visa for PH passport holders. As Filipinos also need a visa to Japan, it can be complicated as the application needs to be processed in person. They do not accept digital applications.
However, you can apply for a Guatemala visa anywhere in the world but they have different rules. For example, in Mexico, they can only process Guatemala visas for Filipinos if you have a legal residency in Mexico (temporary or permanent).
This is applicable to my case since I fall in that category – I don’t need to go to Japan to apply for my visa since I am a resident cardholder in Mexico.
If you are a Filipino digital nomad and just traveling around without a residency in any other country apart from the Philippines, it’s best if you contact the embassy in your location. I was told that some Guatemalan embassies in other countries do not require a resident visa but you have to call and check.
Guatemala is a small country so they don’t have embassies or consulates in every country in the world. Below is the country list where you can process your visa to Guatemala. Make sure you call them beforehand to see if you are qualified to apply in their country.
Step 3: Gather the requirements
Below are the required documents to apply for a tourist visa in Guatemala. All must be presented in original and photocopy. Again, these should be submitted in-person, not online:
- Passport with more than six-month validity.
- 1 photo-sized 3 X 4 cm.
- Work Certificate, issued by the employer. The work certificate must be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the document was issued. For more details about the legalization process, please communicate directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the document has been issued.
- Bank Account Statements from the last six months. The statements must be issued, signed, and sealed by a bank. Copies from online banking account services will not be accepted.
- An invitation letter by a Guatemalan Institution or Company (if applicable).
Letter explaining the reasons for your visit to Guatemala, which must include the following information: Address and phone number during your stay in Guatemala, detailed schedule of activities and contacts (people, companies, places) that will be visited during your stay in Guatemala.
- Copy of Roundtrip tickets to Guatemala
- Full travel itinerary details, from the beginning to the end of the trip back to the country of your present residence. You must include copies of all the valid visas to the countries you will visit during said trip.
The consulates will only grant you an appointment date/time if all your documents are complete. These documents need to be translated into Spanish. The visa application process at the Embassy should be done by you, not through intermediaries or third parties like travel agencies, relatives, etc.) The visa fee is $50 USD for a single-entry (30 days) and $150 USD for multiple entries and business visas.
Step 4: Wait for the results
Once you submit all the documents, you will hear from the Embassy after two days. Then they will give you the date and time of your interview. Honestly, the interview process is easy but what is complicated is the documents they require and the fact that they don’t process Guatemala tourist visas in the Philippines.
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