Cedula renewal how-to

This is what worked for one American pensionado in Esteli in late 2013. Your mileage may vary. Someone living in Managua or there for other reasons may be able to expedite this a little. We made a few mis-steps that cost us some shoe leather, but nothing like the hassles of the first time around.

Fees: the Nica fees up to the last one are small, bring a pocket full of cords in 100 and less denominations. The process will be less painful if you drag somebody fluent in Spanish with you to Migracion, especially in the morning when the noise level is so high. You are supposed to start this process 30 days before your old cedula expires and this is probably a good idea.

1) Get formulario at local migracion, fill out at your convenience. If you are in the habit of butchering paperwork, practice on a photocopy rather than the serial-numbered formulario.

2) I went to the local health clinic to get a referral for the Certificado de salud. I don`t know if this step was necessary. Then I went to Cruz Roja for the 3 tests (spit test for TB, blood test for syphilis, poop test for parasites). They gave me the containers and I showed up next morning for the tests, and later that day to carry the results to the main Centro de Salud by the south entrance to town to get the certificate. You can get the last 2 tests done at this Centro for free, but since the spit test can only be done at Cruz Roja I opted to do all 3 there.

3) Certificado de conducta/ record de policia. Got a 30 cord minuta at Banpro and showed up just before 0830 at PN (used to be done at Transito) for a shocking mind-blowing display of modern, air conditioned, lights-on display of efficiency and service with a smile. Out in 15 minutes.

4) 2 passport fotos, a shop downtown sells a 4 pack that is printed instantly.

5) Declaracion de fuente de ingresos. My local lawyer did a fancy thing stating my source of income and that it meets the minimum.

6) Carta de solicitude de renovacion de residencia. My local lawyer did another big fancy thing saying I have lived here and have family and property and formally request a a renewal. You might have her put in 5 year renewal, but that did not seem to be an issue. I think the 2 letters cost about 500 cords.

7) Get photocopy of cedula, both sides.

At this stage I turned in all of these to the local Migracion, they checked it over and gave me an appointment 3 weeks later for Migracion in Managua. Appointment is for a day, not a specific hour.

8) Constancia de Jubilacion. Get an appointment with the US Consulate for this. Remember they only give appointments in very limited time spots and are not open for this on Thursdays.. If they do not respond to your request for an appointment quickly, I would start contacting them daily till you get the date. Remember that the Consulate is on the far side of town from anything else you are likely to do and you will go through airport type security twice so leave extra junk elsewhere if possible . They have no parking, but there is pay parking on the street and a cyber that does photocopies about a block away.

Bring a photocopy of your bank statement that shows a deposit of your pension and that has your name on it. If your name is not on the bank statement, bring copies of other documents tying you, that deposit, and your pension together. Your pension system probably sends a monthly statement that can be downloaded from their website if you are not getting snail mail copies. The Consulate will give you a spiffy letter saying that you have demonstrated to them that you have a pension. It is signed, in Spanish, and has a raised seal and is all ready to go. I made a copy for other uses ( like opening bank accounts) before I turned it in. There is no charge to certify your social security deposit. In my case the bank statement shows both the SS (less than $600) and the pension I retired on so they wrapped them in one letter at no charge. Other certifications costs 50 bucks, so the freebee on SS is nice.

Everything at the Consulate is clean, air-conditioned, bilingual, and business like.

9) Swing by the small building at Cancelleria/Minrex to get the Constancia stamped . They have a caja window now so you do not need a minuta. In and out in under 5 minutes.

10) Take stuff to Migracion, with the appointment slip you got at the local Migracion. You will go back and forth from various windows and the seating area as your docs get passed around inside and signed off. Things start looking good when they send you to the caja/ window C to pay. 5300 cords for 5 years, cash. Then window D tells you to go to window E for you photo and electronic finger print. A few minutes later you go to the other side or window E to sign/get thumb printed again for your Cedula. The new ones are black ink on a pale green background and should remain legible for the whole 5 years and I don`t have to listen to my stepdaughter tell me pink cedulas are for gays.. The key numbers are also printed on the back in bigger print.

Generally speaking, plan on giving Caesar what is Caesars to the tune of about $300 and 3 days of your life. If you can schedule the Consulate visit for the morning and Migracion later on the same day, this will help. Bring more copies of everything to everywhere but don`t offer them unless they ask. Plan on speaking Spanish and carry your passport and old cedula. The fact that most of this is a waste of time and money to no public purpose ( I suspect the statistical likelihood of a pensionado of having syphilis is right about 0 percent, etc. etc.). Other than time and money churning, I think the main thing the Nic. govmint gets out of this is proof that you are still here.

We stayed one night in MGA to hit a few stores and restaurants and not turn it into a 16 hour day from Esteli. Staying 2 nights would be even better to luxuriate in clean, green, modern Managua!

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first the good news-- the Consulate now has an online appointment system like the airlines. They display a calendar with the openings and you pick your choice.

Next the bad news-- I was going to post a parrallel article on how to renew a US passport incountry, but 5 weeks later I am not there yet. Preliminary findings are:

1) The Consulate cannot do business by email or phone. You have to travel 3 hours plus stand in line to do anything.

2) Giving yes or no answers to yes or no questions is not part of their SOP.

3) When they do return an email the answer makes no sense and is not signed by anyone.

I mentioned this to a Nica friend and she laughed and said the Consulate has gone native. Must be something in the water...

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

a related note

on the back of one of the little pieces of paper was a thing that said that foreign residents who change addresses within the country need to report to the local police station and carry a piece of paper to the local Migracion within 3 days. Not an issues here, but keep in mind if you move .

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

thanks Billy Bob..

i do mine again around the begining of the yr


My Spanish teacher called someone in Migracion here for me when I moved and we basically got the same answer that acc724 gave me -- that it didn't matter and I'd put the change on the next renewal. Maybe check again Monday and see if the answer has changed.

Rebecca Brown