residency in Nicaragua

How to get residency in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the second most popular residency program in Latin America. Residency in Nicaragua is for those who don’t want the high pressure life of Panama City, Panama and for those who aren’t from a top 50 country. Here’s how to get residency in Nicaragua no matter what country you’re from.

The top two Latin residency programs are Panama and Nicaragua. Panama is for citizens of the US, EU, UK, and any of the top 50 countries. Those who qualify can get residency in Panama with an investment of $20,000 in this country’s friendly nations reforestation visa program.

Those who want a more laidback lifestyle or a lower cost of living often prefer Nicaragua. For those who are not from a top 50 country, Nicaragua is the best second residency program available.

Here’s how to get residency in Nicaragua:

If you’re over 45 and have a guaranteed monthly income of $600, you can qualify as a retiree in Nicaragua. This program is aimed at retirees and most qualify using their fixed pension payments. However, it’s possible to set up a bank annuity that will qualify.

You’ll need guaranteed income of $600 a month for you plus $100 per month for each dependent. Your spouse is a dependent, as is each child 18 years and under.

The more popular of the Nicaragua programs is their reforestation visa. Invest $35,000 in one of the government approved reforestation programs and get permanent residency. Additional legal and government fees apply.

  • Fees for those from restricted countries are about $10,000 per person. Fees for those from the US, EU, Canada, etc. are much lower.

If you’re on the fence between residency in Nicaragua and Panama, I think you’ll find that Nicaragua is a better investment opportunity. Yes, Panama is lower, but you get a lot more teak or hardwoods in Nica per dollar. Your ROI in Nicaragua will be higher than Panama.

Before I go any further, let me point out the big difference between Panama and Nicaragua. With Panama, you need only spend a few days a year in the country to maintain your residency. That is to say, Panama doesn’t have a physical presence requirement to keep your visa.

Nicaragua requires you spend at last 180 days a year in country. Nica is looking for real residents – people who are willing to commit to the country. They want residents who bring with them money and a desire to become a part of the community, not just pay an annual fee to hold a residency permit.

Second Passport from Nicaragua

Both Nicaragua and Panama allow you to apply for citizenship and a second passport after 5 years. The application process for Nicaragua is easier in Panama, so long as you can prove your 180 days a year over your residency period.

We value second passports by the number of countries they give us visa free access too. Nicaraguan citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 112 countries and territories, ranking it 46th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Marshallese passport).

By comparison, a passport from Panama gets you visa free access to 127 countries. If you want the best of the best, a second passport from Portugal gets you visa free access to 171 countries, including the United States.

US citizens are usually looking at a second passport as a backup travel document or as a way to give up their US citizenship and escape the IRS. The number of US expatriations have been doubling each year under both Obama and Trump.

Citizens of China, India, and other countries with lesser travel documents are looking at a second passport as a way to increase their travel freedom. Nicaragua’s 112 countries is better than India at 49 and China at 51 visa free countries. Also, it’s easier to get a US visa with a passport from Nicaragua than it is from China or India.

The big difference in quality between Nicaragua, China and India is that Nicaragua gets you into the European Union without a visa.  A second passport from Nicaragua gives you visa free access to the Schengen region of the European Union. You can spend up to 90 days a year in the EU without a visa with a passport from Nicaragua.

In order to apply for residency in Nicaragua, you’ll need the following:

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your passport
  • A certificate or letter from your doctor stating that you’re in good physical health, are free from communicable diseases, and are mentally sound
  • A certificate or letter from your local police department stating that you’ve not been convicted of any crime or an FBI background check
  • A certificate of income from your bank or pension plan affirming that you’ll have enough money to meet the minimum requirement of US$600 a month
  • A list of the household goods you will be importing.

A residency visa from Nicaragua also allows you to import certain household goods from the US tax free. For example, a car worth $25,000 and household goods worth $20,000. In most cases, visa holders are bringing used items from their US home.

As an added bonus, you can import a car tax free worth $25,000 every 5 years. This tax break is a big deal in Nicaragua where import taxes are quite high. I hope you’ve found this article on how to get residency in Nicaragua to be helpful. For more information on this program, you can reach me at or (619) 483-1708. 

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