What to do when a U.S. citizen dies in Granada, Nicaragua

By Diane Laughter

This was the process we went through when my mother passed away February 2016. Hope it can be a help to others.

Step 1: Have a physician examine the deceased and issue a “Dictamen Medico Legal Post Mortem Preliminar.”

Step 2: Have the police come and issue an “Acta de Entrega de Cadaver.”

Step 3: Go to the Ministerio de Salud (Health Ministry) located next to the gas station close to the main Mercado and the bus station to Rivas. It is part of the national system of vital statistics.

Take with you:

  • Dictamen Medico Legal Post Mortem Preliminar
  • Acta de Entrega de Cadaver
  • Official IDs of the deceased and the person submitting the paperwork
  • Two witnesses for the deceased
  • Names of deceased parents, place of birth The Ministerio de Salud will issue a “Constancia de Defuncion” (notice of death). There is a nurse on duty that does the paperwork and she finds a doctor to officialize. This could take several hours.

Step 4: Arrange with a funeral home in Managua. The US Embassy has a list on their website.

According to Nicaragaun law the funeral home needs:

  • Constancia de Defuncion
  • Copies of IDs of the deceased and the person submitting documents • Copies of cedulas of the two witnesses, signed by the witnesses
  • Visa card #

Step 5: Go to Alcadia (City Hall) on Parque Central to obtain the official Nicaraguan death certificate. This will take two trips, drop off one day and pick up the next.

Take with you:

  • Constancia de Defuncion – (Be sure to make a copy before you go. Alcadia retains the original and you will need a copy at the embassy)
  • Official IDs of the deceased and the person submitting the paperwork
  • Cordobas to pay for the form (not expensive)

Step 6: Make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Managua by writing an email to ACS.managua@state.gov (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). Phone number is 2252-7100. They will issue a “Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen or Non-Citizen National Abroad.” This is the form you need to make insurance claims, close accounts and report the death in the U.S.

By Diane Laughter

P.S. Always have a Nicaraguan will since foreign wills are not recognized.

Here is an older article on procedures for handling a death in Nicaragua:


One Comment

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