Vehicle Visa Runs

Open for all topics related to travel in Guatemala however we focus on Xela!.
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Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:24 pm

Vehicle Visa Runs

Postby AndyT » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:59 pm

Does anyone have a US registered car or motorcycle the have kept in Guatemala long term? If so how long do you get on a temporary import permit? I have been to Guatemala twice from the US on a bike, and I got 90 days on my tourist visa, but only 40 days for the bike. That was fine for what I was doing at the time, but I am working on a stay of 9 months to a year this time, and going to Mexico every 40 days would be a pain in the butt. Can you get a longer permit to begin with, or can you renew in country?

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Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:46 am
Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Re: Vehicle Visa Runs

Postby admin » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:31 am


You now get a 90 days visa for your vehicle just like a person. But it is not renewable, you have to take the vehicle out of the country for 90 days before you can bring it back for a 2nd 90 day visa or pay the import taxes. You can get details on calculating taxes here: ... temala.htm

Now for real life stuff...I met a woman here in Xela in Aug who got a 2nd 90day vehicle visa renewal at the La Mesilla border crossing after being denied one at El Carmen. I also know a guy who left his car here in Xela for 7 months over his 90 day visa. He did not drive the car it was parked. When he got back we drove it to the border and paid to import it. The fine for overstaying was Q6.00/day. I know another guy who just left Guatemala in Aug and was about 100 days over his 90 day vehicle permit they charged him Q2.00/day for a fine.

So as with everything here in Guatemala it is fluid and every changing with different rules for each border!!

The problem is if you are driving a vehicle that has USA plates with expired paperwork, you are just asking to be hassled. In theory your car can be confiscated and held until you pay the import taxes. The more likely scenario is you are stopped and hit up for some amount of money.

That is what I know.

Tom - Study Spanish in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala!

Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:24 pm

Re: Vehicle Visa Runs

Postby AndyT » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:24 pm

Thanks for the very helpful reply, Tom.

So I guess the question I have to answer for myself is how confident am I that Guatemala's rules are flexible enough to let me renew, without waiting the 90 days outside the country. My guess is that the odds are in my favor, but it would be a bummer to find out that they weren't.

There is a guy in Antigua that rents motorcycles, I may contact him and ask if they would do a long term rental, or buy back arrangement. My guess is also that the market in motorcycles is not liquid enough to count on selling one before I leave, if I were to buy one outright, but correct me if I am wrong.


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