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How to Retire in Nicaragua

Are you trying to figure out how to retire in Nicaragua? In this guide, we will provide an overview of the various routes and options available for US citizens who are looking to retire in Nicaragua, including details on eligibility requirements, fees, processing times, and common refusal reasons.

Speaking to an immigration professional is always the easiest way to prepare for moving to a new country. Reach out to one of our immigration professionals today at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.

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    The Various Routes and Options for Retiring to Nicaragua

    For US citizens looking to retire in Nicaragua, there are a few options available. The main route is to apply for a Nicaragua Retirement Visa. The Nicaraguan government has made it very easy for US citizens to retire in Nicaragua. The visa allows you to remain in the country on an indefinite basis, as long as you meet certain eligibility requirements. With the Nicaragua Retirement Visa, you can also qualify for various tax breaks, discounts, and other benefits.

    Aside from Nicaragua, you may also want to consider moving to other Central American countries such as Panama or Costa Rica. These countries offer similar benefits as Nicaragua, but may require additional steps such as residency or dual citizenship to qualify.

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    What Documents are Required When Retiring To Nicaragua?


    To retire in Nicaragua, you must have a passport and a visa. The visa is easy to obtain, but you need to have the right documentation and meet all the requirements.

    The process of obtaining a visa begins with an application at any Nicaraguan consulate in the United States, Mexico, or Costa Rica. You will need to provide proof of your income and health insurance, as well as other documents required by law.

    The application requires photocopies of the following documents:

    • A valid passport that has been issued for at least 10 years and will not expire within six months. This must be valid for three months beyond the date of entry into Nicaragua.
    • A letter from your bank stating that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while living in Nicaragua. The amount varies depending on where you live in the country but is usually between $600 and $1,000 per month (about $7,000 to $10,000 per year).

    Pensionado Program

    For US citizens looking to retire in Nicaragua, the Pensionado Program offers a viable route. Nicaragua is an increasingly popular destination for retirees seeking to escape high-cost living and take advantage of the low cost of living.

    The Pensionado Program:

    • Requires you to be over 45 years old
    • Have a passive monthly income of more than US$650
    • Is one of the most sought-after programs for US citizens retiring in Nicaragua
    • Allows you to travel between other countries in South America

    Overall, Nicaragua’s Pensionado Program is an attractive option for US citizens looking to retire abroad due to its minimal requirements and fees.

    For those who choose to retire in Nicaragua through the pensionado program, processing times may be as short as four weeks.

    Rentista Program

    The Rentista Program is a great option for US citizens looking to retire in Nicaragua. This program allows non-Nicaraguans who have foreign income, such as pension payments or investments, to apply for residency and live in Nicaragua. It is a popular route for US citizens looking to retire in Nicaragua as it provides them with the ability to use their out-of-country earnings in Nicaragua, while also providing a more permanent residency than other Central American countries.

    The Nicaraguan government requires:

    • Proof of a secure monthly income from abroad, which includes both pension payments and investments
    • Applicants must provide proof that they receive at least US$750 per month
    • Applicants must be able to demonstrate financial security through a cash deposit to the Nicaraguan government of US$2,500 per person and US$500 per dependent

    Once approved, Rentista Visa holders are allowed to stay in Nicaragua for an indefinite period of time.

    In addition to having the right documentation, health insurance is also highly recommended for any individual considering relocating to Nicaragua.

    The processing times are usually longer for the Rentista program in comparison to the pensionado program.

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      Financial Requirements for Retiring to Nicaragua

      From a financial perspective, you will need to make sure that you have a permanent income source, such as social security or private investments, to live comfortably.

      For those interested in taking advantage of the Nicaraguan retiree program, they must first qualify as a visa holder by having a stable income of at least $600 per month. Once this is established, applicants must provide proof of good health and legal documents that guarantee their property rights. The average time it takes to complete this process is five years, however, recent changes implemented by President Daniel Ortega have allowed for a much faster turnaround time.

      Eligibility Requirements, Fees, and Processing Times

      Retiring in Nicaragua as a US citizen requires that you obtain the necessary Nicaraguan retirement visa. The Nicaraguan government grants the visa to foreign retirees who meet certain income requirements and provide health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents.


      If you’re not choosing one of the above programs, to qualify for the Nicaragua retirement visa, US citizens must demonstrate that they receive an income from sources outside of Nicaragua and/or can demonstrate assets of over $500,000 USD. There are fees associated with this process, which vary depending on the route taken and other factors.

      Before making the move to Nicaragua, it is important to understand the cultural transition, the residency requirements, and the costs involved in living in a new country. It’s also important to know that if you plan on working in Nicaragua, your out-of-country earnings will be subject to taxes.

      The fees involved in a visa are as follows:

      • $10 for a tourist card
      • $200 for temporary residence annual card
      • $500 for a permanent residence card

      Processing Times

      As the processing times can range between 1 and 2 months, it’s suggested to plan this far in advance of the travel date to ensure you’re ready to go and have the visa.

      Common Refusal Reasons

      There are a variety of refusal reasons for US citizens not being able to retire in Nicaragua.

      • Not have a sufficient monthly equivalent income
      • Lack of  health insurance coverage

      Other reasons might include:

      • Convicted of a crime and are currently serving a sentence or awaiting trial.
      • Convicted of a felony and have not completed sentence (probation or parole).
      • Convicted of a felony within the last 10 years.
      • Under indictment for a felony offense and are likely to be arrested if you enter Nicaragua.
      • Have been deported from Nicaragua within the past 10 years.

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        What Language Skills are Needed to Retire to Nicaragua?

        One aspect of retiring in Nicaragua is learning the language. Spanish is the official language of Nicaragua and it is important to learn it if you want to become a permanent resident of this country. If you are planning on retiring in Nicaragua, there are several ways to go about learning Spanish. There are many online courses and language schools in the colonial cities, such as Granada, that offer lessons for both beginners and more advanced students.

        However, there are no legal requirements to learn a language before retiring to Nicaragua.

        How Can IAS Help?

        If you think you’re ready to get the process started to retire to Nicaragua, feel free to reach out to us. Dozens of people find themselves weighed down by countless questions when moving to a new country, and we understand how frustrating that can be.

        We have experienced immigration advisers that have a solid track record of helping people out with all of their immigration concerns. For more information about the services we offer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at +1 844 290 6312.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  San Juan del Sur, Leon, and Granada are regarded as some of the safest cities in the country.

                  Nicaragua has high-quality hospitals, with some of the better ones in the Managua area.

                  The country generally has a lower cost of living so you can live comfortably on $1,000/month in Nicaragua.

                  Foreigners can open bank accounts if they are legal residents of the country. You will be required to show documentation when opening a new account in Nicaragua.