People inside a building discussing legal entities in Guatemala

What are the Types of Companies Guatemala?

Embark on your journey of expansion in Guatemala by establishing a company with the right legal entity that suits your business objectives. Our comprehensive guide covers an overview of the types of companies or legal entities in Guatemala available for conducting business, along with their essential attributes. Understanding the complexities of Guatemala company types is essential to the successful establishment of business in this burgeoning Central American market. With Central America emerging as a focal point for foreign multinationals interested in taking advantage of opportunities spanning North and South America, discerning the optimal corporate structure is imperative. Whether considering the formation of a Sociedad Anonima (S.A.), a Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L.), or other entity models, our experience in Guatemalan company formation facilitates informed decision-making, ensuring a smooth entry into Guatemala’s dynamic business landscape.

Central American countries have a lot to offer to foreign and local companies, such as tax benefits, special economic zones, and access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Guatemala maintains several free trade agreements for businesses to obtain certain benefits for the sale of products within the region.

Un mapa de Guatemala y su ubicación geográfica en el mundo.
Map of Guatemala and its main cities. Types of companies in Guatemala

There are several different types of companies in Guatemala to incorporate your company. Each legal entity offers different conditions and governance structures to suit varying business needs.

The legal entity you choose will influence the amount of capital to invest, economic activities to be carried out, how many shareholders you will have, and other factors.

The most common types of legal entities that are usually used to establish a company are included below.

  • Limited Liability Company (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada)
  • Corporation (Sociedad Anónima)
  • Foreign Company Branch

1. Limited Liability Company (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada)

6 Steps to incorporate a company in Guatemala infographic by biz latin hub
Types of companies in Guatemala. 6 Steps to incorporate a company in Guatemala

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the types of companies in Guatemala, also called Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada in Spanish. It can be made up of several partners who are only required to pay their capital contributions, and whose personal assets are not liable for company debt. Only the company assets are liable for the social obligations, and where appropriate, sums that total more than the contributions agreed on the social deed.

The Limited Liability Company in Guatemala possesses additional characteristics, including:

  • It is a mercantile society: a legal entity created for commerce and having commercial activities as its objective
  • Participation is not represented in shares, but in contributions from each partner
  • Only a maximum of 20 partners are allowed
  • The company will operate under a denomination or company name. The name will be freely formed but will always refer to the main social activity. The company name will be formed with the full name of one of the partners or the last name of two or more of them. In both cases, it is mandatory to add the following words ‘Limited Company,’ which may be abbreviated: Ltda. or/and Cía. Ltda, respectively.

2. Corporation (Sociedad Anónima)

Among the types of companies in Guatemala, we have the Corporation (Sociedad Anónima) is a legal entity with capital divided and represented by shareholders. The responsibility of each shareholder is limited to the payment of the shares that they have subscribed to.

The Corporation’s legal entity has elements similar to those of the Limited Liability Company. Both are mercantile companies created for commerce and their objectives are aimed at such. However, there are some differences in the characteristics of these legal entities in Guatemala which businesses must take into account. The following factors highlight the differences in these characteristics :

  • Capital is represented by registered shares
  • The shares have freedom of transmission, although the form of transmission of the shares will depend on how the form is regulated in the articles of incorporation
  • The contributions for capital formation can be in cash
  • The name of the company can be freely formed, but it must carry the word Corporation, which can also be abbreviated S.A.

3. Foreign Company Branch

A Foreign Company Branch is the third type of company in Guatemala and is for companies legally constituted abroad who wish to operate in the country by establishing one or more branches or agencies. They are subject to the provisions of the Commercial Code and other laws of the Republic of Guatemala.

The form of constitution and requirements for this legal entity in Guatemala are very similar to those in other Central American countries. The essential elements of a Foreign Company Branch in Guatemala include:

  • The company must permanently have a legal representative in the country who will have broad powers to carry out all the legal acts and businesses of their business.
  • Contract a bond in favor of third parties for an amount no less than the equivalent in Quetzales of approximately US$50,000. The amount of the deposit is set by the Mercantile Registry (Registro Mercantíl)
  • The approximate time to set up a branch is 30-45 days after receiving the corresponding legal documentation.

1. Can a foreigner register a company in Guatemala?

Yes, foreign individuals and entities are permitted to register companies in Guatemala. The country encourages foreign investment across various sectors and offers streamlined processes for company formation.

2. What type of legal entity is recommended in Guatemala?

The recommended legal type for businesses in Guatemala varies depending on factors such as the size of the enterprise, the nature of its activities, and the preferences of its founders. However, one commonly recommended legal structure is the Sociedad Anónima (S.A.).

3. How do I create a company in Guatemala?

Creating a company in Guatemala involves several steps, including selecting a business structure, registering with the Mercantile Registry, obtaining a tax identification number, and complying with licensing and permitting requirements.

4. What is an LLC in Guatemala?

In Guatemala, an LLC refers to a Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L.), which combines elements of partnerships and corporations. It offers limited liability to its members and allows for flexible management structures.

5. What is the business structure of a Simplified Shares Company (S.A.S) in Guatemala?

This type of company structure in Guatemala offers a combination of speed, flexibility, and investor-friendly features that make it a suitable choice for both domestic and foreign businesses looking to establish a presence in the country.

Which types of companies Guatemala to choose with the help of trusted experts

The Guatemalan government authorities are open to national and foreign businesses looking to expand to Guatemala since it will stimulate the growth of their economy. For this reason, the facilities for establishing a company and various commercial, tax incentives are offered for people interested in establishing a legal entity for commercial purposes. As explained in the article, you have 3 types of companies in Guatemala to choose from.

Choosing the right type of legal entity to enter the Guatemalan market is of utmost importance as it lays the foundation for your future expansion around the Central American region. For this reason, we recommend working with a local partner who knows the legal and accounting regulations of Guatemala. Contact Biz Latin Hub and our team of local experts will provide tailor-made services to help you establish your business in Guatemala.

If you are interested in obtaining more information about the types of legal entities in Guatemala, do not hesitate to contact us at

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

A BLH infogrpahic showing key services offered by the company
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub. Types of companies in Guatemala

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Team Central America

Team Central America

Team Central America is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Central America. The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, accounting, and changing regulations. Read more about them here. You can contact Team Central America via our "contact us page".

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