Being an expat in Marrakech in 2021


Morocco is a stable country attracting foreigners, namely Americans, Spanish, and French. They are settling here to learn Arabic or to delve into the Arab world.

Expats moving to Marrakech, the North African Kingdom should note these tips. Expats can use these tips as an eye-opener.

expat living in marrakesh
  • Tip 1- A traditional society - Marrakech is open to tourism, though a traditional Muslim society. They expect women to cover their arms and legs. It is illegal to live together as unmarried couples and homosexuality is a strict no. Women cannot go topless on public beaches and women should cover from wrist to ankle as a custom while going to a mosque. During Ramadan, the holy month, ex-pats are also expected to observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. The consumption and selling of alcohol during Ramadan are prohibited.
  • Tip 2 - It is not cheap. Morocco is expensive. The rent is expensive as in other big cities, such as Casablanca, the economic capital has higher rent than in Boston. The real estate prices are high as in Western Europe. However, there is a huge difference in the prices of real estate in big cities and towns. In traditional markets, fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat are cheaper, while the spirits and wines are expensive.
  • Tip 3- It is a monarchy. Moroccans bear in mind that Expats should take the monarchy seriously. The Morocco king is the religious leader and is in the highest rank. There is great respect for him. The stable system makes Morocco the safest country and it expects the expats to never criticize the religion, or the king.
  • Tip 4- Multicultural. Morocco has roots in Africa with branches extending into Europe. Morocco has a mix of African, Arab, European, and Berber influences. Expats use French and Spanish to get around.
  • Tip 5- Requires patience. Bureaucratic Morocco takes a lot of time to do administrative work and so expats must have patience. The management is slow and so tons of patience is helpful.

We really like hotels but also the experience in a riad is very great especially if you like to make your own art. For many years, we travel around Morocco and Marrakesh, the price of the home per month are the best in town. The view of the rooftop of the media is something you don't have to miss. You can also find a nice spot to look at the sunset from your room or rooms of your hotel or palace.

Experience of expats

expat living in marrakesh

Moroccans are extremely hospitable and warm. People are poor here and are desperate even to buy a tank of gas or to feed their families. But their social network between friends and family help to support each other. True generosity is apparent in this country. The local food vendors and the locals are friendly. Feel free to consult this great article regarding how is to live in Marrakesh.

The quality of life is fresher, healthier, and cheaper. Nevertheless, there is a need for plenty of adjustments for an expat in Marrakech. It is best to learn some Moroccan and French dialects. Moroccans are fond of talking and so adapt to entertain small talks. Moroccans do not value commitments of time; they may or may not show up the day of the commitment. They are not punctual anytime.

The costs in Morocco in some places are reasonable, but the food is cheaper and better. Rent is expensive, but the winters are not the same. In bigger cities, traffic is chaotic. The popular vehicles are small motorbikes and scooters. There is a high demand for taxis and they come at affordable rates. The local city buses are reasonable but never come on time, giving the right reason for the motorbikes and taxi’s popularity. The intercity buses are affordable. CTM and Supratours provide aircon and Wi-Fi for free, besides run on schedule time. There are public and private clinics, but for an expat the charges are high. In major cities the hospitals are excellent, yet medical specialties are in restriction. For emergency services, go to the major cities and always stock prescription drugs to be safer.

Talking about the palace, a great one we recommend because it's totally mad is the one from the main place. We edit some amazing photo from this place where we were really united with the Moroccan. It's the kind of experience people should definitely do for years and years. Doesn't matter if it's a riad or a hotel, the most important is to like the place even if it's not a palace at least you will pay a good price and still have great art and views on the street when walking.

Challenging Aspects

A woman can stay alone without facing any problem if you dress modestly. There is a need to keep with little jewelry and makeup. People try to be over-friendly; you may keep up with saying good morning and go on with your business. In smaller cities, women go in groups with the family, relatives, or male relatives. The trash is found lying everywhere, besides there is the fear of thieves and outdoor urinal.

Certain cultures are challenging such that not using both hands to eat. It is a must to use only the right hand for food. Another aspect is that same-sex members go for a lot of hugging.

Safety issues are much and expats have to know to stay safe. A flea market is a place where you can lose anything in a moment. Avoid walking after 11 pm in the old town as it has a labyrinth of tiny twisting streets. The place seems scary with poor lighting to walk during the night.


Expats can live in Gueliz, the modern district, next to Medina. Built by French architects, Gueliz has many chic restaurants, wide boulevards, and a shopping mall newly built called Carre Eden. No doubt, Gueliz is an expensive place to live, but you can avoid unwanted attention, though you have to pay more rent. For a location choose a place like Medina, but a quiet street at a short distance from the main road.

Moroccans are tolerant of foreigners, they are open-minded and friendly. Making friends here is easier; they offer warm communication and love chatting. Speaking French is a must to find a job if you are an expat. For English-speaking jobs, you can check in Casablanca, which is the business hub of Morocco. You can establish your business, but begin to adapt to the style of local living and the key to success is in being patient. One Riad or two Riads, it will just depend on the number of people you are but it's better to share a riad with the family. Be careful to book a riad with great reviews, that's important if you want a good room with a nice view. For one year we are traveling through Marrakesh and we saw that the Moroccan is really united on the internet.

Marrakech, Morocco’s capital has a distinct charm. The culture is an immersive experience. The expats can find traditional marketplaces, unwavering hospitality, old-fashioned vendors, offering a unique experience reflecting the heritage and is metropolitan.

Expats looking for restaurants, clubs, and bars or hang-outs, will love Casablanca. It is the progressive Morocco side and the name, Casablanca is famous in Hollywood film for its namesake. You can see the same traffic jam, the city moving fast, and hear the buzzing sound of vehicles. 
Work Permit information

Nationals from the US and the EU can stay in Morocco for 90 days. Other nationals must apply at a Moroccan embassy for a visa in their home country. The documents required are:

  • Duly signed and filled visa application
  • Original passport
  • Original passport copy pages 1-3
  • Plan tickets round trip copy to assure the confirmed reservation
  • Two-color photos in passport size in a white background
  • Your Morocco host letter of invitation or hotel reservation

An applicant married to the citizen of Morocco, a marriage certificate copy and the Passport or the Moroccan spouse national ID to be submitted as an alternative for the letter or hotel reservation invitation.

Extending beyond 90 days’ stay in Morocco is possible. Expats should apply for a resident’s permit with legalized documents 2 copies. The legalized documents are:

  • Application completed form
  • Medical certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Criminal record check
  • Bank statements

Passport size 10 photos and the permit is for three months, and if an extension is required, it is renewable.

Driving License

Expats may use a driving license, domestic or international in Morocco. It is suitable for short-stay visas and tourists. But if you wish to extend staying here, a Moroccan driving license is a must from the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, and Logistics. Traffic accidents are common in Morocco because of poor driving practices and this results in fatalities and serious injuries. It is high during Ramadan as the traffic regulations are relaxed during the fasting period. The streets are congested and the drivers should be very cautious at night while driving as the lighting is poor along roads. Another hassle is that the traffic signals may not function always, adding to driving difficulty. Three are two-lane highways in major cities and the modern freeways link Marrakesh, Casablanca, Fez, Rabat, and Tangier.

Best Morocco cities for expats

Casablanca, Fes, Marrakesh, Rabat, ad Tangier. These cities offer the best urban area feel. There are buildings in Casablanca with French-colonial influence set in picturesque areas. There are picturesque areas in Casablanca featuring elegant arcades, tree-lined squares, stylish buildings, and neat alleyways.

Fez is car-free urban area. You can see donkeys transporting goods taking through narrow streets. It is the UNESCO heritage site showing steady growth with the expat population.

Marrakesh has an ancient marketplace and modern-day Marrakesh with stylish boulevards, trendy boutiques, and public gardens. Marrakesh features many cafes in the residential areas

Rabat is along the Atlantic Ocean and Bouregreg River shores. This city has sandy beaches waterfront Kasbah, international restaurants, and palm-lined roads. The new portions are popular and elegant with expats. Tangier is the favorite of celebrities. It has new hotels, a new port, and a new marina that it has the prominence of being a tourist destination. Wandering the maze of streets, you will find fascinating past traces and modern fulfillments. There will be merchants selling Berber carpets, mosaic tables, antiques, and ceramics. They use internet and social networks to stay connected between each other and this works for real. The cost of your room or hotel will be very great, you will see. But once again, check the reviews of rooms before to book, this advice will save your life.

Morocco markets, the Souks offer shopping opportunities in plenty. Look out for the Moroccan craft industry for leather goods, carpets, pottery, and argan oil.