Guatemala: Information on the documentation requirements for travelling between Guatemala and Mexico, on the use of exit and entrance seals, and on whether the dates of entrance and exit are placed in the same stamp
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 September 1993|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GTM15034|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guatemala: Information on the documentation requirements for travelling between Guatemala and Mexico, on the use of exit and entrance seals, and on whether the dates of entrance and exit are placed in the same stamp, 1 September 1993, GTM15034, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac0a60.html [accessed 8 March 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to the consular secretary at the Consulate of Guatemala in Ottawa, Mexicans and foreigners from most other countries need a visitors' visa or a tourist card to enter Guatemala legally, whether travelling by air or on land (1 Sept. 1993). Tourist cards are valid for a limited period and allow free entrance and exit (although travellers are always subject to customs and border control procedures) (Ibid.). Tourist cards are sold in Guatemalan consulates and embassies (Ibid.).
According to the source, all passports, whether Guatemalan or foreign, should be stamped with an ink seal every time the passport holder enters or leaves Guatemala (Ibid.). Persons holding tourist cards may have both their cards and their passports stamped (Ibid.). The source suggested contacting the General Directorate of Migration in Guatemala for possible corrections to and corroboration of the above and for additional details. According to a staff member responsible for answering public enquiries at the Departamento de Informaciones, Dirección General de Migración (Department of Information, General Directorate of Migration), every person must have his or her passport stamped when entering or leaving the country, whether the passport is Guatemalan or foreign (1 Sept. 1993). Both the entry seal and the exit seal include the date of stamping and are similar, except for the fact that one clearly reads "entrance" and the other reads "exit" in Spanish (Ibid.). As per the specific questions received with your request, the staff member stated that it is conceivable that at some border controls an exit or entry stamp may have been lost, misplaced or broken, in which case the passport may not have been stamped with the right seal or may have not been stamped at all, and the border control's observations may have been handwritten (Ibid.). The source also stated that entry or exit seals on a passport may have been forged or tampered with on purpose and that, in any case, "everything is possible" regarding travel documentation, particularly when considering that clandestine or illegal border crossings occur (Ibid.).
The staff member explained that the tourist card is equivalent to a tourist visa (Ibid.). It is valid for a six-month period and is available only to citizens of the United States, Mexico and Great Britain (Ibid.). When the card holder enters and leaves the country, the card must be stamped with the same seals used for passports (Ibid.). The person holding a tourist card does not need to present a passport to enter Guatemala, but if a passport is presented, both the card and the passport must be stamped (Ibid.). Many visitors prefer to present both documents because the tourist card alone does not allow the visitor to obtain a driving permit or to request any migration-related procedure such as extending a visa or obtaining a temporary work or residence permit (Ibid.). If a passport and a tourist card are presented at the border control, the passport will likely have the tourist card number, preceded by the initials TT (from Tarjeta de Turista in Spanish), written by hand above or near the entry seal (Ibid.).
Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources currently available to the DIRB.
Consulate of Guatemala, Ottawa. 1 September 1993. Telephone interview with consular secretary.
Department of Information, General Directorate of Migration, Guatemala City. 1 September 1993. Telephone interview with staff member.