The governments of Nicaragua and El Salvador have met to discuss regulations on travel between both countries, with Managua agreeing to lighten border security towards Salvadorans.
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Currently, Salvadoran visitors are required to submit a number of documents to enter the country weeks in advance, including criminal background checks. Moving forward, Salvadorans will only have to make a written request for admission into the country seven days prior to traveling.
The current regulations were implemented during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when gang violence began surging in El Salvador with the rise of groups like MS-13 and Barrio 18. Out of fear of similar groups spreading across Nicaragua, the country began toughening up entry policies.
However, as the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, FMLN, party continues to implement measures aimed at curbing gang membership, Managua is preparing to ease regulations on visiting Salvadorans.
Hector Antonio Rodriguez, a security cabinet member in El Salvador, said his government would offer Nicaragua profiles of serious offenders who may be traveling to the country.
“A coordination table was established to review the measures, and they promised to soften those measures,” Rodriguez said.
Toughened border security policies are responsible for a roughly 40 percent drop in Salvadoran tourism to Nicaragua in recent years, government tourism statistics showed.