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The Ultimate Document Preparation Guide Before Moving To Morocco

Preparing and organising all of your documents is one of the most pivotal parts of your hijrah journey. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it is one of the first things you should do before any major moves.

If you’re struggling to get your documents in order, and afraid you might miss something before your grand move, worry not, because in this post I’ll help you with:

  • Listing out all the essential documents you need before you leave for Morocco
  • Listing any other important documents you may not have considered
  • Organization tips for all your documents
  • Mistakes to avoid and precautions to take (with real examples)

With this guide and a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your documents are in ship-shape and ready for your journey, insha’Allah.

Before You Read On…

As I’m familiar with the UK (as a British national), I’ll be using that as a reference throughout this post. Feel free to alternate it with the version of your country of nationality.

Also, there are two routes you may either go for when deciding to live in Morocco:

  • Visa runs (exiting Morocco after every 90 days)
  • Applying for residency permit

After talking to my brother, he said many brothers he know opt to visa runs at first and then work their way to getting the residency after awhile.

To apply for Moroccan residency, you must be eligible and fall under one of eight categories. I’m still learning about it, so bear with me here.

Because my father is Moroccan, and I went through the process of obtaining the citizenship I’m able to sponsor my foreign husband and pass on my Moroccan citizenship to my children.

However, having a Moroccan parent or Moroccan spouse are not the only way you can get permanent residency in Morocco.

I’ve read some people managed to get residency through property investment, opening up a company in Morocco and some other ways I didn’t realise you could.

The process for applying for residency is not straightforward, and differs from one family to another, and one locality to another.

The ideal choice, of course, is ultimately getting the residency and not have to worry about visa run trips, which we hope to explore as we move forward, insha’Allah.

I’ll be updating this post regularly insh’Allah. So if you see something I may have missed and you consider important, feel free to mention it in the comments!

Why Do You Need Your Documents in Order Before You Make the Move?

hijrah to morocco

Having your documents prepared and organised can save you an astronomical amount of headaches down the road.

Hijrah today is not like how it was in the time of our beloved Prophet (sallaallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Back then you didn’t need a passport or go through a lot of processes and paperwork to move to a new land.

Today, many of us find that we’re still rooted in the country where we were born and/or legal citizens. And it shouldn’t be a bad thing. It just means we need to do our due diligence to avoid stressful situations in the country where we make hijrah to.

You’ll need your documents to be able to apply for a residency permit, apply for jobs, open a bank account, and many other things.

Likewise, having your documents in order makes it easier to deal with any paperwork you may need from back in your country, such as applying for your child’s passport or opening up a business.

Essential Documents to Prepare Before You Make Hijrah

Depending on your situation, you may not need everything we listed here. For example, if you know you’ll be doing visa runs for awhile, Criminal Record Check will not be necessary. They do cost money and take time.

  • Birth certificate(s)
  • Marriage certificate/divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • Islamic marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Passport(s)
  • 10x passport size photographs
  • National insurance number
  • CV or resume
  • Medical reports
  • Diplomas

#1 Birth Certificate

A birth certificate is one of the most important documents, and it’s essential that each of your family members should have a full original version of it.

When I was in the UK, my mum advised me to register for a new birth certificate as my original one was laminated. I was heedless of this advice, so when I moved to the UAE and I found myself needing it to apply for my first son’s passport, we had to pay for a new one and it was more expensive due to shipping costs from abroad.

#2 Marriage Certificate/Divorce Certificate

If you’re married, make sure you have an official civil marriage certificate. If you got married at the masjid and don’t have a marriage certificate, it may be time to consider officially applying for one.

Also, if you have been divorced make sure you have a divorce certificate to prove that you’re no longer married. You’ll need this in case you foresee a possibility of remarrying in Morocco. Sorting the divorce in a country where the marriage took place is much easier than if you were to do it in Morocco.

#3 Criminal Record Check

When you move to Morocco, you’ll need a residency permit to be able to stay in the country for more than 90 days. Now, it’s a requirement for all first-time applicants to have a criminal background check to make sure they have no criminal record or convictions.

In the UK, you can apply for your information from your local police under Subject Access Application. Make sure you state what you’re applying for. This application can take up to 40 days, so take this in consideration when applying for Moroccan residency permit.

When you apply for the residency, you have three months to submit the required documentations. If you fail to provide everything within three months, you have to restart your application.

GOV.UK: Guidance on the application process for criminal records checks overseas

#4 Passport

Check all your family members’ passports and make sure they’re not expiring anytime soon.

I just learnt that the process of renewing a British passport in Morocco is different than it is in the UAE (where I live now).

You may have planned to get your Moroccan residency permit as soon as you get there, but anything might happen to cause the delay.

This happened to my brother-in-law. He didn’t manage to get his residency ID in time and his passport expired. Comes to find out that he needs an ID to have his new passport delivered to his address (and he needs a valid passport to apply for an ID). He ended up having to pay for an emergency travel document to get his new passport from the UK. And the cost wasn’t cheap.

To avoid any hiccups, make sure all of the passports have at least two-three years before expiring.

#5 Passport-Size Photographs 

You’ll need passport-size photos to apply for a residence permit in Morocco. You can certainly obtain this in Morocco from any local photo studio, but if you can get this out of the way now that’s one less thing to worry about!

10 passport-size photographs for each family member.

Again, this is if you’re planning to obtain for residency as soon as you arrive in Morocco.

#6 National Insurance Number

Now, you don’t need your national insurance number to live in Morocco. (it’s called social security number in the States)

As a UK citizen, I find myself needing my NIN in several online applications. For example, when I wanted to open up a business in the UK, I had to provide this.

Make sure you know your number and store it along with your documents. Make sure all of your family members who are of eligible age have it, too.

If for some reason you don’t have or lost it, you can apply to retrieve it.

#7 CV

This is a good time to look at your CV and make sure the information is updated.

Even if you’re not trying to apply for a job in Morocco, you’ll still need to provide your CV along with other documents when you go to apply for the residence permit.

Plus, it’s always good to make sure you have your CV on standby for any great job opportunities.

After you’re done updating it, have it printed and save it along with your documents.

#8 Medical Reports

If you or someone in your family have a medical condition, you want to get written medical reports from your health provider.

This will make it easier to communicate with your new doctor in Morocco about any medical about any ongoing medical conditions.

Even if you don’t have anything going on, it’s worth getting general checkups for you and your family before you leave for hijrah.

#9 Diplomas

GCSEs (high school diplomas), career licenses, notable training, college and university degrees – you want to organise all this for each family member and store it among your important documents.

If you have children, you want to get their grade certificates sorted, too. You’ll need your diplomas to apply for jobs. And if you have children, to apply for their schooling (if they’re of school age and you’re planning to send them to school).

10# Other Important Documents

Depending on your situation you may also find this list useful:

  • Naturalization certificate (if you obtained your citizenship through naturalization)
  • Driving license
  • Property ownership certificate (if you own properties)
  • Business papers (if you own any business, you should make sure you have all the documents with you)
  • Will

Depending on which category you are, one thing you may need (that I didn’t mention on this list) for applying for Morocco residency permit is bank statements for the last three months of your application.

This is to prove that you can support yourself financially in Morocco. The amount can range from 20,000 MAD to 50,000 MAD depending on the police station you’re dealing with.

But if you’re not moving just yet anything soon (within a few months or so) then you can save the statement until the time you’re actually applying for the residency.

Tips for Organising Your Life Important Documentation

#1 Create a good organisational system for your important documents

A good organisational system is when you’re trying to pull up one paper and there’s not a whole lot of mess to go through after.

One way you can go about it is by getting an expanding organizer file folder. It looks like this:

You can label each section and organise your documents by categories. For example, have a section for all birth certificates, a section for photos, a section for passports, etc.

There are many organisational tips out there, but what might work for some might not necessarily work for others. So it’s important to choose what will work best for you and your family.

#2 Store your documents in a secure location

Make sure you keep your documents somewhere safe and secure. What do you consider the safest storage location in your house? 

You want to keep your documents away from children, pets, and any environmental risks (such as mould).

It might be worth considering getting a safe security box. I know a family that does this, and I thought it was pretty cool, masha’Allah.

There are of options you can get off Amazon. And you can pick from different sizes and different types of locks.

Now, this also depends if you’ll be shipping your stuff over to Morocco, or if you’ll be getting rid of most of your stuff and decide to travel light. It might not make sense to get a security box if you’ll be getting rid of it soon. But if you can afford to be extra safe, then by all means.

Insha’Allah use your judgement 🙂

#3 Make digital copies of your documents

I lost my wallet one time. And in that wallet, I had my Moroccan ID.

I never took a photo of it, nor have I ever scanned it, nor did I memorise the ID number. Because of that, it’s a lot harder now to apply for a new one (still working on it!).

You want to scan all of your important documents and store them safely in a flash drive and secure online storage (e.g. Google drive). In case something gets lost, it’s much easier if you have a copy of the original document (or at least the unique number of that particular document).

Also not to mention, sometimes they’d ask you to send a soft copy of your documents instead of a paper copy. Having them organised and stored away digitally where you can pull them out whenever called for is super convenient.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

#1 Don’t laminate your important documents

Never laminate your important paperwork such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or diplomas.

My mother had many of our stuff laminated years ago to withhold aging. Although it did preserve the decades-old paper, many applications don’t accept laminated documents, rendering them useless.

If you see that some of your documents are damaged or on the verge of withering, consider issuing a new one before your grand move.

#2 Never send your important documents separately from you

Luggage can get stolen or lost. You don’t want to risk losing your documents during moving.

Imagine getting to Morocco and losing all of your documents when arriving. No, you don’t want that headache!

Make sure you have your important documents in your person, in a carrying suitcase or backpack – what you’ll bring with you when boarding the plane. And if you’re travelling by car, have it as one of the things you bring in your car (not on a moving truck).

References and Useful Sources

Save For Later

Are You Ready to Move to Morocco and Start a New Life in a New Country?

Following the tips in this post, you can reduce the stress that comes with document preparation and organisation, and focus on the adventure you have ahead of you, insha’Allah. 

Keeping your documents organised will not only help you present yourself to the local authorities, but it will also make the process of settling down in Morocco smoother and easier.

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends and relatives who may also be preparing to move to Morocco!

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