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Driving in Nicaragua
 

Regulations governing transit are administered by the National Police’s Central Transit Bureau.  For specific information concerning Nicaraguan driver’s licenses, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please refer to the National Police web site at http://www.policia.gob.ni.  You may also contact the Embassy of Nicaragua or a Nicaraguan Consulate for further information.

The information listed below is merely a sketch of the process and may not be entirely up-to-date given the frequency with which regulations change. Specific questions should be directed to the Nicaraguan government.

Every district in Nicaragua has a local transit bureau office – sometimes co-located at the police station – for issuing driver’s licenses and license plates. 

If you are in the Managua area, you may consider processing your initial papers at the SERVIGOB (“Government Services”) building where the majority of public services are housed.  Payments and exams are conducted relatively quickly. SERVIGOB also provides notary services for legal documents.

Address of SERVIGOB: de la rotonda de Plaza Inter, 1 ½ C. al norte, mano derecha (close to the Vice Presidencial offices)

Nicaraguan Driver’s Licenses
Short-term tourists who have a valid U.S. license are generally exempt from needing a Nicaraguan driver’s license.  However, U.S. citizens who are Nicaraguan residents are required to have one.

General steps for a new driver’s license:

  • Copy of your passport or Nicaraguan Resident Card.
  • To be Older than 21 year old.
  • Certificate of approval of the theoretical- practical exams realized by the Transit Police Station Office and/or any Center authorize by them.
  • Certificate of examinations of the vision and the Blood type, with the recent date, both emitted by the Nicaraguan Red Cross.
  • License Insurance policy.
  • BANPRO (Bank of Production) deposit's slip of payment of C$120.00 cordobas in account number 100-10000025581-5. This is the account of the National Police and there should be deposit slips for this at the counter of the bank.
  • Present current driver's license still good for driving or less than a year of expiration.
  • Present certification from your Embassy of the type of license that you own and the type of vehicle that you can drive with it.*

* Unfortunately, our office cannot provide this certification of the type of license that you own. The Nicaraguan Police Department has been known to accept a sworn statement like this one notarized by a consular official, where the license's owner states the types of vehicles he/she can drive.  You can prepare this statement before you come to our office, but  please wait to sign in front of the consular officer. Sample Sworn Statement

Note that Nicaraguan driver’s licenses feature a photo, blood type, name, passport number, and emergency contact information, but not a date of birth.  A driver’s license is not accepted as an official identification document in Nicaragua.  Only passports and cédulas serve this function.

Vehicle Permits
Nicaraguan law allows tourists to enter the country with their vehicles on the assumption that they will take their vehicles with them when they go. One important note is that Nicaraguan customs does not permit the entry of vehicles which are ten years old or older.  For additional information please contact Nicaraguan Customs.

Vehicle Insurance
All vehicles must have local third-party liability insurance. This is available through several local companies for between $120 and $240 per year, depending on the amount of coverage purchased.  Many U.S. citizens take out more comprehensive insurance from U.S. firms for additional protection

Road Conditions
For information on road conditions in Nicaragua, please see the Our Country Specific Information for Nicaragua and our Warden Announcements.