How to renew your Guatemalan tourist visa if you stay in lake Atitlan vacation rentals?

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Oops…just realized your Guatemalan visa is about to expire before you rent lake Atitlan vacation house?

If you’re like us, you came to Guatemala, found your way to lake Atitlan and were immediately captivated by its spectacular beauty and inexpensive yet luxurious way of life. Although you intended to stay a few weeks, you couldn’t bear to leave.   
First, you stayed for a week in a hotel room in one of the charming villages surrounding lake Atitlan.  Then, thanks to the Internet, you realized could rent a lovely vacation home for   same price as a hotel. You found lots of possibilities to fit your budget, including small lakeside cabins, modern condos and fabulous spacious lakefront villas homes with spectacular views of lake Atitlan and the three volcanoes ringing it.  Many were available on a monthly basis. Once you found the perfect one, you   signed a three months lease and moved in. 

As everyone who comes here discovers, time has a way of slipping away in this magnificent corner of the world and before you know it your   90-day visa is about to expire. 

Don’t worry.   We’ve been through this and are happy to share the most up to date information on how to renew it for another 90 days. There are two ways. 

One, leave Guatemala.  Go to another country like Mexico.  Your visa will be automatically renewed for three more months upon your return and stamped on your passport.  Note, crossing the border into neighboring Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras or Belize  DOES NOT QUALIFY for a visa extension.

Two, stay in Guatemala. Go to the capital, Guatemala City,  to the Extranjeria (Guatemalan Immigration Agency) of Direccion General de Migracion at Avenida 6, 3-11 in Zona 4. It is two blocks down  the street from Main office of Migracion  and close  to the Cemaco Plaze  of Zone 4. The office hourse are Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Guatemalan holidays.  The telephone is (502) 2411-2411 and the website is

Get there early. Bring with you the following: 

    1.  Valid passport with an entrance stamp.
    2.  Complete the form. You can download free visa application here.
    3.  Two copies of the front/photo page of your passport.
    4.  One copy of the most recent stamp of entry (visa stamp).
    5.  Copy of front and back of a foreign credit card (they check the expiration date, btw).
    6.  If you are married, a copy of your marriage license.
    7.  If you have a child you are renewing, a copy of child’s birth certificate.
    8.  Passport sized photos (black and white) of anyone renewing.

See below a pdf sample of the visa application you need to fill out.

Once you get to Migracion ,  go to the  second floor , stand  in line for the  window marked “Informacion” .  When it is your turn, say you need an   “extencion  de visa” and  show your documents. Once the clerk review them, he will staple your photograph to the form you have filled out , give you an invoice  for the fee of Q117 which is about $15.00 and direct you to yet another window and another clerk who will review your documents again and  enter your passport number in the computer.  Then this clerk will  direct you  back to  the main level (first floor) where you will pay your fee at the “Banco” (bank) window. 

Okay.  You are almost done.  With your bank receipt in hand as well as your passport and documents, return to the second floor.  Get back in the line for the “Informacion” window. When it is your turn, the clerk will give you a number.  Now, take a seat and watch the electronic screen in the middle of the room for you number to appear next to the number of the window  you should go to. There are a total of 12  windows .  Once your number pops up, go to the window indicated.  Show the clerk your bank receipt and hand over your passport and documents.  You will be told to come back in eight calendar days for your passport. Note it no longer takes the   72 hours, or even the 24 hours, that was once possible. So, it is a good idea plan ahead and apply at least eight days before the expiration date.

When you get your passport back, double check to see that it has been stamped with the new 90 days visa extension.
Also, it would be wise to have a copy of your passport in the meantime should you need it.

Is it a hassle?  Sure but hey, it is a small price to pay to spend more time in one of the most magical places  on earth:  lake Atitlan, where the rainbow get its colors.

For more helpful information about vacationing in Guatemala, especially on  lake Atitlan, go to our website ,  We hated leaving here so much, we finally built our own house in San Marcos La Laguna.

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Visa Application

Example of Visa Application