vehicle, plates and reggie

as a non resident, what length of time could i expect to wait after purchasing a vehicle until it is street legal? anyone out there ever been detained in jail from the result of a traffic accident? thanks

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Alternative reality

Let me offer a version of reality that pretty much does not follow what I have read below. I don't think what I have read is wrong but, this is Nicaragua, there usually is "another way".

When I was first here, while I had a valid Costa Rica driver's license, my friend Veronica said it was better to get a Nicaraguan one. We went to get one. When told that I didn't need one because I had the CR one, ... Veronica went into "pushy mode". I left 15 minutes later with the license.

One time when I was doing some vehicle registration I was pulling out copies of papers. The muchacha was waiting for my cédula copy and I had handed her the insurance card copy and my driver's license copy. She said, "Oh, you have a Nicaraguan driver's license. That's fine, I don't need your cedula."

When you buy a vehicle you do the "compra-venta" paperwork. If you have the circulacion (registration) in the name of the seller and the "compra-venta", that is enough to get insurance.


i qualify for residency but will not apply until i am full on in the area. is the cedula something that is available once i get my status by the nica gov?

Your Cedula is your Status and your Status is your Cedula

When you get one. Right now, and when you get here, you are a tourist.

You can get in enough trouble here by following the rules (goal posts move), but at least you would have followed the rules that were there at the time.

Starting off by bending them is maybe not a good idea. The Cops, especially around the tourist/gringo areas have seen all the permutations of the shared ownership, borrowing, renting, dummied up papers etc. They likely even know your gringo friend so that's the first reason to stop you in any case. Then the fun will start.

In case you didn't follow

In case you didn't follow that, the cedula is your Nicaraguan ID that says you are a permanent resident. The fact that you qualify for it doesn't mean anything.

there is a plated vehicle

there is a plated vehicle owned by a trusted canadian friend sitting in rivas. he is offerring me the suv at a great price and leave it in his name until i get my cedula later this year. the owner is here on vancouver island. would i be able to purchase insurance in his absence?


Yes, you can buy the insurance in his absence. i did it for a friend, he only sent to me a copy of his cedula and the registration of the vehicle. I went to the insurance company i pay the fee and done.

Now for driving your friends car, is not problem in the mean time you have a driving license from your country and a visa for stay in Nicaragua.

Sure your friend will keep holding the responsibility for the car and whatever incident involved, as you too, like a driver.

Usual i drive a friends car with my USA driving license and my passport like a proof that I'm a tourist , even sometimes my visa has expired (i have nica passport also) i never had a problems with police. But the best is, if you going to drive, be sure your visa and your license are valid and under expiration date.

US Embassy info.

This is the US Embassy info about driving in Nica.

And here are some tips that will be helpful to you

"Driving in Nicaragua is not difficult or dangerous"...

On the gigante site (above) it says :

"Driving in Nicaragua is not difficult or dangerous unless you drive foolishly, disregard their rules and take chances"

How about this slight change:

"Driving in Nicaragua is not difficult or dangerous AS LONG AS YOU AVOID PEOPLE WHO drive foolishly, disregard THE rules and take chances"

And nicanor, old buddy, your line:

"Usual i drive a friends car with my USA driving license and my passport like a proof that I'm a tourist'

We should really not let you hear the end of it for that little comment!! (Joking)

by the book

yeahh...i follow the i drive by the book...the only license i have ; is from !! I'm a tourist !!..other way...i must bribe some one.

lol :-)

PS: the other fact i discovered; is that you have better treatment.

Probably not, unless you

Probably not, unless you have a power of attorney (done in Nicaragua). Is the registration (circulacion) still valid? Is the insurance still valid? Renewals might be somewhat easier than starting something new. Does you friend know about the liability he retains with everything in his name?

I forgot to add a very

I forgot to add a very important bit of information. Without a cedula, you can't get a power of attorney. I don't know why I forgot that one, as I had also been there, done that one too.

Check out the Policia Nacional Web Site for more Veh. Info

Go into "Servicios Policiales" in the yellow header on the first page and then "Tramites de Transito Nacional"

It gives a lot of detail about what you need for certain applications.

Like I said, number 1 on

Like I said, number 1 on each list of requirements is the cedula. No cedula, no plates. The one exception is that they will accept a Nicaraguan passport, but only if you can show them that little card with your picture that says you have applied for the cedula (obviously, this is only for Nicaraguan citizens). I am not guessing here, or trying to apply logic (which doesn't work at all here), or repeating something I heard. We actually went through this. We went 6 months without plates because my wife (a Nicaraguan citizen) was trying to get multiple errors corrected and didn't have her cedula yet. She didn't have a passport yet because of those same errors. She now has a cedula (with her name misspelled, and her birth date incorrect) and a passport (with the same name errors but the correct birth date), but even with the errors, that's what it took. During the 6 months without plates, I was only stopped once, and that was in Managua on the very first trip after buying the truck. However, police stops are more frequent than ever now, and not just in Managua. If you don't have plates, you will definitely be stopped. The only exception would be if you slipped by when they were too busy to see you, simply because that is one of their primary functions with the stepped up road checks.

As a non-resident, you can't

As a non-resident, you can't get plates. You need a cedula or a Nicaraguan passport. Been there, done that. However, you can get a provisional registration for quite a while if you have a reasonable belief that you will eventually have the correct documents. The only big problem is that without plates, you automatically get targeted by the police, not just in Managua, but basically everywhere. That's one of the first things they look for on the routine street setups is vehicles without plates or proper documentation.

We had a lady from SJDS

involved in a fatal accident on her way home from the airport.

It was determined by the police she was not at fault and was home the next day. She was never really detained, just questioned. Anyone with any dealings with the police knows it takes a long time to give a statement and have it typed out.

I believe you should be able to put the vehicle on the road

the same day or the day after.

You have X-days to transfer the ownership. (Some people never bother, depending on the vehicle.)

Then you have to pay taxes, get a mechanical check, emission check, get the police to verify the VIN and Motor numbers.

If you are lucky you get a plate. If not, a piece of paper saying they ran out of plates.