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International Travel

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Country Information

Nicaragua

Country Information

Nicaragua
Republic of Nicaragua
Last Updated: August 2, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Length of stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

No (90 days or fewer). Tourist card at airport. See Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements below

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever (in some cases, see Entry Requirements section)

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Must declare $10,000 USD or more in cash

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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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

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Nicaragua for information on U.S. - Nicaraguan relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Nicaraguan authorities have denied entry to or expelled foreigners, including NGO workers, academics, and journalists, for unclear reasons.

  • For visitors other than tourists, the Nicaraguan government recommends that you pre-register your trip by following the instructions available on the Nicaraguan immigration website (in Spanish only). See our website for additional information.
  • All travelers should have an onward or return ticket and evidence of funds to support yourself while in Nicaragua. You must carry a valid identity document at all times.
  • You must purchase a tourist card for $10 USD at the airport (exact change recommended), valid for up to a total of 90 days in any of the member countries of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement. Visitors remaining longer must obtain an extension from Nicaraguan Immigration
  • Many travelers must show proof of yellow fever vaccination administered at least 10 days before travel in order to be permitted entry to Nicaragua. Please review the requirements on our website to see if you need this vaccination before your travel to Nicaragua.
  • If you use a passport of a different nationality than you did on prior trips to Nicaragua, Nicaraguan authorities may deny you entry.
  • Medical officials conduct a remote body temperature scanof all disembarking passengers at Managua’s airport. If you have been to West Africa or a region with medical epidemics, Nicaragua may quarantine you or not allow you to enter the country. For specific information, contact the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health.
  • You must exit Nicaragua with the same passport used for entry. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen while in Nicaragua, you will need to get a new entry stamp from Nicaraguan Immigration before you can depart.
  • There is a $42 USD departure tax, often included in the plane ticket price, or you can pay the tax at the airline counter when departing. 
  • The Government of Nicaragua requires special notification for official travelers. All U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. government and their family members should inform the U.S. Embassy in Managua, regardless of whether they are entering Nicaragua by via car, plane, or boat and regardless of whether they are traveling on their official/diplomatic/regular passports.
  • See the U.S. Embassy website for information regarding departure requirements for children under 18 who also are Nicaraguan citizens.

Advanced Coordination Required for Volunteer Groups: You should email both the Embassy of Nicaragua in the United States (asistente.emb@embanic.org) and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (enlace@cancilleria.gob.ni) to inform them of your trip if you are leading one of the following types of trips, even if your group has worked in Nicaragua previously or has a local office:

  • Volunteer mission,
  • Charitable or medical brigade (the latter also need permission from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health), or
  • Assistance visit organized by NGOs, religious groups, schools, or any other group doing this type of work in Nicaragua.

For the latest visa and entry requirements, visit the Embassy of Nicaragua or Nicaraguan Immigration websites (Spanish only).

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Nicaragua. 

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security
  • The Government of Nicaragua is authoritarian, limits freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, represses internal dissent, and monitors and responds to perceived threats to authority. Nicaragua’s Sovereign Security Law allows for discretionary interpretation of unlawful activities that threaten the peace and economic stability of Nicaragua.
  • Nicaraguan authorities may physically or electronically monitor, detain, deny entry to, expel, or question private U.S. citizens and U.S. government officials concerning their activities, including contact with Nicaraguan citizens. Particularly sensitive topics are:
    • The proposed interoceanic canal,
    • Elections, and
    • Criticism of the Government of Nicaragua. 
  • The government-controlled legal system can result in prolonged detentions of U.S. citizens without charges or due process. 
  • Demonstrations occur frequently throughout the country; in the past, these have turned violent. Avoid demonstrations and exercise caution around large gatherings.
  • Roads may be closed, and public transportation may be disrupted due to large crowds celebrating the following holidays:
    • Semana Santa (the week before Easter)
    • Repliegue Histórico a Masaya (early July)
    • July 19 celebration of the Sandinista Revolution
    • Celebration in Managua of Santo Domingo, the Patron Saint of the city (August 1st and August 10th)
    • Day of Nicaraguan Army (September 2)
    • Nicaraguan Independence Day (September 14 and 15)
    • Immaculate Conception (December 8). 

Crime: Violent crimes occur throughout Nicaragua. Vehicle burglaries, pick-pocketing, and occasional armed robberies occur in store parking lots, on public transportation, and in open-air markets like the Oriental and Huembes Markets in Managua. Street crime is also common in Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, El Transito, and the Corn Islands. Police presence is extremely limited outside of major urban areas. Due to the Caribbean Coast’s geographical isolation, we have limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there.   

  • Several U.S. citizens have been sexually assaulted in beach locations or at hotels.
  • There are no forensic doctors on the Corn Islands, so victims of violent crimes, including sexual assault, must travel to Bluefields at their own expense for medical examinations and collection of evidence. In several recent cases, police were reluctant to produce police reports or pursue charges. Please report such incidents to the Embassy.
  • Exercise extreme caution when renting or driving vehicles. In one common scam, “Good Samaritans” pull over to help change a flat tire. While the driver is distracted, an accomplice steals the driver’s possessions.    
  • U.S. government personnel are prohibited from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to high levels of crime and other illicit activity.
  • All travel by U.S. government personnel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions must be pre-approved due to crime and transportation safety concerns.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes, including sexual assault, to the local police at 118 (Nicaraguan equivalent of “911,” in Spanish) or 101 (Tourist Emergency Hotline, English-speaking operators but only reachable from Claro cell phones) and contact the U.S. Embassy at 2252-7100. 

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Coastal Disputes: Be aware of the following border disputes:

  • Nicaragua and Colombia have an ongoing dispute over waters surrounding the San Andres Islands.
  • The Nicaraguan Navy has challenged vessels passing through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Nicaragua and Costa Rica have stationed security forces at Harbor Head (also called Isla Calero) at the eastern end of the San Juan River.
  • Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador have maritime and land disputes over islands and access to fishing rights in the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Coast, a closed sea under international law.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nicaragua are severe, even for possession of small amounts. 
  • Marijuana is illegal in Nicaragua, even with a prescription.

There are severe penalties, including imprisonment, for domestic violence, psychological abuse, and non-payment of child support.

Arrest Notification: Nicaraguan authorities frequently do not notify the Embassy when a U.S. citizen has been detained, especially if the arrestee has dual nationality. The Government of Nicaragua does not consider U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico to be U.S. citizens. If you are detained, ask police or prison officials and friends or family to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. After we learn of an arrest, it may be several days or weeks before the Government of Nicaragua permits us to visit. See our webpage for further information.

  • The legal system operates arbitrarily, which can result in prolonged detentions of U.S. citizens without charges or due process. 
  • Police and prison authorities have ignored or significantly delayed implementing judicial orders to release, deport, expel or transfer prisoners. 

Purchasing Property: Exercise extreme caution before investing in property. U.S. citizens have been arrested or threatened with violence as a result of property disputes. See our website for more information.

Beach Safety: Exercise caution at the beach; U.S. citizens have drowned in Nicaraguan lagoons and lakes and off the coasts. Warning signs are not posted, and lifeguards and rescue equipment are not readily available.  

Hiking in volcanic or remote areas is dangerous. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear and carry sufficient food, water, and communication equipment. If you travel to remote areas, hire a reputable local guide. Nicaraguan law requires tourists have a local guide for several volcanoes, including Volcan Maderas and Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island.

Disaster Preparedness: Nicaragua is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. If you are at a beach area when an earthquake occurs, move swiftly to higher ground (when safe to do so) to avoid any possible tsunami.

  • Nicaragua has several active volcanoes. Frequent seismic activity and/or eruptions can occur.
  • In the event of an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or other potential natural disaster, U.S. citizens should pay close attention to local media reports, follow the guidance of local authorities, and monitor the websites of the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (INETER) and the Nicaraguan Emergency Alert System (SINAPRED).
  • See the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for information about disaster preparedness.

Customs Regulations: U.S. citizens should contract well in advance of their visit with a recognized local customs broker for assistance; the Embassy is unable to assist with the customs or import process.

  • Nicaraguan customs officials routinely delay or block import of goods, including items intended for donation. 
  • Drones and similar devices or toys are not permitted and will be confiscated by Customs authorities. 
  • Approval from the Ministry of Health’s Pharmacy Department is required to import medicine, even for donation.  
  • If you are planning to bring vehicles or household goods, consult Nicaraguan customs officials prior to shipment.
  • When entering with your vehicle, you must have the original registration and title.
  • Before excavating archaeological materials or buying historical artifacts, you must consult with the National Patrimony Directorate of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture. Otherwise, severe criminal penalties may apply.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our website for details

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Nicaragua. While violence against LGBTI travelers is not common, widespread societal discrimination exists. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is limited or no accessibility on public transportation, including few sidewalks and road crossings. 

Nicaraguan law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, but in practice, such discrimination is widespread in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of state services.

Students: See our Students Abroad.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Only basic, limited emergency medical services are available in smaller towns and villages.

  • Ambulance services, where available, provide transportation and basic first aid only.
  • Physicians and hospital personnel frequently do not speak English.
  • Tap water is not reliably potable -- drink only purified bottled water.

 The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Mosquito-borne diseases (i.e., ZikaDengue fever and Chikungunya)
  • Upper respiratory viruses (i.e., Influenza)
  • Infectious bacterial diseases (i.e., Typhoid fever and Leptospirosis)
  • Intestinal illnesses (i.e., Giardia)

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's Pharmacy Department to ensure the medication is legal. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Many roads have potholes, and are poorly lit, narrow, and/or lack shoulders, and further damage occurs during the rainy season. Oxcarts, livestock, and pedestrians running across traffic are common, even on major roads. Most roads on the Caribbean Coast are unpaved. Road signs throughout the country are poor-to-non-existent. Road travel after dark is hazardous in all areas. Carry a cellular phone in case of emergency, and do not drive outside urban areas after dark.

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, wait for police to arrive and follow their instructions. Do not move your vehicle, unless a police officer tells you to do so, or you will be legally liable for the accident, whether or not you caused it.

Nicaraguan law requires that police take a driver into custody for:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (the legal limit is 0.05% blood alcohol content) or drugs and/or
  • Being involved in an accident that causes serious injury or death.

The minimum detention period is 48 hours. In fatal accidents, drivers are held until they reach an agreement with the victim’s family.

To avoid liability, consider hiring a professional driver through a reputable hotel. 

All drivers must carry (including in rental vehicles): 

  • driver’s license,
  • proof of insurance,
  • vehicle registration,
  • emergency triangle,
  • fire extinguisher, and
  • inspection and registration stickers 

Penalties for not having the above include fines and/or towing. For more information, check with the Nicaraguan National Police or the Embassy of Nicaragua.

Traffic Stops: Transit police often stop those in rental cars and with foreign license plates. 

  • If transit police demand a bribe in lieu of a fine, request a receipt and the officer's name and badge number. 
  • To report mistreatment by police, file a complaint with Nicaragua’s National Police and forward your complaint to the U.S. Consular Section in Managua
  • If you receive a traffic violation, police will confiscate your driver's license until you pay the fine at a bank. Foreigners are rarely able to recover their licenses in a timely manner. Consult the Nicaraguan National Police (in Spanish) for more information.

Public Transportation: Buses, mototaxis (caponeras), and ferries often lack proper safety equipment.

  • U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use public buses and mototaxis due to safety and crime concerns.
  • Use only licensed taxis recommended by airport authorities, major hotels, restaurants, or other trusted sources.
  • Exercise caution in the face of possibly overloaded or otherwise unsafe ferries and boats, and check with local naval or police authorities about the safety of being on the water in local weather conditions. Life vests and other safety equipment are often insufficient.

Airports in remote locales often have short airstrips, minimal safety equipment, and little boarding security.

See our Road Safety page for more information and the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism and National Transit Authority

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assessed the government of Nicaragua’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nicaragua’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Nicaragua should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (select “broadcast warnings”).

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
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 when 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.

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

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. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Nicaragua and from the United States to Nicaragua are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Nicaragua is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (“Hague Adoption Convention” or “Convention”).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 CFR, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Unless an exception applies, the UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as a primary provider in every orphan case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider.  Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information.  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600.  However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

Important Notice: The entire Nicaraguan adoption process timeframe – even when successful – is unpredictable and can take between nine months and two years. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to spend at least three to six months, and often much more, of that time physically present in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan law does not allow for a Nicaraguan child to travel to the United States to be adopted. Therefore, prospective adoptive parent(s) must obtain a full and final adoption under Nicaraguan law before the child can immigrate to the United States.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Family has a history of abrupt staffing changes and often requests additional documents from adoptive parents that were not initially required as part of the process. It is strongly suggested that adoption service providers acting as the primary provider in adoptions from Nicaragua work with a Nicaraguan attorney to assist them in keeping adoption cases on track because the Ministry of the Family will not communicate with foreign adoption service providers. Few Nicaraguan government officials speak English. A list of attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy in Managua is available on the Embassy’s website, and prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only). The administrative process that takes place in the Ministry of the Family, including the approval notice, is all free of charge.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Nicaragua, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Nicaragua must meet the following Nicaraguan requirements:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parent(s) who are U.S. citizens must meet one of the following criteria:
    • Possess Nicaraguan citizenship, OR
    • Have a permanent residence in Nicaragua and plan to remain in Nicaragua until the child reaches 21 years of age, OR
    • Have an approved I-600A or I-600 form.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be between 24 and 55 years of age and have a minimum 15-year age difference between the child and the adoptive parents.  However, the Ministry of the Family has been known to be flexible on these requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Marriage: Nicaragua currently only permits married heterosexual couples to adopt. 
  • Income: While Nicaragua’s family law does not specify a particular minimum income requirement, it does say that prospective adoptive parents need to present a job letter as evidence of their income, as well as savings account records or property titles, if they have any.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements imposed by Nicaragua:

  • Relinquishment: Nicaragua’s family law specifically requires that children be declared abandoned or neglected by a family court judge before being placed for adoption. As part of the abandonment process, some biological parents may sign a relinquishment letter at Nicaragua’s Ministry of the Family, but this alone is not sufficient for the child to be considered adoptable under Nicaraguan law.
  • Abandonment: As of July 2016, only children who have been declared abandoned or neglected by a Nicaraguan family court are eligible to be matched for adoption. Please contact Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family should you require more details on the criteria under which a child may be declared abandoned or neglected under Nicaraguan law.  Children who are residing with biological family members, including aunts, uncles, siblings, or grandparents, generally will not be declared abandoned. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that Nicaraguan law allows biological relatives up to 18 months, or until an adoption is finalized (whichever occurs first), to appeal an abandonment or neglect ruling. The final adoption decree can take more than six months in Nicaraguan courts, during which time any biological relative has the right to come forward and make a claim to the child.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Under Nicaraguan law, generally adoptions must be completed before the child turns 15 years old.  However, if the child has been under the care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least three years before turning 15, the adoption can be completed up until the time the child turns 18.

Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16, unless an exception applies (i.e., under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate as an orphan based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.

  • Sibling Adoptions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Nicaraguan adoption law generally requires a fostering period of at least three months in Nicaragua once a match is made, unless the Adoption Council requests a longer fostering period. During this time, prospective adoptive parent(s) are expected to live with and care for the child in Nicaragua.  Nicaraguan law prioritizes adoptions by Nicaraguan citizens, meaning that Nicaraguan parent(s) willing and eligible to adopt a child might jump to the head of the queue in front of non-Nicaraguans who may have already been waiting months to adopt a child. If adopting more than one child, you should ensure all paperwork for each child is filed simultaneously, or delays may occur.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely relinquish their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority:  Ministry of the Family (Mi Familia)

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Nicaragua generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Nicaragua
  5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Nicaragua, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic or public foreign authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA.  Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Nicaragua does not allow any foreign adoption service providers to work in the country. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents nearly always select a local attorney from the List Of Attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy to represent them in Nicaragua. Prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only).

2Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Nicaragua, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Nicaragua and U.S. immigration law. 

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.  Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, you may also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of the Family of Nicaragua to be found eligible to adopt by Nicaragua.

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family will verify that the prospective adoptive parents have been approved by USCIS to adopt a child from abroad and verify translated and notarized copies of the home study conducted in the United States. The Form I-600A approval is valid for 18 months from the approval date and can be extended once at no extra charge, prior to its expiration for an additional 18 months. If the adoption is not completed before the extension of the Form I-600A expires, the prospective adoptive parents will have to file a new Form I-600A and pay the fee.

If the Ministry of the Family determines that you are eligible to adopt, they will place you on a waiting list until an appropriate match is identified. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child, and must adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Nicaragua’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

4. Adopt the Child in Nicaragua

The process for finalizing the adoption in Nicaragua generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority
    • CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once all the relevant information is evaluated by Ministry of the Family adoption staff and necessary investigations performed, the case is presented to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción for a decision on the parent(s)' eligibility to adopt. At this time, they will match the parent(s) with a child eligible for adoption in Nicaragua. The Consejo de Adopción is comprised of 12 representatives from various governmental and non-governmental entities, including one adoptive parent, according to Nicaragua’s family law.
    • FOSTERING PERIOD: Once a match with a child is made, the prospective adoptive parent(s) will enter a mandatory three-month minimum fostering period in Nicaragua with the child, though the Adoption Council can request a longer fostering period. During this period, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must live with the child and provide all physical and emotional support for the child. Often parent(s) who are not normally resident in Nicaragua choose to stay in an extended-stay hotel in Nicaragua or rent a home. Delays are possible during this time period.
    • SECOND CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once the fostering period is successfully completed, the Consejo de Adopción will meet again for a final decision on the adoption. If the adoption is approved by the Ministry of the Family, it will move forward to court approval.
  • Role of the Court: The Nicaraguan court issues the final adoption decree. If the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption, the decision is then sent to a judge for further review. The judge has the authority to deny a case when there is a concern for the child's welfare and/or if a relative comes forward to claim guardianship, even after the court decree of abandonment is finalized. Typically it can take up to six months after the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption for the court to formally order the final adoption decree. 
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers:

Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. 

  • Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption; 
    2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption; 
    3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study; 
    4. Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child; 
    5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or 
    6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions

Please note that Nicaragua does not allow foreign adoption service providers to operate in the country.

  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents file an application with the Ministry of the Family stating their intent to adopt from Nicaragua.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Nicaragua take from nine months to two years to complete from the time a dossier is accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption is issued. 
  • Adoption Fees: The Ministry of the Family does not charge a fee for adoptions. Typical associated charges for the process will include personal legal fees and fees for obtaining notarized legal documents. These fees generally range from $1,500 to $3,000 USD. Additionally consider the cost of living in Nicaragua and potential time away from work during the required 3-month (minimum) fostering period in Nicaragua and the estimated six-month wait for the adoption to be finalized in court after the final council approval.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Nicaragua with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. For more information in this regard, please refer to information concerning the Complaint Registry.

Improper payments may violate applicable law or create the appearance of child buying, and could put all future adoptions in Nicaragua at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the UAA and IAA make certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent authority function, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

  • Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parents must provide originals or apostilled certified copies and two photocopies of all required documents to the Ministry of the Family. Documents must be translated into Spanish, and those issued in the United States (identified below with a *) must be authenticated and have an apostille. Required documents for the application to adopt in Nicaragua may include:
    • Notice of approval (I-171H) issued by USCIS
    • Home study 
    • Letter addressed to Directora General de Adopción (Director General for Adoptions) expressing interest in adopting a child in Nicaragua
    • Birth certificate(s) of prospective adoptive parent(s)*
    • Marriage certificate of prospective adoptive parent(s) (if applicable)*
    • Medical examination of prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Letter(s) of employment for prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Three letters of recommendation of moral and financial standing
    • U.S. police record (FBI fingerprints fulfill this requirement)
    • Psychological evaluation by a U.S.-based adoption agency and proof of the agency’s license (the home study meets this requirement)
    • Two 2" x 2" color photographs of prospective adoptive parent(s) with a white background
    • Completion of course for adoptive parents (takes place in the United States)
    • Letter from a U.S.-based adoption agency indicating that it will follow-up with the case in the United States once the adoption has been completed in Nicaragua. Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after the adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches 18 years of age.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  The United States and Nicaragua are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Nicaragua, USCIS must determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies.  For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, approval you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS National Benefits Center, the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your residence if living abroad, or  if eligible, in person at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS, the consular section in Managua, Nicaragua must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination) to verify the child’s orphan status. 

For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition.  Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take a few weeks to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Nicaragua, you will need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. When the final adoption decree is issued by the Nicaraguan court, you will be able to obtain a birth certificate (at least two original copies are recommended) from the Central Registry in Managua with the adoptive parent(s)’ surnames. The Civil Registry is located in the SERVIGOB building; the first certificate is free and the second costs C$ 35.00 (approximately $1 USD). Expedited, same-day service for birth certificate issuance is available at the Central Registry for C$120.00 (approximately $4 USD). You can also apply for a birth certificate on Fridays only at Hospital Bertha Calderon, Hospital Aleman Nicaraguense, Hospital Solidaridad, or Hospital Vivian Pellas for the same cost, with certificates available for pick-up the day after the application is made. It is recommended that you have the new birth certificate authenticated at the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  You should also receive a Decree of Abandonment for the child.

Nicaragua Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Nicaragua.

As soon as the new birth certificate has been issued, a passport should be obtained from Nicaraguan Immigration (approximately $50 USD). The normal turnaround time for a Nicaraguan passport is one to two weeks. Expedited same-day passport service is generally available for an extra charge (approximately $50 USD).  Parent(s) will also need to obtain an "exit visa" from Nicaraguan Immigration in order to leave the country with the child (approximately $20 USD). The Nicaraguan exit visa is valid for 30 days and parents should wait until after receiving the U.S. immigrant visa before applying for a Nicaraguan exit visa.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Managua. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Managua at Managuaconsularadoptions@state.gov for complete instructions regarding supporting documents required for the visa interview and to schedule the interview.                                                                                       

Visa issuance for children who are found eligible for a visa after the final interview generally takes two to three business days. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents will be told on the day of the interview when they can return to pick up the visa and immigration packet. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Managua before making final travel arrangements.

Bring Your Child Home

Once your child has received their passport and immigration packet, they are able to travel to the United States. DO NOT open the immigration packet. This packet will be opened at the port of entry by immigration officials once the adoptive parent(s) and child arrive in the United States.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Nicaragua

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Nicaragua, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency, or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Nicaragua, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches age 18. These reports need to be sent directly to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción.

We urge you to comply with Nicaragua’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Nicaragua’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Managua, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600 petition process.

The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Tel: 011 (505) 2252-7888
Fax: 011 (505) 2252-7304
Email: ManaguaConsularAdoptions@state.gov
Internet: https://ni.usembassy.gov/

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia)
De ENEL Central, 100 mts. Al Sur, Managua
Tel: 011 (505) 2270-2644
011 (505) 2278-1620
011 (505) 2278-5637

Embassy of Nicaragua
1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NM
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel: (202) 939-6531/32
Consular Section: Tel: (202) 939-6541
Fax: (202) 939-6574

Nicaragua also has consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, New York, and other cities.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email:  Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):

Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with a USCIS international field office: Please click here visit and select the appropriate office. 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available. Birth certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua. In cases where a birth was never registered, a Civil Judge may, after a lawyer has executed the proper documents and testimony taken from witnesses, issue a birth certificate which is inscribed in the Civil Registry. If an applicant was registered more than one year after the date of birth, an "onlyness" certificate of birth (certificado unico o constancia unica de nacimiento) will be required. If there has been a rectification or recognition registered, the applicant will also need to provide a literal birth certificate, which lists all of the changes made to the registration of birth. In cases in which the relationship or identity of the applicant is in doubt, a baptism certificate may be requested as secondary evidence. Such a certificate must prove that the record of birth was entered in the record book for the year in which the baptism took place; the document should be authenticated by the Chancery of the Catholic Church in Managua, Nicaragua. A Supletoria of baptism is not acceptable.

Death and Burial Certificates 

Available. Death certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua.

Note: Within Nicaragua, the signature and seal of the Civil Registrar serve to authenticate any document issued by that office in an official capacity and gives the document the force of a "public instrument" in the courts. If destined for use abroad, the signature of a Civil Registrar appearing on a document may be authenticated by the Central Registry in Managua, Nicaragua. The signature of the Central Registry Director is authenticated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. If deemed necessary, the signature of the Minister for Foreign Affairs may be authenticated by the Embassy in Managua. Birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates are not considered legal unless certified under the signature and official seal of the respective Civil Registrar.

Records in the Central Registry in Managua are maintained for the entire country and are stored on microfilm. These microfilm records were not destroyed during the 1972 earthquake nor the civil strife in 1979. Documents issued in Nicaragua by the ecclesiastical authorities are not considered government documents; in Nicaragua, the Church and State are separate. There is no limitation with respect to the availability of any document because of sex or age.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Available. Marriage and divorce certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua.

Note: Within Nicaragua, the signature and seal of the Civil Registrar serve to authenticate any document issued by that office in an official capacity and gives the document the force of a "public instrument" in the courts. If destined for use abroad, the signature of a Civil Registrar appearing on a document may be authenticated by the Central Registry in Managua, Nicaragua. The signature of the Central Registry Director is authenticated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. If deemed necessary, the signature of the Minister for Foreign Affairs may be authenticated by the Embassy in Managua. Birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates are not considered legal unless certified under the signature and official seal of the respective Civil Registrar.

Records in the Central Registry in Managua are maintained for the entire country and are stored on microfilm. These microfilm records were not destroyed during the 1972 earthquake nor the civil strife in 1979. Documents issued in Nicaragua by the ecclesiastical authorities are not considered government documents; in Nicaragua, the Church and State are separate. There is no limitation with respect to the availability of any document because of sex or age.

Nicaraguan citizens may obtain evidence of relationship status by obtaining a Certification of Unmarried Status (Certificado de Soltería). The Certification of Unmarried Status certifies that there are no marriages registered in Nicaragua. The individual must first make a statement before a public notary or attorney, attesting to their civil status. They then present the notarized statement with a request for the certificate at the municipal registry. Once the individual receives the certificate from the municipal registry, s/he must present it to the NCCR. The NCCR then issues the Certification. Only the NCCR-issued Certification is acceptable for visa-issuing purposes.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Applicants must supply a police record certificate from their local police department and from any location where they have lived for more than six months after the age of 16. Applicants must also provide police records from other countries if they resided there for more than one year after the age of 16. Police records in Nicaragua are only valid for 60 days, so applicants must be sure to have a valid record police record on file.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update

Other Records

Not applicable

Visa Issuing Posts

Managua, Nicaragua (Embassy)

Address:
APO AA 3402l-3240

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Nicaragua.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-6531 (202) 939-6570 (202) 939-6574 (202) 939-6545

Houston, TX (713) 789-2762 (713) 789-3164

Los Angeles, CA (213) 252-1170 (213) 252-1175 (323) 370-0459 (213) 252-1176/1177

Miami, FL (305) 265-1415 (305) 265-1780

New York, NY (212) 986-6562 (212) 983-2646

San Francisco, CA (415) 765-6821 (415) 765-6823 (415) 765-6825 (415) 765-6826

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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Nicaragua
Republic of Nicaragua
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Length of stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

No (90 days or fewer). Tourist card at airport. See Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements below

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever (in some cases, see Entry Requirements section)

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Must declare $10,000 USD or more in cash

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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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

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Nicaragua for information on U.S. - Nicaraguan relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Nicaraguan authorities have denied entry to or expelled foreigners, including NGO workers, academics, and journalists, for unclear reasons.

  • For visitors other than tourists, the Nicaraguan government recommends that you pre-register your trip by following the instructions available on the Nicaraguan immigration website (in Spanish only). See our website for additional information.
  • All travelers should have an onward or return ticket and evidence of funds to support yourself while in Nicaragua. You must carry a valid identity document at all times.
  • You must purchase a tourist card for $10 USD at the airport (exact change recommended), valid for up to a total of 90 days in any of the member countries of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement. Visitors remaining longer must obtain an extension from Nicaraguan Immigration
  • Many travelers must show proof of yellow fever vaccination administered at least 10 days before travel in order to be permitted entry to Nicaragua. Please review the requirements on our website to see if you need this vaccination before your travel to Nicaragua.
  • If you use a passport of a different nationality than you did on prior trips to Nicaragua, Nicaraguan authorities may deny you entry.
  • Medical officials conduct a remote body temperature scanof all disembarking passengers at Managua’s airport. If you have been to West Africa or a region with medical epidemics, Nicaragua may quarantine you or not allow you to enter the country. For specific information, contact the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health.
  • You must exit Nicaragua with the same passport used for entry. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen while in Nicaragua, you will need to get a new entry stamp from Nicaraguan Immigration before you can depart.
  • There is a $42 USD departure tax, often included in the plane ticket price, or you can pay the tax at the airline counter when departing. 
  • The Government of Nicaragua requires special notification for official travelers. All U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. government and their family members should inform the U.S. Embassy in Managua, regardless of whether they are entering Nicaragua by via car, plane, or boat and regardless of whether they are traveling on their official/diplomatic/regular passports.
  • See the U.S. Embassy website for information regarding departure requirements for children under 18 who also are Nicaraguan citizens.

Advanced Coordination Required for Volunteer Groups: You should email both the Embassy of Nicaragua in the United States (asistente.emb@embanic.org) and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (enlace@cancilleria.gob.ni) to inform them of your trip if you are leading one of the following types of trips, even if your group has worked in Nicaragua previously or has a local office:

  • Volunteer mission,
  • Charitable or medical brigade (the latter also need permission from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health), or
  • Assistance visit organized by NGOs, religious groups, schools, or any other group doing this type of work in Nicaragua.

For the latest visa and entry requirements, visit the Embassy of Nicaragua or Nicaraguan Immigration websites (Spanish only).

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Nicaragua. 

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security
  • The Government of Nicaragua is authoritarian, limits freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, represses internal dissent, and monitors and responds to perceived threats to authority. Nicaragua’s Sovereign Security Law allows for discretionary interpretation of unlawful activities that threaten the peace and economic stability of Nicaragua.
  • Nicaraguan authorities may physically or electronically monitor, detain, deny entry to, expel, or question private U.S. citizens and U.S. government officials concerning their activities, including contact with Nicaraguan citizens. Particularly sensitive topics are:
    • The proposed interoceanic canal,
    • Elections, and
    • Criticism of the Government of Nicaragua. 
  • The government-controlled legal system can result in prolonged detentions of U.S. citizens without charges or due process. 
  • Demonstrations occur frequently throughout the country; in the past, these have turned violent. Avoid demonstrations and exercise caution around large gatherings.
  • Roads may be closed, and public transportation may be disrupted due to large crowds celebrating the following holidays:
    • Semana Santa (the week before Easter)
    • Repliegue Histórico a Masaya (early July)
    • July 19 celebration of the Sandinista Revolution
    • Celebration in Managua of Santo Domingo, the Patron Saint of the city (August 1st and August 10th)
    • Day of Nicaraguan Army (September 2)
    • Nicaraguan Independence Day (September 14 and 15)
    • Immaculate Conception (December 8). 

Crime: Violent crimes occur throughout Nicaragua. Vehicle burglaries, pick-pocketing, and occasional armed robberies occur in store parking lots, on public transportation, and in open-air markets like the Oriental and Huembes Markets in Managua. Street crime is also common in Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, El Transito, and the Corn Islands. Police presence is extremely limited outside of major urban areas. Due to the Caribbean Coast’s geographical isolation, we have limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there.   

  • Several U.S. citizens have been sexually assaulted in beach locations or at hotels.
  • There are no forensic doctors on the Corn Islands, so victims of violent crimes, including sexual assault, must travel to Bluefields at their own expense for medical examinations and collection of evidence. In several recent cases, police were reluctant to produce police reports or pursue charges. Please report such incidents to the Embassy.
  • Exercise extreme caution when renting or driving vehicles. In one common scam, “Good Samaritans” pull over to help change a flat tire. While the driver is distracted, an accomplice steals the driver’s possessions.    
  • U.S. government personnel are prohibited from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to high levels of crime and other illicit activity.
  • All travel by U.S. government personnel to the Northern and Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions must be pre-approved due to crime and transportation safety concerns.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes, including sexual assault, to the local police at 118 (Nicaraguan equivalent of “911,” in Spanish) or 101 (Tourist Emergency Hotline, English-speaking operators but only reachable from Claro cell phones) and contact the U.S. Embassy at 2252-7100. 

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Coastal Disputes: Be aware of the following border disputes:

  • Nicaragua and Colombia have an ongoing dispute over waters surrounding the San Andres Islands.
  • The Nicaraguan Navy has challenged vessels passing through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Nicaragua and Costa Rica have stationed security forces at Harbor Head (also called Isla Calero) at the eastern end of the San Juan River.
  • Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador have maritime and land disputes over islands and access to fishing rights in the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Coast, a closed sea under international law.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nicaragua are severe, even for possession of small amounts. 
  • Marijuana is illegal in Nicaragua, even with a prescription.

There are severe penalties, including imprisonment, for domestic violence, psychological abuse, and non-payment of child support.

Arrest Notification: Nicaraguan authorities frequently do not notify the Embassy when a U.S. citizen has been detained, especially if the arrestee has dual nationality. The Government of Nicaragua does not consider U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico to be U.S. citizens. If you are detained, ask police or prison officials and friends or family to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. After we learn of an arrest, it may be several days or weeks before the Government of Nicaragua permits us to visit. See our webpage for further information.

  • The legal system operates arbitrarily, which can result in prolonged detentions of U.S. citizens without charges or due process. 
  • Police and prison authorities have ignored or significantly delayed implementing judicial orders to release, deport, expel or transfer prisoners. 

Purchasing Property: Exercise extreme caution before investing in property. U.S. citizens have been arrested or threatened with violence as a result of property disputes. See our website for more information.

Beach Safety: Exercise caution at the beach; U.S. citizens have drowned in Nicaraguan lagoons and lakes and off the coasts. Warning signs are not posted, and lifeguards and rescue equipment are not readily available.  

Hiking in volcanic or remote areas is dangerous. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear and carry sufficient food, water, and communication equipment. If you travel to remote areas, hire a reputable local guide. Nicaraguan law requires tourists have a local guide for several volcanoes, including Volcan Maderas and Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island.

Disaster Preparedness: Nicaragua is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. If you are at a beach area when an earthquake occurs, move swiftly to higher ground (when safe to do so) to avoid any possible tsunami.

  • Nicaragua has several active volcanoes. Frequent seismic activity and/or eruptions can occur.
  • In the event of an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or other potential natural disaster, U.S. citizens should pay close attention to local media reports, follow the guidance of local authorities, and monitor the websites of the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (INETER) and the Nicaraguan Emergency Alert System (SINAPRED).
  • See the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for information about disaster preparedness.

Customs Regulations: U.S. citizens should contract well in advance of their visit with a recognized local customs broker for assistance; the Embassy is unable to assist with the customs or import process.

  • Nicaraguan customs officials routinely delay or block import of goods, including items intended for donation. 
  • Drones and similar devices or toys are not permitted and will be confiscated by Customs authorities. 
  • Approval from the Ministry of Health’s Pharmacy Department is required to import medicine, even for donation.  
  • If you are planning to bring vehicles or household goods, consult Nicaraguan customs officials prior to shipment.
  • When entering with your vehicle, you must have the original registration and title.
  • Before excavating archaeological materials or buying historical artifacts, you must consult with the National Patrimony Directorate of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture. Otherwise, severe criminal penalties may apply.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our website for details

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Nicaragua. While violence against LGBTI travelers is not common, widespread societal discrimination exists. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is limited or no accessibility on public transportation, including few sidewalks and road crossings. 

Nicaraguan law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, but in practice, such discrimination is widespread in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of state services.

Students: See our Students Abroad.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Only basic, limited emergency medical services are available in smaller towns and villages.

  • Ambulance services, where available, provide transportation and basic first aid only.
  • Physicians and hospital personnel frequently do not speak English.
  • Tap water is not reliably potable -- drink only purified bottled water.

 The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Mosquito-borne diseases (i.e., ZikaDengue fever and Chikungunya)
  • Upper respiratory viruses (i.e., Influenza)
  • Infectious bacterial diseases (i.e., Typhoid fever and Leptospirosis)
  • Intestinal illnesses (i.e., Giardia)

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's Pharmacy Department to ensure the medication is legal. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Many roads have potholes, and are poorly lit, narrow, and/or lack shoulders, and further damage occurs during the rainy season. Oxcarts, livestock, and pedestrians running across traffic are common, even on major roads. Most roads on the Caribbean Coast are unpaved. Road signs throughout the country are poor-to-non-existent. Road travel after dark is hazardous in all areas. Carry a cellular phone in case of emergency, and do not drive outside urban areas after dark.

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, wait for police to arrive and follow their instructions. Do not move your vehicle, unless a police officer tells you to do so, or you will be legally liable for the accident, whether or not you caused it.

Nicaraguan law requires that police take a driver into custody for:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (the legal limit is 0.05% blood alcohol content) or drugs and/or
  • Being involved in an accident that causes serious injury or death.

The minimum detention period is 48 hours. In fatal accidents, drivers are held until they reach an agreement with the victim’s family.

To avoid liability, consider hiring a professional driver through a reputable hotel. 

All drivers must carry (including in rental vehicles): 

  • driver’s license,
  • proof of insurance,
  • vehicle registration,
  • emergency triangle,
  • fire extinguisher, and
  • inspection and registration stickers 

Penalties for not having the above include fines and/or towing. For more information, check with the Nicaraguan National Police or the Embassy of Nicaragua.

Traffic Stops: Transit police often stop those in rental cars and with foreign license plates. 

  • If transit police demand a bribe in lieu of a fine, request a receipt and the officer's name and badge number. 
  • To report mistreatment by police, file a complaint with Nicaragua’s National Police and forward your complaint to the U.S. Consular Section in Managua
  • If you receive a traffic violation, police will confiscate your driver's license until you pay the fine at a bank. Foreigners are rarely able to recover their licenses in a timely manner. Consult the Nicaraguan National Police (in Spanish) for more information.

Public Transportation: Buses, mototaxis (caponeras), and ferries often lack proper safety equipment.

  • U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use public buses and mototaxis due to safety and crime concerns.
  • Use only licensed taxis recommended by airport authorities, major hotels, restaurants, or other trusted sources.
  • Exercise caution in the face of possibly overloaded or otherwise unsafe ferries and boats, and check with local naval or police authorities about the safety of being on the water in local weather conditions. Life vests and other safety equipment are often insufficient.

Airports in remote locales often have short airstrips, minimal safety equipment, and little boarding security.

See our Road Safety page for more information and the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism and National Transit Authority

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assessed the government of Nicaragua’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nicaragua’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Nicaragua should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (select “broadcast warnings”).

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
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 when 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.

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

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. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Nicaragua and from the United States to Nicaragua are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Nicaragua is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (“Hague Adoption Convention” or “Convention”).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 CFR, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Unless an exception applies, the UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as a primary provider in every orphan case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider.  Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information.  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600.  However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

Important Notice: The entire Nicaraguan adoption process timeframe – even when successful – is unpredictable and can take between nine months and two years. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to spend at least three to six months, and often much more, of that time physically present in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan law does not allow for a Nicaraguan child to travel to the United States to be adopted. Therefore, prospective adoptive parent(s) must obtain a full and final adoption under Nicaraguan law before the child can immigrate to the United States.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Family has a history of abrupt staffing changes and often requests additional documents from adoptive parents that were not initially required as part of the process. It is strongly suggested that adoption service providers acting as the primary provider in adoptions from Nicaragua work with a Nicaraguan attorney to assist them in keeping adoption cases on track because the Ministry of the Family will not communicate with foreign adoption service providers. Few Nicaraguan government officials speak English. A list of attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy in Managua is available on the Embassy’s website, and prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only). The administrative process that takes place in the Ministry of the Family, including the approval notice, is all free of charge.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Nicaragua, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Nicaragua must meet the following Nicaraguan requirements:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parent(s) who are U.S. citizens must meet one of the following criteria:
    • Possess Nicaraguan citizenship, OR
    • Have a permanent residence in Nicaragua and plan to remain in Nicaragua until the child reaches 21 years of age, OR
    • Have an approved I-600A or I-600 form.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be between 24 and 55 years of age and have a minimum 15-year age difference between the child and the adoptive parents.  However, the Ministry of the Family has been known to be flexible on these requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Marriage: Nicaragua currently only permits married heterosexual couples to adopt. 
  • Income: While Nicaragua’s family law does not specify a particular minimum income requirement, it does say that prospective adoptive parents need to present a job letter as evidence of their income, as well as savings account records or property titles, if they have any.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements imposed by Nicaragua:

  • Relinquishment: Nicaragua’s family law specifically requires that children be declared abandoned or neglected by a family court judge before being placed for adoption. As part of the abandonment process, some biological parents may sign a relinquishment letter at Nicaragua’s Ministry of the Family, but this alone is not sufficient for the child to be considered adoptable under Nicaraguan law.
  • Abandonment: As of July 2016, only children who have been declared abandoned or neglected by a Nicaraguan family court are eligible to be matched for adoption. Please contact Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family should you require more details on the criteria under which a child may be declared abandoned or neglected under Nicaraguan law.  Children who are residing with biological family members, including aunts, uncles, siblings, or grandparents, generally will not be declared abandoned. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that Nicaraguan law allows biological relatives up to 18 months, or until an adoption is finalized (whichever occurs first), to appeal an abandonment or neglect ruling. The final adoption decree can take more than six months in Nicaraguan courts, during which time any biological relative has the right to come forward and make a claim to the child.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Under Nicaraguan law, generally adoptions must be completed before the child turns 15 years old.  However, if the child has been under the care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least three years before turning 15, the adoption can be completed up until the time the child turns 18.

Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16, unless an exception applies (i.e., under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate as an orphan based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.

  • Sibling Adoptions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Nicaraguan adoption law generally requires a fostering period of at least three months in Nicaragua once a match is made, unless the Adoption Council requests a longer fostering period. During this time, prospective adoptive parent(s) are expected to live with and care for the child in Nicaragua.  Nicaraguan law prioritizes adoptions by Nicaraguan citizens, meaning that Nicaraguan parent(s) willing and eligible to adopt a child might jump to the head of the queue in front of non-Nicaraguans who may have already been waiting months to adopt a child. If adopting more than one child, you should ensure all paperwork for each child is filed simultaneously, or delays may occur.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely relinquish their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority:  Ministry of the Family (Mi Familia)

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Nicaragua generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Nicaragua
  5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Nicaragua, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic or public foreign authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA.  Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Nicaragua does not allow any foreign adoption service providers to work in the country. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents nearly always select a local attorney from the List Of Attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy to represent them in Nicaragua. Prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only).

2Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Nicaragua, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Nicaragua and U.S. immigration law. 

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.  Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, you may also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of the Family of Nicaragua to be found eligible to adopt by Nicaragua.

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family will verify that the prospective adoptive parents have been approved by USCIS to adopt a child from abroad and verify translated and notarized copies of the home study conducted in the United States. The Form I-600A approval is valid for 18 months from the approval date and can be extended once at no extra charge, prior to its expiration for an additional 18 months. If the adoption is not completed before the extension of the Form I-600A expires, the prospective adoptive parents will have to file a new Form I-600A and pay the fee.

If the Ministry of the Family determines that you are eligible to adopt, they will place you on a waiting list until an appropriate match is identified. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child, and must adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Nicaragua’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

4. Adopt the Child in Nicaragua

The process for finalizing the adoption in Nicaragua generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority
    • CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once all the relevant information is evaluated by Ministry of the Family adoption staff and necessary investigations performed, the case is presented to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción for a decision on the parent(s)' eligibility to adopt. At this time, they will match the parent(s) with a child eligible for adoption in Nicaragua. The Consejo de Adopción is comprised of 12 representatives from various governmental and non-governmental entities, including one adoptive parent, according to Nicaragua’s family law.
    • FOSTERING PERIOD: Once a match with a child is made, the prospective adoptive parent(s) will enter a mandatory three-month minimum fostering period in Nicaragua with the child, though the Adoption Council can request a longer fostering period. During this period, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must live with the child and provide all physical and emotional support for the child. Often parent(s) who are not normally resident in Nicaragua choose to stay in an extended-stay hotel in Nicaragua or rent a home. Delays are possible during this time period.
    • SECOND CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once the fostering period is successfully completed, the Consejo de Adopción will meet again for a final decision on the adoption. If the adoption is approved by the Ministry of the Family, it will move forward to court approval.
  • Role of the Court: The Nicaraguan court issues the final adoption decree. If the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption, the decision is then sent to a judge for further review. The judge has the authority to deny a case when there is a concern for the child's welfare and/or if a relative comes forward to claim guardianship, even after the court decree of abandonment is finalized. Typically it can take up to six months after the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption for the court to formally order the final adoption decree. 
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers:

Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. 

  • Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption; 
    2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption; 
    3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study; 
    4. Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child; 
    5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or 
    6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions

Please note that Nicaragua does not allow foreign adoption service providers to operate in the country.

  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents file an application with the Ministry of the Family stating their intent to adopt from Nicaragua.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Nicaragua take from nine months to two years to complete from the time a dossier is accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption is issued. 
  • Adoption Fees: The Ministry of the Family does not charge a fee for adoptions. Typical associated charges for the process will include personal legal fees and fees for obtaining notarized legal documents. These fees generally range from $1,500 to $3,000 USD. Additionally consider the cost of living in Nicaragua and potential time away from work during the required 3-month (minimum) fostering period in Nicaragua and the estimated six-month wait for the adoption to be finalized in court after the final council approval.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Nicaragua with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. For more information in this regard, please refer to information concerning the Complaint Registry.

Improper payments may violate applicable law or create the appearance of child buying, and could put all future adoptions in Nicaragua at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the UAA and IAA make certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent authority function, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

  • Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parents must provide originals or apostilled certified copies and two photocopies of all required documents to the Ministry of the Family. Documents must be translated into Spanish, and those issued in the United States (identified below with a *) must be authenticated and have an apostille. Required documents for the application to adopt in Nicaragua may include:
    • Notice of approval (I-171H) issued by USCIS
    • Home study 
    • Letter addressed to Directora General de Adopción (Director General for Adoptions) expressing interest in adopting a child in Nicaragua
    • Birth certificate(s) of prospective adoptive parent(s)*
    • Marriage certificate of prospective adoptive parent(s) (if applicable)*
    • Medical examination of prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Letter(s) of employment for prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Three letters of recommendation of moral and financial standing
    • U.S. police record (FBI fingerprints fulfill this requirement)
    • Psychological evaluation by a U.S.-based adoption agency and proof of the agency’s license (the home study meets this requirement)
    • Two 2" x 2" color photographs of prospective adoptive parent(s) with a white background
    • Completion of course for adoptive parents (takes place in the United States)
    • Letter from a U.S.-based adoption agency indicating that it will follow-up with the case in the United States once the adoption has been completed in Nicaragua. Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after the adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches 18 years of age.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  The United States and Nicaragua are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Nicaragua, USCIS must determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies.  For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, approval you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS National Benefits Center, the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your residence if living abroad, or  if eligible, in person at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS, the consular section in Managua, Nicaragua must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination) to verify the child’s orphan status. 

For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition.  Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take a few weeks to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Nicaragua, you will need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. When the final adoption decree is issued by the Nicaraguan court, you will be able to obtain a birth certificate (at least two original copies are recommended) from the Central Registry in Managua with the adoptive parent(s)’ surnames. The Civil Registry is located in the SERVIGOB building; the first certificate is free and the second costs C$ 35.00 (approximately $1 USD). Expedited, same-day service for birth certificate issuance is available at the Central Registry for C$120.00 (approximately $4 USD). You can also apply for a birth certificate on Fridays only at Hospital Bertha Calderon, Hospital Aleman Nicaraguense, Hospital Solidaridad, or Hospital Vivian Pellas for the same cost, with certificates available for pick-up the day after the application is made. It is recommended that you have the new birth certificate authenticated at the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  You should also receive a Decree of Abandonment for the child.

Nicaragua Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Nicaragua.

As soon as the new birth certificate has been issued, a passport should be obtained from Nicaraguan Immigration (approximately $50 USD). The normal turnaround time for a Nicaraguan passport is one to two weeks. Expedited same-day passport service is generally available for an extra charge (approximately $50 USD).  Parent(s) will also need to obtain an "exit visa" from Nicaraguan Immigration in order to leave the country with the child (approximately $20 USD). The Nicaraguan exit visa is valid for 30 days and parents should wait until after receiving the U.S. immigrant visa before applying for a Nicaraguan exit visa.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Managua. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Managua at Managuaconsularadoptions@state.gov for complete instructions regarding supporting documents required for the visa interview and to schedule the interview.                                                                                       

Visa issuance for children who are found eligible for a visa after the final interview generally takes two to three business days. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents will be told on the day of the interview when they can return to pick up the visa and immigration packet. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Managua before making final travel arrangements.

Bring Your Child Home

Once your child has received their passport and immigration packet, they are able to travel to the United States. DO NOT open the immigration packet. This packet will be opened at the port of entry by immigration officials once the adoptive parent(s) and child arrive in the United States.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Nicaragua

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Nicaragua, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency, or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Nicaragua, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches age 18. These reports need to be sent directly to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción.

We urge you to comply with Nicaragua’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Nicaragua’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Managua, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600 petition process.

The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Tel: 011 (505) 2252-7888
Fax: 011 (505) 2252-7304
Email: ManaguaConsularAdoptions@state.gov
Internet: https://ni.usembassy.gov/

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia)
De ENEL Central, 100 mts. Al Sur, Managua
Tel: 011 (505) 2270-2644
011 (505) 2278-1620
011 (505) 2278-5637

Embassy of Nicaragua
1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NM
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel: (202) 939-6531/32
Consular Section: Tel: (202) 939-6541
Fax: (202) 939-6574

Nicaragua also has consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, New York, and other cities.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email:  Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):

Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with a USCIS international field office: Please click here visit and select the appropriate office. 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available. Birth certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua. In cases where a birth was never registered, a Civil Judge may, after a lawyer has executed the proper documents and testimony taken from witnesses, issue a birth certificate which is inscribed in the Civil Registry. If an applicant was registered more than one year after the date of birth, an "onlyness" certificate of birth (certificado unico o constancia unica de nacimiento) will be required. If there has been a rectification or recognition registered, the applicant will also need to provide a literal birth certificate, which lists all of the changes made to the registration of birth. In cases in which the relationship or identity of the applicant is in doubt, a baptism certificate may be requested as secondary evidence. Such a certificate must prove that the record of birth was entered in the record book for the year in which the baptism took place; the document should be authenticated by the Chancery of the Catholic Church in Managua, Nicaragua. A Supletoria of baptism is not acceptable.

Death and Burial Certificates 

Available. Death certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua.

Note: Within Nicaragua, the signature and seal of the Civil Registrar serve to authenticate any document issued by that office in an official capacity and gives the document the force of a "public instrument" in the courts. If destined for use abroad, the signature of a Civil Registrar appearing on a document may be authenticated by the Central Registry in Managua, Nicaragua. The signature of the Central Registry Director is authenticated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. If deemed necessary, the signature of the Minister for Foreign Affairs may be authenticated by the Embassy in Managua. Birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates are not considered legal unless certified under the signature and official seal of the respective Civil Registrar.

Records in the Central Registry in Managua are maintained for the entire country and are stored on microfilm. These microfilm records were not destroyed during the 1972 earthquake nor the civil strife in 1979. Documents issued in Nicaragua by the ecclesiastical authorities are not considered government documents; in Nicaragua, the Church and State are separate. There is no limitation with respect to the availability of any document because of sex or age.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Available. Marriage and divorce certificates must be obtained from the Central Registry in Managua.

Note: Within Nicaragua, the signature and seal of the Civil Registrar serve to authenticate any document issued by that office in an official capacity and gives the document the force of a "public instrument" in the courts. If destined for use abroad, the signature of a Civil Registrar appearing on a document may be authenticated by the Central Registry in Managua, Nicaragua. The signature of the Central Registry Director is authenticated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. If deemed necessary, the signature of the Minister for Foreign Affairs may be authenticated by the Embassy in Managua. Birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates are not considered legal unless certified under the signature and official seal of the respective Civil Registrar.

Records in the Central Registry in Managua are maintained for the entire country and are stored on microfilm. These microfilm records were not destroyed during the 1972 earthquake nor the civil strife in 1979. Documents issued in Nicaragua by the ecclesiastical authorities are not considered government documents; in Nicaragua, the Church and State are separate. There is no limitation with respect to the availability of any document because of sex or age.

Nicaraguan citizens may obtain evidence of relationship status by obtaining a Certification of Unmarried Status (Certificado de Soltería). The Certification of Unmarried Status certifies that there are no marriages registered in Nicaragua. The individual must first make a statement before a public notary or attorney, attesting to their civil status. They then present the notarized statement with a request for the certificate at the municipal registry. Once the individual receives the certificate from the municipal registry, s/he must present it to the NCCR. The NCCR then issues the Certification. Only the NCCR-issued Certification is acceptable for visa-issuing purposes.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Applicants must supply a police record certificate from their local police department and from any location where they have lived for more than six months after the age of 16. Applicants must also provide police records from other countries if they resided there for more than one year after the age of 16. Police records in Nicaragua are only valid for 60 days, so applicants must be sure to have a valid record police record on file.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update

Other Records

Not applicable

Visa Issuing Posts

Managua, Nicaragua (Embassy)

Address:
APO AA 3402l-3240

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Nicaragua.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-6531 (202) 939-6570 (202) 939-6574 (202) 939-6545

Houston, TX (713) 789-2762 (713) 789-3164

Los Angeles, CA (213) 252-1170 (213) 252-1175 (323) 370-0459 (213) 252-1176/1177

Miami, FL (305) 265-1415 (305) 265-1780

New York, NY (212) 986-6562 (212) 983-2646

San Francisco, CA (415) 765-6821 (415) 765-6823 (415) 765-6825 (415) 765-6826

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 Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.