We’re Official!


Our residency cards

After a year of frustration, gathering documents, and bureaucratic nightmares in the USA, we are finally legal residents of Nicaragua. We went to the Office of Immigration in Managua on Monday and picked up our cedulas.

Actually, the process was easier in Nicaragua, than in the USA. Once we submitted all of the paperwork, it was only a matter of waiting, waiting, and more waiting. We paid 5,900 codobas each for our cedulas at one window, had our pictures taken in another small cubicle, and they delivered our cedulas to another window.

Our cedulas are good for five years. By the time we are ready to renew, they will probably change the rules again. Was it worth the hassles? For us, yes because we own property in Nicaragua. It gives us a little more security and just makes the process of living in Nicaragua a little easier. We are no longer perpetual tourists. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “We’re Official!

  1. 1st of all, congratulations ! Can you tell us what were the U.S. hurdles you speak of ? Did you have to give up U.S. citizenship ? Are you getting SS ?

    • Jim,

      The hardest part was trying to figure out how to get our documents certified and authenticated by the State Department in the U.S. Once I figured that out, after many trials and errors…the rest was easy. Check out my two other posts: In Search of the Golden Tickets I tried to explain the entire process, step by step.
      We will never give up our U.S. citizenship. We are only legal residents in Nicaragua. What that means is that we don’t have to cross the border into Costa Rica to renew our visas every 90 days. We want to be legal in every aspect of living in Nicaragua, and now that we have our retirement residency, called Pensionado Visas, we feel much better. It is getting more difficult to be a perpetual tourist in Nicaragua. I know some expats who have lived here for 6 years, and they still cross the border every 90 days to have their passports stamped. But, recently, they were told that the next time they cross the border, they have to bring proof that they are trying to get legal residency in Nicaragua or they won’t stamp their passports.
      Neither my husband or I are old enough to collect SS…but very soon! We live on our tiny teaching pensions and they stretch a long way, here. Next year, I can apply for SS and I’ll just have my SS direct-deposited in our bank in the states. Then, we can use our ATM cards to get money out of our bank. It’s the simplest way to get our money and with the exchange rate, we even make money when we exchange from dollars to cordobas. I hope this helps.

    • Thanks Rod. Some of our expat friends, who have lived on Ometepe Island for 6 years, crossed the border last week to renew their visas. They were told that next time, they have to show proof of their attempts to get residency. I think the border crossings are getting more difficult. I’m so glad we have our cedulas, now.

    • Darrell, we can continue to use our US license. We had a difficult time registering our motorcycle without a cedula, but after 3 attempts the police officer must have felt sorry for us and registered our bike for a year instead of 3 mo. which is the usual time. It will be so much easier next time with our cedulas.

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