We’re Almost There!


                   The Office of Immigration in Managua

After living in Nicaragua for a year, our friend Bill would often say, “You’re almost there.”  “Where?” we would ask. “Wherever you want to be,” he would respond. Since beginning our quest for residency in Nicaragua, Bill’s zen like comment is ringing true. We’re almost there. Residency in Nicaragua is almost complete.

We went to Managua today to visit the Immigration Office. Everything was stamped and approved for our pensionado visas. It was only a matter of waiting for them to issue our cedulas. (Nicaraguan IDs)  We were warned that immigration would probably follow procedures and issue us receipts for our cedulas, instead of the real IDs. What that means is that we would have to return in 3-8 weeks to pick up our cedulas.

However, there was always a chance that we would be issued our cedulas. Nicaragua is in a constant state of flux..rules change daily. Without expectations, we waited in a long, hot line to talk with the immigration officer. He issued us the receipts and told us to come back in July for our cedulas. There was no point in arguing; we knew to expect a long wait and several trips to Managua.

                       Our little paper receipts for our residency.

These little slips of paper with the red stamps are important. Now that we have the receipts, time stops. We no longer have to cross borders every ninety days, and we can open a bank account in Nicaragua. I’m sure there are other advantages to having the receipt, but for us, the biggest advantage is that we are now legal residents of Nicaragua. It simplifies life in Nicaragua when we have official residency and all those little stamps. Nicaraguans love stamps!

I’m on my way to the states for two weeks. The next time I fly out of Nicaragua, I’ll have my cedula and things will change again. First, I won’t be hassled about not having a round trip ticket back to the states. In January, I flew on a round trip ticket from Managua to Miami. At the ticket counter on my return flight, they weren’t going to let me board the plane because I didn’t have a ticket back to the states. No matter how much I tried to explain to them that this was the second leg of my ticket and I lived in Nicaragua…they kept asking to see my Nicaraguan residency card. I pulled out the stacks of documents I had and explained that the reason I came to the states in the first place was to gather all the documents for Nicaraguan residency. That seemed to help and I was released after a chain of phone calls and allowed to board the plane.

When I have my cedula, I’ll have to pay $10 to leave Nicaragua, but I won’t be charged $10 to enter Nicaragua. My border crossing days are over. I am relieved, excited, and proud that we have been persistent and tackled the bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork and golden stamps. Life is good, retirement is better, residency in Nicaragua is priceless.

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5 thoughts on “We’re Almost There!

  1. Woo Hoo! I sure understand Border Hops been doing it in CR for about 7 years now…I have just decided to head your direction in a couple months and see if my SSDI income will allow me the honor of no more Border Hops and possibly a less expensive experience… I´m digesting your blogs as fast as I can. Nicaragua was one of my favorite places when I began my éxpat journey, which btw was an unplanned not so much of a coincidence that has changed my life.

    • Hola Lesa,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. Let me know how I can help you with the process of residency. I have learned the easy way, now that we are approved. lol Isn’t that always the way? I can help you avoid some of the problems we encountered…most of them in the USA.

      • I have been learning so much from your replies to others in your blog. I thank you for the information….
        I think that I have most of the paperwork in my possesion at present, although I would likely need some updated official US stamps of some kind to prove the documents are official even tho they are…I get the general idea of legal stuff in Central America.
        I read something that indicated a Doctor´s health statement will be required and I am recieving SSDI (Permanent Disability from the US) and wonder if that will be a deterent to my becoming a pensionista/retiree? Do you have any thoughts or insight on that?
        I am thinking about coming in July and perhaps going to Spanish School because I have good spanglish and would like to improve. Perhaps a couple weeks to a month of school or more structured lessons would help me get the stuff I don´t get yet and become a better sentence speaker with better understanding of those fast talkers. Do you have any suggestions for me, of course my budget is a concern.
        I also have experience housesitting long and short term in Central America and wonder if there are any opportunities?
        I have quite a few questions that might be best explained in private tho I am willing to share….so in an effort to be respectful of your blog and others needs, feel free to contact me at my personal email: simplylesa@gmail.com. Thanks in Advance.

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