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Belize for Business

It’s true that if I learn it for myself there’s a better chance I’ll believe in it. And so it goes with car permits and immigration renewals in Guatemala during the holiday season. We knew our 90 day permits for both our passports and the car would expire on December 26, so we mentally prepared for anything from Chiquimula onward. Fortunately for us, the roads resembled something out of “Omega Man:” empty, quiet and breathable because even the camionetas aren’t running as many routes- we didn’t see one single Pullman or Ruta Orientales headed to Puerto Barrios that entire day.

A quick trip to Tapachula at 6 AM could’ve done the trick for both our visas and our car permit (as recommended by Maestro Rudy), it would’ve been geographically inconvenient. But let me back up. Why in the world would we be headed to Tapachula, Belize or El Salvador to renew anything? In a nutshell Brad and I both have tourist visas that expire every 90 days (there’s a $114 penalty and mandatory 5-day expulsion if you violate that deadline, according to El Salvadorean aduana); the same applies for our car permit which has a penalty of Guatemalan import taxes being assessed on the total value of the car (something like $3K) if we overstay the 90 days. So simple enough, just get out of the country in time. Pero fijese, no es tan facíl.

Lessons learned:

One thought on “Belize for Business

  1. Mark says:

    One correction…the multa for overstaying your visa is 10Q per day, and it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s the same at migracion in the capital or at Tapachula or in Belize. I know, I’ve paid it on 4 different occasions.

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