International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Nicaragua

Nicaragua
Republic of Nicaragua
Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest and limited healthcare availability.

Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crimecivil unrest, limited healthcare availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws.

On September 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of State lifted the ordered departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members. The U.S. Embassy remains open to provide emergency services for U.S. citizens and will gradually return to normal operations.

Throughout Nicaragua, armed and violent uniformed police or civilians in plain clothes acting as police (“para-police”) are targeting anyone considered to be in opposition to the rule of President Ortega.  The government and its affiliated armed groups have been reported to:

  • Arbitrarily detain protestors, with credible claims of torture and disappearances.
  • Systematically target opposition figures, including clergy members.
  • Prevent certain individuals from departing Nicaragua by air or land.
  • Seize privately owned land.
  • Arbitrarily search personal phones and computers for anti-government content.
  • Arbitrarily detain certain individuals with unfounded charges of terrorism, money laundering, and organized crime.

These police and para-police groups often cover their faces, sometimes operate in groups numbering in the hundreds, and use unmarked vehicles.

Rallies and demonstrations are widespread and occur daily around the country. Government forces, uniformed police and para-police have attacked peaceful demonstrators leading to significant numbers of deaths and injuries. Looting, vandalism, and arson often occur during unrest. 

Road blocks, including in Managua and other major cities, may appear and limit availability of food and fuel.

Government hospitals are understaffed and may deny treatment to suspected protestors. Some hospitals throughout the country may not be able to assist in emergencies.  Ambulances have reportedly refused to respond or have been denied access to areas with individuals needing emergency care.

Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common.

The U.S. Embassy in Managua is limited in the assistance it can provide. U.S. government personnel in Nicaragua must avoid unnecessary travel and remain in their homes between 10:00 p.m. and sunrise. They are prohibited from traveling outside of Managua and are advised to avoid demonstrations. Additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel may be put in place at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

  • Consider arrangements to depart the country quickly. There are no plans for a U.S. government-assisted evacuation.
  • Avoid demonstrations.  Restrict unnecessary travel.
  • Do not attempt to drive through crowds, barricades, or road blocks.
  • Maintain adequate supplies of food, cash, potable water, and fuel if sheltering in place.
  • Ensure your U.S. passport is valid and available for a quick departure from the country, if needed.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Managua

Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Managua, Nicaragua
Telephone: +(505) 2252-7100
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(505) 2252-7100
Fax: +(505) 2252-7250

General Information

For information concerning travel to Nicaragua, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Nicaragua. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

Nicaragua is a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention); however, the United States is not partnered with Nicaragua under the Convention. There are no bilateral agreements in force between Nicaragua and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. The government of Nicaragua maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet and has a specific protocol for regulation of international restitution and abduction of children and adolescents per its family law. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Nicaragua and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in Nicaragua (see Article 218 of this link, in Spanish, “Sustracción de menor”)

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in Nicaragua to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see pressing criminal charges for more information.

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Nicaragua and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

The U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua posts list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua are authorized to provide legal advice.

Mediation

The Ministry of Family, Adolescents, and Children (Mi Familia) encourages mediation in custody disputes and provides mediation services free of charge.  For more information please visit Mi Familia's website or call +505-2277-1953.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 26, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Managua
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Managua, Nicaragua
Telephone
+(505) 2252-7100
Emergency
+(505) 2252-7100
Fax
+(505) 2252-7250

Nicaragua Map