Emigrate to Cape Verde
Let’s be honest: Most of us have asked ourselves after a relaxing vacation whether we should just leave behind the daily routine in Europe for a better life in the newly found “paradise.” No more urgent meetings and conference calls. Simply immersing yourself in a different world that is free of the neo-capitalistic hectic pace, the related noise and every type of pretentious pressure to spend money. And all of this at 28°C under palm trees in the shade of bright sunshine – wouldn’t that be nice!
The following lines may rob you of this beautiful illusion. If you just occasionally think about emigrating, it’s no problem if you skip the next section. But those of you who are practically “sitting on packed suitcases” should continue reading because you could be spared of a rude awakening. All of Cape Verde’s disadvantages are obviously accompanied by its advantages, which you can find on the remaining 80 pages of this website. This section is exclusively devoted to the pitfalls of daily life on the islands!
What appears to be relaxed and stress-free during a holiday can turn to its extreme opposite in everyday life – even on the Cape Verdean archipelago. If you believe that you can escape European stubbornness or pedantry by becoming a resident of Cape Verde, think again. You also should not consider the archipelago as the right place for the opponents of bureaucracy who want to enjoy a simple approach by the authorities.
In the following, we would like to share some anecdotes that will actually open up an unexpected new world for some of the determined emigrants among you.
To make it perfectly clear: Cape Verde is not a “banana republic,” which means that offering bribes doesn’t open many doors. Quite the opposite is true: Officials, especially at customs, respond to this with zero tolerance. Cape Verdean officials view themselves as servants of a constitutional state, so everything has its proper procedure. That sounds a lot like being in #Europe#. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s worse because the country doesn’t necessarily have a long tradition of regulated and efficient procedures to fall back on. So you shouldn’t be surprised that an application for Residencia (residence authorisation) or buying property can take many years in some cases, even if all of the requirements are met and the forms — of which there are quite a few — have been submitted. The only way to expedite the process is friendliness or relationships that have been fostered over the years. Just Zen Buddhists appear to be on the safe side in this regard because patience and calmness are the only things that help.
Furthermore, the executive power — aka the police — takes its job so serious that you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that you have become a victim of systematic chicanery. It’s not necessarily easier as a non-resident. The presence of the police is comparatively high, as is their work attitude. They believe that almost all of cars passing are worth searching in detail. If the warning triangle is missing, the negligent person can look forward to a fine of about 10 euros. Annoyingly, the government’s lack of a functioning information policy conflicts with the enthusiasm of it police force. Changing just as frequently as in European countries, laws are difficult to access. So many times you are unaware of which Cape Verdean law you are breaking at the very moment.
The best example of this is an experience by a very peaceful fellow — now a resident of Cape Verde — who recently lost his patience: He brought his car to the vehicle inspection (yes, that exists here) where it passed the check with a note that everything was in order and that he should come back in two years. Just a year later, he was stopped by the police who noticed his expired inspection tag. The patient resident confidently opened the glove compartment and pulled out the inspection report with the official note that the vehicle wasn’t due to be inspected for another year. The police officer simply replied that the law had changed: Since the previous month, all vehicles had to be inspected every year. In response to the driver’s question as to how he should know about changes in the law if they are not publicised, the situation quickly took an unbureaucratic turn. Instead of an answer, he received a traffic ticket.
By the way, how to pay a traffic ticket on the archipelago is described in the following section. Don’t procrastinate because if you don’t pay within 20 days (which they are fair enough to state on the ticket), the car will be impounded. Therefore, pay it by following these steps: Obtain a form at the city hall (sounds easy, but could take up to three hours), get a special stamp for it (somewhere else, of course), complete the form, stick the stamp on it, go to local tax office to have the form stamped, take it to a bank, make a cash payment that takes an average of two maddening hours and then return all of the stamped documents to the police station in person. Done!
If you are still determined to emigrate to Cape Verde, you should always remember that paying a traffic ticket is one of the easier civic exercises on Cape Verde…
This is where you learn how to become a resident. It is self-explanatory that we dedicated an extra chapter to this topic due to the complexity of Cape Verde’s administrative apparatus!