Gennine Cooper No Comments

Why Guatemala?

Recently, we’ve seen an increase in document legalization requests for Guatemala which sparked our curiosity.  Additionally, in just a few months, on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will become a member of the Hague Apostille Convention. Interested by the uptick and new Hague membership, we did some research to find out “Why Guatemala?”

During our exploration we came across this article on Virgin’s website: The world’s best start-up hubs: Guatemala City, Guatemala.  To our surprise, Guatemala is a hub for Telecom companies!  Strategically located between two oceans, with ports on each ocean, and an EST time zone, Guatemala is well positioned for importing, exporting, and outsourcing.  Furthermore, Guatemala has an amazing resource in its population of hardworking and talented people.  All of these factors combine to make Guatemala an appealing destination for business start-ups.

So, what does Hague Convention membership mean?  Beginning on September 18, 2017, Guatemala will no longer require consular or embassy legalization for documents destined for use in Guatemala.  Instead, an apostille from the appropriate Secretary of State or U.S. Department of State, for federal documents, will be accepted.  Interested in seeing a list of all countries member of or party to the Hague Convention?  Click here.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact our Washington, DC office at 202.386.7575, 877.531.1131 or

Gennine Cooper No Comments

What is a Clean Hands Certificate?

Have you ever heard of a Clean Hands Certificate?  This request seems to be frequently asked to the team in our DC office.  Deirdre Davis-Washington is the Assistant Vice President of Incorporating Services (Incserv) in Washington and is kind enough to share this explanation with us:

A Clean Hands certification form is required to be submitted with any application for a license or permit in the District of Columbia, including a Basic Business License.

A clean hands certification is used in the business license application and requires the entity and/or its owners to attest to the fact that they do not owe the District more than $100.   A new process was started which requires issuing an actual certificate to go with the business license application.   These are issued by the Office of Tax & Revenue (OTR).  A business MUST have filed the FR 500 Combined Registration Application and received a “Notice of Tax Registration” before the OTR will issue the Clean Hands Certificate.  This certificate does not attest to tax returns  filed, etc. (different from a  good standing) and usually is used just as supporting documentation.

If an applicant for a license or permit has failed to file District tax returns, they are also subject to the Clean Hands Law (DC Official Code §§47-2861 through 47-2866)and will be denied the license or permit. The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) Collection Division receives Clean Hands certifications from various District agencies.

What is owed to the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, (DCRA), the District’s equivalent to the Secretary of State, is totally separate.  DCRA governs the business entities and have a two-year report filing requirement.  Good Standing certificates, as it relates to the standing of the entity and fulfillment of the requirements of maintaining a business in DC, are issued by DCRA.  If they are not in good standing with DCRA, their authority to do business may be revoked.

For assistance with this or any other request from the District of Columbia, Federal Agencies and Embassies or for help in general, contact Deirdre and her team at 202-386-7575 or

 Nothing herein is intended to constitute legal advice on any subject or to create an attorney-client relationship. The materials presented here are in summary form. To be certain of their applicability and use for specific situations, we recommend an attorney be consulted.