Marriage to a Guatemalan Citizen
Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Guatemalan citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.
You must demonstrate to Guatemala officials that they are not currently married to anyone else - either you have never been married or all divorces are finalized - that your identity is proven, and that you have never committed any crimes in Guatemala. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the Guatemalan government either in Guatemala or via a Guatemalan embassy.
If you want to bring your Guatemalan spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.
Guatemalan Marriage Basic Requirements
Marriages in Guatemala are performed by local civil officers in the Alcalde Municipality or by a Guatemalan lawyer.
Before the marriage ceremony is performed certain requirements are necessary:
- Valid passport
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of divorce decree if previously married or death certificate in case of death
- Affidavit of eligibility to marry
- The birth and affidavit certificates must be signed by the Ambassador of Guatemala in each of the couple’s country and the minister of external affairs in Guatemala
- Medical certificate stating good health for both of the partners
- Notification of marriage in each of the spouse’s embassy
- Notification of marriage in Guatemala’s Registro Nacional de las Personas
These documents also require translation into Spanish.
If your Guatemalan spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Guatemalan Marriage document application.
If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Guatemalan citizen.
List of Guatemalan Consulates in Canada
Calling Guatemala from Canada
- The exit code for Canada is 011
- The area code for Guatemala is 502
- Dial 011 – 502 – area code – local numbers
- Guatemala City: 2
- Guatemala City suburbs: 6
- Rest of the Country: 7
Cells: 3 / 4 / 5
Calling Canada from Guatemala
- The international dial code to Canada is 00
- The country code for Canada is 1
- Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local number
List of Canadian Area Codes
403 / 587 (southern Alberta)
587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)
236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)
236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)
226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)
249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)
289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)
343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)
416 / 647 (Toronto)
807 (northwestern Ontario)
|Manitoba||204 / 431||PEI||782 / 902|
418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)
438 / 514 (Montreal)
450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)
819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)
|Newfoundland and Labrador||709||Saskatchewan||306 / 639|
|Nova Scotia||782 / 902|
Guatemala is on Central Standard Time and does not use Daylight Saving Time.
|Canadian Time Zone||
# of Hours Guatemala is Ahead or Behind
# of Hours during DST
|Pacific (BC, Yukon)||2 hours ahead||1 hour ahead|
|Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan)||1 hour ahead||Same Time|
|Saskatchewan||Same Time||Same Time|
|Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario)||Same Time||1 hour behind|
|Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec)||1 hour behind||2 hours behind|
|Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec)||2 hours behind||3 hours behind|
|Newfoundland||2.5 hours behind||3.5 hours behind|
The quetzal is the official currency of Guatemala named after the national bird of Guatemala, the Quetzal. In ancient Mayan culture, the quetzal bird's tail feathers were used as currency or legal tender.
In 2010 the total GDP in Guatemala was $ 41,186,395,243 while the per capita GDP was $2,862. This rate grew by 2.78% over the previous year.
The quetzal is divided into 100 centavos in Spanish or lenes in Spanish slang, plural is quetzals. In May 2001 it was declared legal currency.
Coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10 centavos and a quarter, half, and 1 quatzel although the 1 quatzel coins were withdrawn from circulation and melted into new half and 2 centavos.
Banknotes are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 100 quatzales.
Emergency Information for Canadians in Guatemala
Embassy of Canada in Guatemala City
Edyma Plaza Building, 8th Floor
Telephone: (502) 2363-4348
The Government of Canada's Travel Alerts for Guatemala
Guatemalan Wedding Customs
Many Hispanic countries have very similar traditions and customs, marriage traditions are no different. It is also common in these countries for couples to officially marry in a civil ceremony before the formal ceremony in Church.
The bride’s mother says a prayer or both parents say a prayer for the bride leaves for the wedding. In some countries the groom hires a mariachi to serenade the bride before leaving the Church.
Grooms in Latin America can wear a traditional tuxedo, an embroidered jacket called Bolero with tight black high-waist pants resembling a matador or bullfighter, or embroidered guayabera which is a light, short-sleeved shirt worn during hot weather.
Brides may wear a silk and lace Flamenco-style dress or a slim-fitting dress with a bolero jacket. The dress is often embroidered. The bride also wears a tiara which is a symbol of royalty on her special day.
Traditionally, a Guatemalan wedding, much like most Hispanic weddings is deeply spiritual and involves a full mass in a Roman Catholic Church.
At the Church, the bride groom together with their attendants stand or kneel at the altar while prayers are said for the couple in their new life together.
The bride and groom each light a candle just after the wedding ceremony then use these candles to light a third candle together. This is to symbolize their unity and a new life in which they share everything.
The wedding guests throw rice or rose flower petals at the couple as they leave the church to bring them good luck.
A long strand of rosary beads adorned with crystals, glass beads, flowers known as a lazo or lasso, is placed around the couple’s shoulders in a figure eight right after exchanging their vows. The lazo is to symbolize the union and protection of the new marriage.
Only specific members of the wedding party called the padrino and madrina are responsible for placing the lasso on the bride and groom.
The couple has to wear the lazo for the entire period of the service to symbolize their love, which should bind the couple together daily as they share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives.
The figure eight is a symbol of infinity which is a tradition that dates back to early Spain when brides were captured and bound, this was also a tradition in pre-Columbian Mexico where Aztecs tied the hems of the bride and grooms’ wedding tunics together. These heirloom lazos are presented as wedding gifts which are passed down generations.
This tradition is still practiced in Guatemala up to date.
This is a tradition originating from Spain and typical of Catholic Church marriage ceremonies where the groom presents the bride with 13 gold or silver coins as a promise to support her and a demonstration of his ability to do so.
The number 13 represents Christ and his 12 Apostles.
Orange blossoms are popular flowers for Hispanic weddings even in Guatemala because they signify happiness and fertility for the couple.
It is tradition amongst many Catholic Hispanics for the bride to have two bouquets, one for her and the other typically made of white flowers for offering to a statue of the Virgin Mary to get blessings.
Hispanic brides sometimes opt to carry a fan adorned with flower instead of flowers.
Engagement and Wedding Rings
Both the bride and groom wear engagement rings at the wedding ceremony. The rings are made of silver and are much thinner than wedding rings. The engagement rings are replaced by wedding rings when the couple exchanges rings at the wedding ceremony.
Food for Weddings
Plantains are native to South American and are included in the most basic meals or special cuisine recipes. This dish is made by cutting plantains into slices, sprayed with cooking spray and baked until brown.
The main ingredient in this dish is rice and it’s a classic dish in Guatemala served in all occasions including wedding receptions.
Curtido de Repollo
This is spicy coleslaw made with thick tortilla stuffed with cheese. It can be served as an accompaniment for beef or pork.
This dish is made by cutting different fruits like mangoes and avocado cut into cubes and mixed with tomatoes, pepper, orange and tomato juice, then put in tortilla chips.
This is a light snack that can be served as dessert or starter menu in a wedding reception. It is made with cheese, bell pepper and flour tortillas.
The ingredients are mixed and the tortillas are fried until golden brown.
This is Guatemalan bread made with ground cardamom and raisins. Instant yeast can be used and also poppy or sesame seeds.
It can be taken with soup or salad on any occasion.
Spiced Coconut Coffee
This drink is made with coffee beans, pepper flakes, coconut milk, water and cloves. Cinnamon sticks can also be used. It can be served after meals during wedding receptions.
Chamomile Apple Tea
This drink can be served as a cocktail or in its original form. It is made with pineapple juice, apple juice and chamomile flowers.
This dish is stuffed cucumbers with a filling made of ice cream, cream, jalapeno peppers and lime. These lovely cucumbers can be served as dessert after the main meal in a wedding reception.
Pollo en Pina
This dish is chicken made in Guatemalan style with pineapple, dry sherry and cinnamon. It can be served as an entrée in a wedding reception.
This is a spicy and hot pork dish made into thick gravy as an accompaniment for rice or tortilla in a wedding reception or any other meal time.
This is a Guatemalan classic which is simply baked bananas. The bananas are spread with honey and lemon juice before baking, and when they are ready sour cream is poured over before serving. This can be served as dessert.
Guatemalan tacos are the ordinary Mexican tacos but in a Guatemalan style. Ground beef, potatoes, avocados and a variety of veggies and spices are used.
This can be served as a starter dish in a wedding reception.
Religion in Guatemala
50-60% of the Guatemalan population is Roman Catholic while 40% is Protestant, Eastern Orthodox at 3% and lastly 1% is indigenous Mayan.
Catholicism was the official religion during the colonial era in Guatemala even though the Mayan culture had strong roots, nowadays some elements of Maya practices have been incorporated into Catholic ceremonies during worship in a phenomena known as enculturation.
These churches have approximately 527,000 members or catechumens in Guatemala, there are 334 churches, each church is a complete community with a college, 2 schools, and 12 professors and teachers.
Scholarships are given to students to study in the St Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Theology Institute for degree programs.
Latter Day Saints
This Church has over 215,000 members which is about 1.65% of the total population. The Church continues to grow each year.
There is a small community of Jews between 1,200 – 2,000, Muslims 1,200 and Buddhists 9,000-12,000.
Romantic, Historic and Scenic Places in Guatemala
La Azoteca Cultural Centre - Antigua
This center is in the city of Antigua and it is a place where tourists get information about the culture and heritage of Guatemala.
Ravenscroft Riding Centre - Antigua
This is a horse riding school offering classes and horse-back tours in Antigua.
Yogantigua - Antigua
This is yoga fitness, instructions and school in the city of Antigua with private or public yoga classes.
Mundo Petapa - Guatemala City
This is an amusement and theme park in the city of Antigua offering a wide variety of activities for all people from kids to couples to families.
Zoologico Nacional La Aurora - Guatemala City
This is a zoo and animal conservancy in the capital.
Visitors can learn how to paraglide in this school just outside of Panajachel. This is a fun activity for honeymooning couples looking for adventure and adrenaline thrill.
Pala Life Klishe - Quetzaltenango
This is a club and discotheque in the city of Quetzaltenango. Visitors can get to know the night life in Guatemala and have a good time.
Los Elemntos Adventure Centre - Santa Cruz La Laguna
This is a camping site in the city of Santa Cruz that offers other outdoor activities like hiking, excursions and private boat rides.
It is a romantic getaway for couples on a honeymoon.
Convento de las Capuchinas - Antigua
This is an old convent that was built in 1736 but was later destroyed by an earthquake. Now it serves as a memorial and is open to the public and tourists, couples on a honeymoon in Guatemala can get to know the history of the Catholic nun community that inhabited it.
Plaza - Antigua
This is a park/landmark in Antigua with colonial buildings in an old town with streets lined with trees. It’s perfect for relaxation and picnics.
Iglesiaq de la Recoleccion - Guatemala City
This is a Church that was built in the early 17th century but destroyed by earthquakes, it is now a tourist attraction.
Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology - Guatemala City
This is a museum in Antigua with a vast collection of Mayan artifacts displayed in various halls within the museum.
This is a museum that is home to the textile and handcrafted works of the Mayan people. There are also paintings and a gift shop for tourists to buy souvenirs and gifts to take back home.
Museo Popol Vuh - Guatemala City
This is one of Guatemala’s modern museums of natural history best known for its ceramics. It also includes Mayan history.
Torre del Reformador - Guatemala City
This landmark is the Guatemalan equivalent of the Eiffel tower which stands at 75 meters. It is a tourist attraction visiting the city of Antigua.
The Mayan Traditions Herbal Medicine Gardens - Panajachel
This garden is 10 minutes’ walk from the center Panajachel. The garden is a place where visitors get to learn ancient healing herbs and medicinal practices of the Mayan.
These are ancient ruins in Tikal National Park where tourists can get to know about the ancient Mayan culture while enjoying the beauty of the jungle.
This is a 212 foot structure for tourists to climb and get a view of the jungle below. It is located in Tikal National Park.
Pacaya - Ecuintla
This volcano is a must see for all visitors or honeymooning couples in Guatemala. Activities in this mountain are hiking and rock climbing, the views from the top are amazing.
Reserva Natural Atitlan - Panajachel
This is a 4000 acre natural reserve that is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species. Bird lovers also get to see rare bird species. This is the perfect honeymoon getaway for any couple visiting Guatemala.
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Bringing Gifts to Guatemala
Duty Free Items
- 80 cigarettes
- 3.5 ounces of tobacco
- 2 bottles of spirits
- No restrictions on perfume
- All passengers visiting the country need to pay a security tax
- Pets require vaccination certificates
- Illegal drugs
- Weapons, explosives and ammunition
- Knives and other dangerous weapons
- Milk and milk products
- Wild plants and plant products
- Counterfeit money and goods
- Cultural artifacts
Wages in Guatemala
The minimum wage in Guatemala is $0.98 cents/hour and $47/week. In Guatemala a complete month is 30 days, the hourly pay is broken down into 3 elements;
- Base wage of $0.72/hour
- Seventh day pay$0.84/hour
- Mandatory monthly bonus 250 Quetzals ($32.49)
According the Guatemalan law, the legal payment for work is as follows;
- $7.84/hour a full day is 8 hours
- $47/week a full week is 6 days and 48 hours
Overtime payments are paid at a rate of $1.09/hour. For farm workers the pay is as follows;
- 44.58 Quetzals
For the Seventh Day pay, it is the tradition to pay workers on that day which is considered a holy day to attend Church, some companies consider it as attendance bonus. If a worker is absent for a day, they miss pay for both the missed day and the Seventh Day pay. Seventh Day pay is;
Only one overtime premium is used in Guatemala which is 150% of the minimum wage not including a 250 Quetzals mandatory bonus monthly.
All overtime must be voluntary and should include hours worked beyond the legal 48-hour work week.
Sponsoring Your Guatemalan Spouse to Canada