It’s a Bloody Rabbit Hole

I’m TRYING to get my residency card or “carte sejour” in Morocco.

“Why don’t people do this right out of the gate?” “Why has it taken me this long to do it?”

Buckle up.

I formed a company here because that is the easiest way for me, personally, to secure my tax status. My own company. Not a shared one. Because I’m not married and I’m not formally employed. Nor do I intend to be within the Kingdom.

So the business stuff took time. And money. And then I had to have 3 months of active bank statements to submit with my papers. In other words: business in, expenses out.

Fine. This all involves The Accountant, and taxes and this pesky detail called “domicilation” which requires contracts and stamps. And a general meeting with notes and a formal balance sheet at year end.

(By comparison in Canada you call an 800#, get an HST # and then worry about shit after you make $30,000 in revenue. Hang a shingle and DONE!)

So I was collecting all the business papers. But business is a fluid state so at the last minute I had to run to The Accountant and get two sets of papers.

One set has to be legalized and then photocopied, the other set has to be photocopied and then legalized. Easy, except the place where you get things legalized is nowhere near a photocopier. And also they don’t tell you that until you get there and also The Accountant either didn’t know or didn’t mention that “detail.”

Please also note that I went to The Accountants office yesterday, by prior arrangement in email. “I will be there at lunchtime so please leave the papers with someone.” I arrive. No one is there. Of course.

Two rules apply to The Accountant in my experience. First, I will hear nothing from him until the minute I check in online for an international flight and then, as of by magic, I need to see him within 24 hours on “overdue” business. REALLY? How does something I have never heard of before become “overdue”. And secondly, when I go to the office I am guaranteed of at least a 30 minute wait if not a wasted trip requiring return. Every single time.

So first thing this morning I take the pile of documents that had been identified as “not complete”, meaning I had the papers but I had to have the copies of the papers legalized at the Moqata. I run to The Accountant, get the stack of last minute papers, add it to my not complete stack and go to the Boom Boom Room at the mortar. Taxi 10 minutes to The Accountant, run in, taxi 15 minutes to the Moqatr. And also, these taxis aren’t exactly lined up waiting with freshly chilled bottled water. I had to wait, negotiate, wait some more….

I finally arrive at the moqatr but I had to also see the CAID. No idea what that word means but it turns out the two papers that I had secured from my landlord last month, photocopied and had legalized at the Boom Boom Room downstairs where not enough. I had to report in to the CAID and get a whole new certificate of something.

Upstairs I go to the CAID and find a lady with whom I do not share a language. She tells me I have to have 4 photos and 2 copies of my passport. Just copies, not legalized. I do not have these. And then I have to fill in a form and call someone called Blaossi and he will do something. I’m lost. And I’m a little panicked because now I don’t know if I have enough photos. And they are at home. Oh and OF COURSE the moqatr has no nearby photocopier. So this quick final trip just became two trips. The lady called her very sweet daughter who I’m sure was busy doing her life things, but she told me what to do in English and was very sweet so I’m grateful to her. Then we trundle next door and miracle of miracle there is this Blaossi …person(?) Name or title I don’t know.

So he takes mercy on me even though I don’t have the right stuff, and I fill in the form and he signs it and stamps it and reviews all my documents and asks me questions In Arabic I can’t answer and tells me I need 2 copies of my passport and 4 photos and come back later. But at least his part is done! Yay.

Then I go downstairs to get the incomplete documents all legalized at the Boom Boom Room. There are about 10 people milling about the door but I know the routine; your papers get put in line on the sill and you join the mill-about-people. Moroccans don’t line up, they clump.

Soon enough I was called into the room to assume my place at one of the 5 “on deck” seats and when it was legit my turn, the man called me over to the desk to sit down and be tended to.

One man reviews the original documents and the copies. If he deems them suitable he passes them over to the other man who takes a seemingly random series of red inked stamps and actual postage stamps and applies them to each and every page. Then he passes them back to the first man who signs each stamp. Sometimes I have to put my name on a stamp, sometimes I sign and sometimes I sign the big book of hand written entries.

As soon as I pass the stack of papers to the man I realize that the package I had received from The Accountant was poorly stapled. All 3 copies of 20 pages each had the staple penetrating maybe the first 8 pages. It was pandemonium people. Utter pandemonium. Pages were flying every which way. Eventually the men would do their business and just hand me a stack which I shoved into my backpack as I got them. In no particular order. SHIT. Thank goodness they took mercy on me then and just stamped with reckless abandon. They could easily have sent me away in disgust. I took the stack of random papers and went home.

My job, for the moment was done. You see, it was lunchtime and everything stops for a few hours. I had time to photocopy my passport for the CAID, get 4 photos from my file, and sort through The Accountants papers.

I found at that point that I had 2.5 sets of papers and missing sheets all over. I email The Accountant. “I’m coming back for a whole new set, and then I have to go back again and get them all stamped. I am not happy. For the love of God purchase some thicker staples.”

I admit it. I napped. In despair. When 2:30 rolled around, I got a taxi back to the Moqatr. I was hoping that I could ask the nice men if they had the sheets I was missing and I could piece it all together and avoid 1/ returning to The Accountant and 2/ coming back to this place AGAIN.

I walk in and find not a clump, but a freaking mob scene. There must have been 50 people. And women. Never good. They are pushy and they hold their ground.

So I positioned myself at the door. Tried to make eye contact with the guy. “Pssttt, dude! Just pass me the missing papers and I’ll go.”

No luck. Finally after about 10 minutes I just boldly walked into the room and over to the desk when the “inspector of originals” had a free moment. I opened my files and indicated missing papers.

At this point the mob flared up. Yelling at me in Arabic, one woman was screaming at me in French. SCREAMING. I yelled back. The man defended me (thank God) and indicated that I go outside. I was literally 5 seconds from punching the bitch of French screamer right in the face.

I breached the mob perimeter and ran upstairs to the CAID in the meantime. I walk in to the office.

Vacant. The nice lady didn’t come back from lunch.

Out in the hallway I almost burst into tears. A man comes along and I said “CAID?” Honestly I don’t know what that even means but he pointed me to a different office and a different women.

I handed her all the things. The paper from the people with the stamps, (2 copies), the lease with the stamps (2 copies), 4 photos and 2 copies of my passport (no stamps). She says, “do you have a job?” (Who the fuck has time for a job around here?) I show her my business papers. She says, “I must have a copy of your passport entry stamp page. You can’t have the certificate today.”

That’s it. I have to come back tomorrow. Fourth time in two days. Just then the man from downstairs at the mob scene appears with a folder and stack of the random sheets that belong to me! Hallelujah.

I hiss at the angry mob as I leave. Vindicated a little. Then I try to put the package of 3 sets of 20 pages together on the steps outside and realize I can’t.

So I take a taxi to The Accountants office. Third time in 2 days. Together we make piles. We check them. We print what’s missing. We discuss staples v clips. I leave and come home.

Tomorrow is Friday. I will get up at the crack of dawn and go back to the moqatr with my missing passport page photocopy and get my residence certificate from the CAID. Then I will go to the Police Prefecutre where I will leave my purse at the door and enter the place to submit my documents. And HOPE and pray I got it right.

I have to go tomorrow you see, because my RCMP background check has to be dated within 3 months in order to be accepted. And I have 3 days left.

Fingers crossed people, fingers crossed.


  1. Jutta

    Ah those countries that love to pomp and circumstance of official stamps, seals and heavily braided uniforms on every lowly government official … you really do need to write that book, ya know.

  2. Corinne Woodley

    I’m exhausted just reading your adventures!
    Good luck tomorrow.

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