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 →
WARNING: This may be the U.S. Embassy but validation takes time. Get there before 12 noon and you can probably get it at 2:30 that afternoon. Get there in the afternoon and you’ll have to go back the next day. Oh, and each validated copy will cost you US$50. They do accept credit cards if you don’t have the cash.
Criminal background check (This must be less than 6 months old when you turn it in and will require you to get things done in the U.S. so plan accordingly.)
NOTE: If your US passport is going to expire in the next year, I recommend that you get to Guatemala and immediately apply for a passport renewal BEFORE you start this process. (It only takes about 10 days to get your new passport from the embassy.) I had to go back through part of the process since my passport expired shortly after we got the permanent visa stamp. Keep your old passport to show the entry date to the immigration office.
Guatemalan Residency Visa Options
According to our lawyer and other sites there are three main long-term residency visa options (not including student, diplomatic, etc.) Since we just had our baby here in Guatemala, we opted for the Parents of Guatemalan child option. While others are available, I have listed three main options here: Continue reading →