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Living in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a stable and peaceful place to live, but it is also a developing country that is still recovering both politically and economically from a long civil war as well as the devastation of Hurricane Mitch. As the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, Nicaragua has the lowest cost of living in Central America and the United States’ dollar goes a long way. Foreigners living in Nicaragua will enjoy a rather high standard of life as the price of living is estimated to be 20 to 60 percent lower than in the United States.

Many expats head to Nicaragua the beautiful weather, beaches and landscape, but stay in the country because of the kindness and generosity of the people. The effects of the civil war still linger after 16 years, but as far as security, Nicaragua is currently the safest country in all of Central America, with a crime rate lower than the United States.

With low property taxes, cheap beachfront real estate and inexpensive health care, Nicaragua has become a major destination for retirees and foreigners looking to move to a warmer climate.

Foreigners planning on living in Nicaragua for longer than 90 days must obtain a residency permit through the Nicaraguan government. It is also recommended to hire a Nicaraguan lawyer to help guide you through the paper work. There are many subtypes of permit residency including: immigrant resident, investors, resident leasing or renting property or goods, retired or pensioned resident and resident through family extension.

As well as qualifying for one of the above categories, foreigners must also provide the following to information to the immigration office: residency request form, passport (valid for at least an additional six months), photocopy of every used page of your passport, two Nicaraguan passport-size photographs, criminal background certificate, health certificate, birth certificate as well as pay fees ranging from approximately $12.00 for the residence card to $30.00 for the residency fee.

The best source of information for Nicaraguan immigration law is still through the United States Embassy of Nicaragua at

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Nicaragua : Tourist Visas in Nicaragua, Student Visas and Volunteer Visas in Nicaragua, Work Visas for Nicaragua and Visa Information.

By Michelle Lillie
I am currently living on my fourth continent. I think that backpacks are one of the greatest inventions of all times. I adhere to the idea that if...
19 Feb 2009

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