Licence Plates needing to change to Rivas from Managua ?

I brought a car into Nicaragua last winter... and it seemed necessary to obtain the licence plates from the Managua office... ( totally crazy story in itself and a huge long time waste - but done )... But as I reside in San Juan del Sur... I was informed ( right or wrongly ? ) that I had to go to Rivas to get different plates as I live in that jurisdiction ? Or pay some huge fine if stopped by the police ? Is this true or not ?

Then also my basic insurance is up for the year renewal in January... do I need to go to the Managua office where I obtained it last year or can this be done in SJ or Rivas ? Where ? As I recall it only cost around $55 for the year.

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probably cheaper and less

Definitely cheaper and less hassle. My first ticket/fine (boleto/multa) I played dumb and paid him off. Second ticket I went by the book and spent considerable time and money paying the fine and finding my gringo license in Managua Transito bureaucracy. Third and fourth tickets I was screaming down the highway to the nearest BanPro to pay and return the receipt to the oficial (sp?) before my licencia went to Managua.

BTW, my third ticket I tried to pay cash and the very official very professional officer was very offended that I would ask.

Did I mention I ride a bike (Yamaha 125)? Been waiting a year for my placa (plate). Don't need it if you have the card.

Riding a bike in Nicaragua is F***ing Awesome! Tons of stuff I love about this country but just riding a moto is worth the price of admission. A word of advice though, be careful crossing the solid yellow line.


And Hey! to all my brothers and sisters from WA. Nicaragua rocks!

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those that understand binary and those that don't.

Wow, this is news to me, and

Wow, this is news to me, and I'm glad I read this thread! So just to be sure I understand:

1) I purchase a vehicle when I arrive from the airport in Managua. I'm not yet sure if it will be new or used. 2) Drive the vehicle (with what type of plates?) to Rivas, and register the vehicle in Rivas. 3) Get the insurance in Rivas as well?

Is this correct? I'll be residing in SJDS.


Insurance is on the vehicle, not the driver. If you buy a used vehicle it should have insurance. Get the insurance card when you buy it. If it does not, get the insurance before you buy it. The insurance companies can handle "I don't have the plates yet".

If it is used it will have plates. Drive with them to where you will be living and do the transfer there. If it does not have plates, you should be fine driving it with no plates as long as you have the paperwork that shows you just bought it.


Hola Fyl,

Whether a vehicle is used or new, the paperwork should be processed asap.

Go to the bank, la alcaldia, the insurance co. pay your taxes and make the necessary changes to the insurance policy or get a new one. A mechanical and smog inspection may also be required.

Take all your paperwork to your local PD and get a temporary "Circulación Vehicular" card. This card, allows the vehicle to be driven without LP's while the paperwork is being processed.

Once the paperwork is done, a permanent circulation card will be issued, this card will have the LP # on it. If plates are not available, you can drive the vehicle until the new plates are available.


Vehicle Registration

Yes is best to change your plates.

Clearing the vehicle from aduana is half the fun, the other half is registering it.

IMO, to get Managua plates, you must've had an address in Managua.

Otherwise, you should have driven the vehicle from the Aduana in Managua, straight to where you reside and register the vehicle there.

For a change of jurisdiction (from Managua to Rivas) you have to go to your local PD and initiate the paperwork there.

Also, get a DL from Rivas. If you're stopped in Rivas and the officer takes your foreign DL, you have one day to recover it in Rivas, on the second day, the Lic. goes to Managua. (This info comes from a high ranking "comisionado" here in León.)

To re-register the vehicle in Rivas, a muncipal tax "rodamiento" would be required and a change of address on your insurance policy. IMO, all paperwork should be done in Rivas.


License Plate

Your best bet is to register it in Rivas. Talk to transito chief Official Hodson in Rivas. He should be able to assist you with your problem. Ciao, Patrice Glo Casares

licence plates

Yes the run around to get the plates was just that... neither half was fun in the slightest way. Someone also told me to drive right to SJ and then apply for plates in Rivas... but then "better informed" persons told me it had to be done in Managua... Makes sense to get the plates in Rivas since I reside in SJ.... when there in November will do so right away... for now the car sits in the driveway so not much to worry about until then.

Actually it is not legal to have a Nica licence and a Canadian one both... not sure how it works in Nicaragua... I know the routine to either greese the officer or play dumb and not able to speak any Spanish and hope 200 C will make the issue go away... we know they stop white looking "gringos" just for the purpose of trying to extract money from you.... word of advise : never mention you are heading to the airport.... or then for sure they have you by the balls... to extort a huge amount then knowing you do not have time to screw around with going to a bank to pay the ticket etc... Not sure if this is a good idea or not... someone said he made colour copies of his licence and laminated them to pass out when needed ? Sounds wild to me... that said I know of one person who was waiting for over 6 months or almost a year to get his plates so in frustration he went and had a fake one made - wow

The basic insurance I think you can get yearly ( mine was paid for in Jan of 2010 ) and probably in Rivas : someone told me also at the bank ?

Drivers License

According to the police commissioner i spoke to here in León, you can drive with your foreign DL, as long as its valid (not expired) and you must have a 2nd id document, such as a cédula, with it.

The difference between a Nica Lic. and a Foreign one. is that the Nica. Lic. if taken by an officer, it will be kept or sent to the place where it was issued. The foreign DL, if retrieved by an officer, you have to take care of the fine and paperwork right away or it will be send to Managua.

On Nov. 2010, I brought 2 vehicles from Calif. 5 months went by before they cleared customs. 3 more months passed before i managed to register both vehicles here in León. This is the 10th. month since my arrival and one of the vehicles, is still waiting for plates...Lots of work, money and hassle.

I don't have a Nica. DL yet, probably, i wont get one. I'm still using my Calif. DL.

I have to agree with you, is better to pay "mordida" than wasting time screwing around to pay the fine(s)

Life is too short to be wasted standing in long lines for no good reason at all.


probably cheaper and less

probably cheaper and less hassle to just pay off the cops when you get pulled over, no?

Or you could just comply with the law...

Think of each Department as a State or Province. As soon as you took up residency in the USA or Canada in a different one, you would have to do the same, No?

There are not that many gringo drivers around here (despite what people think) and the cops get to know you all. They know who will give them a cold Gatorade out of a cooler and who will give them attitude. Better to be the guy that's gets stopped for the cold one.