Gabriela Castillo RE/MAX Coastal Properties

Interested in Learning how to apply for residency in Nicaragua? 

Below you will find an article that was published and written by attorney Paul Tiffer from the Law firm ‘Tiffer & Asociados Abogados’.  The article was published and written by attorney Mr. Paul Tiffer from the Law firm ‘Tiffer & Asociados Abogados’. It is my sincere hope that this article will help all those individuals looking to gain as much information as possible regarding the process of gaining residency in Nicaragua.

It has been clear to me for a while that more understanding of how to apply for residency in Nicaragua is needed.   In this blog post you will find, together with the information from attorney Paul Tiffer, additional information from me, Gabriela Castillo of RE/MAX Coastal Properties!  I would like to remind everyone, this is not to be considered Legal Advice. Each person is responsible for checking in with the local Nicaraguan Immigration authorities to verify all information in this short blog post.
The information below is based on an article originally written by attorney Paul Tiffer and published on Sept 23th, 2020.  An update to the original information has been updated by  Gabriela Castillo on October 5th, 2022.

Types of Residency in Nicaragua

Below is a list of some of the most popular forms of residency available in Nicaragua in 2022.  Note that there are many more available. The types of residency listed below are the most popular according to our knowledge relating Real Estate clientele:

Below is a list of required documents needed to apply for Residency in Nicaragua. Please be aware, some documents can only be processed in your country of origin. Please be sure to begin this process with time and understand the general timelines and expiration dates of certain documents.


Documents You May Need For The Residency Process In Nicaragua

1. Birth Certificate – (apostilled or certified) in your country, then translated to Spanish


2. Police Record – (typically expires in 30-90 days) can be processed at Interpol in Managua


3. Health Certificate* – (typically expires in 30-90 days) can be processed at Centro de Salud (Health Center)


4. Copies of the Article of Incorporation of Nicaraguan Corporate Company – (Foreign Investors)


5. Pension letter (for retirees) – Government based pensions are strongest for acceptance


6. Private Income Source (for rentier) – must provide proof for many years


7. Marriage Certificate (when applicable) – (Apostilled or Certified) in your country, then translated to Spanish


8. Funds Deposit – In some cases a cash deposit will be required. These funds are used as a guarantee so Nicaragua can pay for a plane ticket to get you back to your country of origin, should they ever deem this necessary


*Number 3 above is accepted from the country of origin or can be obtained in Nicaragua, in a public clinic run by the Nicaraguan government known in every city as: ‘Centro de Salud.’

Apostille Or Authentication?

Documents from the applicant’s country, like a birth certificate, must be legalized first in the country of origin. There are two options: 


Apostille – works for those countries which are members of The Hague Convention for Public Documents. Nicaraguan attorneys can help guide you where this can be done depending on your exact location.  However, you may have to send documents abroad or travel to get this done.


Authentication – is mandatory for those countries who are not members of The Hague Convention for Public Documents, like Canada. Nicaraguan attorneys can help guide you where authentication can be done depending on your exact location. However, you may have to send documents abroad or travel to get this done.


  • Canadians – Since there are no Nicaraguan consulates in Canada, Canadians must authenticate their documents in Canada first – usually at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa – and then sent it to a Nicaraguan Consulate in USA, my advice is to send it to the Nicaraguan Consulate in Washington, D.C.
  • Once documents are legalized it is mandatory that they are translated into Spanish when necessary.

It’s also worth noting that police records and health certificates have an expiration date, depending on where they are issued. Please make sure to contact your intended attorney to receive updated information regarding the timelines for each document and how to best process your documentation so that you don’t have to get your documentation again. Remember you can begin with basics and move forward then finalize with translations.

We are sorry but currently, freelance workers do not qualify for residency, the law does not state this option.

In all the cases or subcategories of residency applications, an Immigration agent will visit the applicant in his/her house and will interview your neighbors.

Nicaragua Residency Cheat Sheet
Tips on How to Prepare to Apply for Residency in Nicaragua 2022

As of now, October 2022, Local Nicaraguan Immigration Authorities are eager to end the practice of ongoing tourist visa renewals known locally as ‘Visa Runs’ so it’s a good idea to learn how to apply for residency in Nicaragua.

Permanent Or Provisional Residency?

According to Immigration Law (law 761) there are two kinds of Residency:

Permanent: Granted five years at a time: Retirees, Rentiers, and Foreign Investor receive this kind of residency and generally are not required to deposit funds equivalent to a one-way ticket to return to their home countries.

Provisional: Granted for one year and for those who receive it is mandatory to make a deposit equivalent to a one-way ticket to return to the country of origin. Businessmen, workers, missionaries, and spouses receive this kind of residency.

The law states there are different ways to apply for residency or the subcategories available. Let it be clear, the options below are the most common way we people decide how to apply for residency in Nicaragua these days:

1. Residency as a Foreign Investor

Foreign investors can apply for residency if applicants run a business, incorporate a corporation, and invest at least $30,000 in Nicaragua in any sector or economic activity. It is suspected that this initial investment amount minimum may increase in 2023


It is imperative that foreigners follow several steps perfectly. These steps will be reviewed by a Government Appraiser with the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Commerce (MIFIC). They will confirm the investment by visiting the place where the investment is. Once MIFIC grants an endorsement’s certification for the business, the applicant will be able to apply for a five-year Residency.


The endorsement would cover the shareholders or investor, and the investor’s family members.


Foreign Investments – for residency purposes in Nicaragua – is when foreigners invest their money in properties or goods for business. It is important that an investor keeps all their official expense and formal receipts in order especially during the first 3 months. From the airline tickets, to transportation, rental car, freight forwarding, rent etc.


A second home for vacation is not considered Foreign Investment unless this house is used for business/rent and is handled by a corporation other-wise locally known as an S.A.

2. Residency As A Businessman

This option can be considered when applicants cannot invest more than $30,000 as stated above. Some companies do not need to invest so much money. A small restaurant for example.


In this case, according to the Immigration law, in order to obtain the ID with DGI (Nicaraguan tax and Revenue Office) foreigners must run a business through a corporation or ‘Sociedad Anónima’.


Applicants receive a Yearly Provisional Residency that must be renewed every year.

3. Residency as a retiree

A retiree according to the law 694 is a person who regularly receives a monthly pension from an international entity. The most commonly accepted being a foreign government (social security administration or any other agency) or from a large private company. The monthly pension must be over $ 1,000.00 per month for the first person. For additional dependents like a spouse, an additional $250. For children, depending on the age, it could $250 or less per child for every additional person in the family unit.

4. residency as a Rentier

Rentier is a person living on income from property or investments. The law states the applicant must receive $ 1,250.00 as a minimum per month. Salaries do not apply in either case.


Savings in banks do not apply unless the applicant receives from his/her bank a letter confirming monthly installments for five years to the owner.


Both subcategories – Retirees and Rentiers – have the same benefits.


The Law “694” states that the minimum age is 45 years old to apply as Retiree or Rentier. There is an exception only for people with a disability pension.


Retirees and Rentiers are not allowed to work in the country. 

5. Residency as an employee

Some companies hire foreigners to work, especially for upper management positions. In that case, the company must provide all legal documents required in the application. A labor contract must be signed with the employee.


The labor contract must be certified by the Labor Ministry of Nicaragua. The employer usually takes care of the process and legal paper work through their Human resources and legal departments.

6. Residency As A Spouse

To be able to apply for residency as a spouse it is mandatory to prove the foreigner has been married to a Nicaraguan. This marriage must be for at least two years or longer at the time of the application. The applicant must show proof of income; it could be:


The Nicaraguan spouse supports the applicant; in that case, the Nicaraguan spouse must have a job.


The foreigner has a job or business in Nicaragua. In that case, he/she has to prove and provide legal documentation of it.


Once the union becomes fruitful with children, the process becomes easier.

7. Citizenship

To be able to apply for citizenship, it is mandatory that the applicant be a resident first for a minimum of four years. The process is not automatic, citizenship requires a new process.  Nicaragua retains the right to deny citizenship. To attain citizenship, it is mandatory that the applicant officially renounce to their other citizenships. This must be recorded via a Nicaraguan Notary Public. In Nicaragua, there is no citizenship for investment.

Direct Costs involved in Most Residency applications: 

For Foreign Investors and Retirees $ 500 Immigration charges

For Provisional Residencies, the cost is $ 250.00 since 2020.

Professional Fee to have a lawyer assist you in this process varies from Lawyer to Lawyer. This professional service will not excuse you (the applicant) from the need to visit immigration various times and being alone when the immigration interview is conducted. 

Final comment:  It is illegal to offer any tips or bribes to immigration agents! 

If you would like to apply for residency or information regarding other important legal matter, you can contact me at: This team is very well informed and they have helped many foreigners receive their residency.

This article is based on my expertise, working on this topic since 1999. Law and the internal rules of application are subject to change. 

Paul Tiffer – Attorney at Law



Interested in learning more about what the weather?  Click here for a lovely read by our friend Nick on a description of the weather along the South Pacific Coast of Nicaragua.

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