retiring in next 6mths

so we are definetely moving to nicaragua hoping by end of year 2012. we just have alot of questions and no answers hoping that someone can help us. We meet the financial requirements for a retirement visa. How do we obtain the forms needed to fill out for visa in nicaragua? where do we send everything to be authenticated? what about getting forms translated, how do we do this? We wanted to have a the paperwork done prior to moving this way we can bring belongings and vehicle with us. as well as our dog? Any assistance would be appreciated.

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still confused

More specific....ok I have searched and searched but still not getting the info I want. We would like to try and get things started still no one seems to give step by step directions. how do we get the residency form (online)? Who do we contact in US? embassy in dc would be closest to us in St. Louis. Do we have to actually go there in person to do the paperwork? then once all documents are authenticated where do we send it in managua. who can we get to do the translation of documents?

Try my first answer

Also, this appears to be accurate:

I got my translations done in Nicaragua -- your notary has to attest to the reputation of the translator or the accuracy of the translations. Spanish-only notaries are cheaper than English-speaking notaries.

First, get notarized copies of everything the Nicaraguan consulate in DC says you'll need. This is basically the police report, a letter from your doctor saying that you've had a general physical and such and such result, TB test, relevant vaccines, etc., your birth certificate, statement of pension amount from whoever pays your pension, and whatever else is relevant (marriage license). Find out what office in your state validates the notaries and get that done. Then go through the State Department Office of Verifications (see US Nicaraguan Embassy for a link to that) and get everything verified there. Ask the consulate if they're still putting their authentication stamp on things (verifications you don't necessarily need won't break the documents). The link to the other person's post explains some of this. First get the documents together, get them notarized, get them authenticated by the state agency that verifies the notaries. They are good for six months, so don't do this too early. I think I managed everything in around three weeks before I flew to Nicaragua. You have to do this yourself. Start two months or a month before your flight if you're going to use Fed Ex. If you hire an agency to handle this, ask them for recommendations.

Get the list from the consulate in DC. You'll also need to write a letter telling the President of Intur why you want to move to Nicaragua. Lovely politics, fascinating climate, great scenery, and a sincere love of the Nicaraguan people works. Intur will give you a form for submitting this letter.

Forget about the steps you have to take in Managua for now, just get the documents you need from the States through the verifications and authentications (if needed) and whatever the Embassy wants to do to them. Copies, translations and such can wait until you're here, or ask the consulate if they have a translation service (most people I know who've been through this waited until they were here for the translations).

Apparently, people have a fantasy that they can do all this remotely and all they need to do when they arrive in Managua is go to Migracion for the cedula photograph. I've never heard of this working for anyone.

This site has as much really bad information on it as good. The Nicaraguan consulate emailed me the list of required documents. I had to ask around to find the state agencies that verified the notaries. If the state screws that up (coastal states don't, some mid-western states do), then the US embassy can verify your documents (that worked for a guy named Fred Lamb here and he didn't have to send documents back to the Nicaraguan consulate in the US).

I wouldn't get documents more than two months before you come down here since getting residency for anyone I know (including two people who worked with a lawyer) took four or five months. You'll have to renew your tourist visa before you get the paperwork from Intur that grants you residency. I think this is built into the process.

So, first step -- do that, and if you have more questions then, we can go from there. You don't have to go to the Nicaraguan consulate in DC, but make sure you give yourself adequate turn around time. Consider hiring a service to run the documents around DC. Those guys generally know the drill inside out (they're called something like consular couriers and I used to have a card for one service). If you use Paul Tiffer here, you send him the documents and he goes from there with the translations.

Otherwise, when you get here, I can continue with the further steps that you'll take here.

If you don't call the Nicaraguan Consulate in the morning for the email list of documents, you're not really listening to me and I'll stop trying to help you.

Rebecca Brown

Thanks Rebecca for your

Thanks Rebecca for your help. So here is another question. Bringing property with us We were hoping to drive down our things to nica. Do you think the best thing to do get all paperwork in order, fly down to continue the process and once we get that done go back to states and drive stuff in since then it would be eligible to be duty free? I have alot of tools, saws, lawn equip etc Just a few household items and a 2007 jeep wrangler that my wife loves. 2nd question obviously you say you may be able to help is once there. What fee do you charge for your services??

Thanks again for your help

I recommend Suzanne Wopperer if you're going to be in the North

Since helping me with my residency application, she's helped at least four others that I know about (a Canadian, two Americans applying as resident and dependent, and another American. She has permission to work in Nicaragua; I don't.

What I bought down fitted in checked luggage and a large sized MedranoExpress box so I'm not familiar with shipping so much stuff that duties would have been charged without the waiver. I'm not the one to talk to about driving stuff to Nicaragua through several other countries (some people haven't had any serious problems -- those people seemed to have driven in groups of two or more cars).

If you can afford it, the first thing I'd recommend would be three weeks to a month of immersion Spanish lessons. There's nothing in Jinotega, but there are schools in Matagalpa, Granada, Esteli, Laguno Apoyo, and other places. You board with a family and take around 4 hours of classes a day. You need to have enough Spanish to get around in the markets because nobody speaks English. You also have to know the pleasantries for entering and leaving a shop. People will work with you to figure out what you're trying to say, but you really can't function here without some Spanish (you need to know the names of the things you eat, the pleasantries, ways to ask who, what, where, when, the directions to where you live, and some warning words: "be careful," "he's a thief").

Rebecca Brown

Get used to browsing in Spanish

Or...pick one member that can help and stick with them (avoid too too many cooks) or use a Lawyer like Paul Tiffer.

Rebecca did it on her own.

You application can't be too much different from the others..the basics are the same...Birth Certs., Police and Doctors.

Here is a start for the DIY application:

so seeing as I do not speak

so seeing as I do not speak or write spanish. Except gringo spanish guess I need help.

my suggestion is to learn spanish

you are wanting to move to a country that speaks spanish. spanish is the primary language, and while there are many english speaking people in the country, they are far outnumbered by the people who speak little to no english at all. I am pretty sure you will have a very difficult time getting through the residency process if you cant read/write spanish.

no doubt its possible with some help, but its just never a good idea to be signing official legal documents in a language you cant even moderately understand.

i am not trying to be a downer, or negative. but if you know that you are going to move there for sure, seems like a good idea to start learning spanish.

Nope, it's simply not that big a deal.

You simply have to have someone verify the paperwork. You're basically asking for permission to be a resident of Nicaragua; your documents will be translated into Spanish, and you'll have one form to fill out in Spanish and sign, and most of that is fairly easy Spanish and fairly obvious. Hire someone to interpret for you.

Learning a new language to fluency takes about six years from the research I've done (some people are better than others and will be fluent sooner, but people shouldn't beat themselves up if it takes as long as six years). Getting enough Spanish to get around takes less time, and that's what people should work on first, but it's easier to do this where everyone else speaks Spanish than to do it in a vacuum (living in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood in the US, working in the restaurant industry in most places will probably teach some basics).

In the US, something like community college classes might not even be taught by people whose native language was Spanish (my high school classes were taught by non-native speakers). You end up talking the Spanish equivalent of Hindu English. Most people here will work to understand you, but you score more points if you can pronounce things in Proper Spanish (everyone around me speaks Jinotega dialect, but will correct themselves and me to Proper because that's what I should learn, according to their own high school teachers).

Rebecca Brown

well that makes me more

well that makes me more reassured. I have been trying to learn spanish. I am quite an educated person and learning a new language has been quite daunting to me. It is nice to know the basics and that is what we have been sticking too. greeting and salutations and such. Oh and learn the money exchange rates

Jim and Tammy Keel Future expats

money exchange is easy

a cord is worth 4.3 cents, so a 100 cord bill is 4 bucks and change.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

Good comment...

And I accept the intent of your message, However, it is fairly easy to go through the residency process with only little or no Spanish. I say this so as not to put non Spanish speaking people off that part of the procedure.

Some will argue that having a Residency Cedula is a better hand than having some Spanish.

In reality, both will get you further than not having either.

If I had my time again it would start here with a home stay and lessons for 6 months to a year. Get it done and out the way.

I had little Spanish when I went through the process

People at Intur were learning English and I believe there's an English-speaker working there now. Basically, interpreters are something like $20 a day plus transportation, sometimes less. If you have your documents, someone in most towns will be willing to help either for free or for some money.

Rebecca Brown

Oh Good fresh meat.

I hope you like; COLD showers LONG WAITS (If it took an hour in the states it takes a day here.) Noisy neighbors Being treated as an ATM. (There will always be someone trying to get into your wallet.) Filling out a lot of papers in Quadruplicate (Always make extra copies of all documents since someone in the loop will always loose their copy of your papers.) being lied to. Making at least 3 trips back to the US to complete papers or get new papers. Letter of health and Letter from the police of criminal activity are time sensitive and ONLY GOOD FOR 6 MONTHS FROM DATE ON LETTER.

Oh and first rule to live by here in Nicaragua, TRUST NO ONE! Even people you have known for a few years will try to steal from you if they see the opportunity.


There IS Good

Advice here but I think that the attitude is unduly negative. The problem I see is it's Nicaragua-specific. There are plenty of people in the US who will steal from you and cheat you, if they identify you as a target.

I remember the final straw for this poster was the comedor that opened nearby with blaring music starting at 6AM. I believe I suggested he purchase an emetic and proceed to have a huge meal at the comedor. Puke on any surface available (including some of the other diners) as you stagger towards the door. Your vomitus might even incite a mass hysteria of like behavior. Tell everyone about the food poisoning that almost killed you.

The thing is, you are smarter than most of these people you are dealing with, and you have the power (the money). If you let them scam you it's really your fault. Develop a set of mechanisms to deal with: poor service (don't go back a second time and tell anyone who will listen); vendors who charge you more (shop at a fixed price store like Maxi-Pali or Segovias or Supermercado Guadelupe -and tell the vendors precisely why you don't buy from them anymore; request for a loan of money or a tool: "I loaned $75 to Eddy last year, as soon as he pays me back I might consider your request for a loan. Until then, sorry."

If you're a committed liberal and you enjoy feeling guilty then the above advice does not apply. Feel free to be walked on. Just don't whine.

You're only a victim if you allow yourself to be one. Bad things happen that are out of your control, true, but you don't have to be complicit in your victimization. Just say no . . .

I see no reason why we have to tippy-toe among our Nicaraguan neighbors. I'm pretty blunt . . .People WILL take advantage if you let them, but that's not a specifically Nicaraguan trait.

I personally believe that "3 cordobas over the Nicaraguan" price is too much, and If I caught a vendor gouging me simply because I was a Gringo I wouldn't use that vendor again -and I'd confront him the next time he tried to sell me something. A lot of people selling fruits and vegetables.

Cold Showers!! Come on, there have been several posts here with details on how to inexpensively get past that. Please re-read "if you're a committed liberal . . . " above. If you enjoy being miserable we can't help you. Quite a few of us like it here, -and enjoy playing the "Nicaraguan Game".


You've spent a grand total of how many years in Nicaragua? Total doesn't appear to be as much as half a year.

When I had a misunderstanding with the landlord's agent over the rent, I looked down at the $280 pen I was using to write the complaint in my journal and realized I was being petty. Since then, I've seen the rent book for the other side of the house. They're paying C$100 more than I am, and they're Nicaraguans. Whatever was going on, I wasn't getting the gringo price. The house hasn't sold in two years and my rent hasn't gone up.

I don't believe I've ever seen broccoli in the supermarkets, certainly not regularly. I pay C$ 10 a head at my door. I doubt seriously I'd get US broccoli for less than 50 cents delivered to my front door. Most street vendors don't have broccoli, either. Some things, to me, aren't worth the aggravation. I know I can't get broccoli as good at the supermarkets.

If you want the cheapest and freshest vegetables, you go to the market and you do one round of haggle and you don't push it beyond that.

Most of the supermarkets have worse vegetables than the street vendors, often at the same prices or higher. The market vendors have the fresh stuff (except for the street vendors selling from their own farms); the average street vendors have what the market was selling yesterday; and the supermarkets have the day before that stuff. I'd rather pay more for fresh and for the convenience of having it show up at my door than get limp parsley at a supermarket. Parsley is pretty uniformly C$20 a bunch (pretty large bunches), either from my street vendor or from the market, wilted at the supermarkets, and I don't care if the price is fixed at that point, or even cheaper than fresh parsley picked earlier that day (I used parsley like a vegetable in bean and chicken stews).

My impression is that you haven't actually lived here for more than two or three months. Joe's been here five years. it really isn't enough time to make sweeping generalizations about how it's going to work just fine if you're blunt with your neighbors (I've got popcorn now, I can pop some up). If your neighbors see this as a challenge to them, you can be in for interesting times. Joe has some Nicaraguan friends who have his back, even though this is a difficult situation.

I've been here two years and NOBODY Nicaraguan has asked me for a loan except for a gringa's boyfriend who'd decided that anyone connected with her could be hit up (and that was C$100 and he paid me back). I've never had a Nicaraguan craftsman fail to deliver on time (the local tailor was early). Don't hang around people who loan money to their Nicaraguan bonks and you'll be fine.

I'm going to be curious as to how this goes once you've actually lived in Nicaragua for a year.

Joe's actually quite far to the right. My impression that what makes people fit in here is being flexible and not thinking that US ways are superior to other people's ways, or expecting to be smarter than the people around them, or even richer. The rich Nicaraguans are quite rich, and someone assembled an interesting collection of books at Gino's Fusion that reflect an interesting mind if they all came from one source (which I think they did). The stupidest thing people do here is assume they're smarter than most of the people they meet here. After all, we left the US, and they made their lives work in the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Rebecca Brown

When I Say

blunt, I don't mean you have to insult someone or be unduly rude. Call a spade a spade . ..don't deal with someone who clearly is taking advantage. Move on.

The comment about the $280 pen goes right to my comment about liberal guilt. What bearing does the value of your pen have on your rent?

I agree that you don't win every battle; I lost an important one recently with the guy I bought my land from. Didn't cost me anything, but there was principle and "face" and fairness involved. I offered to let him run his cattle until November, and gave him until the end of January to harvest the last of his crops. In exchange, I asked that he clear the land of overgrown brush (which was supposed to be cleared before I bought it). He refused, said he was only willing to "Cuidar" what is bare land (except for his crops). Cuidar to him means stealing the barbed wire from my fences. I would have looked for someone else, but I had a plane to catch. He knew that. You move on, but you don't forget.

I agree that you don't want to feud for the sake of a feud; who has time for that crap? You WILL be taken advantage of if you allow it. Has nothing to do with Nicaragua, except for the Nicaraguan perception that all Gringos are easy marks. It's not a Nicaraguan only perception: I get it from China, Greece, and Pakistan. I understand that they have less money than I do, but that's not a reason for me to give them mine. What particularly frosts me is when they attempt to re-negotiate a price after I've begun a project.

I don't know what the price of broccoli in Nicaragua has to do with the price of broccoli in the US. There are a lot of things more expensive in Nicaragua. Another important concept to remember is, someone can ask any price for a service or good. "$5 for that avocado ? Seems high .. ." If you give the seller the $5 you can't be angry with the seller when you see him sell the same avocado for four for a dollar.

I DO appreciate the excellent advice from people who have been there. A lot of it has been spot-on. I've taken advantage of much of it, and have saved a lot of time and money due to the generosity of those who have taken the time to post their experiences.

". . smarter . ." would have to be defined. We have been swimming in a much bigger pond, have the advantage of a robust education, have resources beyond all but the wealthiest Nicaraguans, but I am still amazed at some of the simple solutions that Nicaraguans find for a problem that we would grossly over-engineer.

The thing is we had a misunderstanding...

I was jumping to conclusions that they were trying to bait and switch me (and these were people who'd returned change on my first transaction in dollars). The expensive pen was something put the thing in perspective. The expensive pen was overpriced for what it was (I have another pen that works just as well and which also has a gold nib). I didn't whine about that, so why was I assuming the worst of Nicaraguans when I didn't assume the worst of a German pen manufacturing company?

In this case, it was a misunderstanding, and the rent hasn't gone up since and the folks on the other side are paying more than I am (and like a green gringo, I'd assumed it was less since they were Nicaraguans).

I've met at least one Nicaraguan who has an education to match mine and then some. He's well-off, but not rich. I also have seen plenty of people who had educations, even Ivy League educations, who've had more exposure to thinking than they can digest. They get through it (sometimes by cheating -- one of my friends used to write term papers for Columbia U students, including some graduate students) but the education didn't get absorbed. I've also met people who didn't have college educations who were quite intelligent analysts of their own culture and of people.

Coming in with a "they're out to get me" and "I don't pay gringo prices for things" can be a royal waste of time. I do walk away just fine if I don't like the price, but I don't base my liking the price or not on what other people or not are paying. If I were homeless, I might get free oranges (my orange guy gave the homeless woman a couple).

The point of the Javan example is that I suspect anywhere, a crazy lady on the street gets two orange for free and I pay C$10 for a dozen, and maybe someone who looks really rich pays a bit more, whether a fellow national or not.

This has nothing to do with being liberal or whatever. I'm living comfortably on impossible money and have the tools of my sometimes trade and of my favorite hobbies. People here have given me things that are worth more than the few pennies I might have lost. I've gotten bananas, a couple of meals, a cabbage, and some other fruit, tortillas with cuajada, and some very good advice, plus frescos when my friend visited. Yeah, I could bitch about a couple of cents. Instead, I've repaid one of the people with some support hose, some all cotton dish towels, a DVD of photographs, and some homemade ice cream, and that woman talked to my vendor and the prices dropped a tad. She's also warned me when prices were too high. She also asked me what the Sollentuna Hem gives me for C$50 and decided it was fair.

My broccoli vendor is a friend of her. Better to do a bit of negotiating (which is what Phil did with the "No soy Gringo") than make a huge fuss.

Kept a dog visiting next door entertained for three days and had her steal my dog's food a couple of times -- maybe that makes up for the cabbage the neighbor gave me.

Maybe tomorrow the price will be lower. Maybe tomorrow, someone will give me enough bananas that I don't have to buy them, with the understanding that I'll make some ice cream to share. Maybe a meteor will fall on the planet and obliterate all our problems. Maybe the dentists will decide I'll be happy enough with amalgam.

What's tedious is actual anger about being charged gringo prices, about being cheated by some indigenous woman with two kids who's walking vegetables around town for a living. Buy, don't buy, but don't get angry about it, or try to give her a lecture.

Rebecca Brown

Time in country does count

The first 100 times you drive over the same potholes they don`t seem too important. The second 100 times you drive over the same potholes they start to get annoying.

As to your understanding of the culture, yes, it is a culture of politeness and saving face. I am not saying you never get teste with somebody, but just realize that they have nothing to do and nothing to lose so you may be creating a very annoying enemy. May I interject the ``4 S Rule´´ that is common on the self defense sites- ´´Do not do stupid things in stupid places with stupid people at stupid times´´.

Some more gratuitous advise:

1- Blow off beggars instantly and completely. Watch their hands for weapons, not their eyes for understanding.

2- Loan nothing to no one period unless you have the deed to the ranch and the will for forclose immediately. They are bothering you because nobody else will even talk to them about a loan becaause they are not credit worthy.

3. Based on my experience, 80 % or more of all Nic. fulltime experienced workmen in Esteli do not have baseline competency for what they are doing. I am not talking about excellence as true excellence is rare anywhere. I am talking about the ability to do their job up to Nicaraguas low standards.Paying at the end and not accepting bad work helps, but basically it is your time they are wasting. Had an interesting chat a while back with the owner of a local fereterria as his helper was getting the order ready. He volunteered that for every trade (carpenter, painter, etc.) there are 2 good ones here. All the rest of the real talent is working in CR. Funny echo of what a farm owner in Tisey told me years ago.

4-``trust nobody``, including yourself!, is excellent advise to anyone moving here. It is not just limited to theft, but also to incompetence and backwardness. You art not just moving to a differnet country, you are moving to a different century. Here´s a proposal : Write on your bathroom mirror ´´Trust nobody, including yourself´´ and read it every morning.

5-at times I have cut corners to get things done more quickly--it usually backfires as you end up with both bad quality and more delays anyway.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

Perspective Is Important

I need to emphasize that I have met far more honest Nicaraguans than dishonest, have had far more positive experiences than negative. The rest? Well, it makes for amusing stories.

The people I met in the area I am settling in have been open, curious and supportive. There will always be bumps in the road; it's more important to concentrate on the road if you're going to get anywhere.

I'm humbled by the lack of whining in the "False Bluff" blog . . . a lesson in focus. I had to haul my building materials across a short stretch of the Sea of Cortez when I built my place in Mexico. I know of what the writer speaks.


"Cold showers:"

A Lorenzetti showerhead heater costs maybe 25 bucks and can be installed by anyone who knows how to use a screwdriver. A rhesus monkey could handle the job safely with a minimum of supervision.

"Long waits:"

We all hate them. I carry a paperback with me wherever I go so that I can put this time to productive use. Long lineups are the part of the price we pay for living in a poor country where the government and retail customer service sectors are primitive. To eliminate the problem of lineups, Nicaragua would have to become as modern as the developed world. If that would happen, the cost of living would climb so high that most expats who live here would have to emigrate to places like Papua New Guinea.

"Noisy neighbours:'

By and large I solved that problem by renting a house in a privately-owned residencial where all of my neighbours are member of the Nicaraguan middle class. My rent went up by only $50 per month, it is blessedly quiet, and now I have 24-hour security. I have discovered that most Nicaraguans are every bit as annoyed by the 24-hour noise of daily life in a city neighbourhood as much as expats. Only a minority are the trouble-makers, but the truly silent majority are so paranoid about confrontation that they dare say nothing.

"Being treated as an ATM:"

The best way to deal with people who are trying to get their hands into your wallet is to politely brush them off. They get the message quickly and and leave you alone. There are plenty of Nicaraguans who will deal honestly with you. The best way to find them is to immerse yourself in the Nicaraguan community around you and keep your antennae open. Don't pay for anything or sell anything until you have what was promised to you in your hand. For some things, such as custom-made furniture, the artisan will ask for a deposit. Well, they do that in North America and Europe too. In Nicaragua, you have to do a lot more reference-checking before leaving a deposit than you would in North America and Europe. For some big jobs, such as digging a well, I ask my lawyer to write up a contract to protect me. It works well enough because it somewhat discourages the supplier from screwing with me and it is pretty cheap too.

"Always make extra copies of all documents since someone in the loop will always loose their copy of your papers."

Excellent advice. How much time and money does it take to make extra copies?

"Making at least 3 trips back to the US to complete papers or get new papers."

You wouldn't have had to make three trips if you had done the job right the first time. And how much bullshit do immigrants to North America and Europe have to go through before getting residency?In this day and age, do you you really blame any sovereign country about being really picky about making sure people applying for residency dot every i and cross every t?

"being lied to"

Yeah ok, can't argue with you there. In very general terms, a much higher percentage of Nicaraguans will lie to you than people in North America and Europe. It used to drive me nuts. But there are also lots of Nicaraguans who are perfectly honest. My way of coping is be very selective about whom I hang out with and do business with. It stopped bugging me after two years here.

"TRUST NO ONE! Even people you have known for a few years will try to steal from you if they see the opportunity."

Some will, and if you are foolish or naive enough to be taken by them, chalk it up to experience and move on. I have lived here now for several years, and a great many of the people I came to trust during my first year continue to come through for me day after day.

Nonetheless MZTROE, I hear you 100%. The vast majority of expats whom I have met who moved here on a whim before doing their spadework and before spending lots of time in-country before making the jump, got taken for a ride and packed up and went home feeling bitter and used. You are right to point out the pitfalls of someone who moves here before they do the due diligence anyone who is intelligent would perform before relocating to an entirely different culture, and you did so very so concisely and to the point.

No, Don't Try Papua New Guinea for Cheap Living!

I lived in Papua New Guinea for five years, and it is a very expensive place, even in the hinterlands. Since everything had to be imported, except kitchen garden stuff, it cost twice as much to live there as it did in Australia. (And sometimes the imports didn't arrive, thus, for example, the country was out of toilet paper for three months and there was no Sears catalog to use, so the PNG's national newspaper, the Post Courier, became hard to find too.)

Fortunately for me, the government salaries for ex pats were quite generous, but without such a contractual income, it was impossible for non-Papua New Guineans to live there.

So Mike, you'll have to scratch Papua New Guinea off the list of possible escape routes.


Guess that means I just have to stay put then! :)

i live here becuse..

i like it here..most of u guys with problems ask for it..were 3rd world..accept it..if u want to live like a 1st world person..go to a 1st world country..when u bitch about the cleaning lady taking the teflon off ure $100 frying pan.. go see what she is cooking on..a little laid back explaining..not yelling goes a long way.. like i said..i like it here..and on lending is a bad practice ..anywhere

Good advice and seeing as MZTROE has a history...

Of being a victim here... perhaps he will listen to the advice before buying land in the wrong place, making complaints about a neighbor's business. etc. etc.

And, having just dealt with Canadian bureaucracy on a number of issues on my trip back here, I can say that Nicaragua is not that bad at all.

Not true of all of Nicaraga and Nicaraguans

If your tongue is in yer cheek fine, if not then most of your comments are bull.

After 5 years here

No this was not tongue in check. It is what 5 years here has taught me here in Jinotega and I would give the same advice to anyone going to East L. A. or New York. You are a stranger in a strange land and being a gringo is like having a bullseye painted on you here because every hustler, thief, and police agent will be looking to get their hand in your wallet.

You Take Yourself With You Wherever You Go.

Thus you look at things with the same eyes and the same pre-conceived notions, unless you are very aware of that problem and back yourself off it.

I've lived in some hard-assed places in some hard-assed cities and countries (New York's lower east side when it was where poor folks lived, Grand River and Twelfth Street in Detroit, the heart of the 1967 riot area which they were trying to resurrect in the mid-70's, Chicago, and D.C. (The only place I got robbed was in a rich Reston, Virginia suburb.) , then there was Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Venezuela.

There are many, many good people in this world, and a very few nasty crooks and bastards (Many of the later are from the richest districts, like Wall Street.). Countless people have been helpful and considerate to me, while less than a handful have tried to harm me.

If you look for the good in people and treat others with respect, you will find lots of them. Much of what we encounter is based on our own attitudes. If you change your attitude you might find that your world becomes a different place.

(And I hate cold showers too so, thanks to the great information shared on this web site by very nice people, I can buy the appropriate gadget to fix that.)

I can certainly empathize

I can certainly empathize with Joe`s problem as a I have found the quality of life issues in esteli to be just as bad, if not worse because of the crime rate. I think it is a heads up to the dreamers out there who think they are going move into the better-than-average house in a better-than-average neighborhood and enjoy their retiement in peace. At least now through the good graces of Nica Living some folks will have a heads up on what life is like in the cow towns. If you want quality of life, find a good professional neighborhood in one of the real cities, live on your rural estate, or pick another country!

Don`t want to dump on the poster of this , but I noticed in his blog that one of the reasons he wants to leave the states is that he is frustrated with workers who don`t do what they are told. He wants to move where??? He also wants to live cheap. I would suggest that somebody who can`t live cheap in Missouri will not be able to live cheap in Nicaragua, and the risks and pitfalls here are much greater.

Cheap has got to be one of the absolute worse reasons to move to Nicaragua. Family, property, business opportunities, missions (either christian or marxist) and any number of other things rate much higher than cheap.

As far as the thievery, it`s a real problem but so far we have been relatively cautious and relatively lucky, but the 24/7 fear never goes away and don`t get paranoid that it is all about robbing gringos. You flatter yourself. Some Nica professional friends of ours were recently robbed in their home in Esteli. Burglars removed the verjas late at night and stole everything in the rooms where the husband and wife and their children were not sleeping. When you consider the potential for violence in the robbery of an occupied dwelling, it starts to get scary. Welcome to the City of Thieves.

As far as begging, I agree it is a nuisance but I have had no problem just saying ``no`` or ``no gracias`` and going about my business. Treat dignified beggars in a dignified manner and treat the abusive ones as you see fit, BUT don`t waste your valuable time on them. Blow them off quickly and efficiently and you will not regret it.

I think you're reading the wrong blog

I checked Joe's back blogs and there's nothing in them about frustration with workers who don't do what they're told.

Rebecca Brown

Bla Bla Bla

You need to go home and stay there.

Mztrjoe's blog....I read it

I agree

The whole horror of cold showers thing --- it's the tropics. Cold showers are also better for your skin.

I think that the honest neighbors are honest and the dishonest ones are what they are, same as anywhere else. Some people get it that you're not rich; for others, you are probably rich. I've been reading something where an American in Java used the prices she could get as a measure of her language skills and then realized even with full fluency, she wasn't getting the same prices as others got. She complained about it to a Javanese friend who said, "If you were a rich Javanese, you'd be charged more, too." Some people feel highly affronted if they pay 3 cordobas more than a Nicaraguan would pay -- and I figure if I'm basically saving money, if it's cheaper than I'd pay in the US, I'm ahead.

I trust my neighbors in the other side of the house.

One thing that will get people into trouble is making friends with colorful bad guys, or making friends with the first people to make strong overtures.

Rebecca Brown

Paul Tiffer...

He does wonderful work and a pleasure to work with. He saved us a lot of time and trouble.


If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate


"Apocalypse Now":






You right, Che

A reasonable search of this site will provide info about the nuts and bolts of getting residency. I t will also show comments from various people that one should come and look around before burning any bridges or spending a ton of money that will be hard for a retiree to replace.

Fortunately, the Nic Govmint doesn`t work fast enough for somebody to jump in feet first. You gotta hang around awhile and jump thru the hoops.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

I always thought people were crazy to burn bridges...

...but one of the happiest people who retired to Jinotega came without seeing the place first. But he didn't buy land and he rents, and he lived here several years as a perpetual tourist before getting residency.

Rebecca Brown

I think there are 2 good options

1) the renter--buy nothing, don`t have a car , leave most of your assets in your home country. If you get bored, the political situation goes south, or the country falls over in an earthquake, leave.

2) Build your personal Fortress America. Ok, call if an eco-farm, or whatever. Be backed up by 1/4 mil before you come down. If things don`t work out, sell it all to the next guy. there`s always another one coming.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

My brother Skyped me to tell me about a lawyer

...who'd just bought a property in Nicaragua to use as a winter home. He had not expected my reaction would be "Arrgh."

The fantasy of riding out a civil war with your private army seem to be rather silly. The people who own this house fled when the Sandinista army came to Jinotega. House in a street intersection or a big strong hill house in the country is going to be commandeered by one side or the other, as this one was.

I hope shit doesn't happen, but I've got a US credit card and money in a US bank if it does.

Rebecca Brown

Wasn't talking about war

I was talking about the daily nuisances.

If your lawyer is a hyper-consumer with lots of money to spend, he''ll do alright.

My wife's family fled when the guardia came. They spent 3 years on coffee farm that was a 4 to 5 hour walk to the nearest crappy road. Trouble is, the world is getting smaller--that finca is now a 30 minute walk to the nearest crappy road.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

US Legalization


Regarding your questions let me tell this:

Some of my clients has work with a company in US to legalized their documents and they are satisfied, the company is

The Form for INTUR, the person who will assist you in Nicaragua will be able to prepare the application, no there is a form for sell in INTUR.

Translations can be done in US, or in Nicaragua Notaries are authorized by the law to prepare a legal translation document, usually assisted by a translator.

If you are going to bring your household goods - $ 20,000 tax free - and your vehicle - $ 25,000 tax free - you must wait for the approval from INTUR.

The procedure has two steps:

The first one is the approval from the Technical Committee formed by INTUR - Nicaraguan Tourism Board - and Immigration Department. Usually takes around 2 months. In this moment the approval is notified to Immigration - despite they are part of the Technical Committee and Custom Department, in this moment the container can come to Nicaragua, to avoid penalties.

Besides it is not in the law or the regulation of the law, INTUR is requiring to submit with the rest of the documents an Immigration form - 5 pages - which must be complete it in Spanish by the applicant or the person who is assisting and signed by the applicant. This form cost C$ 50, and just in Immigration Department can be buy it.

The second is the new examination from Immigration Department. They will confirm the address and visit the applicant in their house and do and interview. It is mandatory to be in Nicaragua. To issue the Residency card Immigration takes as minimum 45 days. Once the Residency application is ready in Immigration Department is ready the applicant most go and pay the Immigration Fees C$ 5,900 Cordobas, take a picture and finger print, before of that in 15 - 20 minutes the Card will be print it and the passport will be seal, saying the owner is a Nicaraguan Resident for 5 years.-

Best Regards,

Paul Tiffer Attorney at Law Managua - Nicaragua

Any update?

Mr. Tiffer, has there been any update to the process since Nicaragua finally became a signatory to the Hague Convention on Apostilles?

In theory, one would no longer need to send documents to Nica consulates but could have them authenticated at MIREX but I have been told, variously, that Nicaragua hasn't changed the process yet and/or Nicaragua won't change the process ever.

Thanks for your contributions.

I just talked to Fred Lamb who got his cedula recently

He had all his paperwork authenticated at the US embassy and took it to Intur and then to MIREX. No need to work through the consulates, at least for him.

Rebecca Brown

Three Issues

Getting the cedula takes four months from when you deliver your paperwork to Intur. You should call the Nicaraguan consulate in DC and have them email you the list of required documents. You can get the documents translated in the US or here, but here is somewhat better if the lawyer/notary who prepares some of the paper work knows the translator since that particular paperwork combines the English and the Spanish translation in a form that is the lawyer vouching for the accuracy of the translation (more or less). Getting the documents notarized, the notaries authenticated, and then that sealed by the Nicaraguan consulate that handled the states the notaries are in can be done by FedEx. Authenticating of documents can be done at the US Consulate -- another US expat here went that route for some of his paperwork. Also, if your documents are spread out over several consulates, I believe the DC consulate will authenticate all of them if they go through the US Office of Authentications first (ask to speak to someone at the Consulate who can answer this one for you if you've got to deal documents from both coasts -- each consulate has a range of US states it's responsible for.

When you get here, Intur will tell you to take everything to Minrex (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which will check to make sure the signature on the consulate stamp matches their records. They'll put their seal on that.

You're applying for a Pensionado Residency.

My decision was to sell most of what I owned in the US (car, furniture) and buy here (furniture here is rather nice and getting custom work done is about what you'd pay at Ikea). If your stuff is worth more than the cost of shipping and less than $20K, plus the up to $20K car, it's worth bringing, I think, but ask others who've been through the process. My impression is that if you ship and things arrive before Intur/Aduana/Migracion approve your residency, you pay storage fees.

There is NO way to get your cedula (residency ID card) before you arrive in Nicaragua. Anyone who says they can do this is misleading you. Migracion may decide to do a personal interview (I know one person who didn't get a home interview and three people who did). If you can have your shipper hold off on shipping until you get informal word that you've been approved for residency, that might work better.

As for the dog -- ask your airlines, but I think the procedure is that you get a USDA health certificate -- and apply for a permit to bring the dog with you from the Nicaraguan consulate. The health certificate is only good for something like ten days. Vet fills out the form, form goes to the USDA, then to the Nicaraguan consulate, then back to you before flying. I'm going from memory, and you might want to check these details. Again, ask the consulate in DC or your airlines.

Rebecca Brown


you only need a certificate from your vet as to health and vaccinations of your dog which has to be stamped by the USDA in your state-no need to get approval from the Nicaraguan consulate in USA- this certificate is only good for a month-when you arrive in Nicaragua you have to pay them $15 if everything is in order-as for as your cedula bring your birthcerticate, police report, and health certificate and proof of income translated, notarized, and approved by the Nicaraguan consulate in your state-i have brought my dog back and forth to this country over 20 times and have had 3 cedulas done in this country-you can't start working on your cedula with these documents until you get here-if you need a good lawyer let me know-it's a hassle but well worth it-also-i have imported a car-don't do it-you can find a good one down here-diesel is the way to go- you can buy a new one down here and not have to pay the taxes if you are a resident-as for as house hold goods-you can buy pretty much anything down here as you can in the states-i have imported both cars and household goods- a lot of the things were stolen by custom or my custom house brokers and it took me months dealing with the beaucracy to finally get them-the less you have to do with the powers that be- the better

10 days

When I brought my dog in last August---the airline (not Nicaragua) required it be done within 10 days. The gal at the baggage place where I dropped off my dog had a long checklist and she even asked me if the physical had been within 10 days and checked the date on the USDA ) (Aphis)form 7001. This was at DCA.

As well--ensure you have the right sized cage.

Short answer

Do a search of this site of and then talk to Intur.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand