Poverty rate:


out of the total population


  • Sending country: about 1.2 million Guatemalans, or 7% of the population, reside abroad mainly in the US (89%), Mexico (4%), and Belize (2%). 

  • Destination country: around 95,000 immigrants or 0.64% of the total population live in Guatemala. The main countries of origin are El Salvador (24.50%), Mexico (22.39%), and the US (11.03%).

  • Transit country: Honduran and Salvadoran migrants, and to a lesser extent Nicaraguan migrants, and migrants from Caribbean, South American, Asian, and African countries transit Guatemala en route to the US. From October 2019 to March 2020, it was estimated that some 45,000 migrants in transit crossed the country towards the northern border with Mexico. 

  • Host country for refugees: 390 is the number of registered refugees in Guatemala as of October 2018.


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* daily data update



  • Border closures and increased surveillance measures.

  • Guatemala signed an agreement with the US to be a “Safe Third Country”, but the asylum determination procedures are suspended due to the pandemic.

  • Border security is increased to prevent transit of irregularized migrants

  • In early March and before the arrival of a migrant caravan, sanitary controls were installed at the border with Honduras.

  • The migration authorities  reinforced border control to stop the movement of Salvadorans.

  • Initially, agreements with the US to receive flights with Guatemalan deportees were suspended. But after the US government threatened to eliminate tourist visas for Guatemalans, the cooperation agreement was immediately resumed. Therefore, during the pandemic the country has continued to receive flights with Guatemalan deportees from the US, some of them infected with COVID-19.

  • In March, the government of Guatemala and the government of Mexico agreed to joint measures to strengthen pandemic response, including intensifying epidemiological surveillance at their borders.

  • There is a lack of clear protocols for assistance and testing for COVID-19 for Guatemalan deportees arriving in the country.

  • The President ordered Guatemalan deportees to quarantine arriving in the country in designated places. However, these places have substandard conditions. People sleep on mattresses on the floor in a guarded place, and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been taken to health shelters.

  • As the pandemic has advanced, Guatemala is preparing shelters at the airport for returnees that have come back from the US because of the pandemic.

  • So far, no explicit measures have been taken to support Guatemalan migrants abroad.

  • The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance—MSPAS—offers a support program for returnees hoping that when they leave quarantine, they might sooner rejoin their communities.

  • Representatives of the governments of Guatemala and the United States of America, met to discuss how to work together and strengthen their capacity to manage requests for protection and migration, to address the causes of irregular migration, to promote safe and orderly access to temporary employment opportunities in the United States, and to enhance economic prosperity.

*For more detail go to the digital archive that we created: