Low Income Requirements, Tax Benefits and Path to Citizenship Make Residency in this Central American Country Enticing

Residency in Nicaragua is becoming an increasingly popular option for expats from the US and Europe. Nicaragua is located in Central America, north of Costa Rica. It’s home to beautiful beaches, a welcoming population and low living costs.

Nicaragua has all the things that attracted expats to Costa Rica 30 years ago. It also has generous tax exemptions to encourage people to move there. As soon as you get residency in Nicaragua you’ll be on the path to citizenship. Nicaragua has a surprisingly good passport with visa free access to the EU, the UK and Russia.

Tax Benefits of Residency in Nicaragua

Many expats never bother with the bureaucratic hassles of getting residency in Nicaragua. Most passports will allow you to enter the country for 90 days without a visa. Every 90 days some people will cross the border to Costa Rica and return to get their passport stamped again.

In my opinion it’s worth getting a legal residency in Nicaragua. For a start you won’t have to do a border run every 90 days. You’ll also get access to the tax exemptions, like being able to bring a car and household goods to the country without paying import taxes. It’ll also make it much easier to open bank accounts and investment accounts in Nicaragua and overseas.

Nicaragua does not tax foreign income. That’ll make it a tax haven for Europeans or Canadians who don’t have citizenship based taxation. Americans will have to do a bit more tax planning.

Categories of Residency in Nicaragua

For anyone who doesn’t have exiting ties to the country there are 3 main categories to get residency.

The easiest is known as the Pensionado or pensioners residency. This is open to anyone over 45 years old. You simply have to prove that you have a pension of more than $600 per month. The immigration will also ask for documents proving that you’re ingood health. You’llalso need to provide a police certificate from your local police department. Alternatively you can get one from Interpol in Managua for $25.

The Rentista category is similar to Pensionado but with no minimum age. Under this category you have to show that you have an income of at least $750 per month. This can be from investments, rental income or any other source.

There’s also an investment category for those who’d like to invest in the country. It has a low minimum investment amount of $30,000. This can be put into your own Nicaraguan corporation. It can then invest in real estate, agriculture or other businesses in Nicaragua. Recently Nicaraguan authorities have been keen to ensure that visas issued under this category are for those carrying out genuine economic activity.

There are no minimum stay requirements for this category of visa.

Other visa categories exist in Nicaragua such as for employees, journalists and missionaries.

Citizenship in Nicaragua

All categories of visa will put you on the path to citizenship. The Nicaragua passport enables you to travel visa free to 126 countries including the UK, the EU Schengen Zone and Russia. The Nicaragua passport is ranked number 44 in the world. Nicaraguan citizenship is available after 4 years of spending at least 6 months per year there. There’s no minimum residency requirement with the investment visa. If you can prove that you have skills beneficial to Nicaragua you can become a citizen in as little as 2 years.


Nicaragua is an often overlooked country. It doesn’t have particularly good relations with the US. Some may see this as a benefit. Nicaraguan residency also gives easy access to the neighbouring countries. As a member of the CA-4 group of Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala your residence permit will let you travel to those countries without a passport. Combined with the tax advantages and easy path to citizenship, residency in Nicaragua is worth the effort to obtain.

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