Guatemala flag Guatemala: Investing in Guatemala

Investment framework and opportunities in Guatemala

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
While Guatemala’s laws provide a relatively hospitable climate for trade and investment and there is no restriction on foreign ownership of a company, the bureaucratic approval process can be cumbersome. Generally most sectors of Guatemala's economy welcome foreign investment and business relationships. Other than applicable taxes, no restrictions apply to the remittance of profits and repatriation of capital.
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest of stock in a local company is legal in Guatemala. There is however restrictions regarding certain sectors like the press, aviation, the navy for security and independent reasons.
Obligation to Declare
The Ministry of Economy ‘s website (in Spanish) provides a one-stop online portal with information for company registration.

The most popular registration in Guatemala is the corporation (Sociedad Anónima/ S.A.). Another option is the limited-liability company (Sociedad de responsabilidad Limitada - SARL), in which ownership is limited to 20 persons, and the managing director must be a legal resident. To learn more about the different legal form of companies in Guatemala, you can visit PWC guide for doing business in Guatemala.

In March 2013, Guatemala introduced Mi Negocio a one-stop portal that enables businesses to register simultaneously with the Mercantile Registry (Registro Mercantil), the tax authority (SAT), the social security institute (IGSS) and the Ministry of Labour. This online platform has significantly eased the business-creation process for entrepreneurs by reducing the time required to obtain registration, tax and social security numbers, and the authorization to print invoices.

For additional information please visit Asisehace website developed by the Ministry of Economy (In Spanish).  Additional information on the ease of Doing Business in Guatemala can be obtained from the World Bank Group.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
One-step portal to register a company
Merchant Record (Spanish)
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Mining has historically been a sensitive social issue in Guatemala and mining operations in Guatemala have been subject to protests. Sub-surface minerals and petroleum are the property of the State, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) is in charge of approving mining licenses. An initial exploration license is issued for three years, which can be extended for two additional two-year periods, if needed.
After completing the exploration phase, a company may then apply for a separate exploitation license. Mining exploitation licenses are granted for twenty-five years and can be extended for an additional twenty-five years. Petroleum contracts are granted through a public tender process. One contract is awarded covering both exploration and exploitation. This contract is granted for a period of twenty-five years and can be extended for an additional fifteen years. Contracts for petroleum extraction are typically granted through production-sharing agreements.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
E-regulation in Guatemala (in Spanish)
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Guatemala
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Guatemala
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Ministery of Economy (in Spanish)
Labour Code (in Spanish)

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Latest Update: April 2024