What should Nicaragua do with tourist visas?
As typically happens with discussions of "visa resets", http://www.nicaliving.com/node/21010 has regressed into something far from useful. Rather than beat a dead horse, I would like to take up a related subject. What do you feel the Nicaraguan government should do with regard to the situation of residents without residency. That is, people who are perpetual tourists.
It's pretty clear that some changes should be made so that there is less ambiguity and maybe less corruption. So, how about an idea of something that might work. If we come up with a good idea I can pretty much guarantee that Migración will get to hear it.
As the law is now, on entering as a tourist, you get from 30 to 90 days to stay within Nicaragua. The time is a function of your nationality. For most of at least NL readers, this means 90 days and no application before entering. Once in Nicaragua, you can renew this visa one time. All that is easy and well-defined. The issue comes up for someone who wants to stay longer.
It was suggested in the other thread that Nicaragua says you can stay as long as you want but just need to exit the country to reset your visa after your original time and one renewal is up. Obviously, this makes no sense. If this was the intent, why only allow one renewal? Thus, some clarity is needed here.
In-country renewal fulfills the need to track where you are. Making you exit and re-enter offers no benefit to Nicaragua and really means more administrative work for no more income.
I pointed out that Ecuador has a simple "180 days per year" policy. This separates what is tourism from the entry/exit process. Whether you like it or not, it is clear what Ecaudor is doing.
In other threads it was suggested that the residency process is necessary to determine what kind of people are living here. This is because obtaining residency requires you to establish who you really are. This supports the idea that tourist visas are not supposed to be a way to live here without jumping through residency requirements.
The current names of the various types of residency also distort the situation. The reality is that there is 1-year temporary residency and 5-year temporary residency. There is no such thing as permanent residency as renewing a 5-year residency requires you to meet certain criteria.
So, what do you feel would make sense? Personally, I would lean toward tourism (that cannot be renewed), temporary residency (maybe for one year where you need to be pre-approved by possibly submitting a police report and such before traveling to Nicaragua) and permanent residency (that really means that).
Note that Costa Rica allows you to apply for residency once you are there but charges you an additional $250. Guatemala has permanent residency that really is permanent.