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 different than in Europe. If you don’t know local customs, driving your dream might take a long time.
I made a guide for foreigners and expats buying a car in Morocco for the first time. Remember that I created this guide based on my experience purchasing a vehicle in Marrakech. So, the process and its times in other Moroccan cities can be different.
(updated in 2022 July)
Buy a car in Morocco: Legal issues
To buy a car in Morocco, you need to be a Moroccan or a foreigner with the so-called “Carte De Sejour”, a Moroccan residency card. If you are staying in Morocco with a 90-day tourist visa, you cannot register a car in your name.
In this case, your Moroccan friend (or a foreigner with “Carte De Sejour”) must register the car in his/her name. The insurance will also be in his/her name; however, the car will be insured no matter who will be driving. If you decide to drive with your car, registered in others’ names, to Europe (or Ceuta, Melilla), you will need to get authorisation from the car’s owner. Be careful registering your car in someone else name; I know quite a few expats who lost their cars in this way.
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Bringing a car from Europe to Morocco?
Second-hand vehicles in Morocco are very expensive compared to those in Europe. Now, you probably thought about why not bring your car from Europe. Or buying a cheap second-hand one in Europe and bringing it 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 bring a car from abroad for 6 months per year. 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, the higher the taxes. The person buying your car will have to pay the car’s customs tax. Remember that you cannot sell too old cars from Europe, only if you register them as vintage (hell, a complicated process). Some people drive their vehicles to neighbouring Mauritania and sell them there. However, it’s a long and risky drive.
Are you thinking about leaving a foreign car in Morocco, flying home, and returning to Morocco later? No, no, no! When you enter Morocco with the car, your vehicle will be attached to your passport. When leaving the airport, you must prove to customs that your car is not sold. Customs can often take your keys till you get back; sometimes, they seal the car. Lots of problems. The same goes if you arrive in Morocco on a foreign 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. Remember that to rent a vehicle in Morocco, you must be 23 years old 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 a tourist. However, the tricky part comes when you obtain your residence permit (Carte Séjour) or stay in Morocco for one year without leaving. Then, your original driver’s license is valid only for 1 year.
I know some countries have a driver’s license recognition agreement between Morocco and other countries. In this case, you can easily exchange your foreign driving licence for the Moroccan one. Nationals from countries with no agreement with Morocco must retake the driving test to get a 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, are you ready to buy a car in Morocco? As I already mentioned, second-hand cars in Morocco, compared to Europe, are expensive. For example, for the 1998 Mercedes Benz A150, you might pay around 7000 euros, while in Europe, the exact car costs around 2000 euros. Once I saw a 2009 Honda Civic for 5000 euros, which was in some bad accident.
If you want to buy a more decent car, be ready to pay around 6000-7000 euros. For less, you will get an old or newer car, but probably from an accident. For vintage lovers, you can buy a Mercedes Benz 240d (1982), R4 (1985) etc for around 2000 euros.
Although I am not a huge small car 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. Buy the Fiat Panda was a safe choice. It’s a comparably new car, easy to sell and repair. It consumes little gas, and the road taxes are low. For a similar price (6500 euros), I could also get seven seats for the 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 consumes more gas and costs more to fix.
Where to buy a car in Morocco?
You can find second-hand cars 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 euros 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 its annual automobile property tax is, nicknamed La Vignette, which is based on the 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, 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 he lost 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. I did all the car registration processes in Marrakech, so your experience might differ in other Moroccan cities. Also, some friends did the paperwork quickly because they bought the car from a car dealer.
First, the seller and you, the buyer, will need to legalise the car-buying papers. In Marrakech, you have to go to the office of vehicles mukata ( mukata in Morocco is a place where you legalise papers, but this one is only for car deals). In Marrakech, I went to the one in the picture above (2022 December, contact me for coordinates). I know that in other cities, to legalise these buying papers, you can go to any mukata.
There, you will sign/stamp the first page of your car’s purchase dossier “cadre réservée à la vente “. After signing the dossier with the seller, you officially bought the car. Congrats!
After, you will pay the agreed amount to the previous car owner (recommend making 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 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 for the Visite Technique certificate from the seller. For older than 5 years old cars, this certificate always stays with the car owner.
There are many Centre Visite Technique places in each town, and the certificate costs around 270 DH. Don’t forget to renew the certificate every 5 years.
Registration on your name
After the visite technique, you need to pay all the registration taxes in 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 must 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 and print the statement if the tax is paid. You can also pay the tax (or via your online banking system). Or, you can do it online and check before buying a car if the tax is paid.
Update 2022: in Marrakech, you don’t need to go to Direction Generale des Impots, but to the kiosk next to it (picture below). The guy will do all the initial registration procedures there, and you will pay him there. He will collect and check all your papers, put them in one envelope, and send you to the Service de Mines office.
With the “La Vignette” statement, visit the Direction Generale des Impots to pay other taxes and registration fees. You MUST provide a valid apartment lease with your name on it.
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 in your name.
You will exchange your “cadre réservée à la vente “paper for 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, ensure the owner has the actual Carte grise.
Technically, if the precious car owner still has the insurance, you can drive the car immediately. However, many car owners don’t want to give their insurance, so you will have to wait till you make your own.
Car insurance is the same in Morocco as everywhere in the world. You can either choose from the full coverage or the simple one. For the full coverage, the price is around 400 euros/year. There are many insurance companies to choose from as well.
Congrats on owning your car in Morocco! Also, I want to know about your experience buying a car in Morocco! Please leave it in the comment below!