Pleasant year-round weather is just one of the many reasons Marrakech has become popular with expatriates. Add to that the thought of living in a traditional Moroccan Riad with a central courtyard, and the plethora of boutiques, restaurants and the medina, Marrakech has much to offer.
The population of Marrakech was 1.1 million in 2014. The majority of Moroccans are of Arab-Berber descent. Part of Morocco was for limited periods under the rule of Romans sometimes in alliance with the Berbers. Arabs conquered the land in the 7th and 11th centuries. Arabs and Berbers account for around 99.1% of the Moroccan population.
Arabic is the official language, but many people speak Amazigh (Berber) and French. English is becoming more common in tourist areas.
In Morocco, Europeans and North Americans are able to stay as a tourist without applying for a visa, for up to 90 days, as long as your passport is valid for at least six months from the time you enter the country. If you want to stay longer, you have to contact the local police station upon arrival.
To stay longer in Marrakech then you need to apply for a Residents Card (Certificat d’Immatriculation). Every Moroccan carries a carte nationale or CIN. It’s a national ID card that lists all your information. To obtain this, you need to go to the immigration authorities (Bureau des Étrangers) at your local police station.
In addition to the entry stamp in your passport, you will need the following items in order to apply for your residence permit; two completed application forms, ten passport photos, work permit (attestation de travail), a criminal record check from your previous home country, a statement from your Moroccan bank and a medical certificate completed by a local doctor, certifying that you have no contagious diseases. Each of these documents needs to be legalized at your nearest local district office (Muqata’a) and presented in duplicate.
A fee is paid to the officer receiving your application and you will be given a receipt then told when to collect your temporary Residence card (Récépissé), which is valid for 3 months. During that time your Certificat d’Immatriculation will be prepared.
Initial permit will last for 1 year and can be then extended either yearly, or for 2 years at a time. Renewal costs 100 MAD (10 USD), and you are required to bring your birth certificate, rent contract, copies of passport and current residence permit, criminal record check (Casier Judicaire) and a medical certificate.
Marrakech has a hot semi-arid climate, with mild damp winters and hot dry summers. Average temperatures range from 12°C in the winter to 32–45°C in the summer, which is similar to a Mediterranean climate, although there is less rain in the city compared to the Mediterranean.
March and June have pleasant temperatures as it does from September to December; it’s the most moderate time of year, averaging a temperature around 21°C. Between December and April there is snow on the High Atlas Mountains, a stunning backdrop to the city. Most homes in Marrakech don’t have central heating so bear this in mind on the colder days.