There is an informative program called Smart Traveler from the U.S. State Department. We recommend that all teams register themselves so the U.S. Embassy will be aware of your presence in country in case of an emergency. You may choose to do this or not, but it is our recommendation that you do. We will keep you apprised of vital information that we receive if there are major change or concerns for your trip. As always, your team’s safety is always on our minds as we plan and prepare you’re your arrival. To enroll your team in the S.T.E.P. system online, follow the directions below:
If you’re an expatriate and you’re having a baby in Guatemala, be ready for some paperwork. It takes work, but it’ll be worth it.
As new missionaries in this beautiful country, we moved to Guatemala while we were pregnant and started getting all the advice we could on what paperwork we needed for our baby. Here are some of the things we learned…
If you’re anywhere within three months of the birth go to the US Embassy website and set up an appointment for a couple weeks after the due date. (UPDATE: As of(May 2014 the US embassy in Guatemala now only opens appointments about one month prior to the appointment date. So you’ll have to check in about a month ahead of the date you want.) These appointments fill up and it can be very difficult to get in if you don’t get something scheduled early. You can change it if you have to, but better to have the appointment scheduled than to find out you can’t get an appointment for two or three months after the baby is born when you may be wanting to travel.
TIP: I think you could probably have your spouse sign up so you have two dates to chose from. Then just cancel the appointment you don’t want! Continue reading
We needed a validated copy of our passports from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala for some our residency paperwork so we can stay in Guatemala longer term. So we showed up at the U.S Embassy with our passports in hand at about noon on a Monday. Here’s some basic info on the Embassy and lessons we learned there.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is located:
Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América
Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala
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LESSONS WE LEARNED:
Lesson #1 The office is closed from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
In a modified ally that has a nice cover to shade the crowd that gathers while waiting to get in, we stood in the disheveled line for about an hour and then were kindly ushered in through the security check. (They’ll take any cellphones, cameras, cords, even headphones, flashlights, ipods, etc. that you have with you. You’ll get them back but they don’t let you take them in with you.)\
Embassy Office hours are:
We didn’t really know how things worked so we asked questions to find out. At security they have the airport style x-ray machine and metal detector. Then you pass through a secure rotating gate. Then we went up the stairs in to the main waiting room. There was a small sign with an arrow pointing to the left indicating that Citizen Services are around the corner (Windows 1-3). We missed this at first and had to ask directions. People at the embassy were helpful though things were slow at times.
Lesson #3 Get there in the morning.
We got there in the afternoon and had to wait 24 hours before we could pick up our validated copies. Had we come in the morning, we could have gotten them the same day.
So, here’s what we discovered: Go to the U.S. Embassy early, get an appointment if you need one:
(Note: You will need an appointment if you’re going for:
- Reporting the birth abroad of a child of a U.S. citizen
- First-time passport issuance
- Renewal of passports for minor children under the age of 16
- Renewal of passports for applicants who are over 18 years old and whose previous passport was issued before the applicant turned 16 years old
- Replacement of passports issued more than 15 years ago)
Lesson #4 Friday schedules are different
I arrived shortly after 11 a.m. on a Friday to pick up my son’s passport and report of a birth abroad. Turns out that on Fridays they close the American Citizen Services office at 11 and do not open in the afternoon. I had to wait two weeks until I was back in the capital to take the 5 minutes it took to pick up the paperwork.
Lesson learned: Get there early.
Comment below and share your experience and how you navigated the U.S. Embassy!