Located in the northwest of Africa, Morocco borders with Algeria in the East, with Mauritania in the South, the Atlantic Ocean in the West, and the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar in the North.
A crossroad of different civilizations, Morocco is marked by diverse cultural influences including Berbers, Arabic, Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Mediterranean, Roman, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
Geographical diversity is added to this cultural multiplicity. Morocco has completely different landscapes, from desert to mountain, fertile fields, over 3,500 km of coast, plateaus, forests, beaches, alpine climate, etc.
There are over 100,000 foreigners that decided to live in Morocco, staying for working, retirement, studying, or simply because they were looking for a better life.
Although moving to Morocco is a unique experience, some foreigners have trouble adapting to their new Moroccan life. Living in Morocco is not hard but you need to be prepared to know how the system works.
During the transition period, there are frequently asked questions such as where to find a house, how to apply for a residence card, how to get a work contract, or how to become part of the new society.
To make your moving to Morocco easier, read this practical guide with information about the most important aspects of your move. Here you’ll find multiple tips, practical advice, and useful addresses to make your life under the Moroccan sun easier.
In the end, most foreginers and expats love to live in Morocco and found their experience very positive.
People staying under 3 months: you need a passport to enter Morocco and you can stay for up to 3 months, the same time as a regular tourist. If you wish to stay in Morocco for longer, then you have to get a residence card that’s called “carte de séjour”. You can also ask for a one-time three-month extension if you don’t have all the documents needed to apply for the “carte de séjour”.
|Official name||Kingdom of Morocco – المملكة المغربية|
|Size (area)||710,850 km²|
|Population||36.064.173 inhabitants (2012)|
|Head of State||King Mohammed VI|
|Prime Minister||Abdelillah Benkirane|
|Largest city||Casablanca (5,500,000 inhabitants)|
|Largest mountain||Jbel Toubkal (4,167 meters)|
|Time zone||UTC +0 and UTC +1 in summer EST|
|Climate||Mediterranean, alpine and desert|
|Languages spoken||Moroccan Arabic, Berber languages (tashlhyt, tamazight, tarifit) hassanya Arabic, standard Arabic, French, Spanish.|
|Borders||Spain (Ceuta, Melilla), Algeria (border of Oudja, border of Figuig), Mauritania (border of Bir Guendouz, border of Gueltat Zemmour).|
Live in Morocco, Bureaucratic information
How to register at the embassies or consulates
One of the first things you need to do when arriving in Morocco is go to your embassy to register. Although this is not a mandatory procedure, it’s important from a bureaucratic perspective. This registration at the consulate allows you to have access to all legal procedures and documents (birth and marriage certificates) and even issue personal identification documents if needed (citizenship card or national ID card, and passport).
How to apply for the residence card – carte séjour
To request a residence card in Morocco you must go to the “Préfecture de Police” of the city where you’re living. The “bureau des étrangers”, a service entirely dedicated to foreign citizens, will take care of the whole process.
After you submit your file and it’s accepted, you’ll be issued a receipt called “récépissé”, which you must keep with you at all times. A temporary carte séjour will be issued and sent to you within 10 to 15 days.
To get your permanent residence card, you must wait between one and two months, and check in with the police every month to stamp your temporary carte séjour.
The paperwork and documents you need to file for your carte séjour change according to your status: employed, investigator, student, or retiree.
NOTE: please be aware that you have to submit two identical files. One is for the local police and one will be sent to Rabat.
Documents you’ll need to apply for a Moroccan residence card
- Valid passport + page with the last stamp of entry in Morocco and the entrance number, called “número de composteur”.
- Legal house rental contract or property registration of your house in Morocco.
- 8 passport size photos.
- 1 special stamp of 100 MAD (around 10 Euros).
- 3 last bank statements from your bank account in Morocco.
- 3 last bank statements from your bank account in your country of origin .
- Proof of job and sustainability while in Morocco. If you work on the Internet, make a small presentation of what you do and how much you earn.
Money in Morocco
Moroccan currency is called Dirham (DH). You will find notes of 20 dirhams, 50 dirhams, 100 dirhams and 200 dirhams.
Each one dirham is divided into 100 cents.
You will also find coins of 1 dirham, 2 dirhams, 5 dirhams and 10 dirhams, but less frequently 20 and 50 dirham coins.
The Dirham is a restricted currency, which means it can not be taken out of the country and is also not available abroad (with some exceptions).
That means that Moroccan currency is very stable and there aren’t very large fluctuations in exchange rates.
Euros, U.S. dollars and British pounds are very easily traded currencies in Morocco.
In Morocco, there are some places you can pay by debit card or credit card, but is worth to check previously if there are fees for it in your bank or in machine.
These fees can sometimes reach 5 Euros for payment.
Thus, if this factor is not a concern, in most cases, you will not have difficulty withdrawing cash or paying by card during your stay in Morocco.
The ATM cash machines are very common in Morocco. Even small towns have more than one spot available for you to withdrawn money.
In Morocco an ATM machine is called “guichet automatique”.
Virtually all of them accepts Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and other interbank systems, making it then the easiest way to get money in Morocco.
There are several big banks in Morocco: BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur), Credit du Maroc, Banque Populaire, Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et I’Industrie (BMCI), Société Générale and Bank Attajariwafa. Each offer a secure ATMs service, banking and international payments, as well as all kinds banking transactions.
The amount of money you can withdraw from a cash machine in Morocco, subject to conditions imposed by your bank, although the daily ATM limit at most banks is around 2,000 dirhams.