Morocco consists of scenic mountains and deserts, and its people are welcoming and friendly. It’s no wonder this country is becoming a hub for expat retirees. There is a mix of culture there, where people are living different lifestyles and speaking different languages. If the idea of living abroad in Morocco interests you, here are some of the residency options it has to offer:
Many countries are excluded from needing a visa to enter Morocco for a 90-day stay. Those countries include the United States and Canada, along with many European countries. Check to be certain if your country’s citizens can travel to Morocco without a visa. Those who do need a visa will need to get in touch with the Moroccan Embassy. Visas are usually valid for three months and take about 5-6 business days to process. You’ll need a completed application, four passport-style photos, a valid passport with at least one blank page, fees, and flight and hotel booking information.
During the first 90 days of your visit without a visa, you are considered a tourist, so you cannot buy land or work. If you want to apply for an extension, it can be a long process, so many will step over into a Spanish controlled territory like Ceuta or Melilla to renew the 90 days.
Residency Card (Carte de Séjour)
If you want to renew your visa for longer than 90 days, you’ll have to apply for a residency card. It’s important to note that if you’ve traveled to Morocco with the intention of staying, you’ll need to apply for this card within 15 days of your trip. You’ll have to apply with the foreign office of the commissioner of the Moroccan city you’ve chosen.
The residency card is valid for one year on your first application, and that number can be extended when you choose to renew. If you renew three times, you can apply for a residency permit that’s valid for 10 years. With this permit/card you can open a bank account in Morocco. The process of obtaining a residency card can last 2-4 months, so be prepared to wait.
In order to live and work abroad in Morocco, you’ll need both your residency card and a work permit. Your employer will be in charge of handling the procedures to allow you a work permit.
If you don’t have a job yet, but wish to work in Morocco, you will need to register with the office of the commissioner of your city of choice, find an employer willing to hire you, and also apply for the residence permit. Your new employer will then need to validate your employment contract with the Moroccan Ministry of Employment and the Department of Employment service for migrants. You’ll be asked to provide a passport, medical certificate less than one month old, and documentation outlining your professional skills.
Work permits are valid from 1-3 years, depending on your type of employment. These can, however, be renewed.
When you go to apply for your residency permit, you’ll have to choose one of eight reasons for why you’re applying. One of those reasons is retirement. Once you have your residency card, the same rules will apply for length of validation and the ability to open a bank account in Morocco. Your first residency card will be valid for one year, and extra renewals can get you a card that’s good for up to 10 years.
With the cost of living abroad in Morocco as low as it is, and with all that it has to offer, many expats are choosing to relocate there even without a pension program. Morocco does not offer such a program of benefits, but it truly isn’t necessary anyway. Moroccan citizens live on $350 per year on average, to give you an idea.
The process of applying for residency will depend on the type of residency you need. Here are the eight categories:
- British wife with Moroccan husband
- British husband with Moroccan wife
- Employment contract approved by the Ministry of Labor
- Co-operating military / civilian co-operation
- Shareholder Company
- Without profession
The basis of what you’ll need, regardless of the type of residency abroad you’re choosing will include a valid passport, passport-style photos, fees, a completed application, and proof of income. Apply at your local district office to find out just what you’ll need.
Once you’ve renewed your residency card for the third time and gained the 10 year permit, you’re a permanent resident in Morocco. The first card will be valid for one year, the second for five years, and the third for 10 years.