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Cape Verde has a special "Cape Verdean emigrant" status that confers tax benefits on Cape Verde-source income. In particular, a 20% tax on bank CD interest is waived if you qualify. My wife and I will be emigrating from Cape Verde soon and would like to take advantage of these benefits. We want to know for planning purposes when the soonest would be that she would be able to qualify as an emigrant.

According to the Bank of Cape Verde's Banking Consumer Guide (p23-25; in Portuguese), to qualify as an emigrant you must prove that you reside permanently in a foreign country. From reading lists of requirements on various commercial banks' sites, I see that in most cases to be considered to "reside permanently" you must have a paid job or other income-generating activity.

It also seems that one might have to have resided and/or worked for a year in a foreign country before counting as residing permanently there.

What are the actual minimum requirements for this? Are they:

  • Have a permanent residence permit, reside, and have a source of income?
  • Have a permanent residence permit, reside for a year, and have a source of income?
  • Have a permanent residence permit, reside for a year, and have had a source of income for a year?

If it's relevant, we'll be residing in the US. Neither of us receive any form of pensions.

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Well, you seem to have quoted the official guidance, and it seems vague/ambiguous. I doubt you can get a clearer response from anywhere else.

This ambiguity is for a reason. Many countries (including my home country, and the State of California where I currently reside) have very vague definitions of who is an emigrant (i.e.: was a resident and now is not). It always boils down to specific facts and circumstances, and the reason for this is that the countries do not want to commit to some clear-cut definition based on which they will give up income.

They will definitely commit on clear-cut definitions based on which they will demand income. I'm pretty sure that is also the case with Cape Verde - the definition of who is a resident is much better and clear cut than the definition of who is not. And the gray area of ambiguity and vagueness extends much more into the potential non-residency area than into a potential residency.

That is deliberate, and there's nothing much to do about it. You can research prior case law for people in similar situation as yours, and see what the courts concluded, but if there were no court cases - you'll just have to make a decision whether to claim that you're an emigrant or not.

I would say, that if you have a US green card - you could claim that you're not a Cape Verde resident. But if you're a US citizen, and especially if you were a US citizen when you resided in Cape Verde - that would probably not help you much.

Generally having long term commitments helps, i.e.: having a job which is a permanent one, buying your own primary residence (especially with mortgage), kids in school registered as residents, resident health insurance, etc etc.

  • Good points; I hadn't thought about it from this angle. Accepting for now because I will be following these ideas, more or less. Still haven't given up hope that someone will find more specific information. – Dan Getz Apr 16 '15 at 22:47

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