Whether a person born abroad in the early 1960s to a Guatemalan father and a Belizean mother would have an automatic right to claim or reclaim Guatemalan nationality, and whether the person would be required to renounce their foreign nationality; whether the situation would be different if the father was holding a diplomatic post abroad at the time of birth [GTM39191.E]

The information that follows was provided by the consular office of the Embassy of Guatemala during a 20 June 2002 telephone interview. It adds to information provided in previous Responses, such as GTM28068.F of 17 October 1997 and GTM10355 of 20 February 1992, and in the Constitution of Guatemala, available through Regional Documentation Centres.

No definite answer can be given for an individual case unless Guatemalan authorities who determine questions of nationality have available all the necessary details on the case and have been able to verify and assess the information.

However, as a general principle, a person is considered Guatemalan by birth if the father or mother is Guatemalan.

A Guatemalan parent should have registered the person's birth in the nearest consular office; otherwise, the process for their child to have Guatemalan nationality acknowledged in the future could be complicated, although not impossible.

Diplomats posted abroad are expected by the Guatemalan government to report any change in marital or family status, and this includes the birth of any children.

Consulates can help verify whether a person's birth was registered with Guatemalan authorities, or whether one of their parents is Guatemalan; for this, consulates have to check with the central registry in Guatemala.

If a person who already had legal recognition of his or her Guatemalan nationality has later renounced formally their Guatemalan nationality-for example, to acquire another nationality-it could present a problem for recovering or having their Guatemalan nationality legally acknowledged by Guatemala. However, the requirement of a formal renunciation and its communication to Guatemalan authorities would normally depend on the other country, the one whose nationality is being acquired.

Since 1996 Guatemala allows double nationality, although in a limited manner only.

In an 11 July 2002 correspondence, the consular office added that over and beyond the above information, individual cases may vary, since the date of birth and later events could have a bearing on the process of acknowledging or recovering Guatemalan nationality.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Embassy of Guatemala, Ottawa. 11 July 2002. Correspondence from consular office representative.

_____. 20 June 2002. Telephone interview with consular office representative.

Additional Sources Consulted

Central America Report [Guatemala]. 1998-2002.

IRB Databases.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1998-2002.

Latin American Weekly Report [London]. 1998-2002.

Prensa Libre [Guatemala]. Searchable archives.


Internet search engines and sites, including:

Government of Guatemala.

Inmigración y Extranjería (Government of Spain) database of dual nationality agreements

Political Database of the Americas.