Guidance

Living in Morocco

The essential information for British nationals residing or visiting Morocco, including entry to Morocco, driving in Morocco and Moroccan residence cards.

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing or visiting Morocco, including entry to Morocco, driving in Morocco and Moroccan residence cards. The information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the British Embassy by the relevant local authorities. The information is therefore only up to date and accurate to the extent that such authorities provide us with timely and accurate information. Accordingly, the British Embassy does not guarantee that this information is accurate and will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain definitive information should contact the relevant Moroccan authorities.

Entry to Morocco

If you hold a British Passport you do not require a visa to enter Morocco. A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Morocco. Passports should be valid for the duration of your stay in Morocco. Entry is permitted for 90 days. If you overstay, you are liable to a fine or imprisonment. If you wish to remain for a longer period, you should contact the Moroccan Immigration authorities in the city where you are to obtain a Residence Card.

Driving in Morocco

If you bring your own car into Morocco, on arrival you need to present the original vehicle registration documents, insurance certificate and your passport to the customs officer, and complete the vehicle admission form. Photocopies and faxes are not acceptable. Each vehicle owner is then given a temporary admission vignette to put on the car windscreen, and a green and a white document with the vehicle details, entry date, and length of stay permitted (“admission temporaire”). If your vehicle is normally registered outside Morocco, you are allowed to keep a vehicle in Morocco for a maximum period of 6 months in any one year.

It is important that you keep the entry documents safely. If you have lost them, you may encounter problems when you try to leave. Each imported vehicle is entered in the immigration computer records, and the Moroccan authorities should be able to check your details in that way. You must have entry documents for all vehicles, whether being driven or not, so motor bikes in trailers/camper vans require their own entry certificates too. You may need to show these documents at any time if you are stopped by the police.

When you leave Morocco (with your car), the temporary authorisation papers (see above) must be presented to Moroccan Customs. You should retain the white copy with the exit stamp on it, should you be questioned about exportation of the vehicle on any future trip back into Morocco. Should you need to leave Morocco and cannot take the car with you, you must consult the closest Customs authorities. They may decide to impound the vehicle “hors circulation’’ until you return.

Vehicles must have at least 3rd party insurance to be driven in Morocco, and you must have proof of such insurance in the form of a green card. If you are unable to get insurance for Morocco abroad, you will need to take out temporary insurance on arrival. This can be done in Tangier port (in an office on the right of the exit from customs) or at the Ceuta/Moroccan border. If your insurance policy expires during your stay in Morocco, you can obtain temporary insurance cover from local insurance companies.

The Moroccan Ministry of Transport introduced new driving regulations with effect 1st October 2010. As part of this, long term residents (this does not apply to short-term tourists) in Morocco are required to get a Moroccan driving licence by taking a test locally. It is not possible to exchange a British licence. A Moroccan driving licence must be obtained in order to drive legally in Morocco. Further information can be found on their website

The test is conducted in French and Arabic. Speakers of other languages are permitted to have a sworn translator with them when taking the test. British nationals resident in Morocco cannot legally drive on a UK or an International Driving Licence in Morocco.

Moroccan Residence Card

If you wish to stay in Morocco for more than 90 days, you will need to register with the police and apply for a resident’s permit (Certificat d’Immatriculation). Applications should be submitted to the Bureau des Etrangers of the Préfecture de Police or Commissariat Central, in major cities, and to the Gendarmerie in small towns and villages.

There are eight categories of Moroccan residence permit. Applicants for a resident’s permit will be required to select the appropriate category for their situation, and submit two legalised copies of the required documents. Documents should be legalised at the closest local district office (Muqata’a) to your domicile. You will be required to provide 10 passport style photographs with your application. Your face should fill 3/4s of the photo space.

Criminal Record Check: with all first time applications, regardless of which category, you are now required to provide proof from your Country of origin, that you have no criminal record or convictions. This document used to be known as CRB check or police certificate. It has now been renamed and you apply for this information under a Subject Access Application which can be made at your local police station. We recommend you contact your local police authority which can be done by using the website. There is a fee for each search and your reply can take up to 40 days which you should factor into any application you make.

For renewals, you can apply for a Casier Judiciaire or Fiche Antropométrique which can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice, Place Mamounia, Rabat. You will need a copy of your birth certificate which shows details of both parents names and a copy of your passport. You may be required to return to Rabat to collect your certificate as applications may not be processed on the same day. It is advisable to arrive before 9.30am.

Medical Certificate: for all applications you are required to provide a medical certificate from a local doctor confirming that you have no contagious diseases. You will need to pay for the certificate.

Bank statements: we have been advised that the authorities would require evidence of your local current account bank balance in the form of a statement from your Moroccan bank (an Attestation de Banque).

What happens at the Bureau des Etrangers? At the Bureau des Etrangers you will have to complete some application forms (it is advisable to take a pen). For first time applicants you will need to complete 2 white, and 3 ellow – “Formulaires à prendre auprès service séjour. It is useful to have an up-to-date CV as well as details of your family in the UK.

There is a fee for all applications. The fee is paid directly to the officer receiving your application. You will be given a receipt and told when to return to collect your “Récépissé” which is a temporary Residence card valid for 3 months. During that time your “Certificat d’Immatriculation” will be prepared.

You will be told immediately if your application has been accepted, or if you need to supply further documents. You may wish to read further information on Legislation on Residency Cards (chapitre II) which is provided by the Moroccan Ministry of Justice (pages 409-419).

Buying and Selling Property in Morocco

The following information is offered as a guide line only. We strongly recommend that you check any points of law with the local authorities or consult a lawyer/notary.

Can a British Citizen buy /own a property in Morocco?

Yes, as long as the property is within town boundaries and not agriculture land. Under no circumstances agree to purchase a property in someone else’s name. Do not sign any papers if you do not understand what is written.

Title Deeds

Before agreeing to buy any property make sure that you can obtain the title deeds, as without these you do not officially own the property regardless of how much money you have paid. You must appoint a notary.

How to pay

The secure way of payment is transferring the money through the bank – you will need to open a convertible account. Your appointed notary will advise you on this.

How do I find a notary to deal with my purchase?

A list can be found on our website It is wise to choose one who is fluent in your language so that you understand all the legalities.

How do I go about buying a property?

Once you have decided to buy a property in Morocco, it is important to choose a notary. If you have one arranged from the beginning it will be easier. It is also advisable to engage an independent lawyer to check over all documents. When you have found a property that you like you will need to make a verbal offer. Once this has been accepted you may be asked to sign a preliminary contract, which is legally binding, and pay a deposit, this should be done with your notary.

Selling a property

If the property has increased in price you will be subject to capital gains tax on the profit. It is always advisable to use a notary/lawyer.

Renting your property

You can rent out your property but will be subject to pay tax on a percentage of the rental.

Retirement in Morocco

Going to live abroad is a major decision to take. It makes sense to get a wide range of information and advice to help you plan and make sure the move goes smoothly.

Before you go, you should:

  • make sure you have a valid passport, any visas you might need and a full health plan
  • be clear about your financial situation. For example, find out about tax liability in the UK, social security benefits and National Insurance contributions, and get a pension forecast. Useful websites include the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs. You can also find out whether offshore banking is appropriate
  • make a will
  • check whether you can continue to vote in UK parliamentary and European parliament elections on the Electoral Commission website
  • find out about accommodation. We can provide lists of lawyers to help you buy property, although we cannot give you legal advice ourselves or get involved in purchases or dispute
  • make sure your car is in line with local regulations and you have the necessary driving permit
  • try to learn the language before you go
  • contact associations and charities for advice. For example, if you are retiring overseas, you could contact ageUK. There is also a guide to going abroad for the over-50s on the Saga website
  • it sounds obvious but let people know your new address (and any future changes). As well as friends and family you also need to inform the authorities such as HM Revenue and Customs, National Insurance and the Department for Work and Pensions
  • when you arrive, register with the local authorities and get a residence permit. You may also need a local bank account
  • British nationals who live overseas can receive the same support as visitors
  • you’ll need full travel insurance for your trip, or health care and other appropriate cover if you are living abroad. The Government cannot cover medical costs or refund you for lost property
  • there is a charge for some types of consular support. This is to help cover the cost of providing support worldwide. We do not make a profit from these charges.

Wills

This note is provided to assist British citizens resident in Morocco who wish to make a Will. There are several stages to be followed before settlements in respect of the estates of deceased foreign nationals living in Morocco can be agreed. But please note that neither Her Majesty’s Government nor any official of the British Embassy Rabat take any responsibility for the competence or probity of any particular firm/advocate on the list, nor take any responsibility whatsoever for the consequences of any legal action initiated or advice given.

  1. Make an appointment and visit a Notary Public, because in all cases a Notarial Deed is to be established by a Notary Public after death.

  2. If a Will has been written and witnessed in English or Scottish Law, deposit the Will with the Notary Public in a sealed envelope. The Will should state clearly who the inheritor/successor is and that the ownership of property will transfer to the inheritor. If no Will has been written, prepare one and deposit the Will with the Notary Public. You might like to consider drawing up the Will in the United Kingdom. Once it is completed, you should then be able to execute it locally before the Notary Public. As a matter of course, if as a testator you have property in two or more different countries it may be convenient and wise for you to make a separate Will in respect of each country.

  3. Where a will has been written, a ‘Certificate de Coutume’ (opinion) should be obtained from a lawyer practising in a country that is governed by British jurisdiction, such as Gibraltar. Note: Only a solicitor qualified in English or Scottish Law may issue such a certificate for use by a British national. British consular officials are not empowered to do so, unlike (for example) their French counterparts who, under French law, may perform this function. This difference in procedure understandably confuses some local lawyers.

  4. Considering that this Deed and Certificate have been issued and authenticated by a British solicitor, application should be made by the Moroccan Notary Public to the Moroccan court for its enforcement so that it becomes applicable in Moroccan law.

Step 5: In cases where a Will has been written, the death certificate, the Notarial Deed and the Certificat de Coutume (duly enforced by the court), should be presented to the Moroccan Court by the local Notary Public for confirmation of the Executor’s mission.

In case of an intestate death, where there is no will, application should be made to the Moroccan Courts to appoint one or several administrators. Finally, please be advised that the drawing up of a Will is in many cases a highly technical proceeding and can only be carried out by an expert. You should take legal advice where possible.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these notes is intended for your general guidance only. While care has been taken in compiling these notes, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed and, of course, law and procedures may change from time to time. For these reasons, neither Her Majesty’s Government nor any member of the British consular staff can accept liability for any costs, damage or expenses which you might incur as a result of relying on these notes.

Published 10 July 2013