Tenants – lease or buy

Introduction: This article is based on common sense and a lot of experience. When your business requires its own premises a decision must be made as to whether to lease or purchase commercial property. If the answer is not immediately obvious to you, here are some of the considerations:

1. Available finances: Your first consideration will be based on whether you can afford to buy. If you can, but only just, is it worth pushing to own the property to save your money being poured into someone elses hand if you instead, choose to rent. Of course your calculations will be based on interest rates and rates of return on property. Interest rates vary according to the economic cycle and a number of other factors. Rates of return on investment in property vary according to the interest rate cycle, and also to the type of business property. An investor in a substantial shop property in NSW for example, might expect a return of 5%, whereas an investor in industrial property in say, Newcastle, may seek a return of 10% or even 12%. This difference reflects the market’s perception of risk.

On a pure comparative cost calculation, you should therefore set out the figures comparing the total cost of being your own landlord, as against the total cost of someone else being your landlord. If you are looking at a rent of, say, $30,000 per year against a purchase at $300,000, then you need to be able to borrow at less than 10% for the cash flow effect of your purchase to be better than the cash flow effect of a lease (ignoring capital repayments).

2. Capital appreciation: In the long term the capital value of your purchased property will increase at least in line with inflation. For property, the “”long term”” can be said to be the life of an average building, so we are talking “”really, long term””. Even this however, is subject to other influences and trends. Over the last ten years the changing structure of the workforce has reduced the demand for industrial and older business property. Your motor repair workshop may only be worth the same number of dollars today as it was worth ten years ago. In real terms you have probably lost half its value. Even if you use a professional surveyor to advice on today’s values, you will still need to take your own view on future values. In a property lease the risk is taken by your landlord. The rent is likely to be fixed for a number of years, and will then be increased in line with the general level of rents for similar properties.

3. Property is always a strong asset in the long term: In the cash flow calculation above, no account has been taken of repayments on any borrowing you took out to fund the purchase. If a large proportion of the purchase price was borrowed from a specialist property lender, with repayments of capital and interest (like your house mortgage), then you may still be able to find a deal which provides a total payment to your lender which is no greater than the sum that you would have been paying in rent. In that scenario, you end up owning your property. That is obviously more attractive than a property lease situation. But if you need to sell your property in bad times, you may not achieve the price you thought it was worth.

New Zealand Visa Requirements and Immigration

To enter New Zealand you must have a passport valid for 3 months after the date of your intended departure. To be eligible for immigration to New Zealand, You must be under 56 years of age, you, your partner and any dependant children less than 17 years of age must complete a health declaration to ensure you meet all standards of health, Must have a good character, Pass English language requirements

To be eligible for a New Zealand visa you need the following requirements which are required by all entering the country.
A valid ticket to exit New Zealand
Sufficient money to support
A passport valid for 3 months beyond the scheduled date of departure from New Zealand
A completed and signed application form
A recent passport-sized photograph
Evidence of financial support or sponsorship for visitors
Evidence of onward travel
Evidence of payment fee for students and a written guarantee from an institution that suitable accommodation is available for you in New Zealand.

New Zealand immigration monitors the number of people who arrives in New Zealand each year, from permanent and temporary residents to visitors and holiday makers. It monitors holiday travelers going to New Zealand for up to 23 months to travel and work; potential migrants who wish to live in New Zealand permanently must first obtain a residence visa to enter the country and temporary workers who wish to travel and work. The new immigration act which passed into law in 2009 replacing the 1987 act is aimed to enhance border security and improve the efficiency of the immigration services. Key aspects of the new act include the ability to use biometrics, a new refugee and protection system, a single independent appeals tribunal and a universal visa system.

The immigration scheme has been designed to comprise two stages; the lodging of an expression of interest and the invitation to apply for residency. You need to score a minimum of 100 points to be able to lodge an expression of interest. Skilled migrant category has been designed to attract highly skilled migrants to New Zealand, particularly in those industries and regions of New Zealand experiencing growth and skill shortages. Immigration to New Zealand offers a better quality life because it is a safer place to bring up a family or emigrate to enjoy surfing, fishing and beach life. New Zealand is a modern, wonderful mix of western and pacific cultures and forward thinking creative country.

Mississauga

Mississauga is Canadas sixth largest city, with a population of 630,000 and an area of 28,750 hectares, or 111 square miles. It is home to L. B. Pearson International Airport, Canadas busiest airport, and is within commuting distance to 9 major universities and 10 technical colleges. Mississauga has a very long and interesting history. If you look back to the first European contact in 1675, Iroquoian and Algonquian speaking peoples already inhabited the area. The Mississaugas, an Ojibwa First Nations People, drove out the Iroquois by 1700. The French established many trading posts around Lake Ontario, but they began to lose power in the region, leaving the British to continue trade with the Natives. This introduction of European cultures, technology, and diseases prompted an end to the Mississaugas way of life.

The area of land around the Credit River Valley, which was named for the custom of trading with the Mississaugas on credit, was very fertile and attracted many settlers. This, combined with world politics and immigration, created a large demand for land, and prompted the European settlement of the “Home District”. This would form the “Toronto Township” on August 2, 1805, and later Mississauga. In 1806, the British government purchased 33,995 hectares (84,000 acres) of the “Mississauga Tract”, an area extending from Burlington Bay to the Etobicoke Creek, for 1,000 pounds sterling from the Mississaugas. In this “First Purchase”, the Mississaugas retained some fishing rights and one mile of land on either side of the Credit River. However, the Mississaugas would relinquish this remainder of land (excluding a 200-acre reserve on the northeast bank of the Credit River) on February 28, 1820, with the Second Purchase. This area became known as Block D. The Mississaugas had been a hunting and gathering people, but they adopted a more settled, agricultural lifestyle by the 1820s. In 1826, after petitions from Rev. Peter Jones to government officials, the Mississaugas began building a village that was called the “Credit Mission.” Numbering only about 260 by this time, the Mississaugas petitioned frequently, between 1833 and 1847, for rights to land in Block D. In 1847, the Mississaugas relocated to a reserve in the Grand River Valley near present-day Hagersville. An historic plaque outside the gates of the Mississauga Golf Club is the only visible reminder of the Mississaugas’ settlement.

The township was fully open to immigrants by 1820, and many who were fleeing a variety of circumstances such as war, famine, overpopulation, and economic depression came to Mississauga to look for opportunities in Upper Canada (Ontario). Many exciting events have happened in Mississauga between then and now, including the opening of multiple highways, railways, an airport, and a shopping centre. Exciting events are sure to come in the near future for Mississauga as well, such as the construction of the 56-storey condominium, Absolute Tower, which will be Mississaugas tallest building.

How To Get A Workers Visa With The Help Of A Miami Immigration Lawyer That Is Skilled And Reliable

There are circumstances which prove to be difficult for employers within Miami, and one such circumstance involves being able to employ individuals from outside of the United States. Doing so can be a great idea for employers because of the great set of qualities that these individuals have, but to be able to employ these individuals can require a substantial amount of work to ensure that everything is done legally.

People who wish to employ individuals from overseas need to ensure that the proper arrangements are made with regards to the workers visa that is needed by the prospect worker. The entire process of securing a workers visa can be relatively complex, and this is something that is common to most legal procedures, so people within Miami who are hoping to get into situations of this nature need to be prepared for the work that needs to go along with everything.

Logically, it helps for employers within Miami to get in touch with a reliable Miami immigration lawyer that can provide the right form of assistance in helping you secure the workers visa that you need for your prospect worker, and this includes help in handling all of the paperwork that will be necessary.

To give you a better idea of what needs to be done in order to successfully secure a workers visa for your prospect worker, here is a basic rundown of what needs to be done:

Arrange All Paperwork

First of all, there are certain documents that need to be arranged, and people who are in the process of securing a workers visa need to make sure that the documents that they have in their hands are the correct ones. Once these documents have been set, they will need to be filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of Labor. Going through this should be easy if you have a Miami immigration lawyer to help you arrange all the paperwork and file them all with the proper authorities.

Actual Visa Application

After all of the documents have been arranged and filed with the proper authorities, the employee would need to file their visa application at the nearest consulate or embassy within Miami. There will also be an interview as well as a medical examination that will need to be taken before the visa will be approved.

Being able to successfully go through the steps involved in securing a workers visa is best done with the help of a good Miami immigration lawyer that has the right set of skills needed in handling the legal aspect of such issues.

Criteria for Choosing the Best Immigration Lawyer

When you are planning to migrate to another country or state there are several critical considerations you need to make. The most important of these is to acquaint yourself with the necessary immigration requirements of the country you intend to move to. One irrefutable fact is that migrating to another country involves a lot of hassles. This is one of the most sensitive areas that can greatly affect your residence. So you need to gather enough information on immigration before you decide to move from your country. This process also involves a lot of legal issues which you may not be familiar with, hence the need to have the best immigration lawyer. For your immigration process to be smooth and trouble-free you will have to successfully complete your paperwork. This is where an experienced immigration lawyer comes in handy. Fortunately, there are numerous immigration lawyers in Denver that offer reliable immigration consultation. But this does not imply that there are no inept immigration lawyers in the area. That is why you have to be careful about the immigration lawyer you wish to hire. This shouldn’t give you problems since there is a certain criterion that will make your selection process simple and effective. There are several factors that you need to bear in mind as you go on with your search for the best immigration lawyer. For starters, you need to check the academic background of the Denver immigration attorney. Different law institutions offer varied levels of training. So if you want to get the best immigration lawyer in Denver then you need to consider the school he/she graduated from. Basically, lawyers from top class schools are known to offer better immigration consultation services. The good thing is that most of these schools have online portals where you can get important details about them. The best immigration lawyer ought to have extensive experience in handling different types of immigration cases. He should be in a position to provide you with sensible legal interpretation of all issues involved in your immigration process. This may force you to hire a lawyer who has been in the immigration field for a considerable number of years. Even though there are so many top college attorneys in the industry, they are not very effective in dealing with intricate legal issues. You can also consider hiring lawyers that offer free immigration consultation services. The bottom line is to ensure that your lawyer is qualified enough to handle your immigration case effectively.

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Canada Immigration Visa From Bangalore

If you are living in the info-tech capital of country and are seeking Canada Immigration Visa From Bangalore hope is on the horizon all shining bright and wide. If we assess recent developments opening up of Canadian migration is round the corner and is expected to be thrown open to aspiring migrants early next year. The latest edition can be termed as a complete overhaul of the old system and only things that remain in line with the out going systems is the terminology used for popular migrant classifications.

For migrants entry as per new criteria defined as per Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) the specifications have been revised and superseded by newer preference list. The priorities have changed manifold in this new introduction and it is being widely expected that new introductions would actually change the whole meaning of Canada Immigration Visa. As a matter of fact this move is being termed as a first serious move by the government to focus on primary statutes and areas that need an urgent attention and solutions. The authorities seem to have buckled up and prepared themselves for providing a more sensitive and effective migration policy that is capable of addressing various diverse issues concerning replenishment of trained manpower in domestic labor pool.

The areas of priority as per the sources and preliminary drafts of new policy descriptions seemed to be more focused on certain basic traits in migrants profile such as linguistic abilities, employment exposure in domestic labor pool and ability to make positive and productive contributions to economy of country.

This planned overhaul is definitely a result of extensive spade work carried out by government in consultation with various agencies and stakeholders. There has been marked shift in the priorities area wise. Some areas that were regarded as essentials by outgoing system have been down graded such as employment exposure accumulated out of country etc.

Some areas though have been kept on same level but there are some marked modifications effected into their operational aspects as in case of academic achievements and qualifications of parameters. As per new Canada Immigration Visa policy, it has been henceforth made compulsory for people filing under regulated trades to submit their credentials for a parity study by designated independent Canadian agency.

The objective of new regulations is to set-up an effective mechanism that will provide domestic labor pool with suitable people within predefined and pre established age groups who will not only having required skills and enough energy to toil hard and establish themselves but also work and participate for a longer time in domestic labor pool.

Time is definitely ripe for aspiring migrants seeking Canada Immigration Visa From Bangalore to start preparing themselves for this process and start compiling and collecting all relevant documents. Consulting an experienced consultant in this case would not be a bad idea at all as it would help you to sort out multiple issues connected with this decision to relocate.

Latvia Immigration Visa Processing From India

Latvia is considered for immigration because it is one of European Unions fastest growing economies. This nation located in the north of Europe is a major financial, cultural and commercial centre with the regions largest international airport. The country is a member of premium international organizations like World Trade Organization, International Monitory Fund, European Union, United Nations, Nordic Investment Bank etc. It is also an important seaport. All the above factors make Latvia a very commercially viable centre.
The culture of the country is very open and accepting towards new immigrants with their cultural diversity. Main practiced religion of the country is Christianity. The climate of the country varies from region to region, though at time it gets considerably cold. The population is a mix of Latvians as well as Russians.
All the sectors of the country have been privatized and it practices Capitalist mode of economy. This act has brought good returns to the commerce of Latvia, contributing in the countrys economic growth as well as increasing employment and investment opportunities manifold. This economy also makes the country ideal for foreign investment, as those investments can reap large benefits due to privatization. The country favours immigrant investment and business practices.
Latvia offers a Temporary Residence Permit to those who wish to settle in the country for a longer period of time as it enables them to reside in the country for a particular amount of time and gives them free access to many territories for business. A Latvia Temporary Residence Permit allows unrestricted movement and settlement opportunities in European Union countries.
To immigrate to Latvia, it is important that an applicant must first gather all the essential information regarding immigration and assess the locations suitability with regards to self. Since the immigration procedure is long and tedious, it is advised that the services of a professional visa and immigration consultant are sought. An efficient consultant can make Latvia immigration visa processing from India a piece of cake experience. There are consultants who have been in the industry for many years and have a lot of experience in cases of Latvia immigration visa processing from India. Such consultants will take the burden off the shoulders of the applicant and take care of immigration procedures like application filing, documentation, Visa interview preparation and all such major aspects. A good consultant will look after each and every detail with responsibility.
However, before choosing a consultant on must ensure that the consultant has experience in the field of Latvian immigration. Apart from experience, the consultant should necessarily have all the licenses required to practice this trade and must be duly qualified for the profession. One must beware of fake consultants who suggest presenting fake documentation in order to speed-up the immigration process.

Tourist Visa 9A Philippines

This visa is issued to foreigners (restricted and non-restricted) for the purpose of pleasure, business and/or medical treatment.

Foreigners who intend to stay in the Philippines longer than 21 days must obtain a fifty-nine day visa at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate before travelling to the Philippines. However, if a foreigner enters the country on an entry stamp and intends to stay longer, he can apply for a 38-day visa waiver at the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros (Manila) or at any Immigration sub-office in the country to obtain a total of 59 day stay in the country. Please refer to the illustration below:

entry stamp for 21 days + 38 day waiver = 59 days

Note: A tourist visa 9A holder is prohibited to obtain any form of employment, to engage in business or to study in any learning institution in the country.

Requirements

Duly filled application form (BI Form No. MCL-07-01)

Passport valid for at least six months before the intended travel to the Philippines

One 2″ x 2″ photograph taken within the last six (6) months with the applicants signature on the front side of the picture

A photocopy of the applicants air ticket or confirmed itinerary.

Proof of financial capacity (e.g. travellers cheques, latest print-out of credit card account(s), latest print-out of bank statements, ownership of real estate properties, and other documents showing the applicants capacity to financially support himself for his stay in the Philippines)

Note: If the application is made by an agent or a representative, the application form must be notarized by a notary public, a lawyer or a solicitor.

Fees in Pesos (if applying in the Philippines)

For the extension of 21 day entry stamp for another 38 days

Visa Waiver 500.00

Visa Waiver Application Fee

1,000.00

Certification Fee

500.00

Express fee (Certification)

500.00

Express fee (For processing)

500.00

Legal Research Fee (LRF) for each item

20.00

Total

3,020.00

Note: The application fee/s for the temporary visitors visa (tourist visa) abroad vary from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate or the currency of the host country. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate for information.

Further Extensions: Tourists visas can be extended beyond 59 days. Please see our visa extensions page.

The Temporary Visitors Visa can be converted to another form of non-immigrant or immigrant visa. Below is the list of all non-immigrant and immigrant visas which can be obtained through the Temporary Visitors Visa.

Student Visa

Pre-Arranged Employee Visa Commercial

Pre-Arranged Employee Visa Missionary

Treaty Traders Visa

Returning Resident

Children of the Resident Immigrants

Returning Former Filipino Resident

Immigrant Quota (13)

Permanent Resident Visa (13A)

Temporary Resident Visa (13A)

Mediation – Stages of Mediation

Mediation will usually happen in five different stages;

1) The initial meeting
2) Joint meeting
3) Working with the mediator
4) Evaluation of the mediation
5) The settlement

The initial meeting is where each party is assisted by a mediator in exploring and clarifying the issues and feelings involved and decide if mediation would be a positive option in resolving the difficulties. The Joint meeting will start the parties concerned in the dispute by working towards and create a workable settlement or agreement about the future. This meeting will build a mutual understanding of the parties ongoing working relationship. The acting mediator will need to interact constructively with the parties while at the same time be completely impartial at all stages even within the parties company. Evaluating the mediation process would look at the contribution and results that both parties involved have given with a concept of improving the relationship for both parties interest. It will then be vital to ensure that both parties have recognised that they have developed various new techniques to resolve disputes through mediation which could be very helpful in relation to work in the future.

Every mediator will conduct the mediation process differently, it all depends on the mediator, the dispute and the parties involved. There are generally some key stages which help to set out the basic structure of the mediation process. A mediator would be appointed by both parties who have agreed on the choice, this is usually done either independently or through their personal legal advisers. The mediation date would then be set by both parties with an agreed neutral place for the mediation to take place. The venue should have at least three separate rooms so private discussions can be held, one for each party to the dispute and one room that is used for the face to face negotiations between parties.

The mediator should receive all documentation and a case summary from both parties before the mediation can take place. This allow the mediator to be ready for the mediation and should allow them to understand the dispute more fully. The mediator can also contact both parties or their legal advisers before mediation begins in order to clarify any points about the case. Mediation is an informal process, but all involved will have a legal duty to sign a mediation agreement that states the basic rules and procedures that will applying to the mediation process.

On the mediation date, each party will have an initial private meeting with the mediator followed by a joint meeting with both parties and their legal advisers. This allows each party to share their own views and point out the main issues that they have. Once this has happened there is a session of private and confidential meetings that take place during the day, these meeting will generally consist of the mediators seperate meetings with each party that look into the main issues in order to completely understand both parties needs. Towards the end of the day, the mediator will encourage the parties to start constructive and fair negotiations.

Guatemala Pensionado Permanent Residency Program

Introduction Guatemala is offering a Pensionado program. This is a permanent residency allowing one to live in Guatemala for the rest of their life. The Pensionado receives a Cedulla which is a national identity card that would allow the person to open a bank account in Guatemala without showing the passport from their home country. The Cedulla is a high tech digital ID card. The identity card can reflect a lawful name modification for additional banking privacy. With the Cedulla one can travel without a passport to five other central american countries, off the grid so to speak.

Time Frame The process takes approximately 2-4 weeks, so three weeks is a fair approximation of the time frame. One does have to be in Guatemala during the process. Five Star hotels run about $100 to $145 a night depending on the season. It is possible to stay in Antigua, Guatemala which is a lovely resort community (google Antigua Guatemala). A large steak dinner in a five star restaurant is about $20. You will find things cheap here.

Fee The complete fees are $8,000 for one person, $9500 for a couple. Each child is an extra $1000. Children must be under 18 years old. All fees are paid at the start of the application. Fees can be paid by cash or wire transfer. We do not take checks because they take longer to clear (30 days) than the program requires to complete.

Pensionado Economic Requirements The program is for retired or disabled people. There is no age restriction. One does have to show financial responsibility. An income of $1000 a month is needed. This is $1250 for a married couple. This is so stated in a declaration to the government. The income is proven with bank statements, stock broker statements etc. Income can be private sourced from investments, rental properties etc. It is a good idea to also present gold and platinum Visa cards as additional support for financial independence. You will not have permission to work as an employee for others. You can be self employed in your own business.

Guatemala Taxes Guatemala does NOT tax offshore derived income. Money coming in from outside of Guatemala is NOT taxed. Your pension, investments etc from outside of Guatemala are not taxed. If you had a shoe store in Guatemala you would pay taxes. There is a VAT of 15% on some goods. A plasma TV costs a few hundred dollars more than in USA. USA cars are about same price without the discounts which are better in USA. European and Asian cars are higher priced. Solid wood furniture is far cheaper than in USA and better quality.

Official Documents Needed One needs their passport, birth certificate and marriage license if married. If possible marriage license and birth certificate should be the more modern variety with seals etc.

Language Requirement None. You do not have to speak Spanish. It is a great idea to start taking spanish lessons ASAP when here or before. There are a number of computer programs that are excellent. Rosetta Stone is popular. We do advocate learning the language. Our law firm and staff all speak English well. The better hotels and restaurants will have English speakers. Most of the Doctors speak English. Many establishments do not speak English as well.

Rights in Guatemala You have the rights of a citizen except you cannot vote and cannot get a passport. As a Pensionado you are not supposed to seek work as an employee for others. This is not the purpose of the program. You can own property, start businesses, own corporations, have bank accounts, get mortgages etc.

Time to Become a Citizen The normal time is five years. After you are a resident for three years to can apply to have the residency time shortened to three years from the normal five years. Only citizens can have passports, not residents.

Cross Border Travel as a Resident There is a Free Border Treaty in Central America. With a Guatemala Residency ID card you can travel by land or boat into the following countries without any passport needed: Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize. Costa Rica has signed the treaty but is known for not honoring it so don’t count on them. If you go by commercial airline you will need a passport. Your home country will not know where you are since the passport is not being swiped. You will not be able to open bank accounts in the other countries by just showing your national identity card (Cedulla), just Guatemala.

Name Change What can be done is the maiden name of your mother can be added onto your resident ID (Cedulla) as a third name. If you were Daniel Boone now and your mother maiden name was Smith you could now be Daniel Boone Smith. This is a lawful and customary practice in Latin America but of course optional. Now when you open your bank account in Guatemala it will be in name of Daniel Boone Smith and not reference your home country in the records. No lies and nothing illegal yet this allows you to fall through the cracks.

Guatemala Banking As a Pensionado resident in Guatemala you can have a bank account in Guatemala without showing a passport or any ID from your home country. NO passport needed. What can be done is the maiden name of your mother can be added onto your resident ID (Cedulla) as a third name. If you were Daniel Boone now and your mother maiden name was Smith you could now be Daniel Boone Smith. This is a lawful and customary practice in Latin America but of course optional.

Now when you open your bank account in Guatemala it will be in name of Daniel Boone Smith and not reference your home country in the records. No lies and nothing illegal yet this allows you to fall through the cracks. Guatemala has NO tax treaties for information sharing with any country. There will be no sharing of any banking information for tax reasons (any sort of tax or tax related case). Guatemala has no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the USA, Canada, UK or EU Countries. This means sharing of information for criminal cases will be difficult.

Other Countries Pensionado Residency Programs – With the Panama Pensionado program there is a zero chance of ever opening a bank account without showing your home country passport. We know people who have tried this with a number of Panama Banks. The Panama banks are not allowed to take the pensionado ID or even a permanent residency ID to open a bank account. The cell phone companies in Panama will not open an account without one showing a home country passport no matter what sort of Panama permanent residency they have. All the panama residency programs, permanent, pensionado or otherwise, are nothing more than long term tourist visa, period. Panama residency ID’s of any sort do not allow for any cross border travel without a passport.There are very few Pensionado programs in the world today. There are residency programs. They usually take about six months to process a residency and one needs to remain in the country during this period of time.

Does One Live Free in Guatemala ? Oh think of it like the USA in the 1950’s. The police cannot come into your home without a search warrant. None of this “I heard a cry for help” garbage. Warrants from the patrol car radio are not happening. The police will need evidence of a violation of law to get a warrant. We did not say probable cause as in a reasonable person would deduct blah blah blah, that is USA not Guatemala. Not a common thing to see a search warrant issued here. If the police stop your car you can refuse to let them search it. You can also call your lawyer and wait until the lawyer comes and then the search proceeds, your choice. The police will generally be polite and a request to search a car would be like when there is an emergency and a roadblock scenario to catch fleeing felons who were shooting at police or something drastic. Not a common thing.

We have a kind of police called Transito. Traffic cops is what they are. They have no guns. They have cool yellow green uniforms with white helmets like Bermuda Police. They can only do traffic or auto equipment violations. Normally they will have a side of the road setup and look at cars to make sure they have a current sticker. They will check trucks to see if their loads are secure or not. When pulled they ask for driver license to make sure it is current. None of this – “where are you going, can I look in your trunk, do you have any weapons, have anything I should know about”. None of this happens with a traffic stop. If you do get a ticket just send your lawyer down to appear for you and pay fine. No point system. Very rare to ever see radar and never saw laser yet in Guatemala. People don’t even bother with radar detectors. Never saw any speed or red light cameras. They do offer parking tickets for parking violations and they can be generous in this area in some locations. Tickets are cheap, relax. Some towns like Antigua boot cars. Never park illegally in Antigua they love parking enforcement. Antigua has a special tourist police force that are on almost every corner when it is busy. They often speak English and you will find them very polite and eager to help. If you say you want leather belts they will even tell you where such a store that sells that is located.

The regular Guatemala police are called the black police (policia negro) because their cars and uniforms are black. They have guns. They do not work traffic and cannot pull you for traffic reasons. They are crime fighters only. They generally ignore you. The police will probably never show if you call them to come to your house or if they did it would take a lot of time. I never knew anyone to have their house robbed. We live in gated communities with armed guards. We have alarm systems. When the alarm goes off two ex military guys from the alarm company on a motorcycle come with guns. Often in about five minutes. One hides behind cover and the other walks around to see what is up. They have body armor and are serious fellows. So you have the armed guards in the community, some sort of fence, the alarm and now the alarm guards show up. Never knew anyone to have his home robbed.

The lawyers and court system does not work in a harassing way like in USA. This is not a society that likes lawsuits. Lawyers do a lot of contracts, real estate law, family law, criminal law but not a lot of civil litigation. If you go about your business and do not bother other people, no one will be bothering you. People here do not go out and start trouble with their lawyers like up north. People will tend to settle their differences more sanely here than the USA. That being said never ever sign any real estate agreement or any contract without a lawyer to review it. I think this rule applies anywhere. The freedom here is very noticeable.

Firearms A resident can apply for permission to own and carry concealed firearms. Assault weapons are not allowed to be purchased now which means no centerfire rifles under a current law which is going to expire in a few months and will most likely not be renewed, as a political guess. There are some already registered assault rifles that could transfer but would have to be kept in the home only, no carrying. They will be hard to find and most likely in .223 caliber.

You can have handguns in any common caliber and 12 ga. Shotguns in semi-auto, pump, double barreled etc. Glocks, CZ, Beretta, Sig Sauer, Walther, Jerico, and Bull are the popular quality handgun brands. Mossberg and Remington are popular shotgun brands. Franchi makes a 14″ pump in 12 ga that is sold as a regular shotgun and can be included on a carry permit, legal and nice for the car. One can get plastic shoulder stocks for some glock pistols and Jerico pistols. The stocks are not a restricted or controlled item. This is called a short barreled rifle in some countries. The most popular handgun calibers are 9mm and .40 but there are a lot of 45acp., .380, and .22 pistols available. Anyone who thinks they cannot defend themselves adequately with a Berretta or Glock handgun and a 12 ga pump shotgun in an urban environment does not know what they are talking about, end of story.

A person is only allowed to purchase 700 rounds of ammunition per month for each gun owned, range ammo excluded. Most manage without shedding any tears. Importing guns is a possibility but they are never going to consider more than two guns being imported. A forty two gun collection is either an arsenal or a store to the customs officials, forget it. Same with your 35,000 rounds of ammo. We have quality shotgun ammo and premium Magtech, handgun ammo in the gun stores. The gun and ammo variety in the USA is not here but we have anything you need for functional self-defense. No handloading. That is considered an ammunition manufacturing facility in most Latin America countries.

One can own an unlimited amount of firearms in their home. Each firearm has a title certificate for it similar to a car title. A person can only have 12 weapons included on their carry license. Rotating guns on the license is possible but a big pain in the neck, ill advised. There are at least 18 gun stores in Guatemala City and the suburbs. There are a lot of guns in Guatemala. We have 100,000 security guards most with a Mossberg 12 ga maverick pistol grip or a .38 caliber revolver. We keep our homes, communities, stores, malls, restaurants safe that way. It does not let the criminals take root.

This paragraph is so extensive because a lot of people are escaping police states and gun ownership is a cherished right and we applaud and support this right. On the other hand no law says you have to own a gun and many people do not own guns. Guatemala is a free country and we do not impose our will on people.

Knives and Edged Weapons Many people carry machetes on their belts, usually in the countryside. Can be startling at first since it looks like a sword. They use them to work on the land. A single edged folding knife with a blade of 3.9″ or less can be carried in a pocket or on the belt in an urban area but is not restricted in the country. There are no size restrictions in the code for non-folding knives. There is a prohibition against automatic knifes, stilettos (not sure of legal definition) and daggers (again not sure of legal definition). If you ask where assisted folders etc stand the answer is we do not know. Could be construed as an automatic or not? Same for flippers. Laws not defined clearly. Generally speaking knives are not considered a prohibited item and enforcement is not tight, but follow the law. This section was included because many of our clients are escaping from oppressive police states and their rights are very important to them and thus to us as well.

Drivers License Of course you can have a driver license as a resident. It is a bit bureaucratic and some red tape. You can drive on your home country license for some time while you adjust into your new home.

Health Care You will find the health care better than North America and Europe. The Doctors almost always have English. The staff is three times nicer than what you’d expect. The hospitals are cleaner and far cheaper. A hospital suite is about $165 a day in an expensive neighborhood. Pharmacies generally do not require a prescription and drug prices are about one third of the USA price.

Pharmacies deliver, many round the clock. Doctors make house calls for $25 to $30. Dentists are about 25% of the USA price and are very good. Veterinarians also make house calls for same price and are excellent. If the pet needs to go into for x-rays etc they transport for you. Without the oppressive prescription laws you can treat a lot of pet infections yourself by just buying the drugs or the pet store will help you out. We have a lot of homeopathy practitioners. There are chiropractors and naturopaths. There are some health food stores and organic food is becoming more and more available. Plastic surgery is popular and affordable. In a word health care way more affordable and better.

Real Estate We live far better than North Americans or Europeans imagine. Most of our single family detached homes are at least 500 sq. meters. A sq. meter is 10.75 sq. feet. Most housing that is top drawer will run $900 to $1100 a sq. meter. In the countryside real estate prices are lower. The more rural the lower it gets. It is common to see homes of 800 to 1000 sq. meters. Hacienda homes will run up to 1800 sq. meters. For a perspective one can get a 3000 sq. foot (not meter) executive townhouse in a gated community with armed guards new for $200,000 with fenced yard, garage etc. Check out a community called Antigua, Guatemala in google. You can get a great townhouse there for $150,000 a beautiful patio home $250,000 to $350,000.

Beaches We have beaches on the Pacific and Caribbean. Simple but acceptable beach homes can be had for $100,000 to $150,000. The Pacific beaches are about ninety minutes from Guatemala City. Beaches are warm and humid.

Weather Guatemala is at about 5000 foot altitude. It is 55 to 75 degrees year round. Homes have no air conditioners or heaters. Think of savings on utility bills. We do use fans, usually ceiling fans. It never snows except on the very top of the volcanoes. Warning: Do not bring ice skates, they will rust.

Schools There are a number of k-12 private schools. They are generally bi-lingual english and Spanish. The schools have campuses with playgrounds etc. They are far nicer than USA schools and the teacher student ratio is much lower. Costs vary from school to school but will be a fraction of USA price.

Domestic Help A live in maid runs $175 a month plus you feed them and supply uniforms. A gardner handyman can run $400 a month if you need one every day. A driver would run $500 a month live in. A nanny for the kids would run about $225 a month live in. Elderly folks can hire two maids and a driver and avoid going to a rest home. There are always two servants on premises and they can go on car trips, to the doctor, shopping, beauty parlor etc. They do not have to clean, cook or drive. Beats the heck out of the alternative.

Food The food is close to organic or free range meat. Prices are a fraction of USA prices and quality is wonderful. Numerous fruits priced so low almost for free. All kinds of vegetables, breads, juices etc. The food is Central American style not Mexican so it is not very spicy. We have restaurants offering anything you could want including: French, Greek, Italian, Steaks, Chops and Ribs, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese. Middle Eastern, German and much more.

Internet We have 1 meg DSL and cable connections available.

Cell Phones We have great cell phones, 3G etc.

How to start Call, email or Skype us. We will create an immigration case file for you. We will have you send us scans of the documents required for review by one of our lawyers. If the documents are not in order we will have you correct them before coming since it is much cheaper and easier this way. Next after the documents are in order you will need to schedule a trip to Guatemala. The hotels will send a shuttle bus to pick you up at the airport. We will have one of our English speaking drivers collect you from the hotel and take you to our executive offices to begin. A bi-lingual associate from the law firm will accompany you to all the needed visits to government offices for fingerprinting, signatures, photos etc. You never go to government offices yourself. We do require a $1000 deposit in order to open a file and begin the work. This fee is 100% applied to the Pensionado fee. It is not an additional fee. This is paid by wire transfer.

1. First you fill out an online order form. Click Here
2. Next you send us scan of passports of all parties applying (husband, wife kids, etc). These are sent in an email as a file attachment to .
3. Then we will forward wire instructions to you. We do need to have the $1000 fee paid before we can schedule an appointment. You can pay the remaining fee when here in cash or by wire transfer. You could also elect to pay the whole fee before coming as many immigration clients do for convenience.
4. Then you come to Guatemala.When you come for your appointment you remain here and process for the Pensionado. Figure about three weeks. You will not be busy every day so there will be time for sightseeing. We have beaches, Mayan Ruins, Volcanoes to hike up and there is always Antigua. One could always drive over to a nice white sand beach, all inclusive hotel in El Salvador like the Decameron with a three and a half hour drive time. In about four hours you can be in Mexico where there is a lot of cheap shopping. In any event many of our clients just enjoy a nice rest hanging around the swimming pool at one of our many five star resorts. Warning Our food, beverages and wines are so good here do not even think about dieting.