A puzzled woman looks at the different Moroccan banks logos with passports in background

It took me six years to apply for residency in Morocco. During these six years, I was actually commuting between Morocco and Europe, spending between one and three months in Morocco each time and the same amount of time in Europe. (Which means I was not crossing the border for one or two days in Sebta before coming back). I was able to open a bank account without any problem without being resident.

After hearing (reading) in Facebook groups that it was not possible to open a bank account without being resident in Morocco, I did my little investigation.

Legally, non-resident foreigners can have a bank account in Morocco

As for any person, they have to go to the bank branch, prove their identity (with their passport) and have an official address in Morocco (lease contract, accommodation certificate validated by the moqqadem and legalised at the commune). An AirBnB rental, even for a long period, is not suitable. However, a lease in a furnished flat is.

This bank account has certain restrictions:

It is an account in foreign currency or convertible dirhams

It cannot receive dirhams at all, except from another convertible dirham or foreign currency account.

It is an account that cannot be in debit

Unless, of course, the bank accumulates charges on this account. But it cannot grant a line of credit or an overdraft authorisation.

So why do some people find it difficult to open a bank account?

Because the bank may add its own conditions and may not want to have a foreign non-resident account (because a Moroccan non-resident is interesting)

Talking to my favourite banker this afternoon, I asked her the question.

Her first answer was:

it is possible if the person has a lease contract and an employment contract.

I translate: it is possible if he is not yet a resident, but will become one.

So this proves that there is no legal blockage.

So by arguing with her little by little, we came to the conclusion that what frightens Moroccan banks was that they would end up with dormant accounts, forgotten by non-residents who no longer return to Morocco.

Which is ridiculous…. you can be a resident and leave an account dormant, which the bank is obliged to close after 365 days if it is not in debit.

And there are lots of situations where you can come regularly to Morocco without being a resident, and still want to have a bank account. If only to draw money without paying exorbitant commissions, or to take out a telephone or internet subscription with a direct debit payment…

For example, being married to a Moroccan (which was my case). Or having a company in Morocco, you can be a non-resident shareholder, non-resident manager, etc. (and this was also my case). Or be a digital nomad. Or being retired but not wanting to spend all your time in Morocco. Or… many things.

Or… wanting to apply for a residence card, for which you have to provide a bank statement.

So to summarise:

  • there is no legal prohibition for a non-resident, he can perfectly well open a bank account in Morocco
  • banks are often cautious and add conditions
  • everything is negotiable. In the worst case, go elsewhere or say that you want to become a resident and don’t apply, they won’t close your account for that.