How to NOT Get Nicaraguan Citizenship

This is about how not to get Nicaraguan citizenship. This is some useful information here should you actually have interest.

When you enter the immigration building, stay to the right. It is likely there will be a long line heading off the the left. That is for Nicaraguans getting a new cédula. Just walk past the right side of that line and head along the right wall.

You will come to a gate probably being managed by a person with a booth to the left of it. You might need to go to the booth, you might not. (It seems to vary with the phase of the moon.) Ultimately you want to go through the gate and walk straight down the hall. There will be door in front of you. That's the office you want.

Inside you will find a small entry area with desk, an office with blind-covered windows to the left and a doorway in the back to additional desks. Someone will attend to you in that entry area.

If that someone is female and short, you have a 50-50 chance for a disaster. The disaster is named Maria something. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the other woman who happens to be helpful and competent. Another possibility is Francisco who is tall and 30ish. He is also helpful and competent. Then there is Marvin Castillo who is the sub-comandante in charge of this section.

Marvin seems like a totally good guy but useless. If you have ever worked for government you will understand what I mean. Yes, in charge because he has worked there for 30 years but not really the guy who makes the decisions.

They have a legal-size page that explains all the steps and requirements. Francisco went over that with me and added notes on the back. He also got my residency file and checked it over writing "ya" next to the items I already had. He was clear and thorough.

Unfortunately, on my next trip I was talking to Maria. Her mis-statements included but are not limited to:

  • That I needed at least four years of permanent residency before I could apply. This is not true for someone with Type 1 residency. I had to tell her that, she had a conference with Marvin and returned mad but clearly I was right.

  • You cannot get citizenship if you have a beard. Clearly she needs to talk to Carlos Pellas, Roberto Rivas and others. Today Marvin said that was not true but was offended when I told him that apparently Maria was just "jodiendo" me. He said it showed a lack of respect. I decided not to explain that was exactly why I picked the word.

  • Maria asked if my photos were "de rollo". They were not and while they were of better quality than you can get as a real print she decided they were not OK. Ultimately, Pamela, the head of Immigration said they were fine. (Note that this was a non-issue as I could get new photos in the street but Maria decided it was a good way to waste my time.)

  • If your birth certificate in your residency file was authenticated like mine—they make a copy and authenticate and you have to give both to immigration—expect to get harassed about this. The good news is that Pamela does know this is OK.
  • One document you need is of your exits and entries to Nicaragua. You get this at window 4 (more or less) but you need to wait a week to get it. It would have been nice if she had mentioned that. That ended my first attempt.

On attempt two Maria decided I needed a document that doesn't exist. One from the owner of the ATMs I use to take money out of my US account here in Nicaragua. This turned into no more that a pissing contest but, since, I have verified that I was right. The only win with that trip was that after a lot of discussion, Marvin agreed to let a lawyer with a Power of Attorney just drop off the papers.

That drop-off failed because it was time for a new set of errors to be found in the paperwork. That included the fact that my police report was now expired. That is, it expired because I could not produce something that did not exist quickly enough. I was done but Ana decided on one more round, greasing the wheels from the Estelí end.

One expected contention was that one document from the US needed to be translated (it was) and authenticated by the US embassy. I told her I would not do that (the biggest reason was that it meant another day in Managua as Immigration is only open in the AM, and the Embassy of Gringolandia is only open part of the afternoon four days a week). Well, she was told that was not going to be an issue.

It was. In addition, another legal document needed to be updated as it referenced an old law. We were told the law changed on 6 August, 10 days ago.

So, end of exercise. If, however, you should decide to try this exercise, here are my suggestions:

  1. Do not deal with Maria. You will regret it.
  2. Go there with someone who has done the process. While there may be changes (like the new law change) knowing, for example, the different requirements for Type 1 and Type 2 residency is critical. Note that excellent Spanish was never an issue. It is just the need to pre-understand everything.

  3. Get someone to check your residency file and write on the instruction page (as Francisco did for me) what you need. Get that person's name so you can ask for them when you return with the documents.

  4. Do not deal with Maria. You will regret it.
  5. Don't bring a lawyer with you. It seems lawyers piss them off.
  6. Don't expect that Marvin can do any favors or has any power in the process. (He was actually very straight on this point saying that he just passed the papers along.)

  7. Don't use the lawyers in the street to do stuff for you. They are pretty useless. Use a real lawyer with an office.
  8. Don't let any of the ayudantes you find in the street help you. They are probably fine for helping a Nicaraguan who just became 18 get their cédula but they will not have a clue about this process.
  9. Do not deal with Maria. You will regret it.

    If you have a sense of humor or feel obligated to tell someone they are full of shit when you know they are, don't waste your time.

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I know there is a blog here about the pros and cons of citizenship, but why do you want to get it FYL?

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

The question

is not why he would want it. It is why on earth would they want to give it to him. No wonder they are throwing up so many obstacles. Good for them. Shows they can spot a curmugdon right off.ZZT

"That's Did I"

With residency you need to jump through hoops every five years to renew it. If you have Citizenship, you are done. That's the biggest one. A second bonus is that traveling in Latin America I would rather be Nicaraguan than usano. (That will save you $130 if you want to go to Bolivia, for example.)

Finally, you don't have to pay C$40 for some piece of paper that citizens don't need so that you can get a driver's license. :-)

I have a vision

Fyl gets off the plane in Bolivia with his Nica Passport and the airport dude types ``suspicious character`` into the computer and assigns a Cuban-trained undercover operative to follow him around!

``The government is clearly Marxist. The question is whether it is Karl or Groucho``

dont use ure nica..

passport for costa rica..they dont like nicas..but they luv gringos

Yes and No

to enter Costa Rica on a Nicaraguan passport you have to go to the Costa Rican consulate and pay $20 for a Visa. You then enter for free.

For a Gringo, you don't need to buy a Visa ahead of time but you need to pay $20 when you enter. More convenient but the same cost.

have driven..

down to panama a couple of times..had to pay to get my wife into c.r. from nica..then had to pay to get her into c.r. from panama..didnt spend a night in c.r. just drove both visas at the c.r. consulate in mga.. im not a big c.r. fan

nice read..

if i ever decide to apply for citizenship i'll remember it..thanks

10. Deny you know Phil Hughes

Sounds like a little knowledge got you in more trouble.

Maria took me in with a card hanging round my neck saying I was a deaf mute but I just won the lottery. Citizenship card, passport and lunch with Roberto Rivas. I thought the ride home in the Lear jet was a bit unnecessary.

good deal!

but landing the Lear jet on the main street of SJDS must have scared the bejesus out of the locals......

``The government is clearly Marxist. The question is whether it is Karl or Groucho``