Work permit and residence card Morocco

How to get a work permit and permanent residence card in Morocco?

22 August 2019

The work permit and residence card are essential for any foreign employee in Morocco. What you need to know is that without these official documents, simple procedures as opening a local bank account in dirhams or buying a car are impossible to carry out.

In practice, the procedure for obtaining these documents can be challenging for foreign companies wishing to recruit or send a foreign employee to Morocco.

The most common questions that come back frequently are: what are the preconditions for the employment of an employee of foreign nationality in Morocco? Do you need to set up a company to be able to hire an expatriate in Morocco?  What would be the impact in terms of social security? Will it be necessary to go through a secondment procedure or employ the foreign employee via a "local" contract?

 We will try to answer these questions in this article.


Expatriation vs. secondment


A.    Expatriation


Expatriation usually involves employees sent abroad on long-term assignments when they are no longer benefiting from the social security system of their country of origin.

In practice, expatriate status leads to the termination or suspension of the employment relationship with the foreign company. The expatriate is then considered as an employee of the Moroccan company and is, therefore, subject to the Moroccan social security system, namely the Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale (CNSS).


B.    Secondment


The secondment procedure is characterized by a short stay abroad and by maintaining the working relationship with the foreign company of origin.

The particularity of this procedure is that the employee is considered to be part of the workforce of the foreign company still. It allows the employee to continue to benefit from the social security system of the country of origin while exempting him from contributing to the social security system of the host country (as long as a social security agreement exists between the two countries).

Indeed,  Morocco has signed and ratified bilateral social security conventions with a total of 16 countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, and Spain.


Work permit or foreign work contract (CTE)


Please note that the prerequisite for obtaining a work permit in Morocco is the existence of a legal entity operating in Morocco (Company or Branch) to which the foreign employee will be attached.

Indeed, a foreign company willing to employ a foreign employee in Morocco must first set up a company or branch in Morocco. It is this local entity that will have to initiate the procedure for obtaining the work permit from the Moroccan Ministry of Employment before the foreign employee can start working in Morocco.

As per the procedure itself, article 516 of the Labour Code states that "any employer wishing to recruit a foreign employee must get an authorization from the government authority in charge of labor. This authorization Lis granted in the form of a visa on the employment contract. The date of the visa is the date on which the employment contract takes effect".

The work permit takes the form of a visa on a form called a "Contrat de travail d'étranger." In practice, this visa is granted for a period of 1 to 3 years (in case of secondment of thee years).

From June 2017, visa applications are processed via an online platform of the Ministry called Taachir. The timeline for obtaining this visa is from 1 week to 10 days.

Besides, the procedure for getting a work visa differs whether it is a secondment or an expatriation, with seconded employees being exempted from the production of an activity certificate issued by the Agence Nationale de Promotion de l'Emploi et des Compétences (ANAPEC).  

Indeed, any employer wishing to employ a foreign employee must get authorization from ANAPEC except for a certain number of profiles such as company managers, Tunisian, Algerian or Senegalese citizens or employees of companies that have obtained CFC status, ...).

For this reason, it is recommended to use the secondment procedure when sending a foreign employee to Morocco.

 Work permit and residence card Morocco


The permanent residence card


Once the work permit issued, an application for a residence card is submitted to the Police station of the employee's place of residence. The physical presence of the employee at this stage is mandatory.

A receipt is then issued within one week to ten days and serves as a provisional residence permit. This document allows the opening of a bank account in dirhams or personal car's purchase.

The final residence permit is then issued within three months and will be valid for one year, renewable.


Some practical tips


  • It may seem obvious, but you should not send a foreign employee to Morocco before getting a work permit. The host company is not immune to an unannounced visit by the labor inspection. Besides, it is also possible that the foreign employee may be barred from entering the country if the border authorities find that he or she is a resident in Morocco (although he or she must never stay more than three continuous months) without having a residence permit.


  • A preliminary study should be carried out on the legal and tax regime applicable to the expatriate before his settlement in Morocco to avoid potential tax or legal issues.


  • You must renew the employee's residence permit before it expires to prevent violating Moroccan regulations.



  • Make sure that the documents requested under the two procedures are carefully prepared to avoid having to go back and forth to the administration.


  • The official documentation required by the Police (birth certificate, criminal record certificate, ...) must be less than three months' old on the date of their filing. Special care should be taken to provide recent documents to the administration to avoid having to request them again in the country of origin.

Karim Hemras

is a CPA and tax advisor. He is the founder of, the accountig firm that helps foreign companies with their accounting, payroll and tax compliance, so that they can grow confidently in Morocco and Africa.

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