Six months ago, the Central American Republic of Nicaragua was rarely recommended as a choice for second citizenship. How things have changed; suddenly, Nicaragua is a country with a bright future, and its citizenship seems to be one of the hottest tickets in town. So what happened?
Here’s an interesting piece from The Passport Reviewer.
Nicaragua is a Central American Republic with a population of 6.2 million people, a third of which inhabit the capital city Managua. A Spanish colony until gaining its independence in 1821, Nicaragua borders Costa Rica and Honduras, and has coastlines to both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
For almost 30 years (1962-1990) Nicaragua was embroiled in what was officially called a “Revolution”, but in reality was more like a Civil War. On one side was the government, while on the other was the left-wing Sandinista movement. As was often the case during the politically charged, Cold-War era in which the conflict took place in, both sides had their international supporters in terms of sympathizers, donations, aid and of course “military advisers”, including the USSR, the USA, Israel, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Mexico. The Sandinistas finally overthrew the government in 1979, but after 10 years of rule, they themselves were ousted when the country introduced free democratic elections, although they have since been re-elected in to office.
To sports fans, Nicaragua is famous for its many baseball players including MLB stars Dennis Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Wilton Lopez, J.C. Ramirez and Vincent Padilla, and boxers like the late Alexis Arguello – rated as one of the greatest of all time, the colorful and controversial Ricardo Mayorga and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, regarded by many as the current pound-for-pound world no.1.
Current Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega (pictured) is a member of the FSLN Sandinista party, but he has proved to be a popular, forward thinking leader who has led his country through its greatest period of economic stability in decades, and Nicaragua currently has the fastest rising economy in Central America at 4.7% GDP. It was Ortega who in 2013 gave the go-ahead for development to begin on the Nicaragua Canal, a vast project that will do a similar job to the current Panama Canal – in effect linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for shipping – but on a much larger scale. The cost of the new canal will be some $50 billion, money already promised by a Chinese consortium.
Work on the Nicaragua Canal is set to begin in late 2017, and could be finished by as soon as 2021. The canal will dramatically change the fortunes of Nicaragua and turn them from one of the poorer Central American nations into one of the wealthiest and most influential countries in all of Latin America. It is therefore great time for foreign investors to check out Nicaragua both as location to invest money, but also as a location for second citizenship and a powerful passport.
Traditionally the Nicaraguan economy was based primarily on its agriculture and resulting food production, but in recent years its services industries (commerce, bars, restaurants and hotels, arts and entertainment, health, education, transportation, finance, banking, information technology, telecommunications etc.) has steadily grown and now accounts for more than half of the country’s economy.
The most exciting and rapidly growing sector of the Nicaraguan economy is its tourism industry, which is now the country’s second-biggest moneymaker behind services. President Daniel Ortega has often stated that tourism is his country’s main tool in the fight against poverty. The annual increase in tourism has had a knock-on effect in stimulating the agricultural, finance, commercial and construction industries also. In 2010 Nicaragua was receiving around 1 million tourists per year, and in 2017 that figure could double, which could generate up to $1 billion in revenue.
Nicaragua is rapidly gaining a glowing reputation among tourists for its beautiful beaches, fabulous rainforests, exotic plant and wildlife, its landscapes, friendly locals and culture. As well as its beaches (which cater for every level of water sport) and rainforests, tourists enjoy exploring Nicaragua’s scenic routes, either in an off-road vehicle or on horseback. They are wowed by the old Spanish-style colonial architecture of cities such as León and Granada.
No trip to Nicaragua is complete without paying a visit to “La Isla Ometepe”. Ometepe (“Two Mountains”) is an island in Lake Nicaragua known for its twin volcanoes. Ecotourists love Ometepe for its ancient archeology, ceramics and petroglyphs (dating back to AD 1350), its rainforest that contains wild capuchin and mantled howler monkeys, and its unspoiled, virtually undisturbed, non-commercialized peace and tranquility.
Lake Nicaragua is itself something to see, the largest lake in Central America and 19th largest in the world, and the largest source of pure fresh water in Latin America.
- Official Language: Spanish
- Capital City: Managua
- Largest City: Managua (Pop: 2.2 million)
- Surface Area: 130,000 km
- Religion: Catholic
- Population: 6.2 million
- Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
- Legal system: Civil law
- Currency: Nicaraguan Córdoba
- GDP per capita: $14,185
- Climate: A tropical climate with two seasons – the dry season (January to June) and the rainy season
HOW TO BECOME A NICARAGUAN CITIZEN
Until recently* the only way to gain Nicaraguan citizenship was by first becoming a resident, and after a period of residency (three to five years) an investor can begin the process of applying for full Nicaraguan citizenship. To become a Nicaraguan resident an individual must make a financial investment.
There are two investment options available:
Corporate Investment: An investor would need to make a US$100,000 investment into the country via a Nicaraguan “Sociedad Anónima” corporation
Real Estate Purchase: An investor would need to purchase real estate in Nicaragua for a minimum value of US$100,000
The Nicaraguan passport is ranked in the Top 50 Most Powerful Passports in the World, and has visa-free access to 112 countries including the 26 Schengen Zone nations, the UK and Moscow.
Nicaragua is a marvelous country blessed with natural resources including beautiful beaches, fabulous rainforests packed with an abundance of wonderful wildlife, not to mention the native Nicaraguans who remain perfectly charming and friendly and immensely hospitable despite the hardship and turmoil that many of them have lived through.
Nicaragua has many of the qualities that have made next-door-neighbor Costa Rica so beloved and in-vogue in recent years, both geographically and in the mentality of its people, and in fact, Nicaragua has been branded “The New Costa Rica” by multiple news and tourism websites for some time now.
The arrival of the Nicaraguan Canal will be a massive economical “shot in the arm” for the nation and its people, and will surely turn Nicaragua into a major player internationally. But if any Central American country deserves a slice of good fortune after suffering decades of turmoil – it’s surely Nicaragua.