More to do than just lying on the beach
How to Get a Resident's Card in Morocco
by JL Farmer
Tourists in Morocco
Firstly, there is no requirement of any kind for a tourist to register with the Police or even your own country's consulate upon your arrival in Morocco. As long as you don't break the law or work for money, you can, as a tourist, do and travel pretty much as you like, but always within the realm of law.
Becoming a Resident of Morocco
There is no requirement for an expatriate resident to register with their national consulate (or honorary consulate) in Morocco. You will not be excluded from using any consular services if you do not register as their services are available for any citizen of their country.
If you are seriously thinking about becoming a resident of Morocco, the very first thing that needs to be done is to open a dirham convertible bank account. I highly recommend BMCE as a very good bank, because their head office main branch is spacious, uncrowded, air conditioned and - most of all - they have proficient staff who know their business inside out, speak various languages without asking you all the time to repeat yourself, as well as being friendly, unweird and accommodating. And they also do not charge you to issue an Attestation Bancaire (see section 6b below.)
BMCE helped me to transfer my bank account from Tangier to Agadir in 2009 and took care of all the paperwork and faxes involved. Not every bank offers this free service. Some banks don't offer it at all and will require you to open a new account if you move location, so you may need to ask about this if you enquire to open an account with other banks if you think it could be an issue later on should you decide to move to another area of Morocco.
Without having a dirham convertible bank account, you cannot proceed any further with your Residents Card application.
The BMCE main bank in Agadir is just down the street from Royal Air Maroc:
BMCE Capital Agadir
Avenue Général Kettani
Agadir 80,000, Morocco
Tél : 00 212 528 84 13 14 / 07
Fax : 00 212 528 84 12 77
After opening a dirham convertible bank account you can then prepare to apply for a residents card at the local Police Commissariat in the town where you are living. Any applicant may be called into the boss's office and given a friendly, informal interview. You may not even be aware that you are in an interview - but the answers you give to questions asked may determine whether you pass for a card, or not, so do pay attention to anything that is asked of you and reply in an appropriate manner.
Important: PLEASE NOTE: If you already have a residents card and are applying for a card renewal in a different city to the Commissariat that issued the Card then you will need to complete a form from the old Commissariat office, officially signed and stamped BEFORE arriving at the new Commissariat office. If you do not do this, you will be required to return to the original Commissariat office to obtain this official document. Allowing for time, transport and accommodation expenses, this can be a somewhat expensive procedure, so it is definitely in your interests to get this document before leaving town to relocate to a new area.
Requirements to Obtain Residency in Morocco
The requirements differ somewhat slightly in different areas of Morocco. Below I will mention the common requirements of all areas, then the specific requirements of Tangier and Agadir - which are the two that I can accurately describe, by my experience with both offices.
First-time cards are usually issued for one year. Renewals are usually issued for five years the second time around and then for ten years for the third card and beyond.
IMPORTANT: Please be sure to have all of the relative documents in advance before submitting your file in order to avoid delays. All applications are vetted at your local Commissariat office and are then sent to Rabat for issuing of Card. First-time applications can take six months to one year to issue, therefore your passport should have at least one year remaining on it. Card renewals usually take two to three months to issue.
You will need:
1) Notarised (i.e. legalised) copies of: three pages in your passport:
a) the photo page in your passport that has your ID details and
b) the page that has your original entry stamp in Morocco (a machine generated stamp - this may be in an expired passport)
c) the page that has your CURRENT entry stamp in Morocco
All of the original documents that are mentioned below.
2) Eight small photographs - six for the Residency card and two for the Residency document.
3) To pay 100 dirhams for each year of the validity of the Residents Card. This fee used to be paid in stamps, but is now paid (only) in cash at the counter when you submit your application file. If you are applying for a renewal of your card, you will be given the choice of the number of years you wish to apply for. (I chose 10 years, thus eliminating the need to repeat the application process at an earlier date.)
4) Original Official birth certificate (and marriage certificate, if applicable.)
5) One of the following: either
a) Original proof of ownership of a property or
b) Original Unfurnished Property Rental Contract.
The Commissariat office does not accept monthly rent receipts of a furnished property for a residents card, but they may accept it for a tourist visa extension in Agadir.
I knew a man in Agadir who lived in a furnished flat and had been a tourist in Morocco for over 20 years. He had to leave the country every three months because his landlord declined to give him a rental contract and he didn't want to move because his rent was cheap.
6) In Agadir, you must prove that you have an overseas bank monthly standing order into your Moroccan bank account of at least 350 Euros a month. Don't cancel the bank mandate after you get your residents card as you will need to keep the bank monthly standing order active, on a permanent basis. You will be required to have an "Attestation Bancaire" and bank statements showing the monthly standing order whenever you go to renew your residents card at any future date.
6b) Proof of your possession of a Moroccan bank account in the form of an "Attestation Bancaire". This is proof from your bank to confirm the account and the balance that you hold. In English it is known as a "bank letter." My bank in Tangier (BMCE) charged me a low 150 dirhams for this document (a long time ago.) There is no charge for this letter at the BMCE main branch in Agadir.
7a) Original letter/s of Proof of permanent income (such as Government Pension/s, Private Pension/s etc). This is the "gotcha" for non-retirees and will likely exclude a lot of people from the process of obtaining residency in Morocco. Unless you can prove that you have a monthly income, you will not get a residents card. The "Proof of income" requirement is the reason why the majority of overseas residents in Morocco are retired persons - they can prove their monthly retirement pension/s - from either government and/or private pensions.
7b) Bank transaction statement/s - this can run to several sheets of paper, depending on the use of your account.
Income from overseas property rentals may also be accepted as income, providing you have the rental contract documentation and all bank records of rental transactions received.
Income from Interest received on Savings may also be accepted as income, providing you have the documentation for your Savings Account, and full statements.
The only exception to this "Income" rule that we know of is that you have come to Morocco to live to care for an ageing or unwell parent who is already an official resident of Morocco. Be prepared to show all documentation proving your relationship to your parent (birth certificate, adoption certificate etc) along with any official (e.g. medical) documentation from your home country.
8) A Medical Certificate from a licensed doctor to prove that you have no contagious diseases. You may be seen immediately or may have to make an appointment, if the surgery is busy. The Certificate can take less than ten minutes to obtain, providing that you answer the doctor's questions that you are in good health, otherwise a medical check-up may be required. Certificate usually costs 100 dirhams. A good, local doctor in Talborjt is situated opposite the big Carrefour supermarket down the side street here:
Doctor Ayyadi Omar,
Rue Jacoub El Mansour
(between Café Chantilly & Agence Supratour)
9) You do not need one from your own country, but you do need to have an official certificate from the Criminal Records office in Rabat to show that you do not have a criminal record in Morocco. This is a straightforward matter, (I was very impressed) is done online (internet) and takes around 24 hours to process. You need to have an email address and a scan of your passport page that contains your photograph (and current residents card, if you have one) which you then upload with the application. You then receive an immediate email and can track the process on the given link. Be sure to double check all of the info that you include before sending the form as this info is checked with official sources in Rabat. I applied at 10pm at night and the process was completed by 5pm next afternoon. The official document (in French) is then collected (in person) during opening hours from the local Commissariat and costs 10 dirhams in fiscal stamps. The internet address to begin this process (in English) is here. The language can also be changed (at the top left of the screen) into Arabic, French or Spanish.
All of the above documents (ONLY in French or Arabic) must then be photocopied and the copies officially notarised at the local Baladia. Un-notarised documents will not be accepted at the Commissariat.
Translation of Documents into Arabic or French
Unless the above documents are in Arabic or French, you must take other language documents to a RECOGNISED translation agency to have them translated into French. You can ask the official for the address of a recognised translation agency. Ask them for photocopies for yourself while you are there. There is usually no extra charge. I paid 100 dirhams for each document when I had mine translated, but they may likely cost more these days. Don't ask a friend to do the translation for you because the Commissariat will not accept translated documents that have not been translated by a locally recognised agency.
Regional additional requirements. If you have correct info on other regions in Morocco, please send us the info so that we can help people by updating this page. Thank you.
In Tangier, you need to have at least 200,000 (two hundred thousand) dirhams in your Moroccan bank account. No overseas bank monthly standing order bank deposit is required in Tangier. When you have the "Attestation Bancaire" you can still continue to withdraw funds from your bank account while waiting for your new Card to be issued.
When you present your completed dossier at the Commissariat and pay your fee, you will likely be told to return to the office two weeks later, to receive your temporary residents permit. When you receive this document, make a note of your CN number, just in case you lose this document. From then on, you are in the computer as a resident of Morocco - and subject to Residency Rules (such as the import and export of foreign currency and assets, property tax and inheritance tax after death.) You will need to visit the Commissariat office every month with the temporary document until you receive your residents Card, so be sure to remember to take the document with you so that it can be stamped. If you have an overseas trip planned during the waiting period, tell the office about it - they are very understanding on this subject and will inform you of what to do next.
After receiving the temporary document, you can, if you like, then ship your furniture from Europe tax free during the first six months from the date of your Temporary CN document. You will need a letter from your consulate to enable this tax free import. You will also need to move quickly if you want to do this. I missed out on this because nobody (not even the consul) could (or would not) tell me if the six months tax-free period was from the date of the temporary document or from the date of the card. I found out too late that it is from the date of the temporary document.
Be aware that you will need an official export licence to export your furniture out of Morocco in the future, in the event that you should decide to permanently leave Morocco - and you may not get one. That's how come you see a lot of European furniture for sale in the local flea markets, particularly in Tangier (Casa Barata) and the northern areas of Morocco.
Please note that a law was recently passed that says that private vehicles that are more than five years old cannot be permanently imported into Morocco. They can only be admitted as tourist vehicles, for a maximum stay of three months (same duration as a tourist visa.)
Your proper CN card will arrive any time between one month and eight months later (depending on the region you live in.) Card renewals arrive faster, taking between two to three months. (They told me to go back after three months, but the card was waiting for me when I went and enquired after two months.)
You will need to show your card with your passport whenever you leave or arrive in Morocco. Technically, entry or exit can be refused without your card. I know of people who forgot their card and they had no problem, but the possibility of entry or exit refusal does exist if you try to leave or enter Morocco without your card.
When you get your CN card, you will find that your life will change considerably. Moroccans have a lot of respect for people who get a CN card. You will notice the difference.
Thank you for reading. I hope the above information helps. I will edit this page periodically if I become aware that any information has changed.
Page updated: April 22, 2017
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