Moving to Morocco and wondering how to buy a car in this exotic country? After purchasing my own, I realised that the rules for buying a car in Morocco are so different than in Europe. If you don’t know local customs, it might take a long time to drive your dream.
I made a guide for both foreigners and expats first time buying a car in Morocco. Keep in mind, I create this guide based on my own experience purchasing a vehicle in Marrakech. So the process and its times in other Moroccan cities can be different.
To buy a car in Morocco, you need to be a Moroccan or a foreigner with so-called “Carte De Sejour”, a Moroccan residency card. If you are staying in Morocco with the 90-days tourist visa, you cannot register a car on your name.
In this case, your Moroccan friend (or a foreigner with “Carte De Sejour”) must register the car on his/her name. The insurance will also be on his/her name; however, the car will be insured no matter who will be driving. If you decide to drive with your car, registered on others’ names, to Europe (or Ceuta, Melilla), you will need to get an authorisation from the car’s owner. Be careful registering your car on someone else names, I know quite a few expats that lost their cars in this way.
Bringing car from Europe to Morocco?
Second-hand vehicles in Morocco are so expensive, comparing to Europe. Now, you probably thought about why not bring your car from Europe? Or buying a cheap second-hand one in Europe and bringing to Morocco? I also had this smart idea! However, it only works if you want to stay in Morocco for 6 months. According to the law, you can only to bring a car from abroad for 6 months per year, maximum. After 6 months, you must take the vehicle out of Morocco and can come back later.
You can try to come to Morocco with your car and sell it here. However, import taxes will be very high. Older the car, higher the taxes. The person buying your car will have to pay the customs tax on the vehicle. Remember that you cannot sell too old cars from Europe; only if you register them as a vintage (hell a complicated process). Some people drive their vehicles to neighbouring Mauritania and sell it there. However, it’s a long and risky drive.
Are you thinking about leaving a foreigner car in Morocco and fly home, coming back to Morocco later? No, no, no! When you enter Morocco with the car, your vehicle will be attached to your passport. When leaving, at the airport, you will have to proof customs that your car is not sold. Often, your keys can be taken customs till you back; or sometimes they seal the car. Lots of problems. The same goes if you arrive in Morocco on a foreigner motorcycle.
You don’t need an international driver’s license to drive in Morocco or rent a car there. All you need is a valid driving license from your home country. Keep in mind, that in order to rent a vehicle in Morocco, you must be 23 years and have held your license for 2 years.
If you stay in Morocco with a tourist visa and leave every 3 months, driving a rental or friend’s car with your original driving license is always enough. Police will always consider you as a tourist. However, the tricky part comes when you obtain your residence permit (Carte Séjour). Then, your original driver’s license is valid only for 1 year.
I know that some countries have a driver’s license recognition agreement between Morocco and the other country. In this case, you can easily exchange your foreigner driving licence to the Moroccan one. For nationals from countries having no agreement with Morocco, they have to retake the driving test to get the Moroccan driving license. The exam is only in Arabic or French, so yeah, a complicated deal if you only understand English.
HOW TO BUY A CAR IN MOROCCO?
So, you are ready to buy a car in Morocco? As I already mentioned, the second-hand cars in Morocco, compared to Europe, are expensive. E.g. for the 1998 year Mercedes Benz A150, you might pay around 7000 euro while in Europe the same car cost around 2000 euro. Once I saw a 2009 Honda Civic for 5000 euro, and it was in some bad accident.
If you want to buy some more decent car, be ready to pay around 6000-7000 euro. For less, you will get an old car or newer but probably from an accident. For vintage lovers, you can buy Mercedes Benz 240d (1982), R4 (1985) etc for around 2000 euro.
Although I am not a huge small cars lover, I decided to buy a second-hand Fiat Panda (2016). These models, in general, are cheap and popular – around 12.000 euros new ones. To buy the Fiat Panda was a safe choice. It’s a comparably new car, easy to sell, repair it. It consumes little gas, and the road taxes are low. For a similar price (6500 euros), I could also get seven seats 1998 Mitsubishi Pajero – a smart choice if you like to travel. However, I realised that the road taxes are almost 700 euros per year; this car also consume more gas and cost more to fix it.
Where to buy?
You can find second-hand cars for sale on popular Moroccan advertising websites such as Avito.ma, Moteur.ma etc. You can also try finding local dealers or simply asking around.
Don’t be scared to check a car that is over your budget. In general, all the prices you see online are negotiable. One friend was selling his car online and was asking almost 600 euro more just because he knew Moroccans must negotiate. Often, it’s a negotiation for the negotiation, part of cultural habit.
Before buying a vehicle, double-check how much is its annual automobile property tax, nicknamed La Vignette that is based on car’s age and/or fiscal horsepower. In this table, you can check the prices (however, they change annually, so double-check somewhere else):
As you see from the table, if you have a big powerful car, you might need to pay even 800 or even 2000 euros per year for La Vignette (be ready to shake your wallets, Range Rover lovers). La Vignette must be paid every January and can be done online. Taxes are paid on the car’s, not the owner’s name.
From my experience, the man who sold me the car promised the La Vignette tax is paid. However, he said, losing the receipt. I trusted the guy, but after going to the tax office, I realised he was lying and had to pay again plus the fine.
Register the purchase
Finally, when you choose a car, time to do the paperwork. It’s a long process, requiring going from one place to another and collecting many stamps. So, please don’t plan to use your car asap, it will take some time to get the insurance.
Of course, the seller can offer to use his insurance (if valid), temporary. However, I wouldn’t recommend this option. Better to register the car as soon as possible on your name.
IMPORTANT. I did all the car registration process in Marrakech so in other Moroccan cities your experience might be different. Also, some friends managed to do the paperwork fast because they bought the car from a car dealer.
First, the seller and you, the buyer, will need to go the office of vehicles mukata (have no idea how to call it, mukata is a place where you legalise papers, but this one is for the car deals). In Marrakech, I went to the one in the picture (2020 December, coordinates here), but maybe there are more. There, you will sign/stamp the first page of your car’s purchase dossier “cadre réservée à la vente “. It’s a grey dossier where you will need to collect stamps from many departments to register the car on your name finally. After signing the dossier with the seller, you officially bought the car. Congrats! Price for this visit – around 300 DH.
After, you will pay the agreed amount to the previous car owner (recommend to make a bank transfer) and continue registering, filling out the grey dossier pages with stamps and signatures yourself.
CENTRE VISIT TECHNIQUE
After, as a new owner, you need to go to the Centre Visite Technique (controle technique des vehicules) where you will obtain the mutation certificate. As a standard, new cars only need to get this certificate after 5 years. However, even if your car is only a few years old, you still need to obtain this certificate for registration.
For newer cars, this certificate will be taken by the car’s registration officers. You will not keep it. So if you buy a car less than 5 years old, don’t ask the Visite Technique certificate from the seller. For older than 5 years old cars, this certificate always stays with the car owner.
There are a few Centre Visite Technique places in each town. In Marrakech, I choose the one next Prefecture De Police (certificate cost around 270 DH).
Registration on your name
After the visite technique, you need to pay all the registration taxes in a place called Direction Generale des Impots (coordinates of Marrakech office here). I’m not sure exactly what they do there, but you will need to pay around 850 DH. Don’t forget, there, you must present your lease contract.
Before going to Direction Generale des Impots, you will need to print a paper stating that you have paid (the seller paid) the “La Vignette” tax. In Marrakech, you can check if the seller paid the annual tax in a kiosk next to Direction Generale des Impots. The guy will check if the tax is paid and will print for you the statement. You can also there pay the tax (or, via your online banking system). Or, you can do it online, check before buying a car if the tax is paid.
p.s. as I already mentioned, before buying car make sure the seller paid the annual Vignette tax. If he didn’t pay, you will need to pay for the uncovered period plus one year payment.
With the “La Vignette” statement, visit the Direction Generale des Impots to pay other taxes and registration fees. There, you MUST provide a valid apartment lease with your name on it. After getting many other stamps, you will continue to another place next street.
Registration at Service des Mines
Almost there! With all the stamps, you will have to go Service des Mines (Allal Fassi Avenue) office to register the car on your name. To get inside, you will need to register for an appointment online at Khadamat.narsa.gov.ma. At least in Marrakech, there are long lines, make sure you register right after you buy the car.
There, you will exchange your “cadre réservée à la vente “paper to another one, saying you are the car’s owner. It’s not the actual card yet. After around 60 days, you need to make another appointment and return to Service des Mines for the actual Carte Grise, the real ownership card. My Carte Grise wasn’t ready after that time; I had to wait a half year to receive it by extending the paper with more stamps.
- To register your car in Marrakech, you must be registered in Marrakech (either your Moroccan ID ore residency card has to be issued in Marrakech).
- With the temporary car paper, you cannot sell the car again. You must wait until you receive the actual Carte grise, to sell your car.
- Also, when buying a car, make sure the owner has the actual Carte grise.
Technically, if the precious car owner still has the insurance, you can drive the car right away. However, many car owners don’t want to give their insurance, so you will have to wait till you make your own.
In Morocco, like everywhere in the world, car insurance is the same. You can either choose from the full coverage or the simple one. For the full coverage, the price is around 400 euro/year. There are many insurance companies to choose from as well.
Congrats on owning your own car in Morocco! Also, I want to know about your experience of buying a car in Morocco! Please leave it in comments or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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