Getting Nicaraguan Residency: The Police Record
First off all remember that I am not a lawyer or authority, I do not give legal advice and everything here is based on my personal experiences and investigations. For legal advice you should talk to a lawyer.
The impossible Police Record
It’s number 6 on the Requisitos para Solicitud de Residencia and required by everyone. Here is what it says in Spanish and then in English:
6) Certificado de Antecedentes Penales emitido por la autoridad competente del pais de origen o de residencia de los ultimos tres anos, autenticado por el Ministero de Relaciones Exteriores y por el Consulado de Nicaragua en su pais de origen y autenticar en Cancilleria de Nicaragua o en su defecto el certificado del Interpol Nicaragua. Los menores de 18 anos son exentos de este requisito. (Apostilla en su caso)
6) Certificate of Criminal Record issued by the competent authority of the country of origin or of residence for the last three years, authenticated by the Ministry of Relaciones Exteriores ( MINREX ) and by the Consulate of Nicaragua en your country of origin (in the USA, England, Germany, France, sorry Canada) and authenticate en the Cancilleria de Nicaragua or, failing that, a certificate from Interpol Nicaragua. Minors under 18 are exempt from this requirement. (Apostille en their case)
Wow, what? Well, relax, it sounds harder than it really is. All it says is that you need to get you police record from your local police department in the city in which you reside in your home country. That’s as easy as calling up the police department and asking how to get your police record. They will tell you since it is a common procedure; half the jobs in the United States require one nowadays.
Once you have that in your hands you will need to get it stamped by the Nica consulate. THIS MAY NOT BE REQUIRED now that apostille stamps are being used…I will try to research this next week and update the post. Then once you arrive in Nicaragua, you will have to take it to the Cancilleria of Nicaragua, located in downtown Managua, to get it authenticated to prove you didn’t draw the stamps on with crayon.
If you are already in the country, a police record issued by INTERPOL will work. And it isn’t that hard to get. Here is what I did and how you too should do it:
1. Call INTERPOL at 2278-6225 and verify all the requirements to get your antecedentes penales. Ask them something like, “cuales son los requisitos para sacar mi certificado de antecedentes penales para obtener la residencia?” They will then go down the list telling you what you need. I doubt it has changed, so the following is what I needed and what you can expect.
2. A passport-sized photo
3. Passport for them to skim through (they won’t keep it).
4. Photocopy in color of every page in your passport, stamped or not (I had only the Nica stamps and they told me I had to go back and get the rest, though with some pleading they did finally accept what I had).
5. Photocopy in color of your drivers license or identification card issued by your home country.
6. Deposit $30 in the Bancentro account 101617335 (verify with the lady at the bank that it is the INTERPOL account) and carry the receipt with your other papers to show them that you paid.
The INTERPOL office is only open between 8am – 11am and 2pm – 4:30pm, but that doesn’t mean they will answer the phone. Don’t be surprised to have to call several times before they pick up.
The office is in the 3rd floor of the Policia Nacional, edificio Faustino Ruiz. The entrance is guarded so you have to talk to the girls at the counter and tell them you are going to deliver your papers to the INTERPOL office. They will probably act indifferent and bored and will eventually ask for you to leave your license with them before you enter the building. When they do let you pass you have to walk left through the parking lot to the big building, go in ignoring the information desk and go up the elevator to the 3rd floor. From there walk around to the left and down the hall. You should see a door, probably closed, that should say INTERPOL. Just walk in like you own the place and tell one of the officers what it is you need. That’s right, do it Nica style.
They will then sit you down and go through your papers and probably ask a few general questions. My guy was a young guy and was all business. He didn’t find any of my jokes funny. He asked me if I had ever been arrested in back home. No, of course not I said. He looked me in the eye and asked me if I was sure. Yeah, I was sure. You sure? Pues si hombre, I told him. Una vez me paro para conducir con alta velocidad pero solo me dio una multa y ya! He pulled out a form and helped me fill it out, took my fingerprints and told me to call them in a week.
Four phone calls and two weeks later it was ready to go pick up.
Importante: Make sure this is your last paper than you need to get because the police record expires after three months of issue! If you turn it in to immigration with only a few days remaining before it expires, don’t be surprised if they make you get a new one.
By the way if anyone would like help with their residency process my wife and I might be available. While we don’t pretend to be lawyers by any stretch of the imagination, we do have experience in residency, can translate Spanish and can offer rides here in Managua to get stuff done. Any legal advice is better given by a lawyer and there are links to a few through our friends at nicaraguadispatch.com, nicaragua-community.com and nicaliving.com.
Feel free to contact me here.