Morocco - Consular Information Sheet
July 17, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Morocco is a constitutional monarchy
with a parliament and an independent judiciary. Ultimate authority
rests with the King. The capital is Rabat. Morocco has a mixed
economy based largely on agriculture, fishing, light industry,
phosphate mining, tourism, and remittances from citizens working
abroad. Modern tourist facilities and means of transportation
are widely available, but may vary in quality depending on price
and location. The workweek in Morocco is Monday through Friday.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Travelers to Morocco must bear
a valid passport. Visas are not required for American tourists
traveling in Morocco for less than 90 days. For visits of more
than 90 days, Americans are required to obtain a residence permit
and return visa should they wish to return to Morocco for extended
periods. A residence permit and return visa may be obtained from
immigration (Service d'Etranger) at the central police station
of the district of residence. For additional information concerning
entry requirements for Morocco, travelers may contact the Embassy
of Morocco at 1601 21st St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009, telephone
(202) 462-7979 to 82. The Moroccan Consulate General is located
at 10 E. 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, telephone (212) 758-2625.
The government of Morocco considers all children born to Moroccan
fathers to be Moroccan citizens. Even if the children bear American
passports, immigration officials may require proof that the father
approves their departure before the children will be allowed to
leave Morocco. Although women, regardless of their nationality,
are normally granted custody of their children in divorces, the
father must approve the children's departure from Morocco. Women
must obtain permission to move the children more than 100 kilometers
(about 60 miles) from their last residence before the divorce.
American women married to Moroccans do not need their spouse's
permission to leave Morocco.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Moroccan laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Moroccan
citizens. For additional information, see
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Area of Instability: The sparsely-settled
Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara) was long the site of
armed conflict between Government forces and the Polisario Front
which has demanded independence. A cease-fire has been in effect
since 1991 in the UN administered area. There are thousands of
unexploded mines in the Western Sahara and in areas of Mauritania
adjacent to the Western Sahara border. Exploding mines are occasionally
reported, and have caused death and injury. Transit to the Western
Sahara remains restricted; persons planning to travel in the region
may obtain information on clearance requirements from the Moroccan
Although rare, security personnel in Morocco may at times place
foreign visitors under surveillance. Taking photographs of anything
that could be perceived as being of military or security interest
may result in problems with authorities. There is no ongoing terrorist
threat in Morocco, but the potential for transnational terrorism
remains high in the region, and appropriate precautions should
be taken. When tension rises in the Middle East region, the U.S.
Embassy sometimes receives threatening calls and letters. Travelers
should be cognizant of the current levels of tension in the region
and remain alert to their surroundings.
CRIME: Morocco has a high crime rate in urban areas. Criminals
have targeted tourists for robberies, assaults, muggings, thefts,
purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and scams of all types. Most
of the petty crime occurs in the medina/market areas, parks and
beaches. Commonly reported crimes include falsifying credit-card
vouchers, and shipping inferior rugs as a substitute for the rugs
purchased by the traveler. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate have
also received reports of thefts occurring in the vicinity of ATM
machines. Aggressive panhandling is common.
Some travelers have been befriended by persons of various nationalities
who have offered them food, drink, or cigarettes that are drugged.
Harassment of tourists by unemployed Moroccans posing as "guides"
is a common problem. Prudent travelers hire only official tour
guides through hotels and travel agencies. Traveling alone in
the Rif Mountain area is risky because tourists have fallen victim
to schemes involving the purchase and/or trafficking of hashish.
Unescorted women in any area of Morocco may experience verbal
abuse. The best course of action is to ignore such abuse because
women who have responded have come under physical attack. Thieves
sometimes bump cars from behind and then rob their victims when
they get out of the car to inspect the damage. Taxis and trains
in Morocco are generally crime-free; buses are not.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, for
ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are available
by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Adequate medical care in Morocco is
available, particularly in Rabat and Casablanca, although not
all facilities meet high quality standards, and specialized care
or treatment may not be available. Medical facilities are adequate
for non-emergency matters, particularly in the urban areas, but
the medical staff will probably not be able to communicate in
English. 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 car accidents involving
injuries, immediate ambulance service usually is not available.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Visitors to Morocco should exercise
common sense and caution when purchasing food from street vendors
or stalls. The beaches as well as the ocean in the immediate vicinity
of Casablanca are polluted and considered unsafe for swimming,
although other coastal areas are safe.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may
be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
provided below concerning Morocco is provided for general reference
only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Traffic accidents are a significant hazard in Morocco. Driving
practices are poor and have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities
to 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 Moroccan residents abroad
return from Europe by car in large numbers. Urban driving is characterized
by congested streets. Traffic signals do not always function and
are sometimes difficult to see. Modern freeways link the cities
of Tangier, Rabat, Fez and Casablanca. Other major cities are
linked by two-lane highways.
Secondary routes in rural areas are often narrow and poorly paved.
Roads through the Rif and Atlas Mountains are steep, narrow, winding,
and dangerous. Maximum caution should be exercised when driving
in the mountains. During the rainy season (November-March), flash
flooding is frequent and sometimes severe, washing away roads
and vehicles in rural areas.
Pedestrians, scooters, and animal-drawn conveyances are common
on all roadways, including the freeways, and driving at night
should be avoided, if possible. Moroccan police officers often
pull drivers over for inspection within the city and on highways.
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 have
documented all necessary information. This procedure may take
While public buses and taxis are inexpensive, drivers typically
exhibit poor driving habits, and the buses are frequently overcrowded.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, see the Department of State,
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Moroccan driving permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact
the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate General.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Morocco's Civil Aviation
Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Morocco's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Moroccan customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Morocco of items such as firearms, 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.
Moroccan customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission
of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for
exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located
at the U.S. Council
for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New
York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the
ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information,
please call (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to email@example.com,
or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Moroccan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Morocco are severe, and convicted offenders can expect
long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Proselytizing: Islam is the state religion of Morocco. The Moroccan
Government does not interfere with public worship by the country's
Christian or Jewish minorities. However, while Christians are
allowed to practice freely, some activities, such as proselytizing
or encouraging conversion to the Christian faith--both considered
legally incompatible with Islam--are prohibited. It is illegal
for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. In the past, American
citizens have been detained or arrested and expelled for discussing
or trying to engage Moroccans in debate about Christianity.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that,
if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship
are readily available.
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: Travelers' checks and credit cards
are accepted at some establishments in Morocco, mainly in urban
areas. Travelers' checks may be cashed at most banks, although
some require the bearer to present both the check and the receipt.
ATM machines are available in Casablanca and Rabat, and some American
bankcards may be used to withdraw local currency from an account
in the United States. Current Moroccan customs procedures do not
provide for the accurate or reliable registration of large quantities
of American dollars brought into the country by tourists or other
visitors. As a result, travelers encounter difficulties when they
attempt to depart with the money. In particular, American citizens
with dual Moroccan nationality have been asked to provide proof
of the source of the funds and have incurred heavy fines. Moroccan
currency cannot be converted back into U.S. dollars prior to departure.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: U.S.
citizens living in or visiting Morocco are encouraged to register
at the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca
and obtain updated information on travel and security within Morocco.
The U.S. Embassy is located at 2 Avenue de Marrakech in the capital
city of Rabat, telephone (212)(37) 76-2265. The American Consulate
General in Casablanca is located at 8 Boulevard Moulay Youssef,
telephone (212)(22) 26-45-50. Please note that all consular matters
are handled at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca. The Consular
Section's American Citizens Services hotline is (212)(22) 43-05-78.
The fax number is (212)(22) 20-41-27. The
Internet web site is http://www.usembassy-morocco.org.ma/.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet for Morocco issued
September 6, 2000 to update the section on Medical Insurance.