Residency as Retiree or Rentier in Nicaragua
This article was recently updated, including changes from February of 2019.
Nicaragua government passed in 2009 the Law 694 named: “LEY DE PROMOCION DE INGRESO DE RESIDENTES PENSIONADOS Y RESIDENTES RENTISTAS”.
This commentary is to explain the most important parts, the gist of the law, and not to describe the structure or explain one by one the 27 articles of the Law.
The objective of this Law is the promotion of the Special Tourism, and gives many people the opportunity to come to Nicaragua to live for a long period of time as a Resident (five years).
It is imperative to prove the applicant will have an income for the next five years such as a pension from the Social Security Administration or any other kind of pension or a private income from investments. The law gives server benefits for people how qualify – retirees for example – as residency and tax benefits as well.
To take advantage of this law and get its benefits, people who are going to apply must prove a monthly income of One thousand US dollars ($ 1,000.00) for Retiree (on pension) and One thousand two hundred fifty US dollars ($1,250.00) for people with privates incomes or Rentier; i.e., annuity, benefits or incomes produced by Investments, Certificate of Deposits for five years, Bonus, Revenues, Stocks, Rents, Retirement Plans, etc.
Any applicant can cover to his/her dependent or dependents.
Dependents could be parents of the applicant, spouse (husband or wife), children under 18 years old; or any other relative in the four grades who are dependents of the applicant. The applicant have to prove an income of US $ 150 per dependent.
Nicaraguans who have been living more than ten years abroad and have an income coming from abroad, according to the Law, also can get the benefits of this Law.
The Benefits are:
1. Right to Residency for five years. 2. Exemption from payment of the one way ticket out of the country for the applicant/resident. 3. A tax exemption for a vehicle C.I.F. (Cost, Insurance and Freight), of thirteen thousand dollars ($ 13,000.00); if the price of the vehicle is over that, the Resident will pay taxes on the difference. This vehicle can be changed with tax exemption every four years. Vehicles can be imported from the country where the applicant comes from or bought in Nicaragua in both cases there will be a tax exemption. 4. A tax exemption of twenty thousand dollars ($ 20,000.00) for household goods. There is a comprehensive list of articles that can be considered household goods. i.e.: “household goods are the new or used goods that help or allow living comfortably in a house”. 5. A tax exemption of fifty thousand dollars ($ 50,000.00) of the VAT (value added tax) on construction materials to build a house to live in. (buy it locally). 6. Tax exemption of the VAT on rental cars of the Resident, for his personal use in Nicaragua.
Requirements: People who want to apply and get these benefits must submit these documents:
1. Application form. 2. Income certification 3. Birth Certificate 4. Two pictures 5. Health Certificate 6. Photocopy of the passport 7. Marriage License (where it is relevant) 8. Police Record Certificate 9. List of the household goods and vehicle’s documentation 10. Naturalization Certificate for people who have a different nationality than where they were born.
The whole documentation have to be Apostille (for those countries member of the Hague Convention for Publics Documents) or Authenticated by the Foreign Affair Ministry.
For those applicants from USA documents can be legalized in every Secretary of the State from the State it were issued.
For example if the applicant is living in California, his/her police record, pension letter and health certificate have to be Apostille by the Secretary of the State; however if this person was born in Florida, the birth certificate have to be Apostille by the Secretary of the State of Florida.
Because Canada it is not part of the Hague Convention for Publics Documents, therefore Canadians have to follow another path, they have to Authenticate their documents at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada first and then in the Nicaraguan Consulate in Washington DC, and finally at the Nicaraguan Foreign Affair Ministry in Managua.
Obligations: 1. Live in Nicaragua at least six months per year, it could be continuous or discontinuous. However, with INTUR’s authorization there could be exemptions, e.g. heath reasons or having investments in real estate over Seventy five thousand dollars ($ 75,000.00) in Nicaragua. 2. Submit every year to INTUR, documentation to prove that his/her income (in the amounts specified above) comes into Nicaragua. 3. The renewal every five years of the Residency according to the Residency Law of the Immigration Department
1. The Resident can’t work in Nicaragua with government money; but could do private investments in a business and make investments in real estate over Seventy five thousand dollars ( $ 75,000.00) in Nicaragua in accordance with the Ministry of Economy and Development’s approval. People such as scientists or professors in Universities or Research Institutes will be able to work in Nicaragua. 2. People who build a house for personal or private use, with tax exemptions in construction materials, can’t transfer/sell the house for ten years or they must pay the taxes on those materials.
3. Be involved in the internal politics of Nicaragua.
The age to apply:
The legal age to apply for both Retiree and Private Income applicants is forty five years old, however the same Law in article 23 exempts people who are previously retired for disability (medical reasons) or with private income clearly proven.
The Tourism Board Institute (INTUR) is at the present time working on the regulations of this Law.
The applicant have to visit INTUR for an interview at the same time we will submit the application with a set of copies.
INTUR send the file´s copies to Immigration and they celebrate a Committee meeting to approve each case. After the Committee meeting Immigration will visit the applicant in his/her house for an additional interview.
During the meeting the Committee will to approve residency and if the applicant requires at the same time will be approve the tax exemption for vehicle and household goods.
INTUR will issue a certification confirming the case is approve and Immigration will grant the residency card.
The first step (committee meeting) can take three months and Immigration can take another 3 moths. Sometime the process can take longer.
As a lawyer working with residencies since 1998 I offer a personal assistance in the whole process.
P.S. Tips to be take in consideration. 1. When a foreign person comes to Nicaragua will received a tourist Visa, Canadians and USA citizens will receive Visa by 90 which can be renew for another 90 days, If during this time it is in the process to obtain residency it will mandatory to renew the Visa until the Residency will be granted and receive the Cedula. 2. Immigration’s fee for retirees or rentiers is $ 250 US dollars. 3. Exit Visa. At the time the Residency card or cedula will delivery to the resident, it will mandatory to pay an exit Visa to leave Nicaragua, this is quite simple process, the resident have to complete a one page form – in Spanish – and make the payment. It could be for one, three, six months or even one year. In the main cities there is a branch of the Immigration Department. 4. Residency as retiree or rentier will have a note: Condition 2. That’s mean permanent with no wright to work 5. After 5 years the resident have to submit in INTUR an application to obtain residency for 5 years else. It will be mandatory to submit prove of incomes from his country and a police record from Nicaragua.
Testimony of a Canadian who already received his residency, regarding how to legalize his documents:
"Authentication. Good day Paul, I hope that you are doing well. I have just returned to Nicaragua. During my stay in Canada, I collected the doctor´s letter, the police report, my birth certificate, and the statements for two different pensions. First I had them notarized, then I had the Ministry of Government Services in Ontario certify the notarized copies. After doing so, I phoned the Nicaraguan Consulate in Washington D.C. to find out where I should send the notarized, certified documents to be authenticated. I was told to send them to the Washington Consulate, because it has jurisdiction over residents of the province of Ontario in Canada. In the package of documents which I sent to Washington, I included a pre-paid FedEx envelope with your name and address on it, which the consulate will use to forward the documents once it has authenticated them."
Telf........... : 001-202-939-6531 Horario.......: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 1:00pm Dirección: 1627 New Hampshire Ave NW Washington DC 20009.