Getting a Nicaragua Driver's Licence
First of all, just let me say that I put this under Residency and Immigration for lack of a closer match, plus the fact that through recent topics, most people should now be aware that to get plates, a driver's license, a license to carry arms, or to do many other simple things, you must be a resident. The first thing they ask for on many instruction lists here is a copy of your cedula. We recently had a link published (I believe by Juanno - http://www.policia.gob.ni/) for the National Police website, which has very clear lists explaining how to do many things, including getting a driver's license. They really are nice lists that are very thorough and not too difficult to understand. But it turns out that many of the items listed are just wishful thinking at this point. The requirements exist, but only to a certain point. The following is what you really need to do (at least in Matagalpa). Note that this system does not apply to Nicaraguans. They have their own list.
1. Go to BanPro, and ask for a deposit slip (minuta) for Transito. You will need three (3) of them for 3 individual payments. On one, fill it out for a payment of C$100.00, check the "other" box, and write in "seminario". Do second one for C$100.00, check "other", and fill in "examen". Do the third one for C$120.00, and this time, check the box for licensia. Pay your C$320.00, and you will have completed probably the longest part of the entire process.
2. Go to the Red Cross of Nicaragua, pay them C$100.00, and get your eyes examined and your blood typed.
3. Take a copy of your cedula, a copy of your existing driver's license, the three receipts from the bank, and all the papers from the Red Cross to the police (must be before 1:00 pm). Your papers will be reviewed, then given back to you, and all you have to do then is wait your turn for them to ask a few questions (not a test) and take your picture. A few minutes later, you will need to sign the book for your license, and it's all done.
This was by far the easiest official process I have ever been through here. The whole thing, including the bank, was about an hour and a half, and more than half of that was in the bank. However, some people I am sure will be somewhat disappointment in the results. From reading some of the comments on other posts, I got the distinct impression that many feel that they will receive better treatment during police stops if they are not so immediately identified as foreigners. Well, I am sorry to say that foreigners get a different color than Nicaraguans, and your country of origin is also identified, so they spot you right away. On the good side, I have spoken to many transit police in Matagalpa, and every one of them said that you are much more likely to get a break or be given the benefit of a doubt if you have the Nicaragua license, regardless of where you are from. Only time will tell.