ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is required to enter Nicaragua. Although there is a bilateral agreement that waives the six-month validity passport requirement, U.S. citizens are urged to ensure that their passports are valid for the length of their projected stay in the country before traveling. U.S. citizens must have an onward or return ticket and evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens; however, a tourist card must be purchased ($5.00) upon arrival. Tourist cards are typically issued for 30 to 90 days. A valid entry stamp is required to exit Nicaragua. Pay attention to the authorized stay that will be written into your entry stamp by the immigration inspector. Visitors remaining more than the authorized time must obtain an extension from Nicaraguan Immigration. Failure to do so will prevent departure until a fine is paid.
There is also a $32 departure tax, the payment of which may or may not be included in your ticket. If not, payment can be made at the ticket counter.
In June 2006, Nicaragua entered a "Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement" with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Under the terms of the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at Immigration checkpoints. U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals, who legally enter any of the four countries, may similarly travel among the four without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries. Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum period of 90 days. Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the four-country region beyond the period initially granted for their visit are required to request a one-time extension of stay from local Immigration authorities in the country where the traveler is physically present, or travel outside the CA-4 countries and reapply for admission to the region. Foreigners "expelled" from any of the four countries are excluded from the entire "CA-4" region. In isolated cases, the lack of clarity in the implementing details of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to some travelers and has resulted in others being fined more than one hundred dollars or detained in custody for 72 hours or longer.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Nicaragua is a struggling democracy with a developing economy. On November 5, 2006, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega won the Presidential elections after sixteen years in the opposition. Many foreign governments and relief organizations provide economic assistance to Nicaragua and numerous individuals (official and non-official) from the United States and the rest of the developed world work on community-based projects throughout the country. Violent crime has not been a historical problem, but the strength of criminal enterprises appears to be growing.
On January 31, 2008, the U.S. Government phased in new travel requirements for U.S. citizens traveling in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. citizen adults traveling by air, land and sea are required to enter the United States on a valid U.S. passport or other authorized document establishing identity and U.S. citizenship. (The U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site at http://www.cbp.gov/ has more information on U.S. entry requirements.) The Department of State strongly encourages travelers to obtain passports well in advance of any planned travel. Routine passport applications by mail can take a couple of weeks to be issued.
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or traveling in Nicaragua are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Nicaragua. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Kilometer 5 1/2 (5.5) Carretera Sur, Managua; telephone (505) 252-7100 or 252-7888; after hours telephone (505) 252-7634; Consular Section fax (505) 252-7304; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or ACS.Managua@state.gov; web page: http://nicaragua.usembassy.gov