What do you need to show?
Regardless of the type of residency visa you apply for, you will need to supply the following documentation:
- Filled in application form, purchasable at the Office of Immigration
- A photocopy of your passport which is valid for at least 6 months.
- 2 passport photos
- Proof of income in form of a notarised, formal letter written by employing company or bank statements (if you provide your own funds). The company must be registered with the Nicaraguan registro mercantil (business registry), bring a notarized copy of this with you.
- Birth certificate for yourself and dependents (original and photocopies).
- Police record from every country you have lived in for the past 5 years, you can request this at the local police station.
- Health certificate stating no known communicable diseases. Get this from your doctor back home and bring it to a Nicaraguan consulate so they can authenticate, and maybe translate, it.
- Cash deposit providing the Nicaraguan government with the necessary funds to deport you if necessary. The deposit is dependent on your country of origin. You must retain the receipt.
- Carta de baja which proves that you are not a persona non grata (unwelcome person) on official government records. It can be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, also called the cancillería). They will require proof of your cash deposit.
Some specific visas need certain additional documentation:
For rentistas (retirees/pensioners)
- A copy of your pension letter (for more information on foreign retirees, click here)
- Marriage certificate (original and photocopy)
For foreign investors
- Copies of the Article of Incorporation
Regarding foreign investors: the law states that if you run a business, invest a minimum of $30,000 in the Nicaraguan economy or form a company, you can apply for a 5-year foreign investor residency permit.
Along with the necessary documentation you will need to prove that you plan to reside in Nicaragua for at least six months, unless you can specify otherwise (i.e. for health reasons). Note that these six months do not have to be consecutive.
For further information regarding your individual circumstance, check the official government website.
Be prepared before you leave
Please note that all documentation should be authenticated by the Nicaraguan consulate in your home country and translated if required. This means that if you plan to stay long-term you should prepare yourself adequately before you leave. Even foreigners who have been residing in Nicaragua for years on a tourist visa will need to provide documentation from their home country.
It is also worth finding out the expiration date of your notarised documentation, meaning that if you plan to start the application process, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.
As with most visa application processes, it’s difficult to give an exact estimate of how long the process will take. The general time scale is anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.
Once your application has been accepted you may have to wait up to two weeks to receive your permanent residency visa (residente permanente) and your permanent residency card (cédula).
You will need to renew your residence card every five years.