One thing you will probably need if you want to live in Morocco is a car. So how do you actually go about doing this, where do you go and what is the process?
When we moved to Agadir, we drove from the UK with my Toyota Hilux and this would have been perfect for our needs, however there are a few issues that you need to be aware of with a UK licenced vehicle. Firstly, you are only allowed to bring the car into the country for 6 months maximum, then you have to leave. you can bring it back in again after 1 day, but you still have to leave. One trick is to get a ferry over to Spain, then catch one back the next day, or even just got to Ceuta and spend a night in the Spanish region of Morocco.
We thought about this but insurance in the UK does not like this, Moroccan insurance did not like right hand drive cars, and importing the car would have meant a massive tax bill worth more than the car, so we decided to drive back to the UK, sell the car there and buy one in Morocco.
Firstly, you must be a resident. The first thing we did on arrival was start the process of getting our residence permit – Carte Sejour. This allows us to reside in Morocco and renews every one or two years, then you can apply for 5 years and finally 10 years. Getting one is a slow and drawn out process, requiring lots of planning and documentation – most importantly you need a police record report from the UK – we did this before leaving and I am so glad we did. You have to get this translated into French as well, but do it in Morocco.
Then the problem is finding a car. New ones are pretty easy, there are lots of main dealers offering just about anything you want. Secondhand car dealers are few and far between – in fact I would say almost non existent. In the UK you have a plethora of dealers and also things like Autotrader online and car auctions – that does not exist here.
I found a handful of websites but they were not updated and the cars all sold on them, I wasted lots of time on this route and eventually even tried to find a dealer from his Facebook page, but the address did not exist in the end – so what to do? I decided to drive to the Toyota main dealer in Agadir and ask them – I wanted a Toyota Prado if possible and surely they knew what happened to all the second hand cars when they part exchanged them.
As it turned out, the guy at Toyota was very helpful and gave us the name of a guy who could help us with 4×4 and toyota in particular. Armed with the address and hope, we drove off to find him. As it turns out, this was our lucky day and the guy we were told to see was there and better still he spoke perfect English. He used to be a manager at Toyota in New Zealand for a number of years and also runs off road tours and a full garage and second hand 4×4’s – that was a stroke of luck!!
We had a look at a few cars, but decided on a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport – a 7 seater station wagon as it ticked all the boxes. One other thing we had to be careful of is the tax breaks on vehicles. Its done by horse power – small engine cars up to about 2.0ltr are 800MAD, slightly larger ones up to 2.5ltr are 1,500MAD, 3lt are 6,000MAD and the most powerful ones are 20,000MAD – so you have to be really careful of the category the car falls into.
The first thing is to go to the department of vehicles and get a grey dossier which you then get stamped, this says that the seller is selling to you. This involves lots of waiting and a few stamps on the document. Then as the new owner, you have to go to the Centre Visite Technique – basically a place that tests the car for roadworthiness – for a mutation certificate. This is a very frustrating place to go, you have to arrive early to make sure you get checked (apparently only 20 vehicles can be checked in any day) and once you book in, you sit and wait. I arrived at 8am and was number 13 in line, which appears to change all the time so you have to insist otherwise you get shunted down. As it happens, I was there for 4 hours. This is hugely frustrating but you have to get this form, so at last you drive off with the document, ready for the next place.
Once you have this form, duly stamped of course (everything has lots of stamps on it), you go to pay the transfer fee at another department. Once more, you park up and get in the queue. I am still not totally sure what this was, but it cost me 805MAD and yes, I got another stamp on the grey dossier, allowing me to go to the final place government department about 300mt away to hand it all in and get a small section returned to me as proof of ownership, once queuing for 2 hours more of course. I did have a final issue at the last hurdle, because we put the car in both our names, I had to go and get another form filled in, stamped and notorised and return the next day – for another hour long wait. They did say that I needed yet more forms, but I had to get angry and see the manager to sort this one out…it happens!
So Finally, I have a small piece of cardboard telling me I am the owner – in 60 days time I have to return to another office and queue to see if the actual Carte Grise is available for me – if not, I get an extension stamp for a further 30 days, then repeat until it is.
Now I can go and get insurance – the insurance is on the car not the driver and there are a bunch of options for insurance – we went for the full monty inc breakdown cover and recovery just in case – always over insure and then you know you are covered.
I can see why there are no second hand dealers – with all this going on it takes days to complete anything. In the meantime, each copy document has to be notorised and collect a stamp, and each time you need Carte Sejour, Passport, proof of address, so the queuing for just notorising documents takes for ever – all in all this exercise took me a week in total.
There has to be a massive opportunity for somebody like Car Giant to come over her and clean up, doing it all in one place and streamlining the process would be amazing – but this is the way it is and as long as people accept this process it will remain – it is what it is and that’s it. I hope this has helped anybody wishing to buy, If we had not found our man, I think we would have been struggling to get a car – Moroccans in general treat the vehicles very badly and I think it is just luck of the draw.