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Retire in Nicaragua / Retirement visa / Residency in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is blessed with coasts on both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans. Mountainous landscapes and Central America’s largest lake make the country’s climate and outdoor activities appealing to practically everyone. Nicaragua is increasingly becoming a favourite retirement destination for ex-pats, thanks to exceptional real estate investment prospects, low taxes, and the low cost of living. Nicaragua is known as the safest place in Central America. According to US News and World Report, Nicaragua is one of the top 10 retirement destinations in the world.

Retire in Nicaragua, where there are numerous excellent real estate investment options, such as inexpensive property taxes, a low cost of living, and a high standard of living. Nicaragua was named in the first position for having the least expensive cost of living in the 2015 International Living Index. For people approaching the age of 50, who are planning to retire in Nicaragua, you could retire 10 to 15 years earlier than you had expected. It’s hard to imagine a better place to spend the rest of your life than a sunny location with warm air, beautiful scenery, friendly people, and fair laws.

Granada and Leon, the capital of Managua, and, most especially, the southwestern section of the Pacific coast surrounding San Juan del Sur, where beachfront property options abound, are currently the hottest Nicaraguan retirement destinations. The lovely mountain village of Matagalpa is becoming more widely known as ex-pats move there and open businesses.

Retire in Nicaragua

When considering retiring in Nicaragua, it is important to have a thorough grasp of the retirement visa, residency in Nicaragua, cost of living, purchasing a home, taxes, healthcare, and safety considerations. The information provided here will help you have a clearer picture of how things function in Nicaragua.

Retirement Visa

Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of admission.

Residents of the United Kingdom, the United States, Scandinavia, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, and the European Union do not need visas. For them, a tourist card (US $10) valid for 90 days is issued upon arrival. Residents of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe who do not have reciprocal arrangements with Nicaragua will be required to obtain a visa or a tourist card, which will allow them to stay for a maximum of 30 days.

Visitors to Nicaragua for business are generally excluded from the necessity for a visa and an exit permit. When departing Nicaragua, you will be charged a $35 exit tax. Airlines may include it in the price of the ticket when flying out of the country. Otherwise, you must pay it at the airline counter when you arrive.

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Residency in Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s retirement regulations are similar to the previous pensionado rules that drew thousands of ex-pats to Costa Rica in the 1980s. They offer large tax breaks to foreigners and promote investment in the nation.

Resident expatriates state that the friendliness of the people is the main reason that draws them to Nicaragua. In addition, there are other reasons, such as the tropical environment, low property costs, or favourable tax incentives. However, retiree status is quite straightforward to get through the government programme, and the benefits in comparison to those in other nearby nations are very favourable.

Nicaragua enacted measures to entice seniors and pensioners to relocate there. The Law on Resident Pensioners and Retirees provides advantages, the majority of which are in the form of tax breaks.

To qualify, you must demonstrate to the Nicaraguan government that you are a genuine citizen of the country you claim nationality. Also, you have to prove that you are in good physical and mental health, that you are in good standing with local law enforcement, and that you earn at least $600 monthly from Social Security or a pension. Add $100 for each dependent family member residing in Nicaragua with you. The minimum qualifying age is 45. However, this may be reduced if the applicant can demonstrate a steady income.

Tax Incentives

The primary advantages you receive when you retire in Nicaragua are in the form of tax incentives. As a foreign retiree, you are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Pay no taxes on any profits earned outside of the nation.
  • Get a total of five years of residency with the option to renew.
  • Bring US $20,000 worth of household items when entering Nicaragua without paying duty.
  • You don’t have to pay sales tax on purchases of $50,000 in business goods if you buy those things to use in your company.
  • When importing one car (less than $25,000 in value) for personal or general use, there is no tax or tariff on importation.
  • Import an additional car using the same duty exemptions every five years.

Some rules apply, of course. A foreign retiree is “unable to engage in any commercial or industrial employment or retain employment which is compensated in local currency.” But Nicaragua’s US embassy says that the legislation is interpretable in a liberal fashion. To establish a small hotel or restaurant, you have to submit your plans to the Ministry of Economy and Industry and apply for an exemption from the regulation.

Yet, there is just one exception. You may immigrate to Nicaragua and enjoy the advantages of being a retiree if you possess real estate valued at a minimum of $100,000 in the nation and if the Ministry of Economics and Industry determines that you are making successful investments in the country.

Documents Needed When Applying for Retiree Status

To be approved for citizenship in Nicaragua, you must bring the following notarized to the Nicaraguan consulate in your country:

  • A duplicate of your birth certificate
  • A duplicate of your passport
  • A doctor’s certificate or letter verifying that you are physically and mentally well, free of infectious illnesses, and have no known disorders.
  • A document, which is from your local police department, verifies that you have no criminal record.
  • A letter from your bank or pension plan stating that you have a guaranteed source of income that will be sufficient to satisfy the minimum requirement of $600 each month
  • A list of the home items you want to import

Once you get the consulate stamp, you must go to Nicaragua and translate all of your papers into Spanish. After obtaining the translation, you may submit your application for your residence card to the immigration office. Right now, the price of a card is $250.

The Cost of Living in Nicaragua

One of the crucial elements of retirement planning is understanding the cost of living. Without including rent, the cost of living in Nicaragua is 39.4 per cent cheaper than the cost of living in the United States.

According to Numbeo.com, a cost-of-living calculator, rent in Nicaragua is about 75% cheaper than in the United States. In the city centre, a one-bedroom apartment costs, on average, $233. This compares to the national average for a one-bedroom apartment in the United States, which is about $1,360. For those seeking more significant space, the national average for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $475. In contrast, the national average for the same unit in the United States is $2,209.
Is it safe to retire in Nicaragua?

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Purchasing a Home

Foreigners and Nicaraguans alike may buy real estate in Nicaragua, according to the government. Every foreign national is entitled to 100% ownership and complete property rights. People choose to purchase additional houses or primary residences in Nicaragua for this reason. However, when compared to the United States, the house-purchasing procedure may be time-consuming.

A real estate lawyer who specialises in house-buying is a great resource to consult before purchasing a property. A Nicaraguan lawyer can help you safeguard your assets when you buy a property.

In contrast to the United States, house purchasing begins with an agreement on an offer verbally established between a buyer and a seller. The seller is then handed a deposit ranging from 5 to 15%, and the closing procedure is outlined. It takes two months to make.

In legal cases, the lawyer writes a few checks to start the procedure. This document is a request to the Libertad de Gravamen, which will reveal any legal proceedings and property records related to the transaction. After that, the lawyer will draft a new deed which both the buyer and the seller will sign. This transaction will happen at this point when the money from the buyer goes to the seller. It is recommended that you consider purchasing title insurance.

This is the last stage, in which the revenue office and all parties must collectively appraise the property, and the buyer pays the revenue office 4% of the property’s value. This transfer formally transfers ownership of the property to the buyer.

Nicaragua’s Tax System

Expatriates in Nicaragua are subject to a minimal amount of taxation. For example, you may import your home goods tax-free up to $20,000 and your vehicle tax-free up to $25,000 in value if you qualify. Additionally, money generated outside of Nicaragua is not taxed. To be eligible for these advantages, you must be at least 45 years of age. Still, there are various visa alternatives and exemptions that enable virtually anybody to take advantage of Nicaragua’s tax-friendly policies.


Having a residency in Nicaragua gives you access to local healthcare programmes. According to the World Health Organization, the Nicaraguan government provides a free, universal health system. It ranks at the top of all national health-care systems in terms of quality. Larger cities have better access to health care. However, some expatriates don’t find the federal health care system satisfactory.

Private hospitals are also available in Nicaragua. While private hospitals will have higher expenses, they will still be considerably cheaper than those in the United States. In comparison to other Central American nations, Nicaraguan physicians have received extensive training in the United States, resulting in a high level of treatment.


While Nicaragua, with a population of approximately 6.2 million people, has traditionally been one of the safest nations in Central America, political unrest in the country since 2018 has caused 100,000 Nicaraguans to leave. Protests started almost two years ago, when Daniel Ortega’s Marxist government seized control of the army and police, began governing by decree, and enacted legislation allowing him to seek re-election forever. Civil liberties, especially those of media outlets, have been restricted, and nonviolent rallies have been met with violence.

On the other hand, tourist zones are heavily protected since tourism is a significant contribution to the local economy.


Overall, Nicaragua is a friendly place for foreigners to call home. It is simple to become a citizen, and the dollar is worth a lot more in Central America than it is back in the United States. In Nicaragua, you’ll find a stunning landscape, pleasant weather, and an even warmer local charm.

A financial advisor can assist in determining whether Nicaragua is within your budget and will meet your requirements before you make a move.