Moving to Nicaragua and Becoming a Resident    

By Julie Goodliffe

Like lots of people facing retirement, we carefully explored our options. We are Australians and Australia is the second most expensive country in which to live – it’s poisonously expensive. Certainly it’s a great country with all the “freedoms” of a modern democracy; ie the freedom to do exactly what one is told.

We spent twelve years sailing our yacht around the world so living abroad was normal for us and we almost always felt very free. Most Australians moving abroad , move to various SE Asian countries or Vanuatu, a nearby tax haven. We have spent a lot of time in those regions and nothing about them would inspire us to retire there. In fact in most of the popular places, foreigners are not permitted to own property. However, when we came to Latin America we looked into retirement in various countries. Ultimately, we chose Nicaragua because of the diversity of the country, its safety and nice property was legally available though we did look at Spain (EU too many rules and taxes).

Hence we bought a property and prepared to move here and become legal residents. Firstly we contacted a lawyer regarding the residency process but somehow our emails went into spam and we weren’t getting any response. At around that time, we saw Patricia Sanchez mentioned on Nica Nuggets as a possible resindency facilitator so we contacted her. She immediately responded and guided us through the process.

Having the correct documents, properly notarized and apostiled in the country of origin is of paramount importance for a smooth process. This can be tedious! In our case it was extra tedious because my husband was born in England, so he had to send his birth certificate to England to be apostiled. As we were married in Reno, Nevada, we had to apply for a certified copy of our marriage certificate, then send it to the Secretary of State of Nevada for an apostile (cost $20.00)

Apart from the documents already mentioned, we needed a police clearance, a medical certificate, proof of income and my husband’s original naturalization certificate. Any documents not signed by a government official need to be signed by a public notary (at least in Australia) before they can be apostiled. The cost in Australia is $69.00 per page for a notary and $69.00 per page for the apostile.

Patricia met us on our first day here, checked everything was in order and took our documents which she translates as part of the service. She then works with a lawyer and within a couple of weeks we accompanied her to immigration to present the documents. At about two months, we went with her for another interview and our residency was approved with cedula pending. Before our six months was up, cedula (6000 cords each) was available.

Patricia’s fees were very reasonable; we paid 50% when we handed over the documents and the balance when the documents were presented. She would have accompanied us to the immigration office at Metro Centro to renew our visas at 90 days, but we chose to do it ourselves. She was with us every step of the way and we can highly recommend her. Her email address is  and phone 8950-8211.

She can also do your customs shipment and adoptions.

Just remember, though, if your documents are not in order , she can’t do miracles.

People ask if we are happy with our choice to make Nicaragua our home – the answer is a big resounding  YES! We actually had a couple of medical emergencies which I think were dealt with promptly and in the case of my husband, possibly saving his life. But that’s another story for another day!

Also, for all those people who lament about some of the challanges – this place is a walk in the park compared to some countries.

Julie Goodliffe


  1. Lorine

    January 5, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Julie, welcome to the lovely rural area we call home! We live about a km or 2 from you….we had a similar experience and the volumes of paperwork required are, as you mentioned, better to navigate with an experienced guide. We were referred to an attorney in Managua by friends and she had our residency completed in a little less than a month! She helped us to get a bank account and post pago cell phones…all of which were so needed! And the prices were quite reasonable, as well as the hand holding kept us sane! We navigated the renewal process (every 5 years) on our own and it was not too bad…

    • David

      January 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Dear Lorine,
      I am David, and I saw your comment on the Nicaragua Community article.
      Can you please share the contact details of the attorney in Managua that helped you get the residency papers?
      Many thanks,

      • Lorine

        January 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm

        I am looking it up tomorrow…my email to contact me directly is

        The file is inaccessible right now…please nag me if you do not hear from me tomorrow!

      • Lorine

        January 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

        (885) 656-41
        Mercedes Cortez Stubbert

        The attorney that did a great job!

  2. NicaDean

    January 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    I contacted Patrica and she did not answer my questions about the process to my satisfaction.
    $500 US is a lot of money in Nicaragua, most people do not make that in a month. How much time do you think she puts into this besides translating documents? What qualifications does she have, she is not a lawyer? Does she have an office? I learned you can do it yourself if you can speak Spanish. Someone should publish and/or sell a step by step guide. Are you listening Darrel?

  3. raphael t

    January 8, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Julie, thanks for some good info. It conforms to what I learned from other sources. Anyone who has been involved in the residency process in other Latin countries will view the process in Nica as both fair in cost and length of time. Enjoy your new life. Raphael

  4. Casey

    January 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    That’s good info, thanks for printing the article.

    Funny you should mention it, NicaDean, I am actually working on a step-by-step guide. I received my residency in August and, once you have gotten your papers in order, all there is to do is turn them in and wait. The problem lies in getting all the papers in order.

    I can’t say when I will have the complete guide ready…my hope is to answer any question anyone might ever have about getting their residency. In the meantime I have some info that I have published in my website about getting residency without having to leave the country.

    You can find a link on my resources page:

  5. ecografia 4D

    April 9, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Buen artículo. Siempre es bueno tener presente estos
    consejos. Un saludo y gracias.

  6. ecografia 4d explicación

    April 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Me quedo con esto:
    Tomar la decisión de tener un hijo es trascendental.
    Se trata de decidir que tu corazón caminará siempre fuera
    de tu cuerpo – E. Stone
    Ya sea que tu embarazo fuera planeado meticulosamente, que el médico te convenció o que pasara por sorpresa, una cosa es cierta: tu vida nunca será la misma – Catherine Jones 🙂 ¡Un saludo!