San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Many Steps to Applying for Residency

If leisure travel or thriving investment opportunity has brought you to Nicaragua, you may already be considering the possibility of applying for residency here. You might also be wondering what the benefits are to following through with the application for residency.

The following is intended to give a brief overview of the application process for the various types of residencies in Nicaragua.

The two main types of foreign residencies are known as pensionado, for retirees, and rentista, for those living off a stable foreign income.

Though each type has several unique and specific requirements, the basic documentation requirements that applicants must provide Immigration authorities here are essentially the same:

_ Birth certificate

_ Hometown police record (no older than six months)

_ Marriage certificate (if applicable)

_ Two passport-sized photographs (attached to application form)

_ A clean bill of health from a Nicaragua certified doctor

_ Copies of all used pages of your passport

_ Certificate of income, stating that you receive enough income to live in Nicaragua

_ A letter of intent (in Spanish) stating motives for applying for residency

_ A completed application form (provided by Immigration).

Since the documents required by Immigration are mostly issued abroad, they must be duly authenticated by the proper authorities. The documents must first be notarized by a Public Notary from the applicant’s place of origin, and then authenticated by the Secretary of State or equivalent, before being authenticated by the Nicaraguan consulate closest to applicant’s hometown and then the Foreign Ministry in Nicaragua.

To qualify for pensionado status, applicants must be 45 or older and be able to prove that they have been declared retired by either their government, work organization or business.

To qualify for rentista status, applicants must also be 45 or older and be able to prove stable income generated abroad of $400 for a single person, plus $100 additional for each dependent.

Residencies are also given out to investors, people who are here to work or study, or to foreigners who marry Nicaraguan citizens.

Each category has slightly different additional requirements, other than the basic ones listed above.

For pensionado or rentista residency status, applicants must present required documentation to the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) for approval.

Once approved, new residents are allowed a one-time tax exemption on the import of household goods or a vehicle (no more than seven years old) up to the value of $10,000.

Any amount in excess of this value will be paid by the applicant.

Though most applicants get legal help when going through the process, the applicant will need to personally accompany their legal counsel to the Immigration offices to take the picture for the residency card. Applicants can, however, grant a power of attorney for the purpose of filing the necessary documents at the INTUR office.

Fernando Sanchez is a lawyer with García & Bodán law firm in Managua.


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