U.S. citizens may enter Nicaragua without a visa and remain in the country as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days per trip, but must purchase a tourist card upon arrival (US$10). If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country. You may be asked to present proof of onward travel and/or proof of sufficient funds (US$200 in cash, or a credit card) upon arrival. If you have no onward travel ticket, you’ll may be asked to buy a plane ticket to exit the country before 90 days.
Nicaragua visa overstays are policed. A daily fine is imposed on any visitor overstaying the length of his original tourist card and you won’t be able to leave the country until you pay it and you may be subject to detention.
You have a country that offers investor tax incentives and a competitive retiree residency program launched in 2010. You can qualify for pensionado residency status (and all accompanying benefits) in this country with an income of as little as US$600—this is the lowest qualifying income for a pensionado visa in the world.
Nicaragua’s pensionado program is among the world’s best, with multiple benefits, and it only requires you to be older than 45 and have passive monthly income of more than US$650. Pensionado visa holders can bring in or purchase locally a new auto duty-free every four years, import personal and household goods up to US$20,000 duty-free, build a home, and pay no sales taxes on all materials (saves 15%).
To qualify, you must be at least 45 years old and show only US$600 in monthly pension or US$750 in monthly nonpension income, plus an extra US$150 per dependent. To retain your pensionado residency, you must be in the country for six months out of the year.
A noteworthy thing from a residency point of view is that it’s easy to establish here even if you’re not retired and even if you don’t have a pension.
In addition to its pensionado program, Nicaragua also offers what’s called a rentista visa. To qualify for this, you only need to prove income (from any source… could be investment dividends or interest payments, for example) of US$750 per month. The minimum age to qualify for rentista residency is 45.
Residency in Nicaragua can lead to naturalization in this country. For citizens of other Central American countries (or any other country with which Nicaragua has signed a dual-citizenship agreement) a second passport and dual citizenship can be obtained, but U.S. citizens are not applicable.