Types of visas

Tourist & residency

Types of visas

Most expats wanting to live, work or study in Nicaragua do so on a tourist visa which is valid for 90 days upon arrival. It can easily be extended by leaving and reentering the country. However, if you plan to stay in Nicaragua on a more permanent basis, it is advisable to apply for a residency visa.

If you are a citizen of one of the following countries you do not need a visa to enter the country: all EU-countries, USA, Scandinavia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia.

Upon arrival you will be issued a 90 day tourist card, which can be extended like the tourist visa.

Tourist visa

If you want a 90 day tourist card or a tourist visa you need to have at least 6 months remaining on your passport and have a sufficient number of blank pages in order to receive the necessary stamps.

Extending your tourist visa

The easiest way to extend your tourist visa is to leave the country and reenter. This grants you a further set number of days depending on the category your passport falls into  (ES):

  • Category A: between 90-180 days
  • Category B or C: between 30 and 90 days

In order to be granted an extension on your tourist visa you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Extension request form
  • Photocopy of your passport (with validity of at least 6 months)
  • Payment of fees depending on length of extension

Extending your tourist visa is a popular solution amongst expats and gives you time to decide whether you wish to stay in the country permanently. It also gives you time to apply for a permanent residence visa.

Which countries it works in

Due to the CA-4 agreement between Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, a further visa is not required to enter these countries. Although this is a bonus for expats who wish to travel, it means that you cannot cross the border into these countries for the purpose of extending your tourist visa.

Most expats opt to extend their tourist visas by travelling into Costa Rica.

You can apply for an additional month on your tourist visa without leaving the country by going to the Office of Immigration (La Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería ) in Managua.

In recent years, however, the government began to stamp down on the number of  “permanent tourists” residing in Nicaragua. Although this means that you may be forced to apply for a permanent residence visa, once granted you will be able to enjoy a number of benefits.

Residency visas

There are two types of residency visas: temporary residence visas (valid for 1 year) and permanent residency visas (valid for 5 years).

Expats usually apply for a temporary residence visa (unless married to a national). After three consecutive renewals of a temporary visa a permanent residency visa is granted. This is the most common method, as it carries a higher likelihood that the application is accepted. However, it is also possible to apply for a permanent residence visa on your first try.

Types of residency visas


This visa is for those who receive a private income from abroad that amounts to more than $600 a month. This income can be in the form of a pension, private investments, stocks, etc. but does not include salary.

Foreign investors

Any individual with a business and who will invest at least $30,000 in any sector in Nicaragua is eligible for a foreign investor visa. You will need approval from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (MIFIC)  and an official appraisal of your company and property. From here you can apply for a five-year residency visa. This also extends to the visa holder’s family members and shareholders.


Employees with a work contract within a Nicaraguan company are eligible for a temporary residence visa which is valid for one year. Usually the company will supply the necessary documentation on behalf of the employee. Upon the third renewal of this visa it can be extended for a further five years.


Expats married to a Nicaraguan national are eligible for residency by providing their marriage certificate.

Further reading

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