Turning In Your Application
Now that you are in Nicaragua, you have all of your authenticated documents, as well as your corporate documents ready; it is time to put your packet together.
First, you will need to make photocopies of all of the occupied pages of your passport (once you have entered Nicaragua, because they must contain your entry visa to the country). This means any page in your passport that has visa stamps, information, or writing of any kind must be copied. If you have blank pages in your passport, you do not need to copy these. Add these copies to your set of documents.
Carta de Solicitud (Solicitation Letter)
The next thing that you will need is a very common document in Nicaragua, the Carta De Solicitud. This is a cover letter for almost any transaction that you will make in Nicaragua. Do you want residency? How about electrical service, a loan, credit with a department store? You will need a “Carta de Solicitud” for each of these. The Carta de Solicitud is a letter of request from an organization or an individual. Because you are soliciting residency for yourself, it should not be on letterhead.
It starts out by stating the date, then respectfully addressing the person in charge of the organization that you are writing to, by name if known. Then, it will give a detailed request including what you are requesting (in this instance, temporary residency for one year so that you can serve the people of Nicaragua through building orphanages, for example). You should include any details that are pertinent, such as the specific service or action that you are requesting, the reason for the request, how or when you need it, etc. You must also include a list of each and every document that you are including with your letter. This will act as your receipt. You should end the document with your regards and your signature. The entire document must fit onto one page, so reformat, change the font, or be less wordy if it gets to two pages!
Copies of Your Passport
Next, you will need to make photocopies of all of the occupied pages of your passport (once you have entered Nicaragua, because they must contain your entry visa to the country). This means any page in your passport that has visa stamps, information, or writing of any kind must be copied. If you have blank pages in your passport, you do not need to copy these. Add these copies to your set of documents.
You will also need two passport photos per person. The size requirements for these are very particular, so ask at the Ministry of Immigration where they recommend that you get them taken at.
Residency Application Form (Formulario para Residencia)
The last document that you will have to prepare is the residency application form. This MUST be purchased from the cashier INSIDE of the Ministry of Immigration, as if you get it anywhere else, it will not have the correct stamp, and it will be refused. The cost is around $1. You will need to fill out all of the required areas, and it should be self-explanatory.
Compiling Your Packet
Now that you have the entire packet in your possession, you need to put it in the order that your Carta Solicitud lists the items in. Your application will go last. Your identity documents, such as your passport copies, should go first. The Carta de Solicitud is the top document of the packet (not the application!).
Once you have your documents in order, you have to make a COMPLETE COPY of the entire packet. Every page, in order, must be photocopied, including the carta de solicitud, the application, your passport photos, your passport copies, everything. You should now have two residency packets- an original, that you will turn in to immigration, and a complete copy, which you will retain for your proof.
Turning In Your Packet
Now that your packets are ready to go, you are ready to go to the Ministry of Immigration in Managua. At this point, you will need to go to the window that receives the documents, and have them go over the documents that you have complied to make sure that everything is correct. If they try to keep any of your documents, ask them to mark the Carta de Solicitud as “Recibido”. This way, you have proof that you turned them in! Normally, they will give you back all of your documents after review. From here, they will give you a paper where you will need to go to the cashier to pay for your residency.
The Costs of Residency
Residency can get expensive! The following is a breakdown of most of the fees that you will be charged when you pay for your residency. Remember, residency costs vary by the time of year, the country of origin, and how much a barrel of oil costs! So have extra cash, and be prepared.
The most expensive cost is the Deposito de Garantía (deposit of guarantee). This is where you pay for your own deportation. If you cross the line, break the law, or become at any point undesirable, then you will be flown back to the United States after your jail term using this money. The cost varies because airfares vary from day to day. On time, residency cost a US citizen a $300 guarantee, and then the next year another person paid $1200!
There are other miscellaneous charges, in Córdobas, for the fees for your residency, which usually total about $100 to $200 US dollars. These are in addition to your deposit of guarantee.
Finalizing Your Transaction
Now that you have paid the fees, make sure that you get a photocopy of all of the receipts for the fees that you just paid. There is a photocopy window there at the Ministry of Immigration. You will now go back to the window that checked your documents, and turn in the receipt for the payment that you made for your residency. Make sure that you retain the receipt for the Deposito de Garentia, because you will need the original to get your money back if you ever want to cancel your residency. You will also need that to renew your residency. At this point, you have turned in your documents, you have paid your fees and turned in your receipts, and you are done. The person who accepted your documents will give you an appointment paper to come back and pick up your residency visa card. This does not mean that you have residency, but it is the date that you will find out if you do!
You should call the Ministry of Immigration about halfway to your appointment date to make sure that they do not need any other documents, and that all is well. This will give you some time to get things fixed if there was a question or error with your application. The day before, or a few days before your appointment date, call to make sure that everything is ready. You don’t want to make the trip to Managua for nothing! If all is well, you will travel to Managua, WITH YOUR PASSPORT, and go to the same window where you turned in you packet, and give them your appointment paper and passport. They will take those, and tell you to have a seat while they verify, stamp, and process your visa. When they call you, take your picture, and then return your passport when they give you your Residency Visa Card.
You have successfully applied for and been granted a resident visa for Nicaragua! I bet you can’t wait till next year when you get to renew it, right?