Moving for permanent residence in Nicaragua: conditions, visa, citizenship

Residence permit


Moving for permanent residence in Nicaragua: conditions, visa, citizenship

Nicaragua is a country in Central America that offers quite interesting programmes for foreigners to obtain a second residence permit. And although it is one of the poorest countries in the region, it is blessed with unlimited natural resources and long, untouched golden sandy beaches. Although it is a poor country, its economy is growing year after year, mainly thanks to tourism, the Panama Canal and other growing industries. Nicaragua is a safe and comfortable place to move abroad: affordable real estate, low taxes and cost of living.

How to obtain a temporary residence permit in Nicaragua?

The country's government has taken many steps to make it easier for foreigners to obtain a residence permit. This is because the country knows the benefits of welcoming foreigners at its borders.

There are 3 different categories of programmes for obtaining residence permits that foreigners can apply for:

pensionado visa — a residency programme for those who are under 40 years of age and have a fixed and regular income of at least US$600. This visa provides a minimum stay of 1 year in Nicaragua, with the possibility of extension;

rentista visa — there is no age restriction to apply for this visa. However, the minimum monthly income required to apply for this visa is US$750. This income can be obtained by any legal means;

investor visa — a programme designed for investors. Investments can be made in any sector. The minimum amount is US$30,000. It can be used to purchase land, any property or for any other purpose.

Whichever residence permit you apply for, there are certain documents you must provide:

foreign and regular passports;

birth certificate;

a list of items to be imported;

health certificate;

certificate of clean criminal record;

marriage certificate (if applicable).

The documents must then be translated into Spanish and certified by a notary. Once translated, you will need to go to Nicaragua to apply for a residence permit. This can be done at the migration office.

What do you need to do to obtain a permanent residence permit and citizenship?

Nicaraguan citizenship is based on a combination of 'ius soli' (right to land) and 'ius sanguinis' (right of blood).

Nicaraguan citizens can be:

Individuals born in the national territory;

Foreign nationals whose mother or father is Nicaraguan;

Foreign-born persons whose mother or father was from Nicaragua (upon application, after reaching the age of eighteen).

Citizenship can also be obtained through naturalisation. Generally, the first step to obtaining Nicaraguan citizenship is a temporary residence permit, which can be obtained by the methods mentioned above. After three years of living with a temporary residence permit, foreigners can apply for a permanent residence permit, which is usually issued for five years and can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Foreigners must live in the permanent resident category for four consecutive years and renounce the nationality of their country of origin or any other citizenship obtained through nationalisation.

There are other circumstances in which foreigners must have lived in the country for two years as permanent residents to become eligible for citizenship. These circumstances may include:

1. The foreigner is married to a citizen or vice versa;

2. has Nicaraguan children;

3. invests in the country and contributes to its national, economic and social development;

4. A citizen of Spain, Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.

5. Nationalisation also applies to minor children and the spouse of a foreigner who has acquired Nicaraguan citizenship. 

As for dual citizenship, it is only recognised for foreigners from Spain, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, as these countries have signed international conventions with Nicaragua that recognise dual citizenship. Thus, citizens of these countries do not have to renounce their primary citizenship; however, once naturalised, they must enter Nicaragua with a Nicaraguan passport. If you are planning to move to the country, purchasing a checklist with all the necessary instructions is a perfect option.

Nicaragua travel guide: where to go and what to see.