Living in Nicaragua is wonderful. However, one inconvenient thing about living here is that every 90 days Quinn and I have to renew our visas because we are not residents of Nicaragua. After living in Laguna de Apoyo for a few months we unfortunately lost track of time and realized we had been here four days over our 90 day limit and knew there was going to be a penalty. We had to get our passports stamped ASAP so this time, rather than going down to Costa Rica again (a 3 hour trip form Masaya), we decided to head to Managua (only 20 mis away) to get this taken care of at the mall called Metro Centro.
After two quick bus rides from Masaya, we arrived at the front of the mall. We walked right in and found the immigration center in the middle of the shopping center. The line was out the door, but we figured it was going to be faster than it was last time when we waiting in line at the boarder.
After waiting in line for 20 minutes, we finally got inside. The security guard asked if we had copies of our passport photo page, entrance stamp sheet and if we had filled out the immigration office form. We of course didn’t have any of those things, so we purchased the form (only C$5) and went next door to the office supply store to make copies of our passports (each copy only C$1). We jumped back in line and quickly filled out our paperwork.
When we got to the government officer we were informed that it was C$500 ($21) for each additional 30 days we wanted to stay here with a maximum of 90 days. We also had to pay a penalty fee of C$50 ($2.10) for each day that we were over our previous 90 days, so our penalty was C$200 ($8.40) for the four days. We eventually got everything stamped and approved and then jumped on the micro-bus the head back to Masaya.
We were back in Masaya by 2pm. It was much faster, but slightly more expensive than going down to visit Costa Rica for three days. However, if you calculate what we would have spent in those 3 days visiting Costa Rica (hostel, food, transportation), the trip across the boarder would have probably been more expensive. We really recommend that anyone who is considering living abroad for over a month should do as much research as possible on the visa laws and what is involved in getting them renewed or extended. In Nicaragua its pretty straight forward and relatively easy.
Now that we were in Masaya we had to find a place for us to live for the next few months and really get the ball rolling on what we are most passionate about: our business, LOOTB.
The article in photos: