Obtaining Nicaraguan Citizenship

Here are some tips on getting Nicaraguan Citizenship from a Nicaraguan Citizen. This is not the process but some useful tips.

  1. If you don't live in Managua, think about why you really want Nicaraguan Citizenship. It may not be worth it.
  2. You will get told what documents you need. Carefully make sure you get exactly what you are asked for.
  3. Having a copy of a needed document in your residency file does not count (and vise versa). [My residency expired while waiting for the citizenship process to complete. That's how I learned this.]
  4. Find a way to say "that's not true" that is not seen as confrontational. Good luck! [One of my examples was that I was told that I needed to have been a Nicaraguan permanent resident for four years before I qualified to apply for Citizenship even though I was married to a Nicaraguan. The "right answer" is two years but the person I was working with was not happy (with me) when her boss told her I was correct.]
  5. For any legal documents you need to submit, get a real lawyer who proofreads his work to do them. Don't use the street lawyers across the street from the immigration building. [I got Paul Tiffer to translate one such document from something with many typos into something correct after immigration balked at a document with typos.]
  6. If someone in the office is putting up walls, go to the office when they are not there.
  7. Expect questions such as "What is the name of the national anthem?" rather than "In what year was William Walker killed?" on the citizenship exam. Put another way, questions that you would likely learn the answer to by actually living in Nicaragua.
  8. Expect things to be done on Nicaragua time. Thus, 8AM probably means 9:30, and three weeks means two months.
  9. Expect government mistakes. [About two months after my home interview was completed, a second one was scheduled.]
  10. In general, don't bring anyone with you when you go to the nationalization office and, particularly, not a lawyer. You are supposed to be Nicaraguan enough to get citizenship.
  11. Don't kvetch. (Pardon my Yiddish but it just feels like the right word.) Telling the folks that it takes you six hours to travel from your house to the office for a 15 minute meeting doesn't win you any points.
  12. If you expect to need toilet paper, bring your own.
  13. Having extra copies of things is a plus.
  14. With the exception of the the Ministry of External Relations (which always impresses me), expect all government interactions to be like typical government interactions.
  15. Expect the answer to any question you pose that starts with "Can't I ..." to be answered with "The law says ...".
  16. After you have become Nicaragüense, the announcement must be published in La Gaceta and your documents recorded. Then you can apply for your cédula and Passport just like any Nicaraguan. That means it can be done locally.

Good luck.

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Structure

This is an answer to a question I received in email.

The office that handles citizenship requests is a small department within Migración y Extranjería. Four people work there. Migración y Extranjería is a part of the Ministerio de Governación. Thus, there are at least two levels of overhead above the office one works with that have to be happy with what is happening.

Does this mean what I think it does?

OK, so one wouldn't be able to delineate all this stuff without actually going through it, right? Should I be looking in La Gaceta for a "Fyl" entry, by chance?