How can I get permanent residency in Morocco?

Many non-Moroccan nationals ask me how to get permanent residency in Morocco.

First things first: unless you are recruited by a company in Morocco to work there, you cannot get anything more permanent than a 3 month tourist visa from outside the country.

Once in Morocco, you need to exit the country and renew your tourist visa every 90 days. Depending on the vagaries of the local police station, you should be able to extend it (once, for another 3 months) or apply for residency. A residency  card (carte de séjour) is normally granted for the first time for one year. It is a bit of a paper chase (you’ll need police records from both your home country and Rabat, for example) and it has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that you don’t need to leave the country every 3 months. You should look into the financial, tax, pension, inheritance, residency, etc implications for your nationality.

You can typically apply for residency under the following conditions:

  1. you own property in Morocco and can prove enough income to support yourself;
  2. you are married to a Moroccan, or
  3. you have set up a business or find employment in Morocco to support yourself.

If you have question related to this topic, please also read my post on expat life in Essaouira. If you are planning a move to Essaouira, you may also find it useful to join the Essaouira Expats and Friends Facebook group – there are lots of people there who have expat experience.

32 thoughts on “How can I get permanent residency in Morocco?

  1. Anis vohra

    I allready open company to do bussiness in casablabka now i need residencr permin for my bussiness and stay hear pl gide me r give me visa expert contac nom pl

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      I can’t help you with a contact. If you opened a company, your accountant should know the relevant contacts in the local administrations. Otherwise, go directly to the police office responsible for foreigners.

      Reply
  2. zuhaib hanfi

    HI,

    I am married to moroccan, i visited morocco many times.
    Last year i applied for Carte de sejour and its about to expire on 1st august.
    I stayed for 6+ months in berrechid( Near Casablanca) but by the time the card was issued i left morocco and now i am in dubai working and trying to bring my wife to dubai.

    My card is ready and still at the police station in berrechid but expires on 1st august, can i apply for renewal for carte the sejour from consulate of morocco in dubai. ? If yes? how and what documents do i need ?

    Please help.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi,
      the best place to ask for clear and up to date information on the immigration legalities for Morocco is with the Moroccan authorities. Perhaps you could address your question directly to the Consulate?
      Lynn

      Reply
      1. Kimberly

        There is no accurate information from any Embassy, Moroccan court, Police Station. They are idiots!! You will be told something different by every “Authority” and Bribe money is expected!

        Reply
        1. lynn Post author

          Kimberley,
          It is indeed frustrating for people coming from countries with a different governance structure and culture that we often get conflicting information from different people in Morocco. I believe, however, that this is (paradoxically) often because people want to be helpful. It can drive you crazy! Calling people “idiots,” however, is hardly helpful. It is entirely possible to gain residency in Morocco as a non-Moroccan by following the rules. I have done it and so have countless others. There are many public anti-corruption initiatives and while implementation is sometimes patchy, you have the law on your side in refusing to be part of it.
          Lynn

          Reply
  3. bariah

    Once we apply for residency aren’t we supposed to get the receipt right away? Or does it take up to a month to just get the receipt?

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Normally the receipt proves you’ve paid the fee (last time I paid it, it was 100dh). So, if you have paid your fee, your receipt is proof that you have and can be used in place of your card until you get it. If you didn’t get a receipt, you’d better go back and ask about it!
      Lynn

      Reply
  4. Nafeesa Khan

    I have residence permit for one year. I received on 6 September 2017 and I travel to my home county India on 23 September 2017. Can u you me how long I can stay in India? 3 months or 6monts?

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Dear Nafeesa,
      I am not in a position to comment on how long an Indian national could stay in India while in possession of a Moroccan residence permit. The best place to ask is the place where the permit was issued, or at the Moroccan Embassy in your country.
      Kind regards,
      Lynn

      Reply
  5. Karen M Robinson

    Does Morocco not have a pensioner residency? I have a lifetime pension as well as social security from the US and would like to go and apply while there as a tourist during the 90 . day period.
    Is translation and apostile requited for all documents? What is required birth certificate, pension papers, government papers about social security, passport of course.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Dear Karen,
      if you are still in the US, the best place to ask is the Moroccan Embassy. You may also get some information from the US Embassy in Rabat. As far as I am aware, there is no specific “pensioner residency” – as long as you can provide the paperwork and convince the authorities that you have sufficient income in Morocco (e.g. a regular transfer from your pension to a Moroccan account), you should be granted residency. Translation (into French or Arabic) and legalisation is required for all documents in any administrative procedure in Morocco. Foreign papers can be legalised by the Embassy or Consulate of the issuing authority. Judicial translators are available in most big cities and most foreign Embassies in Morocco have a list of recommended translators on their website. In addition to the papers you mention, you will probably need proof of address in Morocco, certificate of good health, evidence of a Moroccan bank account (as above) and criminal record (or proof of lack thereof). You will probably not get your residency card within the 90 days, but you should get a receipt on application and payment of the fee that you can use as a proxy for it. There are many Facebook forums for expats in Morocco – you might get more information from a US citizen in one of those.
      All the best,
      Lynn

      Reply
  6. alpeshkumar

    My name is alpeshkumar jariwala. I recently started a business in Morocco My business name is zaftra global ltd . So I stay with him on my family. So let me tell you the right path about what I have to do. I am a citizen of India

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Dear Alpeshkumar,
      If you are in Morocco, the foreigners’ office of the local police (or your accountant, if you used one to set up your company) can give you the precise information on what is required for you to get permanent residency, if this is what you seek. If you are in India, you can ask at the Moroccan Embassy in Delhi.
      Good luck!
      Lynn

      Reply
  7. Faisal

    Sir
    Am Indian citizen I married Moroccan woman at BERRECHID I apply for resident permit I don’t know am where are you applying what documents need for officer

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Dear Faisal,
      I am not an immigration lawyer. If you are in Morocco, the foreigners’ office of the local police can give you the precise information on what is required for you to get a residency permit. If you are in India, you can ask at the Moroccan Embassy in Delhi.
      Lynn

      Reply
  8. Mizanur rahman

    Hi I am an Ibdian citizen I am engaged to a Moroccan girl and will be travelling to Morocco 2nd week of April to complete my marriage in Morocco but for my would be wife’s study I have to stay in Morocco for one year and for that reason I need information about obtaining a resident permit in Morocco as when I travelled to Morocco last time in January 2018 for my engagement I was given a visa of just 15days when I contacted the Moroccan embassy in India they said they cannot give any information about resident permit and asked me to contact ministry of foreign affairs in Morocco which I am unable to do as they do not receive any calls my fiance tried calling them numerous times now then papers which I am asked to make as per the information I received from the embassy of Indian in Rabat through mail is capacity of marriage, birth cum nationality certificate and police clearance certificate is there any extra documents I should carry with me which will be useful for me when I will be applying for a resident permit as the embassy said they can give me a visa of maxim 30days which they said it depends upon case to case so I may get 15 days visa again and the marriage process won’t be finished in 15 days or 30 days please help

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Minazur Rahman,
      I am not an immigration lawyer. If you are in Morocco, the foreigners’ office of the local police can give you the precise information on what is required for you to get a residency permit. Your fiancé can ask there in advance of your arrival. Once you are married to a Moroccan and have a fixed address, it should be relatively straightforward to obtain a residency permit.
      Lynn

      Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      H,
      As a US citizen, you can stay in Morocco for 90 days before you have to leave and re-enter. If you want to stay longer for one stay, you will need residency, which involves proving you have somewhere to live and the means to support yourself. The Moroccan Embassy in the US can advise you further.
      Lynn

      Reply
  9. Harriet

    Hi,

    what if you are a freelancer working online remotely to outside Morocco and/or if you have an European company? Then you will not apply a work-based permit?

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Harriet,
      I am not qualified to provide immigration advice, but if you don’t have a company in Morocco or employment with a Moroccan company, I don’t see how a work-based residency permit would be appropriate. Generally speaking, if you are applying for residency, the authorities are most interested in whether you have a certain income per month and a place to live. If you can satisfy both of these conditions, they would have no reason to refuse. In any case, the best place to ask is at the local police office which deals with foreigners. In the case of Essaouira, this is at the main administrative square next to the Atlas Hotel.
      Lynn

      Reply
  10. Lorena

    Hi! I live in Mexico. I would love to live in Morocco for a year or two so I can learn the language. what will be the best and most effective way to get this done?

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Lorena,
      You should check the visa requirements for citizens of your country travelling to Morocco. Most tourist entry stamps last 90 days, so if you want to stay longer, you need to leave the country and come back. A quick trip into Spanish territory is typical.
      You should consider which language it is that you want to learn. Several are spoken in Morocco as mother tongues and the language you wish to learn may determine where you are best to learn it.
      Happy planning!
      Lynn

      Reply
  11. Ezra

    Hello, Lynn!

    Firstly, thanks so much for being a helpful resource for all of us who have questions concerning Carte Sejour! You’re awesome. =]

    Secondly, I’m a self-employed business owner from the US living in Rabat. I’d love to learn how to set up a local business through which I can obtain Carte Sejour, if that’s possible. I have a stable income from my business in the States…and I have an idea to set up a personal consultant business here in Morocco…but was told by some American friends that this course may not be viable to obtain my first Carte Sejour and that I should probably look into an English teaching job first for 6 months.

    I know you’re not an official expert on immigration, but do you have any insight to provide? I’d still love to set up my own business but if that’s not a viable way to obtain Carte Sejour then I’ll look into the English teaching jobs…

    Thanks again for your advice!
    Sincerely,
    Ezra

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Ezra,
      I very happy you find my blog useful!
      The thing about the carte de séjour is that in order to get it, you need to prove you have sufficient means to support yourself. How you do that is secondary – it can be a regular transfer into a Moroccan account, a business, a Moroccan spouse (!)… there are several means. Working for someone else to prove an income isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Firstly, to be above board, an employer will have to prove that there is no-one else in the job market who can do the job. That should be relatively straightforward as regards native English speakers. Secondly, many schools only employ their staff on temporary contracts with the implication that you will leave the country every 3 months to renew your tourist visa. Your friends may have found another way, but I have never heard of it.
      If you are serious about setting up a Moroccan company, I suggest you get a recommendation of a good accountant and make an appointment for some advice. Most will offer an initial consultation for free. Many will help you get your company and carte de séjour papers sorted out.
      Good luck!
      Lynn

      Reply
  12. Karen Marroquin

    Hello,

    I am a US citizen and recently married a Moroccan (in July) and will be going back to Morocco to live with him, my question is, what kind of paperwork do I need to apply for a residency?

    My husband and I were looking up some info online, but to no avail. I would like to know if I need to do any paperwork before I go back, such as, FBI record? I took one with me when I went to Morocco in July but I’m not sure if I will need another one again.

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. lynn Post author

      Hi Karen,
      if your husband is in Morocco, he can ask at his local police station which documents are required. The process is much easier if you are applying for residency on the basis of marriage to a Moroccan, as you won’t have to prove your income. I don’t know the full list (and it may vary from region to region), but it is a good bet to bring your FBI record and your birth certificate from the US. Basically, the list is pretty similar to what you will have needed to get married (minus the medical certificate and evidence of singledom!) There are plenty of fora on Facebook where you might find more detailed information. Be aware – in Morocco, official documents “expire” 3 months after issuance, so make sure yours are up to date as the residency process might take most of those three months.
      Good luck!
      Lynn

      Reply

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