foreign cars / selling a car in nicaragua
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 2:46 PM Last Post By: la_vache
Mar 22, 2012 8:27 PM
foreign cars / selling a car in nicaraguaMy wife and i are moving to Nicaragua in August. We are wanting to drive down there. Mostly to get our stuff there (we dont have much, but want to bring a trunkful of essentials. plus we have a dog and its easier to get the dog down in a vehicle.
Once there, having a car is not a necessity (though would be a nice luxury). Is insurance required like it is in the states, and how much does it cost? Do you have to license the car in the country (we technically wont be residents, as wed stay on the 90 day visa, leave the country and come back, etc. repeat as long as possible). We could leave the country in the car, and come back in restarting the 90 days with our car. or we could leave the car at home and take a bus across if there would be a problem getting the car back in.
Is it possible to keep the car indefinitely as a "tourist"? (that way we could still use it in the future for emergencies, or in the rare occassion) or are there legal issues with that.
And if keeping the car is going to be expensive and a hassle, is it possible to sell the vehicle there. I know there are hefty taxes and stuff if a foreigner sells the car, but we have some trustworthy good nica friends there. Could we sell the car to them for $1 (that way even at 100% tax, its no biggie), and then they can sell the car as a local for full price? or once again, would there be legal issues.
We have gotten around well in the country without a car before. And i dont forsee us using it a LOT once we are there. So im not totally stuck on HAVING to drive there in the first place.
But the cost of shipping stuff, and a dog seems to make it easier and better to just drive. Just not sure how complicated it will be once we get there with the car.
any help would be much appreciated!!!
Mar 22, 2012 9:06 PM
1It may be better to drive the car back to the US and sell it. Unless I am mistaken, the car will be in your Passport so leaving without it would ensnare you with fees, taxes and duties. Selling a car in CA is not easy. Some people have said here you can drive it to CR and just leave it, as they dont stamp the Passport with the vehicle, but I have dont know for sure, and dumping a car is not really a good thing, thats why they have these rules for importing. The main problem is the vehicle will be taxed at nutty values like 50% of its value, and the officials determine the value, not the bill of sale. And they use a crazy calculation that is far higher than NADA/KBB.
There is a Nica Living forum for expats, and also a Yahoo group on Nica retirement, I would check in those forums for the ins and outs.Just Google.
As far as driving down with all your stuff, be sure to stay in a secure guarded hotel as your car with all its belongings is a sitting duck. Also dont drive at night.
For routes, insurance and border crossings, consult the Driving the Americas website, also listed in the FAQ at the Top of the branch.
Mar 23, 2012 9:50 AM
2As a tourist you will get a temporary import permit in your passport dictating that you must leave with the car. To sell it it must be permanently imported and as Solohobo says the duties are not based on what you sell it for but on its Nica "Blue Book" value- plus plus plus.
You can leave and re-enter with the car and get a new temporary permit each time unless they are clamping down on "permanent tourists" as they are in Costa Rica by giving shorter tourist visas.
It normally works out cheaper and less hassle to buy a car "in-country" than try and import one, although it is possible.
Mar 23, 2012 8:25 PM
Mar 24, 2012 6:47 AM
4I have cosidered this but am afraid of driving through Mexico at this point. I have the same dog problem. Please let me know how it goes if you do it.
Mar 24, 2012 11:32 AM
Mar 24, 2012 5:15 PM
6chiefhagan - that is what i am trying to do. I have looked it up, and i seem to get conflicting stories, depending on who i ask, or where i read it. So i was hoping someone would have firsthand knowledge of the situation.
so it looks like i probably wont be selling the car there. Maybe just drive down with the stuff and dog, and then drive it back and sell it in the US and fly down to live.
Mar 25, 2012 4:49 AM
7#6...like I said, it is possible to sell (I've done it) its just difficult and designed to prevent you making any money out of the transaction. While you are there get an estimate for total import costs (i.e. to put it on CA plates), work out how much you would need to sell it for and then advertize it to see if you get any interest. If not, be prepared to drive it back as you suggest....
Mar 28, 2012 1:04 PM
8I am in the same situation and the best info I have gotten is when you leave the country every 90 days take your car with you and drive it across the border, when you bring it back it will be given a 90 day extension just like you, just think of it as a third person. I don't think you will be able to sell it there unless you get residency. If you are eligible for the retirement residency you can register the car without having to pay tax as long as it is 7 years old or younger. When are you planning on driving down? I would love to hear about your experiences since my bf & his friend are planning to drive down with our two dogs soon and any tips from someone who has done it recently would be appreciated.
Mar 28, 2012 6:46 PM
9OP, you can import it yourself and get C.A. plates but just don't expect to make any money off it. When you consider gas and lodging etc., it might be better just to send your stuff with a freight consolidator.
#8, you only get 1-2 extensions and then the car has to leave for I believe six months.
I've imported, bought and sold dozens of vehicles in C.A.
Apr 8, 2012 3:50 PM
10The truth of the matter is that you can bring your car and once here complete the importation process. As Solo said, sometimes taxes are calculated according to your looks, but, that is not as discretional as some people believe. You need to be a registered importer to obtain the regular tax and duty percentages. Other than that, importing a vehicle requires a mound of documents, etc.
If you survive all this, there is a fact of the Nicaraguan market stronger than any regulation: American made vehicles do not sell well in Nicaragua because of low mileage and difficulty of getting spareparts.
Apr 8, 2012 6:42 PM
Dec 9, 2012 7:41 AM
Dec 9, 2012 10:50 AM
Dec 9, 2012 2:46 PM
14If you're over 45 you can import a car and household goods duty free with a retirement visa:
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