Residency Visa Permit (Card) – Not quite!
24th April – 24th June 2015

Documentos Necessários para Pedido de Autorização de Residências : Documents Required to Apply for Residence Permit. You must apply for your Residency in person.

These are some notes of my experience over a 2 month period with the process of applying for Residency on Sal Island for the first time. Others may have similar or different experiences.

I am classed as self-employed, others may be retired or employed or run their own business, so may be required to provide a few different documents.

Before starting your experience, make several copies of your passport and any visa you hold and it’s useful to obtain the help of a translator if you don’t speak Creole or Portuguese. 

If you don’t have an ID card or something similar that shows the name of your father and mother, get a few copies of your original birth certificate with both parents’ names on. You could use your marriage certificate also.

In previous years, a number of foreigners living or working in Cape Verde were able to apply for a 12months Visa (residencia visa). Last year (2014) the Police at the National Police station in Espargos informed foreigners that they could only really hold a 12 month Residencia Visa, for 3 consecutive years. This type of visa is stamped in your passport. They have now reduced the length of that visa from 12 months to 6 months. 

If your visa has expired or is due to expire in the near future while you are applying for Residency for the first time: Pedido de Autorização de Residências (application for Residence Card), the Police require you to apply for a 6 months visa, while you are collating documents or processing your Residency.

The list obtained from the National Police Station of what is required for Residency doesn’t provide you with any explanation as to where places are situated that you need to visit to request and pay for different documents required for submission with your application. Neither does it tell you how long you need to wait to obtain each document. The list they issue doesn’t include the fact that it is now obligatory to have INPS (paying national insurance) as part of your application. There are also other documents the Nat. Police requested, not identified on their list.

On the Police list it doesn’t ask for an Atestado, which is a statement from the Camara do Municipal saying how long you have lived in Cape Verde or the date you last entered the country (not sure), anyway the Police accepted this statement in my visa application last year, so I had a new one produced again this year. You can obtain an Atestado from the Camara Municipal office in Santa Maria (at municipal market) which says that you reside in Santa Maria. From the Camara Municipal I also obtained a number of other documents and paid 1420cve for the Atesdado….. No.6: Registo Criminal de Cabo Verde and …….. No.11: Comprovativo de Alojamento. It also seems to be cheaper to get these done in S.Maria office than in Espargos for some reason.

I also copied and included in my application my Model 110 with my NIF number on it which also gives my Profession which is registered with the Finanza in Espargos (for tax and work purposes). 

Each of the places I visited to apply for different documentation for my Residency told me a different day to call back for them (i.e. it will be ready on Monday, ready in 3 days, ready by Wednesday, or in one week etc). I also needed to pay for a number of documents in advance. Before my first visit to Espargos, I had already obtained my UK Basic Police Disclosure (duly stamped by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) which someone brought over to me from UK, my original birth certificate (but took coloured copies of my birth certificate) and several copies of my passport and my visa. The original UK Police Disclosure had also been officially translated into Portuguese and taken to the Notory office (behind BCA bank) in Espargos for it to be officially stamped. I’d already obtained 3 passport sized photos.

On my first day, (using a taxi and someone who would translate) I visited the Camara Municipal in Santa Maria, Santa Maria Hospital and the Finanza Office in Santa Maria. Then on to Espargos to the National Police Station, Judiciary Police Station, Cartorio do Registo and Finanza to request and pay for some of the documents that I needed for my application. 

The following week I returned to each place to collect documents. Not all were ready or available and, I also needed to make another appointment for my medical as the day of my appointment seemed to be when everyone else turned up to see the doctor and I couldn’t spare waiting for maybe another two hours, I’d already been waiting one hour for the receptionist to turn up, then when I saw the receptionist I think I was given a numbered card with 12 on it. The medical takes less than 5 mins in most cases.

You may be able to visit several places on the same day on the first couple of trips of the visa/residency trail. Best give it 7 days (and go on one day) before returning to each of the places visited with your receipt to ask for documents, instead of wasting more time going back to Espargos on different days in the same week to collect one thing each time. There will be no guarantee all documents will be ready. I returned to a few places on different weeks and was told the system was down or something else, at two different office desks l was told to come back after 2p.m. at Finanza and at another at the Judiciary Police Station between 1-3p.m. (difficult when you are up in Espargos at 10a.m.). Then later a similar problem when visiting the Secretaries office at the Nat. Police Station. As you reach your 3rd and 4th visit, places to revisit for document collection should reduce. I tended to try and do things on the same day over an 8 week period (but not every week) because it suited me, but that isn’t practical for everyone. 

When I thought I had all the documents I needed, I returned to the National Police Station in Espargos to ask if all my papers were correct. My 12 month visa had run out on 6th May 2015 so I knew I would need to renew my visa before they would process my residency, so I had been given two forms to complete, one for a visa and one for residency. The Police person on the Visa desk sifted through my documents and then told me I needed another document to prove I was registered to work, he wouldn’t accept my Model 110, what was this now I thought! After some confusion I re-visited the Cartorio do Registo and they said I was registered and printed a copy of my original document, but they then informed me that the document known as ‘Direccao Do Registo de Firmas’ has to be in date, the date of a re-issued document is only valid for official purposes for 6 months (this maybe in case you have changed your work circumstances recently and informed them and they have updated your records). I paid 500cve and they told me to return the following week. As I was away for the next few weeks I needed my passport and decided to leave the collection of any documents until my return. Leaving the country meant I would be able to pay 25  euros on re-entry for a 30 day tourist visa, hopefully this would then give me enough time to get my 6 month visa processed immediately after my return. Fortunately I didn’t get fined on my exit out of CV for not having a visa, but then it was only 3 weeks out of date.

Note: Some other documents that were issued also have a ‘date limitation’ on them so processing your paperwork quickly is important in case any of your earlier documents become ‘out of date’.

Soon after my return to Sal on 10th June I returned to Espargos to collected my work registration document, the ‘Direccao Do Registo de Firmas’ from the Cartorio do Registo and re-visited the Nat Police Station. I spoke with the Police on the visa desk. I was informed I still needed to be set up on INPS but I could go and pay at the Secretaries office for something to be processed, it wasn’t an amount for the actual visa, just the process I think. I went to the Secretaries Office but the system was down so I couldn’t pay. I re-visited the Secretaries Office the following week and obtained 5 forms which I had to take to a bank in Espargos and pay 500cve. I went to the BCN in Espargos as this was not a busy bank, the bank kept three copies of the forms and I took the other two back to the Secretary’s Office, they kept one copy and gave me the other and told me to come back the following week. This is the last but one process you need to pay if you have all your papers ready for your visa. You can also pay at the Secretary’s Office using a Vint4 card. 

The following week, before returning to Espargos I went back to INPS office in Santa Maria and was told me I needed to go to the INPS office in Espargos to enquire as to when I would start paying my INPS as this is a new requirement for all Residency applications if you were working. So on my 6th visit to Espargos I went to the INPS office first to ask for advice (with my translator). I was able to speak to the manager and explain I needed this for my Residency. She phoned the main office in Praia, twice, to see if she could get answers, they couldn’t give me a date as to when the ‘Fiscal’ would be carried out, this apparently has to be done by someone from the INPS visiting me at my place of work to confirm the type of work I do, before they can set me up on INPS and, the ‘Fiscal’ or visit is carried out by someone who has to come over to Sal from Praia (from the main island of Santiago)…… I thought this does not seem possible!!!! Anyhow the INPS office manager had another letter drafted which I could take to the Police, basically it said I was covered for the next 30 days while they were dealing with my INPS application. The manager also gave me their office number to keep ringing to ask when I would receive an appointment time for a visit. I returned to the Nat.Police station with the INPS letter. I had already called in to Foto Vierra to copy my INPS letter before going back to the Police Station (I have copied everything in case something gets lost and I have proof). 

On the same visit I also needed to collect a document at the Police Station from the Secretary’s Office that proved I’d paid the 500cve at the BCN bank (I think). However when I returned there the door to the Secretaries Office was closed, the sign on the door clearly said open from 9-4 (and arrive before 3p.m.). I arrived at 12.40 and no one was there. One Police officer at the front entrance desk to the station said they had gone to lunch and to come back at 2p.m. As I had to go to the visa desk to enquire if my INPS letter was acceptable I was also able explain that I had returned today for the document from the Secretary’s office but it was closed, fortunately on this occasion the Police person on the visa desk went round to the office and got my paperwork. However as regards my INPS, I was told the letter would cover me for my visa application, but I needed to get my INPS processed within 30 days or they would not accept my paperwork for Residency. I was able to hand in visa documents together with my passport that day, they said I could collect my 6 month visa and passport on the following Wednesday. 

So the next Wednesday, 24th June (my 7th visit, but with no translator) I went back to the Nat.Police Station to hopefully collect my 6 month visa. The Police officer looked at my papers and there was note on there written by someone else saying I needed one particular document, which was actually the one I had already collected from the Cartorio do Registo on my return to Sal a few weeks earlier ‘Direccao Do Registo de Firmas’ The officer holding my paperwork and reading the note looked through the papers as she knew I had this document, she then took all my papers back to the Police Officer who was processing it to tell him it was there, after about 15 mins of waiting the other officer comes out, spends another 5mins going through my papers and then decides he probably can’t find anything else wrong so starts to print off the forms that I need to take to a bank to pay for 6 month visa, same process as before, either pay at the bank or Vint4 at station. So off I went with another 5 forms after being told to take them to bank, pay 5.100cve and then come back with two of the forms, which I did. I was then told ‘come back Friday’……. Give me strength!

Now, there is just one other main outstanding obstacle once I eventually get my 6 month visa, how to get my INPS sorted. I returned to the INPS office while I was in Espargos and managed to explain to Katia, the lady I dealt with last time, using my very limited creole, that the Police said that they may not accept my application for Residency until I had my INPS, Katia once again phoned the main office in Praia and after about 5 minutes or more she said that I should return at the end of the 30 days to see her and she would give me another letter for another 30days as the ‘Fiscal’ could not be carried out until August or September, as that is when someone from Praia on the island of Santiago or someone from Sao Vicente would come to Sal. I think I will ask her to add something on the next letter to state when the Fiscal may be carried out if and when they do come to Sal. When I go back to the Nat.Police Station in Espargos on Friday I will ask her what will happen, hopefully the lady officer will be on the desk …….. My concern is, that any other documents that have a time limit on them, including documents obtained here on Sal and my Police Disclosure from UK, could expire before my INPS is sorted, but it may not matter if I have my 6month visa….we shall see 🙂

The cost of visits to Espargos by taxi 6 times has not been cheap, but that was a choice I made due to needing an interpreter to be with me in S.Maria and Espargos, reducing the amount of wasted time traveling from one place to another, or waiting for an aluger etc etc. On top of this there are additional costs for documents.

Hopefully my experience which I am sharing will help others who have yet or have started the process of applying for Residency….however; I haven’t completed the process….yet!

Some others have ‘ given up’ with this process and I don’t blame them!!! I have a Residency list with additional documents I had to obtain and added my own comments on it…… if anyone is interested they can have a look at it.

If you have read all of the above, well done, you can now go and take a paracetamol and have a lie down, because I am!



25.6.15 – Returned to Nat.PS with my payment receipt for 6 month visa (with a translator). I had translator explain about situation with INPS. My paperwork and passport were still at Police Station from last Wednesday. A visa stamp was stamped in my passport. I was asked for photo copies of a number of documents from my paperwork, I thought I had them all, but I didn’t, I was given the papers needed for copying. I returned with the copies, then as soon as I returned with the copies the same person said I needed to go and photo copy two other things from my paperwork and copy my visa stamp in passport and bring them back……….. it’s not as if it was two different people that told me, it was the same person!

I have my 6month visa now, hooray