Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents are a significant hazard in Morocco. Driving practices are very poor and have resulted in serious injuries to and fatalities of U.S. citizens. This is particularly true at dusk during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when adherence to traffic regulations is lax, and from July to September when Moroccans resident abroad return from Europe by car in large numbers.
- Drivers should exercise extreme caution when driving at night due to poor lighting systems along roads.
- Traffic signals do not always function, and are sometimes difficult to see.
- Modern freeways link the cities of Tangier, Rabat, Fez, Casablanca, and Marrakesh. Two-lane highways link other major cities.
- Secondary routes in rural areas are often narrow and poorly paved. Roads through the Rif and Atlas mountains are steep, narrow, windy, and dangerous.
- Pedestrians, scooters, and animal-drawn conveyances are common on all roadways, including the freeways, and driving at night should be avoided if possible.
- During the rainy season (November – March), flash flooding is frequent and sometimes severe, washing away roads and vehicles in rural areas.
Traffic Laws: In the event of a traffic accident, including accidents involving injuries, the parties are required to remain at the scene and not move their vehicles until the police have arrived and documented all necessary information. The police emergency services telephone number is ?190?. Often Moroccan police officers pull over drivers for inspection within the city and on highways.
Traffic Fines: Confiscation of a driver?s license is possible if a violator is unable or unwilling to settle a fine at the time of a traffic stop.
If you are stopped for a speeding violation, you have the right to request the video footage documenting the infraction. Once the speeding violation is confirmed, you have three options:
- Pay the fine on the spot and obtain a receipt of payment;
- Pay at the local city?s treasury (La Perception). The police/gendarme officer will issue you a ?ticket? indicating the amount of the fine and keep your driver?s license until you pay the fine.
- Should you wish to contest a violation, you may file a complaint at court; however, Moroccan authorities may keep your driver?s license and vehicle registration while this lengthy process takes place.
Foreign driver?s licenses are valid for use in Morocco for up to one year. After that, foreign residents must pass the Moroccan driver?s test and obtain a Moroccan driver?s license. The test is conducted in Arabic and French. Speakers of other languages are allowed to have a sworn translator with them when taking the test.
Public Transportation: While public buses and taxis are inexpensive, driving habits are poor, and buses are frequently overcrowded. City buses are not considered safe. The train system has a good safety record. Trains, while sometimes crowded, are comfortable and generally on time. See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit Morocco?s National Tourism website for additional information.
- Train Station Hotline: 0890 20 30 40
- Bus Station Hotline: 0800 09 00 30
- Directory Enquiry- 160
Web-based ride-sharing services are not legal in Morocco; however, some well-known companies (UBER and Careem) have attempted operations with limited success. Media reports of ride-sharing drivers being harassed and assaulted by regular taxi drivers were common.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Morocco?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Morocco?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Morocco should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https://homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal (select ?broadcast warnings?).
Adequate medical care is available in Morocco?s largest cities, particularly in Rabat and Casablanca, although not all facilities meet Western standards.
- Emergency and specialized care outside the major cities is far below U.S. standards and may not be available at all.
- Most medical staff will have limited or no English-speaking ability.
- Most ordinary prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely available.
- Specialized prescriptions may be difficult to fill and availability of all medicines in rural areas is unreliable.
- Travelers should not ask friends or relatives to send medications through the mail, FedEx, or UPS since Moroccan customs will impound the delivery and not release it to the recipient.
- Travelers planning to drive in the mountains and other remote areas may wish to carry a medical kit and a Moroccan phone card for emergencies.
- In the event of vehicle accidents involving injuries, immediate ambulance service is usually not available. The police emergency services telephone number is ?190? (see Traffic Safety and Road Conditions section below).
The U.S. Mission in Morocco is unable to pay your medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. You may also be required to pay a deposit before being admitted for treatment. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Morocco Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the medication is legal in Morocco. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don?t have your passport with you.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- Crimes of fraud, including passing bad checks, non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), or breach of contract are considered serious in Morocco and can often result in imprisonment and/or fines.
- Bail generally is not available to non-residents of Morocco who are arrested for crimes involving fraud.
- Debtors can be held in prison until their debts are paid or until an agreement is reached between the parties.
- Passports may be seized by the Moroccan government to guarantee that debtors settle their cases.
- Debtors may be unable to work in Morocco without passports while still being held responsible for their debts.
- Prior to entering into a contract, you may want to consider consulting an attorney.
Faith-Based Travelers: Islam is the official religion in Morocco. However, the constitution provides for the freedom to practice one’s religion. The Moroccan government does not interfere with public worship by the country?s Jewish minority or by expatriate Christians. Proselytizing is, however, prohibited. In the past, U.S. citizens have been arrested, detained, and/or expelled for discussing or trying to engage Moroccans in debate about Christianity. In February 2014, several U.S. citizens were expelled from Morocco for alleged proselytizing. Many of those expelled were long-time Moroccan residents. In these cases, U.S. citizens were given no more than 48 hours to gather their belongings or settle their affairs before being expelled. See the Department of State?s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Morocco. Penalties include fines and jail time. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Morocco, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is customary in the United States.
Women Travelers: Women walking alone in certain areas of cities and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to assault by men. They should exercise caution when in public spaces, including nightclubs or other social establishments. Women are advised to travel with a companion or in a group when possible and to ignore any harassment. See our tips for Women Travelers.
Customs: Travelers must declare large quantities of U.S. dollars brought into the country at the port of entry. The export of Moroccan currency (dirhams) is prohibited; however, Moroccan currency can be converted back into U.S. dollars prior to departure only if the traveler has a bank or money transfer receipt indicating he or she exchanged dollars for dirhams while in Morocco.
Moroccan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Morocco of items such as firearms, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drones, religious materials, antiquities, business equipment, and large quantities of currency. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, D.C., or the Moroccan Consulate General in New York for specific information concerning customs requirements.
Please see our information on Customs and Import Restrictions.
Citizenship: The Government of Morocco considers all persons born to Moroccan fathers to be Moroccan citizens. In addition to being subject to all U.S. laws, U.S. citizens who also possess the nationality of Morocco may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on citizens of Morocco. Recently, Morocco has begun allowing Moroccan mothers of children born outside Morocco to petition for their children?s citizenship. For further information on that process, please contact the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, D.C., or the Moroccan Consulate General in New York.
Residency Permits: In order to obtain a residence permit, travelers must present (among other requirements) a criminal history record check. This record check can only be obtained in the United States. The U.S. Consulate and Embassy are unable to take fingerprints to send for FBI record requests. For specific information, individuals seeking residency should visit their local police station.
The following documents must accompany a residency renewal application:
- Birth Certificate
- Copy of the current passport
- Copy of the current Moroccan residency card
- Medical certificate from a doctor stating that the requester is free from any contagious disease
- Court record (Casier Judiciaire) obtained from the Ministry of Justice in Rabat
- 100 MAD stamp
Individuals planning on residing in Morocco or relocating to the U.S. may be asked to provide a notarized change of residence form. This form is available at the U.S. Consulate by appointment.
Sending Passports through the Mail: According to Moroccan law, it is prohibited to send passports by mail across international borders. Passports sent to or through Morocco via Fedex, DHL, or other courier will be confiscated by Moroccan authorities. Confiscated U.S. passports are eventually sent to the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca after being processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If your passport has been confiscated, you can contact the American Citizens Services section at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask if it has been received.
Property: U.S. consular officers are prohibited by law and regulation from accepting personal property for safekeeping regardless of the circumstances involved. If there is concern over the protection of property left behind in Morocco due to confiscation or deportation for political, legal, or other reasons, U.S. citizens should take every precaution to ensure that available legal safeguards are in place either before, or immediately after, purchasing property in Morocco or taking up residence there. U.S. citizens are also encouraged to consider assigning a Power of Attorney, or Procuration, to be used in Morocco if necessary. More information and sample Power of Attorney forms are available on the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Morocco in New York website.
Photographing Sensitive Locations: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities. As a general rule, travelers should not photograph palaces, diplomatic missions, government buildings, or other sensitive facilities and when in doubt should ask permission from the appropriate Moroccan authorities.
Professional Basketball in Morocco: The U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca is aware that there are local professional basketball teams who have made contracts with U.S. citizens to play on Moroccan teams. Some of these players have subsequently claimed they were not paid as stipulated per the terms of the contract. Individuals considering playing basketball professionally in Morocco may wish to consult with a lawyer regarding the terms of their contract prior to signing. A list of lawyers can be found on the Consulate?s webpage.
Safety and Security
All countries in the region remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations or individuals inspired by extremist ideology with little or no warning. The potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens exists in Morocco. Long an important counterterrorism partner with the United States, Morocco?s capable security services have taken robust actions to guard against terrorist attacks. Moroccan authorities continue to disrupt groups seeking to attack U.S. or Western-affiliated and Moroccan government targets, arresting numerous individuals associated with international terrorist groups. Nevertheless, credible information indicates terrorist groups continue to plot potential attacks in the region, including Morocco. Lone wolf attacks are difficult to detect and disrupt and can occur without warning. In December 2018, two Scandinavian tourists were murdered by three Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters in the Imlil Mountains near Marrakesh. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regards to their personal security.
Establishments that are identifiable with the United States are potential targets for attacks. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate, including clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, movie theaters, U.S. brand establishments, and other public areas. U.S. citizen campers should camp in guarded campgrounds rather than isolated campsites.
Demonstrations: Demonstrations occur frequently in Morocco, are typically focused on political or social issues, and are only rarely confrontational or violent.
- During periods of heightened regional tension, large demonstrations may take place in major cities.
- By law, all demonstrations require a government permit, but spontaneous unauthorized demonstrations, which have greater potential for violence, can occur. In addition, different unions or groups may organize strikes to protest an emerging issue or government policy.
- Travelers should be aware of current events in Morocco and stay informed of regional issues that could resonate in Morocco and create an anti-American response.
- Avoid demonstrations if at all possible.
- If caught in a demonstration, remain calm and move away immediately when provided the opportunity.
- Exercise increased vigilance in areas that attract large crowds, such as sporting events.
Special Circumstance: The Western Sahara?s legal status, and the issue of its sovereignty, remain unresolved. The area was long the site of armed conflict between Moroccan government forces and the POLISARIO Front, which continues to seek independence for the territory. However, a cease-fire has been fully in effect since 1991 and a UN peacekeeping operation established in 1991 continues to operate there. There are thousands of unexploded mines in the Western Sahara and in areas of Mauritania adjacent to the Western Saharan border. Mines occasionally explode, and they have caused death and injury. Morocco claims sovereignty over the Western Sahara and closely monitors and controls access to the territory. There have been instances in which U.S. citizens suspected of being participants in political protests or of supporting NGOs that are critical of Moroccan policies have been expelled from, or not been allowed to enter, the Western Sahara.
Crime: Crime in Morocco is a serious concern, particularly in major cities and tourist areas.
- Use common sense and the same personal security measures you would normally use in a large U.S. city or tourist destination.
- Do not leave bags unattended. Keep them in sight and avoid placing passports, cash, cell phones, or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses, or on tables in public places. Do not leave bags slung over the backs of chairs, on hotel or store counters, on top of your suitcase or larger travel bag, or out of your physical control in hotel lobbies, train stations, restaurants, and other public locations.
- Aggressive panhandling, pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, theft from unoccupied vehicles, and harassment of women are the most frequently reported issues.
- Criminals use weapons, primarily knives, during some street robberies and burglaries. These crimes have occurred at any time of day or night, not only in isolated places or areas less frequented by visitors, but in crowded areas as well.
- Residential break-ins also occur and have on occasion turned violent, but most criminals look for opportunities based on stealth rather than confrontation.
- Travelers should avoid soccer stadiums and their environs on days of scheduled matches as large groups of team supporters have been known to become unruly and harass and assault bystanders.
- Joggers should be mindful of traffic and remain in more heavily populated areas. It is always best to have a jogging companion, dress modestly, and avoid isolated areas or jogging at night.
- At night and when moving about unfamiliar areas, avoid traveling alone and utilize ?petit? taxis which vary by color in the major cities (Casablanca-Red, Rabat-Blue, Marrakech-Tan, etc.).
- Taxis* in Morocco are generally crime-free during day time, although city buses are not considered safe.
- Trains are generally safe, but theft, regardless of the time of day, sometimes occurs.
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash and be particularly alert when using ATM machines. In the event you are victimized by crime or an attempted crime, please report the incident to the local police and the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca as soon as possible.
* NOTE: Some popular web-based ride-sharing services have operated in Morocco; however, the French-based company Heetch is currently the only service legally authorized to operate by the Moroccan Government. Media report that drivers of web-based ride-sharing services have been harassed and assaulted by regular taxi drivers in the recent past.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crimes should contact the local police at 19 from a land line or 190 from a mobile phone, and the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca at (212) 522 64 20 99. Remember that the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care;
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police;
- with written consent, contact your relatives or friends;
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms;
- provide a list of local attorneys;
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States;
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution;
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home;
- replace a stolen or lost passport.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated in major tourist areas. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. However, outside of these areas, the tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Passports and Visas:
- You must have a valid passport with at least one blank page.
- Visas are not required for visits lasting less than 90 days. Visit the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco website for the most current visa information.
- Overstays: If you remain in Morocco beyond 90 days without having requested an extension of stay, you will need to appear before a judge prior to departing Morocco. Please contact the immigration office at your local police station for details. Clearance may include the payment of a fine.
- Lost/Stolen Passports: Please obtain a police report for a lost or stolen passport in the area where the loss or theft occurred. Recently, police have required evidence of U.S. citizenship prior to issuing the report of loss. In these cases, U.S. citizens may visit U.S. Consulate General Casablanca to obtain a temporary emergency passport prior to obtaining a report of loss.
- Travelers who plan to reside in Morocco must obtain a residence permit, (Certificat d?Immatriculation) Applications should be submitted to the Bureau des Etrangers of the Prefecture de Police or Commissariat Central in major cities, and to the Gendarmerie in remote areas and villages. Please see Residency Permits section under the Local Laws & Special Circumstances tab.
- Carry a copy of your U.S. passport with you at all times to have proof of identity and U.S. citizenship readily available, if needed.
- Children who possess U.S. passports and who are born to a Moroccan father may experience difficulty leaving Morocco without the father’s permission, even if the parents are divorced and the mother has legal custody. Under Moroccan law, these children are considered Moroccan citizens.
- U.S. citizen women married to Moroccans do not need their spouse’s permission to leave Morocco.
HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Morocco.
Read the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Morocco for information on U.S. ? Morocco relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
8 Boulevard Moulay Youssef,
Telephone: +(212) (522) 642-099
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(212)(661) 13-19-39
Fax: +(212) (522) 29-77-01
The normal work week in Morocco is Monday through Friday.
U.S. Embassy Rabat
KM 5.7, Avenue Mohammed VI
Telephone: +(212)(537) 63-72-00
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(212)(661)13-19-39
Fax: +(212)(537) 63-72-01
Please note that U.S. Embassy Rabat does not offer consular services and does not have entry facilities for public visitors.