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Registering a car – an expat experience in Nicaragua

We needed to register a car that we purchased from another expat earlier, from Managua.

We purchased the vehicle under the company name since neither of us have residency papers. This is one way to bypass the requirement of having residency papers. We first looked for a list of places we could get our vehicle tested for smog and mechanical checked. We selected a place in Masaya, a list of other places you can get this done can be found here: its best to call ahead to see if they are busy. No waiting in line here in Masaya. Took us 20 minutes to get all tests performed and pay C$550.00 for two documents: “Certificado de emisiones” and “inspeccion tecnica mecanica vehicular”.

Next we needed insurance coverage, so we got quotes from 2 companies and decided to go with Lafise, since they were lower priced and we bank with them. We needed to bring many documents to get the car insured, I recommend you make a copy of all the following documents and bring originals:

Company registration documents

RUC for the company

City inscription of the company


Drivers license (US)

Documents of previous owner – drivers license and passport

Circulacion Vehuclar

Purchase contract

With that we received a new insurance card. Make sure the insurance provider has correct VIN number on all paperwork.

Off to Managua to DGI Catastro to pay transfer fee for the purchase of the vehicle. We had all the paperwork above including the insurance policy/card. Again, make copies of all the document. Not to worry if you forget to make copies I got mine done in one of the casitas (small vendor sheds) where we also purchased a timbre (stamp) so we could do business at DGI. It cost C$50 for the stamp and C$20 for overhead for seller. We had to place our name on another form, and we waited 30 minutes for our name to be called. We sat with an official who reviewed our documents, and told us to return at 3 pm for the DGI assessment papers. At 330pm we finally received our papers from DGI where they assessed us the purchased value of the vehicle and we had to pay a 1% assessed value in taxes.

We went to BDF bank to pay the assessment of 1%, and received a paid receipt.

We were too late to go to police department so we went back the following day.

At the transit (transito) police department, first thing you need to do is go to the bank and pay the transit and cedula and change of ownership fees. It was a total of C$600.00. We had a long line but we completed this task with no issues in 1 hour. Than off to the City (Alcaldia) to get a car sticker. Since this is a company car we paid C$150.00 – double check again that the VIN is correct on the receipt you receive, we had to return since it was done incorrect. The normal fee for personnel car is C$100.00.