How to open an account


Opening a bank in Nicaragua is fairly simple and it is not always necessary to prove that you are an official resident of the country i.e. that you have your Nicaraguan residency cédula. Expats on a temporary visa can also open a bank account.

Having said this, you may need to shop around to find a bank that will allow you to open an account on your temporary visa. There seem to be fewer problems in Granada and San Juan del Sur, so if you’re struggling head to either of these areas.


If you are living in Nicaragua and want to open a bank account you will need to bring the following documents, depending on your status.

Foreign residents:

  • Nicaraguan residency cédula and passport
  • Two bank reference letters
  • Water or electricity bill from current Nicaraguan address

Non-resident foreigners:

  • Passport with entry stamp
  • A document that establishes residence abroad (driver’s license, tax return file, etc.)
  • Copy of your income statement of the previous year
  • Two bank reference letters from your home country
  • Bank statement with account balance from your home country
  • Two reference letters from local Nicaraguans
  • Copy of your beneficiary’s passport
  • A minimum of 50 dollars to deposit on the new account

Some banks require that you show evidence of a monthly salary. If you are moving to Nicaragua for the purpose of finding work which you have yet to secure, it is a good idea to get a reference from your bank in your home country. This shows that you still have a means of income while in Nicaragua or simply that you have a good bank record which may be enough evidence for your chosen bank.

Types of accounts available

You can usually open standard accounts with all banks in Nicaragua, i.e a current account (cuenta corriente) or a savings account (cuenta de ahorros). There are usually no limits for expats in regards to opening these accounts or getting a debit/credit card.

Certain factors differ from bank to bank which is why it is important to ask the right questions. Here are some important ones to consider before deciding which bank to go with:

  • Can you get an overdraft?
  • Can you get a credit card?
  • Is there a fee to open a bank account?
  • Is there a minimum amount you need in your account for it to remain open?
  • Which ATMs charge for transactions and what is the daily withdrawal limit?

Keep in mind

Nicaraguan banks are known to pay much higher interest than US or European banks. If you have a balance of $5,000 or greater in a Nicaraguan bank account which is earning interest you need to be aware that this will be taxed, with a certain percentage (often 10%) automatically given to the government.

Many expats therefore open a bank account in Nicaragua but also keep an account open in their home country for their main savings.

Further reading

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