Nicaragua - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2020-08-21

An importer must present the following documentation to the Nicaraguan Customs Authority (known by its Spanish initials DGA):

  • bill of lading
  • packing list
  • original invoice
  • declaration of invoice authenticity
  • permits issued by Nicaraguan authorities (if necessary, see below)
  • certificate of origin (to determine applicability of CAFTA-DR and other trade agreements)

Importers must also register as a taxpayer with the Nicaraguan Tax Authority (known by its Spanish initials DGI).  Once importers have a tax identification number, they must register it with DGA, which also requires importers to present proof of fiscal solvency on a monthly basis.

Donations

The process for sending donations to Nicaragua includes requesting authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Relations.  The donating organization may wish to hire a local customs broker familiar with Nicaragua’s customs procedures to ensure that the donation is not lost or mishandled.  Customs may seize and auction off a shipment if it is not removed from their warehouses after 20 days, but the importer can pay a fine to prevent it from being auctioned. 

Food and Beverages

The Ministry of Health Food Inspection Office oversees import permits for food and beverages.  All imports of non-processed food must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural Health and Sanitation Office.  If a product is imported in bulk and then packaged in Nicaragua, the importer must present a phytosanitary or sanitary certificate from both the country of origin and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health Food Inspection Office.  The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade issues import licenses for sugar.

Medicines and Cosmetics

The Ministry of Health Pharmaceutical Office oversees import permits for medicines, cosmetics, and hygiene products.  Importers must present documentation demonstrating safety and effectiveness and pay fees to obtain a sanitary registration.  Importers must also pay fees for laboratory analysis, and this fee varies if the products are made in Nicaragua.  To ascertain fee amounts, please contact the Ministry of Health.

For more information on registering a product or the documents required for importing pharmaceutical products, please contact:

Ministry of Health, Pharmaceutical Division

Complejo Nacional de Salud “Dra. Concepción Palacios” costado oeste, Colonia Primero de Mayo, Módulo 4, Managua

Tel: +505 2289-4700

Fax: +505 2289-4401

div-far@minsa.gob.ni

 

Laboratorio Nacional de Control de Calidad de Medicamentos

Donde fue la Pepsi 2 c. al Sur, 3 c. Abajo, Managua

+505 2244-1925

lnccm-cndrminsa@hotmail.com

Agriculture and Livestock

The Institute of Agricultural Protection and Health (known by its Spanish initials IPSA) and the Ministry of Health (known by its Spanish initials MINSA) share responsibility for developing and implementing agricultural regulations.  IPSA is responsible for the inspection of agricultural products at the border and the regulation of animal feeds, agrochemicals, and seeds.  MINSA regulates processed food products.  Importers must obtain an import permit before importing any shipment.  Processed foods and agrochemicals also require a sanitary register number from MINSA and/or the IPSA.  Good communication between the exporter and importer is essential for a successful commercial relationship.  For more guidance on Nicaraguan food laws, technical regulations, and import requirements please see the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Country Report for Nicaragua.

Telecommunications

The Nicaraguan Telecommunications Regulator (TELCOR) regulates the telecommunications sector in Nicaragua and operates under the authority of the General Telecommunication and Postal Services Law.  This constitutional provision established an institutional and legal framework and empowers TELCOR as an autonomous entity under the guidance of the Presidency to implement regulations and monitor compliance over telecommunications and postal services.  However, the regulation of information technology falls under the Nicaraguan Council of Science and Technology (CONICYT), which reports to the Minister Advisor to the President and the Telecommunications Investment Fund (FITEL).  TELCOR issues import permits for communications-related products such as radio communication equipment, cable television installation equipment, telephone switchboard equipment, and commercial radio broadcast equipment.

Containers for Liquefied and Compressed Gasses

The Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office, issues import permits for new and used cylinders or containers for liquefied or other compressed gases.

Firearms

The National Police’s Firearms and Ammunition Office administers an import permit system for firearms, ammunition, and explosives under the Special Law for Control and Regulation of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Related Materials.

U.S. companies may be prohibited from paying any permit fees to the National Police because the National Police was designated by OFAC for sanctions for engaging in serious human rights abuses in Nicaragua.  U.S. companies should consult with an attorney before entering any financial transaction with the National Police.  U.S. companies should also be aware that any firearms entering the country are likely destined for Nicaraguan security forces or parapolice.  The Embassy has received reports that the Nicaraguan government confiscated stock held by privately owned firearms stores for use by the Nicaraguan government.