Archive for the 'Guatemala' Category

RENAP requirements for birth certificates

We’re planning a home birth for this spring and needed to look into what’s required by the Guatemalan national people registration office of Guatemala (RENAP) in order to get an official Guatemalan Birth Certificate.

Here are the official requirements for getting your Guatemalan birth certificate:

  1. Do it within 60 days of the birth.
  2. DPI original and copy of both parents  (or just mother)
  3. Medical report of birth (Informe médico de nacimiento) from your doctor or officially registered midwife.
    1. If your midwife is not registered or no medical personnel was present present a legalized and signed report of the birth with signatures of the parents or mother. (Talk to a lawyer’s office or your local RENAP and they can explain how to do this.)
  4. Boleto de Ornato (Get this at your local municipality office)
  5. Passports if parents are from out of country.

After you’ve gone through the RENAP process you can proceed with the passport process and work with your embassy to prepare your national paperwork.

Renewing passports at the US Embassy in Guatemala

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City has significantly updated their Passport page to assist you so check it out!

US Embassy Web page

NOTE: Did you know that it’s faster to get a new passport through the embassy here in Guatemala instead of renewing in the States? It typically takes about eight days here in Guatemala and can take several weeks to a month or more in the states!

To get extra pages added to your passport…

Adding Extra pages has been eliminated. Get a new passport!

Here’s how to get a new passport added to your passport in the U.S. Embassy…

Visit the embassy page and download the Passport Renewal forms. Set up an embassy appointment. BE SURE TO PRINT YOUR APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO DO THIS LATER. (Set your appointment early on so you don’t have to wait later.) Fill out the renewal form and get the photos you need. Print it and get ready for your appointment.

On your appointment date and time, go to the Citizen Services window inside the embassy. Here’s a link on how to navigate the embassy.

Take your current valid Passport, fee money (Currently $110 for adults.) and go to the Citizen Services window.

Usually passports are back in about 10 days but holidays or other delays could make that longer.

Call the embassy for details!

 

Finding quality kids accessories in Guatemala

Kids Box

A large selection of cribs, playpens and car seats.

We have kids, and we live in Guatemala. That means that when we’re looking for kids toys, nursery furniture, and accessories that we would have been able to find  at our local Walmart, ToysRus or garage sale in the states, those items are much harder to come across. Thanks to some other missionary friends we found a place other than the area pacas where toys and kid equipment can be found in Guatemala City! Continue reading ‘Finding quality kids accessories in Guatemala’

Hiking the Volcano Santa Maria

The eastern view from atop Santa Maria.

The eastern view from atop Santa Maria.                © MICHAEL SHEAD

The Volcano Santa Maria; been there, done that…and it was tough!

Ever since I heard about the moonlight hikes of the volcano Santa Maria, I thought that it sounded like a blast!

Hiking through the moonlit darkness into the dawn and then seeing sunrise from the towering peak and viewing up to 11 other volcanic peaks including looking down onto the live crater of Santiaguito, sounded like a great adventure for this Kansas farm boy.

So, here’s the story of my volcanic hiking adventure…

The Mountain

  • Name: Santa Maria
  • Height: 12,375 ft (3772 mts)
  • Type:Volcanic
  • Comparison: Mt. Fuji in Japan is about 10 feet taller
  • Trail rating: Strenuous
  • Trail distance: Approx. 6.21 miles (10 km)
  • Elevation increase from trailhead: Approx. 4,173 feet
IMG_0644

The hikers

I had been dreaming of doing this hike for two years so when I found out that some friends were interested I planned it for Nov. 15th, 2013 (technically a few days before the full moon but it worked better for our schedules). There were five friends from ASELSI and three guys visiting town from Michigan plus our friend Kevin, from Totonicapan, our guide, Hansy, two friends of his and two police officers for safety. (Apparently there have been some thieves prowling the trails and they recommend armed escorts to prevent attacks.)

In Quetzaltenango, we met up with Hansy near the stadium and his friend wowed us with a  story of Hansy’s record ascent of the mountain (an incredible 45 minutes). Then we drove over to the central park where a van pulled up at about 12:30 a.m., and we headed out to the Santa Maria Summit Trail trailhead which ended up being quite a long ways from the foot of the mountain but, unless you’re on dirt bikes, that’s as close as you can get in a van. Continue reading ‘Hiking the Volcano Santa Maria’

John Moore’s: An Immigrant’s Journey

One of Moore’s images showing immigrants crossing into Mexico from Guatemala.

Getty Images photographer John Moore took his coverage of immigration stories a step further when he traveled  to the Mexico-Guatemala border, where Central American immigrants cross the Suchiate River, beginning their long and perilous journey north through Mexico. View his images here.

On my way to Tapachula to get a visa renewed, I witnessed people openly crossing the Guatemalan/Mexican border on rafts just below the bridge where immigration officers are checking documents for those who cross legally. They were going both ways.

Those headed north may have been just starting their journey to attempt a border crossing into the USA. Those heading south had loads of products, gasoline, etc. that they were not-so subtly smuggling into Guatemala where untaxed gas is openly sold along the highways at nearly $1.30 (US) cheaper than the going rate at legal gas stations.

How to: Banking in Guatemala

Banking outside of your home country can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With a little help and patience, you can transfer, access and use money anywhere in the world. Especially with online banking, it’s easier than ever to manage your finances from wherever your road takes you. Here are some tips from my experience as a foreigner living and banking in Guatemala.

How to get money from the U.S. to Guatemala

1) You can bring cash with you (Up to US$10,000 can be brought in  with out declaring it.) but then you’ll have to go to the trouble of

keeping it and yourself safe until you can deposit it in a bank or use it. (Note: you’ll need your passport with you to exchange this money into local currency at the bank.

2) You can use an ATM card to withdraw up to your daily limit. Just be sure to notify your bank that you’ll be doing this or they’ll lock your card down like Fort Knox.

3) I recommend that you have a bank account in the U.S. that receives funds for you and then take checks with you to Guatemala. By writing a check to yourself you can deposit money to your account in Guatemala (see more on this below). Continue reading ‘How to: Banking in Guatemala’

Helpful codes for Tigo in Guatemala

Tigo logo

Here are some of the cellphone codes that I use regularly with my Tigo phone:

Check Voice Mail

Dial *77  to check messages (Press 3 to delete messages, 7 to listen again, and 5 to save the message for later)

Check Your Balance

Dial *256 to check your balance (You’ll hear three balances: 1) Your total balance. 2) Your principal balance (actual money you have on your account, and 3) Your promotional balance.  Then you’ll hear the date that your promotional balance will expire unless you add money to your account.) Continue reading ‘Helpful codes for Tigo in Guatemala’

Maycom Drivers License Offices in Guatemala

Maycom manages the licensing of drivers in Guatemala.

Where can you get your drivers license in Guatemala? Here’s a list of Maycom offices where you can get your license. Remember that in some departments they Maycom only visits a couple times a year so you’ll have to check for local opportunities to get your license.

 

GUATEMALA CITY:

Zona 9:
6 avenida 1-60 zona 9 View Map

Roosevelt:
5ª. Avenida 0-60 zona 02 de Mixto, colonia Cotió, al final de la Calzada Roosevelt View Map

Metronorte:
Centro Comercial Metronorte, 2do. Nivel, local 402, zona 17 View Map

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QUETZALTENANGO:

19 avenida 2-50 zona 1 View Map

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ZACAPA:

Km. 125.5 Carretera al Atlántico, Río Hondo, Zacapa View Map

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MOBILE OFFICES:

Click here for mobile office schedules

 

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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET YOUR LICENSE? Continue reading ‘Maycom Drivers License Offices in Guatemala’

Tip for Selling Your Car in Guatemala

If you have ever sold a car in Guatemala, it’s important to make sure it is no longer legally in your name!
A fellow missionary, Marty, found out that a car he sold was still in his name. Read his story…

Last week I came face to face with this in an unexpected way. I purchased a used vehicle and in the process of the transfer (traspaso) of the title, I was told that one of my 3 vehicles was overdue for the calcomania payments for 2011 and 2012. But I only had 2 vehicles; or so I thought. I sold my 1992 Chevrolet Suburban. It turns out this buyer never completed the title transfer. When I found out he had not completed the transfer of the title, I de-activated the license plates. I could do this, since in the eyes of Guatemala law, I was still the owner. It cost me about Q1,000 for the 2 calcomanias for 2011 and 2012, a tramitador and several misc. expenses and almost two days of my time.  ~ Marty

Marty said I could share his tips on how to make sure you really sell your car in the eyes of the government:

Here’s how to do it:
Go to any SAT office and simply ask for a “reposicion de tarjeta de NIT”. While there with the clerk, ask for a list of all vehicles in your name. If there is one still listed that you sold at any time in the past, and you have no idea where it is you should start the the process for “Inactivacion de placas”. You will want to apply for “Retiro definitive”, not “Retiro temporal” unless you know where the car is located and can convince the “owner” to complete the title transfer and pay back taxes and/or other unpaid expenses, if any. If you don’t deactivate the plates, you are legally responsible for any and all costs due to accidents, crimes, unpaid traffic violations, past due taxes (yearly calcomanias) and late tax payment fees related to a vehicle with a title still in your name.

Thanks for the tip Marty! Click here for tips on buying a car in Guatemala.

FYI:
Marty wanted to pass this along too…If anyone tries to sell this car to you or anyone you know, there may be problems in getting it licensed now that the license plates have been invalidated.
1992 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 S silver and dark blue
Placas: P-813BFH
Serie (Serial number): 1GNFK16KXNJ325539
Motor: KNJ325539S
Chassis: KNJ325539
Poliza: 3292 ( Aduana in Santo Tomas de Castilla)

Hours for the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Have you ever showed up at the Embassy expecting to get that last bit of paperwork done? You stroll up ready to navigate the embassy lines and think you’re in luck because there’s no line at all! Then you realize that there’s no line because some obscure holiday has closed the embassy!

Hopefully this will help you avoid this because the U.S. Embassy’s schedule in Guatemala is simple…sort of:

The Guatemalan U.S. Embassy is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Note: The American Citizen Services Unit will be closed to the public on the third Thursday of each month, except for emergencies. Please note also that the Embassy is closed for official U.S. AND Guatemalan holidays.

Here’s the calendar for 2012 (Follow this link to the Embassy’s calendar.)

2016 Calendar Year

Date

Weekday

Holiday Observed

January 1 Friday New Year’s Day (A & G)
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday (A)
February 15 Monday Presidents Day (A)
March 24 Thursday Holy Thursday (G)
March 25 Friday Good Friday (G)
May 1 Sunday Guatemalan Labor Day (G)
May 30 Monday Memorial Day (A)
July 1 Friday** Army Day (G)
July 4 Monday U.S. Independence Day (A)
August 15 Monday Feast of the Assumption (G)
September 5 Monday U.S. Labor Day (A)
September 15 Thursday Guatemalan Independence Day (G)
October 10 Monday Columbus Day (A)
October 20 Thursday Revolution Day (G)
November 1 Tuesday All Saints Day (G)
November 11 Friday Veterans Day (A)
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day (A)
December 24 Thursday Christmas Eve – half day (G)
December 26 Monday Christmas Day (A)
December 31 Saturday New Year’s Eve – half day (G)