How to obtain Residency in Nicaragua

The critical role of expert guidance when navigating the path to residency in a foreign country is undeniable. This is particularly true for those seeking to establish residency in Nicaragua.

I’m in Nicaragua with my lawyer, Eduardo, and we’ll be discussing how to obtain residency in Nicaragua.  If you’re in the market for an expert residency lawyer in Nicaragua to assist with your application process, look no further than Eduardo! His extensive experience and deep knowledge of Nicaraguan residency laws and regulations make him a valuable legal partner.

We’ll cover: 

obtain Residency in Nicaragua and enjoy many benefits.

Why get residency in Nicaragua?

Explore the benefits of Nicaraguan residency, offering breathtaking scenery, low cost of living, and favorable tax conditions, making it an ideal destination for investors, expats and remote workers alike.


  • An absolutely gorgeous country with mountains, beaches, and colonial towns.
  • A low cost of living; Nicaragua is competitively ranked in the Numbeo Cost of Living Index.
  • Affordable, quality real estate.
  • Geographic location – same timezone as North America. It’s fantastic for remote workers.
  • No taxes on worldwide income. Residents get taxed on Nicaraguan-sourced income only.
  • Many international schools.
  • Affordable healthcare.

What are the Residency options in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua offers two main visa options for investors and expats: the Permanent Residency by Investment and the Retired or Pensioner Visa.


  • Nicaragua Permanent Residency by Investment
  • Nicaragua Retired or Pensioner Visa

How to get permanent residency in Nicaragua

Nicaragua offers a fantastic deal for anyone willing to invest $30,000 into the local economy. If you do so, you are entitled to a 5 year permanent residency visa which can lead to citizenship down the line.

The process is quite simple, all you need to do is create a corporation, and then invest at least $30,000 in a local business, agricultural or forestry investments. Just buying real estate and putting it into a local corporation claiming it’s an Airbnb does not work anymore.

Forestry investments are actually one of the easiest and quickest ways to get the investor visa. For a first hand account you can read my article on Investing in a Teak Wood Plantation.

Required Documentaion

You’ll need the following documentation to obtain your permanent residency in Nicaragua:

  • Investment Registration Certificate issued by the MIFIC.
  • A certified copy of the Constitution of the Company or declaration as a merchant registered in the commercial register.
  • Copy of the commercial registration of the corresponding Municipality and the DGI.
  • Letter of application for registration
  • Card single taxpayer registration (RUC) (single copy)
  • Investment support documentation (single copy) Such as invoices, receipts, deed of purchase of real estate, purchase of inputs, vehicle fleet, professional services, office equipment, machinery and payroll.
  • General Power of Administration duly registered (single copy)
  • Limited power of attorney (single copy)
  • Deposit to General Directorate of Immigration for USD $400.00 aprox per applicant
  • Health check
  • Police check
  • Original passport and photographs
  • Birth and marriages certificates

Renewal Requirements

Do note that you will need to show up in Nicaragua once every 6 months at a precise date to renew your local ID (Cedula).

A Good Lawyer

My lawyer is really great and can help you with the process. He speaks English fluently, is highly regarded, and has offices in multiple cities in Nicaragua.

How to obtain the Rentista or Pensioner Visa in Nicaragua

To obtain a Pensioner visa, you must be at least 45 years old and prove a minimum of $1000 of fixed monthly income.

To obtain a Rentista visa, you must demonstrate at least $1250 of monthly passive investment income such as dividends or rental income.

You’ll need the following documentation to obtain your permanent residency in Nicaragua: 

  • Birth and marriages certificates
  • Health check
  • Police background check
  • Application form
  • Proof of pension (for pensioner visa)
  • Proof of passive investment income (for rentista visa)

Do I need a lawyer to get residency in Nicaragua?

Don’t be fooled by dishonest lawyers!

Some people will try to convince you that you need a lawyer to apply for residency in Nicaragua.

You don’t.

You can do it by yourself, and save a few hundred dollars in the process. The immigration department has all the information here.

That said, the process typically takes a few months. If you make a single mistake, then you are back to 0 and have to pay the government fees all over again. A good lawyer will save you a lot of time, stress, and potentially even money by helping you avoid making mistakes.

My Lawyer in Nicaragua

Eduardo real estate lawyer in Nicaragua
Contact Eduardo to get Residency in Nicaragua

Meet Eduardo, Lawyer in Nicaragua

Meet Eduardo, my trusted lawyer for getting residency in Nicaragua. Eduardo is a Lawyer in Nicaragua with offices in Managua, San Juan Del Sur, and Popoyo.

Eduardo has been in business for over 20 years, is reasonably priced. He’s really good, speaks fluent English and has a proven track record.


Transparent Legal Fees

  • Legal fees for closing: 1% of property value ($800 Minimum).
  • Due Diligence: $500 (optional but highly recommended)
  • Nicaraguan Corporation Registration: $1250 (optional, corporation to hold the property)

Transcript of “How to get Residency in Nicaragua”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from Today, I’m in Nicaragua with my lawyer, Eduardo, and we’ll be discussing how to obtain residency in Nicaragua. Eduardo, how are you?

EDUARDO: All good. Thank you for having me.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, real pleasure. Look, there are always the usual ways of getting residency, such as having a child, getting married, getting a job, etc. But here, we’ll be discussing the more practical ways of getting residency when you don’t have such links in the country. You said there are three main ways, correct?

How to get the investor visa residency in Nicaragua

EDUARDO: That’s correct. Basically, what we have are two different programs, and one has two options. The one program that we have is the investors program. This is for the person that wants to come in and do business in Nicaragua. Of course, there are two steps to obtain this residency, the first one being with the Ministry of Commerce, we call it MIFIC over here. And what you do is that you present a project to MIFIC to register yourself as an investor.

The main goal here is to invest or to show that you’re investing at least $30,000. And then you need to present the typical documents that one will need to obtain to get residency in any other country, your health certificate, your birth certificate, police record. And then, for this particular process, it would be the permits for the operation. So a municipal license, a tax ID, and depending on whether you’re doing it in your personal name or through a company, there will be additional requirements.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Essentially, come here, create a corporation, put $30,000 in it, and make some investments.

EDUARDO: And make some investments.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And to be clear, just putting a house in there and claiming that it’s an Airbnb doesn’t work.

EDUARDO: It doesn’t work. You need to make sure that your house or whatever you invest money in forms part of a business. It would work if you’re buying a house and you’re renting out rooms, for example, but you would have to get your proper permits, a license with the municipality that you’re paying taxes for every rental you’re making, making sure that you have your employees registered with the Social Security. It has to be a legit business.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, yeah. So real business, because in some countries, you can just create a business, hire yourself, pay yourself minimum wage, and that’s enough to get residency. Not here in Nicaragua. It needs to be a real business. Most people just go and buy teak and random farm products that are typically bad investments, but they just view it as, “I pay $30,000, I get my residency for five years, and then I’m done.” If you’re interested in this, there’s a link below. But yeah, just be aware that it’s not a good investment, it’s just you’re paying for it. What’s the timeline, roughly?

EDUARDO: Well, the first part of it, which is going through the MIFIC, through the Ministry of Commerce, once you have all the documents together, and you present it to them, they would schedule an inspection. They have to do an inspection on your business. They would take about two weeks to schedule it, and then another two weeks to either request more documents, or issue the registration as a foreign investor. This would be basically your golden ticket to do step number two, which is going to the immigration office.

The immigration office will receive your certificate as a foreign investor, but also all the other documents that I mentioned, birth certificate, health certificate, so that they can process your application. Once they have the application, they will do another interview with you. And then if everything checks out fine, then they will call you in to issue you a residency card, they’ll take your picture. Now, the timeline for the Ministry of Commerce, and this is important, once you file all the proper documents, it would be more or less a month. But in the immigration office, that could take three to six months, maybe even more after everything is received and they’ll be properly filed.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So I buy teak, nine months or so to get my residency, roughly?

EDUARDO: Yes, roughly.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. What about the other way to obtain residency? So there are two options.

How to get the retiree or private income visa residency in Nicaragua

EDUARDO: Okay. The other option has to do with the program that we call it the retiree or private income program. This allows you to apply for residency showing that you either have a pension that is at least $1,000 per month.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Private or public pension?

EDUARDO: It would be a public pension, it would be from a government agency, per month for the next five years. The important thing here is that you prove monthly income steady for the next five years, because this program will give you a five-year residency. In the private income, it’s however you can prove that you’re receiving this income. But it also needs to be steady monthly, and for at least five years. We’ve had clients that have proved that using rental contracts, we have clients that said that–

LADISLAS MAURICE: But a rental contract is typically for a year, not for five years.

EDUARDO: Right. But they have produced contracts that have shown that they have a length of five years. That has worked in the past.


EDUARDO: Also we’ve had some clients that said, “I just have money in the bank.” So they’ve opened CDs that paid them out this exact amount, and this has been enough. We’ve had clients that said, “I founded my own company. This company pays me dividends for X amount of money in perpetuity.” And this has worked.

Now, what we do is that however you tell us that you’re receiving your income, we do a previous or a preventive meeting with the Tourism Institute, which is the entity that actually approves this residency program. And they will tell us, “All right, provide us with this and this information. We want it in this and this form.” We work towards that goal. We’ve been fortunate enough, using this method, to not have missed any applications in the Tourism Institute. They are very welcoming, and they give you all the tools necessary for people to come in and apply residency through them.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. It sounds like a bit tricky if you try to do it on your own. [laughs]

EDUARDO: [laughs] Yeah. Of course, you can, but it’s complicated, for sure.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And these documents need to be apostilled back home or certified? What’s the exact process?

EDUARDO: Right. All the documents that are foreign or being brought to Nicaragua, they need to be apostilled. And then, in our services, we include the translation if they’re in English, or we can coordinate the translation if they’re in any other language.

Which dependents can be included in a Nicaragua residency?

LADISLAS MAURICE: And what about dependents? Which dependents can be included on these visas?

EDUARDO: Well, spouse, and any minors, or if you have people that are seniors but they depend on you. However, in these programs, each dependent, you will need to increase your income for $250 per dependent.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Technically, you can come with your children and also your older parents.

EDUARDO: Yes, absolutely.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, that’s interesting for people who want a whole family solution. And then once people are residents of Nicaragua, they get free healthcare, correct?

EDUARDO: Yes, that’s correct.

LADISLAS MAURICE: All right. Again, compared to the US, for example, this is quite attractive. And healthcare, though not at the standards of the US, is actually very decent, and actually very good if you go into the private sector, which is also quite affordable. This is an important positive point for Nicaragua as a destination.

Which document are necessary to apply for residency in Nicaragua?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Let’s go back to these documents. You said marriage certificate, birth certificate, criminal background check–

EDUARDO: And health certificate.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Health certificate, local?

EDUARDO: You can get it here, you can also get it from your home country. We suggest that you get it here to avoid the whole apostille process.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yes, and cheaper.

EDUARDO: Yeah. The police record, you can also get it through our local Interpol office. But that would require you being here in person to go and get your fingerprints. And within two weeks, you would have that document, so you wouldn’t need to get that apostilled either. The one that obviously needs to be from your home country is the birth certificate and the marriage one if you’re coming in with your spouse.

Validity time of Nicaraguan ID for residency holders

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. This is a five-year residency, but I think the quirk is that the actual ID card is valid for only six months, correct?

EDUARDO: Right. Currently, the policy is for these residency cards to actually have a validity of six months. And then, every six months, you need to go in to renew them, and they’ll give you another six months. Now, the program, the full program is for five years, which means that for the validity of the program, the five years, you don’t need to present any additional documents, but you do need to renew your residency card every six months, because the numbers will change. They’ll have the same picture but the numbers will change. So you have to do it. We recommend our clients do it a week in advance so that you’re not over the limit, over the date. If you happen to go past the date, there are small daily fines, which you should consider as well.

Minimum physical presence requirements to maintain residency in Nicaragua

LADISLAS MAURICE: Are you expected to stay a minimum amount of time in Nicaragua per year, in the sense that if you don’t do this, you lose your residency?

EDUARDO: Well, as a matter of fact, the program itself has a requirement of having to be here six months out of the year. But to answer your specific question, I have yet to see someone whose residency is cancelled if, for some reason, they pass their date for three months, even six to nine. They will have to pay the fine. And the government understands that there are exceptions to or reasons why you couldn’t be in the country, whether it is you have a relative that’s sick, or you had to fix something in your original home country. Those are reasonable situations that can present themselves. I’ve seen government offices very flexible in that regard. But of course, you would have to pay a fine.

Who should apply for residency in Nicaragua?

LADISLAS MAURICE: I think that the key takeaway from this is that Nicaragua is a great Plan A but not necessarily a great Plan B, in the sense that if you’re just hoping to have a residency card, like in Mexico, or like in Panama, that you just have and you just need to come back once every two years to just renew quickly, and then go back home so that you always have an active residency card, Nicaragua’s probably not the right destination for you. But if you want a great Plan A, which means you move somewhere full-time, or at least for half the year, Nicaragua is perfect. It’s very close to North America. Honestly, the internet is really good throughout the country, I’m really impressed. It’s affordable. Real estate also is affordable, and you find some great quality real estate. And most importantly, it has a territorial tax system.

If you become a tax resident of Nicaragua, you do not have to pay taxes on foreign income if you structure things properly. For Americans, it makes less of a difference because of the IRS and they tax you everywhere you are. But for Canadians or for Europeans, it means that you can move to a sunny, very friendly country, very affordable, and essentially pay potentially 0% in taxes. Then moving to Nicaragua becomes probably one of the best investments you could ever make for yourself. Who is moving here? Like, from which countries are most of your clients?

Who is moving to Nicaragua?

EDUARDO: Most of our clients are from the US, from Canada, and we’ve seen some people from Europe as well. That would be the type of people that we’re getting over here.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Fantastic. Great. Look, if you’re interested in obtaining residency in Nicaragua, there’s a link below with more information. And you can also get in touch with Eduardo and his team, and they can help you from A to Z throughout the whole process. Eduardo, thank you very much.

EDUARDO: Thank you for having me.

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