U.S. citizens who live abroad need to get their paperwork right when they have babies abroad. Here’s how we got our Guatemalan birth certificate and passport after our son was born in Guatemala.
Before you go
Before go to get your baby’s papers, you need to get your papers together. We went all out because we knew we’d need to get our Residency Papers filed later so we had more than required. Here’s what we needed in 2011 when it came to getting our son’s birth certificate and Guatemalan passport.
- Actual Passports of parents
- For birth certificate: copy of both parents passport ID pages and covers
- For Passport: copy of both parents passport ID pages and entry stamp page
- Birth information page from your midwife or doctor
We also needed to pay several fees at BANRURAL, the national bank where you can pay for taxes and fees for your paperwork. Often there are BANRURAL locations near the paperwork offices, but you can go to any BANRURAL to pay for the following:
- Boleto De Ornato (30Q)
- Passport fee (231.60Q)
Here’s how the process worked for us…
We went to the San Cristobal RENAP (Registro Nacional de las Personas) office because it was nearby, but they said we could not file for our son’s birth certificate outside of the district he was born in unless we could show a utility bill from the San Cristobal district that has our name on it or by brining our landlord with us to prove that we live in San Cristobal. Since we couldn’t do any of these, we had to head into Guatemala City to the Central RENAP office to get the birth certificate. You should be able to go to the RENAP in the municipality or district where your child was born without any trouble.
Av. Reforma 2-18 zona 9 Reforma, Edificio Cortijo, ZONA 9. (It’s just about half a block or so from the Reform Tower)
Hours: Monday- Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m., Sat. 8:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
STEP # 1: Check-in at RENAP
At RENAP Central we checked in at a paper check station (just to the right of the entrance) to make sure we had everything. (Make sure you take both parents with you or you’ll have to come back!) They had us fill out a simple application, make a copy of our Boleto De Ornato. They promptly lost our copy of the Boleto so I had to pay another 50 centavos to the blind copy guy in the corner of the office. Once they had our passport copies, a copy of the Boleto De Ornato, application, and a certified birth info sheet from our midwife we were ready for step #2. They gave us a number and sent us on into the RENAP waiting room.
STEP #2: Inscripcion
We went into the main RENAP room where chairs were set up for waiting and the half the room was lined with booths where people were getting various papers taken care of.
We didn’t have to wait long until our number was called and we talked with a nice lady who took our papers and application and gave us a bill for the six copies of the birth certificate we asked for. (Get more than one copy of the birth certificate because you’ll need to turn in several and it’s handy to have extra copies on hand.)
STEP #3: Pay
We took the receipt to the BANRURAL bank that was right located just off of the main RENAP room. The birth certificates cost Q15 apiece so we paid Q90 for the six we ordered.
STEP #4: Birth Certificate
We took the stamped receipt from BANRURAL back into the RENAP room and found a helper who turned it in for us. Every once in a while they would call out names and hand out the completed birth certificates.
That’s it! We were done with getting the birth certificates!
While we were at the RENAP office we asked how to get to the Guatemalan Passport office and found out it was only a few blocks away. So, we headed off to get the passport for our baby. Here are the steps it took to get the Guatemalan passport:
The Guatemalan Passport Office (Centros de emisión en Guatemala) is located in a shopping center just off of 6a Avenida, one of the main streets through this area.
6ª. Avenida 1-27, zona 4. Centro Comercial Mr. Bodeguitas, locales 1 al 5.
Telephone: (502) 2360-2389 or (502) 5947-4701.
Hours: Monday to Friday 8a to 5p and Saturdays 8a – 12p
Step #1: What to bring
Bring copies of both parents passports. Be sure to get the pages with your valid entry stamps from when you came into the country and the ID pages. Just a short walk down the covered walkway is a little office where you can get photocopies made for 50 centavos per page. (Cedula copies are Q3.50)
Bring an official copy of your child’s official birth certificate (see above for instructions on how to get one.)
Step #2: Passport fee
Go to BANRURAL bank and pay the Q231.60 for the pasaporte fee. There is a BANRURAL right next door to the Passport Office, but the line is often long. There’s another BANRURAL bank directly across the street that was nearly empty when I went there to pay our passport fee.
Step #3: Check in
At the front door you check in with the official at the door. He’ll look over your papers to make sure you have all you need. You need:
- An original Birth certificate
- Copies of parents passports (Copy the pages with your valid entry stamps and your ID information)
- Bank receipt for passport fee
Once you have all these they’ll let you go in and you’ll stand in line though our wait was a matter of seconds!
Step #4: Submit papers
Hand in the above papers at the counter and they’ll print off an application that’s filled out. Check it over and then sign this document. They’ll have you stand in another line and then another person will provide you with the paperwork to take to the next room.
Step #5: ID photo & finger printing
Head down to the photo and finger printing room. Yes, even for babies they want a photo and finger prints. Our son was 6 days old in his passport photo. They let you hold the baby if he is not able to hold his head up. Chrisi held our son and they just draped her with a background cloth. The photographer did a good job of catching him looking right at the camera. Don’t expect any bells and whistles but they were effecient and helpful through the process.
One parent will sign for your baby and they’ll start processing your passport.
Step #6: Wait for passport
Head over to the waiting area and relax. Your baby’s passport will be done in a matter of minutes. We waited about 20 minutes or less and they called our son’s name. If your Spanish isn’t great, you can watch the photos come up on the screen to see when your child’s passport is ready. They post the photos of the passports that are ready to go.
We were very pleased with the process at both RENAP and at the passport office. It was easier and faster than we thought it would be. Praying for favor as we went through the process surely had a part in how we were able to get through so easily. The people were all helpful and friendly to us as we went through each of these steps.
UPDATE FROM 2014: Since we now have our Guatemalan residency we had some trouble because our midwife put our passport information on the birth certificate. At RENAP they wanted our Guatemalan DPI information so we had to go back to the midwife and have her amend the birth documents with the DPI information. So, if you have DPIs us them instead of your passports on all your Guatemalan paper work!