Very often when coming to Guatemala to visit you end up staying longer than expected or you simply
move in and slowly forget about your migratory status...
Any serious expat candidate should consider before considering moving abroad is to know the migration requirements of the country soon to be his home..
When you decide to stay longer in a country , when you stop to be a tourist and become a resident...you have by law to change your migratory status...
Some countries are very regulated and enforce their laws (mostly USA and European countries but also Brazil) other are more relax...Of course migration toward the first world to an underdeveloped country is better seen than the contrary... As the first world candidate to relocation (relocation not immigration) will surely brings money, employes locals, eventually build.. He is seen as source of opportunities.
So let's talk about Guatemala our main subject...
When people come here they get automatically a 90 days tourist visa.. which can be extended once..
after your second extension you have to technically leave the country . And there is this urban legend that you have to go for 3 days before re-entering to Guatemala. Some people goes to the Mexican and renter the next day without problem and start again another round of 2 times 90 days.
When you renew after your first 90 days you don't have to go to the border but to the imigration office in Guatemala city zona 9. And you can go on like that for many years. I have been 7 years on this system before getting my residency.. but I know people on tourist visa since 20 years.. If you leave the country in between better as you start all again when you come back..
Now if you don't do renew your visa then very little chance you get controlled and would have to regularize your situation.. I have a friend who staid 2 years without renewing when he left the country through the airport he paid 10 Q per day.. o 2400 Q fine.. and if he would have gone a couple of day before he could have use the current Presidential Amnesty that reduce 90 % of the fine if you go to migration office.. And no particular mark on his passport or limitation to reenter in the future..
So at the moment Guatemala has a non existent or very basic migratory system that is not oriented in looking after the tourist status.. allowing a lot of people to stay on a tourist visa and not have to change their residency status in their own country