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Morocco

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Morocco because of the threat of terrorist attacks. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Do not travel within 30 kilometres of the northern and western sides of the Berm (a militarised boundary) in the Western Sahara region because of the risk of armed conflict.
  • Do not travel to areas south and east of the Berm in the Western Sahara region because of the risk of armed conflict.
  • Western Sahara's status as part of Morocco is disputed. An active, militarised independence movement operates to the east of the Berm. A ceasefire is currently in place. See Safety and security.

  • There is a high risk of unexploded landmines in remote areas, particularly within 30 kilometres of the Berm. See Local travel

  • Protests are common in Moroccan cities. Avoid protests and other large gatherings – they could turn violent. See Safety and security.

  • Terrorism is a threat throughout Morocco. Terrorist attacks have occurred in places popular with tourists. See Safety and security.

  • There is a general threat of kidnapping against Westerners in North Africa. Be alert to possible threats at all times, especially when travelling in southern and border areas of Morocco. See Safety and security.

  • The Australian Embassy in Rabat provides a limited range passport and consular services to Australians in Morocco. The Australian Embassy in Paris can also assist Australians in Morocco with notarial services. See Where to get help.

  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You won't need a visa if you plan to visit Morocco for less than three months.

In other circumstances, you'll need a visa.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the Embassy of Morocco for up-to-date information or to apply for a visa.

Other formalities

When entering Morocco, make sure your passport is stamped. Some tourists have experienced difficulty leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp.

The land border between Morocco and Algeria is currently closed. Do not attempt to cross into Algeria by land.

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). You can arrive or depart with a maximum of MAD1,000. Declare all amounts in foreign currency in excess of MAD100,000 on arrival and departure. Only exchange your currency at commercial banks and licenced exchange bureaux.

Credit cards are accepted in larger towns and tourist centres. ATMs are widely available in cities and most larger towns. Contact your bank to make sure that your cards will work in Morocco.

Safety and security

Terrorism

You could encounter terror attacks in Morocco. Past terror attacks in Morocco targeted places popular with tourists. You could also be caught up in attacks directed at others.

Terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) identifies the Maghreb region, which includes Morocco, as a target for terror attacks. According to Moroccan authorities, there is a significant number of Moroccans sympathetic or belonging to international terrorist organisations that operate in Syria and Iraq. Moroccan authorities recently arrested a number of suspected terrorists and have reinforced security but threats remain.

Possible targets for future terror attacks include places foreigners go such as hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, embassies, places of worship, outdoor recreation events, markets, transport, cinemas and tourist areas. Targets may also include casinos, venues where alcohol is served or consumed and places and institutions associated with Western interests.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Morocco.
  • Be alert to possible threats at all times.
  • Report any suspicious items or activities to police.
  • In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided.
  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Kidnapping

There is a general threat of kidnapping against Westerners in North Africa. Kidnapping risks are higher in remote mountain areas and southern and border areas than in other parts of Morocco. The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Morocco.
  • Don't hike alone in remote mountain areas.
  • Be particularly alert to the threat of kidnapping when travelling in southern and border areas of Morocco. 
  • If you decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place. 

More information: Kidnapping 

Crime

Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime is common. Theft at knifepoint and other violent crime happens sometimes. Travellers have been mugged when walking on deserted beaches and poorly lit streets at night. Aggressive begging near ATMs is frequent and robberies have occurred.

Intimidation is sometimes used to force customers to purchase goods. In popular tourist areas, including Tangier, Fez, Marrakech, Agadir and Essaouira, aggressive begging and harassment of tourists by men posing as official tourist guides is common.

Female travellers, particularly if unaccompanied, may find themselves the object of unwanted attention particularly in markets, beaches and tourist sites associated.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
  • Pay close attention to your personal possessions at all times.
  • Avoid walking in isolated areas or along dark streets at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money from an ATM.
  • Secure your accommodation against intruders, including when you're in it.
  • If you're female, avoid walking or travelling alone, where possible.

More information: Female travellers

Scams

Credit card fraud such as double billing and scams such as substituting inferior goods for those that were actually purchased are common. 

Commercial internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Some victims who travel to the originating country have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity.

Bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes are operating from West Africa. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating sites or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, you'll typically be asked by your 'friend' or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable them to travel to Australia. In some cases the relationship is terminated with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. In other cases, foreigners are lured to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner and become victims of crime including kidnapping, assault and robbery.

  • Keep your credit card in sight when conducting transactions.
  • Check goods carefully when making purchases.
  • Scrutinise all approaches originating in Morocco (or other West African countries) from people you don't know.
  • Don't send money to anyone in Morocco until proper checks are made.
  • If you are the victim of a scam, get legal advice. 
  • Don't to travel to Morocco to seek restitution.

More information: Scams

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests over domestic and regional issues can occur at any time. Large-scale demonstrations and protests can occur at short notice across the country. In general, demonstrations are peaceful but there have been isolated incidents of vandalism and looting. Tensions can also become security incidents at sporting events that attract large crowds.

A series of demonstrations have taken place since October 2016 in northern Morocco, mainly around the town of Al Hoceima. There have been reports of some violence during these protests. There have also been a number of smaller scale protests in other cities. These have remained peaceful to date.  A heavy security presence is in place.  

Western Sahara's status as part of Morocco is disputed. A mostly sand wall ('the Berm') separates the areas occupied and controlled by Morocco and those controlled by the independence movement. There has been armed conflict in the region in the past. A ceasefire is currently in place but localised or more widespread conflict could resume with little warning.

  • Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, as they may turn violent.
  • Monitor the media for reports of planned or possible protest activity. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities.
  • Plan your activities to avoid potential unrest on days of national or commemorative significance.
  • Be extra careful on weekends, including in the period around Friday prayers.
  • Be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions.
  • If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for assistance.
  • Do not travel within 30 kilometres of the northern and western sides of the Berm in the Western Sahara region.
  • Do not travel to areas south and east of the Berm in the Western Sahara region.

Local travel

Landmines

There is an ongoing risk of unexploded landmines, particularly within 30km of the Berm, but also closer inland.

  • Do not travel to areas within 30 kilometres of the northern or western side of the Berm.
  • Do not travel south or east of the Berm.
  • Stick to formed roads and paths in any areas where landmines could exist.

Tours and adventure activities

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators aren't always met, including for adventure activities such as diving and desert excursions. Recommended safety precautions and maintenance standards may not be followed. Safety equipment such as lifejackets and seatbelts may not be provided.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities:

  • first talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy
  • check operators' credentials and safety (including communications) equipment before booking
  • don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements
  • always use available safety equipment, even if others don't
  • if appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.
  • avoid hiking alone in remote mountain areas - see Safety and security.

Road travel

The number of deaths from road accidents in Morocco is high. Hazards include unsafe driving practices, as well as pedestrians and animals on rural roads. Driving on rural roads at night is particularly hazardous.

Drivers must carry an unfilled 'accident report' (constat à l'amiable) in the vehicle. These forms can be purchased at local newsstands. If an accident occurs and only involves material damage, the police don't usually intervene but the parties involved need to complete an accident report. If the accident involves casualties, you must wait for police to arrive before moving your vehicle.

Checkpoints, where you need to show personal identification (ID) and vehicle-related documents, are common.

  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Drive defensively, especially on mountain roads and major highways.
  • Be alert to possible hazards, especially at night.
  • Avoid road travel at night outside urban areas
  • Carry personal ID and vehicle documents, including an accident report form at all times.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Morocco with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel.

Public transport

There have been several fatal bus crashes on intercity routes. Morocco's rail network is developed and relatively safe and reliable. There have been some incidents of pickpocketing and petty theft on trains. Stay alert and don't leave luggage unattended.

 

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Morocco.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include long prison sentences. More information: Drugs

Other laws

The death penalty can apply for serious offences, such as high treason, terrorism, multiple murder and rape.

Activities that are illegal in Morocco include:

  • homosexual acts – more information: LGBTI travellers
  • heterosexual relations outside marriage
  • preaching a religion other than Islam
  • importing religious materials other than those relating to Islam
  • possessing pornographic material
  • acts or statements criticising or denigrating the monarchy
  • consuming alcohol in public places
  • purchasing pirated or counterfeit items
  • presenting a cheque without sufficient funds
  • sending a passport through the mail.

Non-Muslims who attempt to enter mosques in Morocco may be detained for questioning unless the mosque is open to the general public.

Taking photographs of official buildings, government and military installations and other sensitive facilities, or in the vicinity of these places, may result in problems with authorities or even detention.

The use of drones is controlled in Morocco. Seek prior approval from the Moroccan government before entering the country with a drone .

If you want to get married in Morocco, you'll need to present a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage and an Attestation of Citizenship. You can organise these through Consular Section of the Australian Embassy in Paris or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia. DFAT has an office in every State and Territory capital.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Morocco recognises dual nationality but, under Moroccan law, Moroccan citizenship takes primacy over the second nationality. This has implications for dual nationals' rights and responsibilities, including those concerning military service, parental custody and access to consular services.

If you're a dual national, our ability to provide you with consular services if you're arrested or detained may be limited. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Children of Moroccan fathers automatically acquire Moroccan citizenship at birth. Moroccan women who are married to foreigners can also pass on their Moroccan citizenship to their children. Child custody decisions are based on local law. Consult a lawyer for advice on custody disputes to check if you will be prevented from leaving Morocco with your children.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Morocco. Public displays of affection can cause offence, particularly in rural and traditional areas and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes. Couples who cannot provide proof of marriage may be refused accommodation in some rural and traditional areas.

  • Avoid physical contact between men and women in public.
  • If you're female, wear loose-fitting clothing covering the arms and legs.
  • Take care not to offend.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between ealry-May and early-June 2019. During Ramadan, take extra care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. More information: Ramadan

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

You're likely to require a specialised insurance policy for travel to 'do not travel' destinations. Some Australian insurance policies may not cover you for travel to 'do not travel' destinations.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases  

Insect-borne diseases (including leishmaniasis and typhus) are common in Morocco. Malaria is less common.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

More information: Infectious diseases

Other infectious diseases

Some water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases are prevalent.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in the major cities is generally good but medical services in smaller cities and rural and remote areas can be extremely limited.

Private hospitals can insist on up-front payment prior to admission. If you can't pay up-front, your treatment could be delayed.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Morocco is in an earthquake zone. Minor earthquakes occur occasionally. A strong earthquake hit northern Morocco around the port town of Al Hoceima in 2004, killing more than 600 people. Make sure you know your accommodation's evacuation plans.

Flash flooding can occur, particularly in the mountains or near rivers during the rainy season (November to March).

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

More information: Earthquakes

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: phone 190
  • Medical emergency: phone 190 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Crime: phone 190 or visit the nearest police station

Emergency operators rarely speak English.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

The Australian Embassy in Rabat provides a limited range of passport and consular services to Australians in Morocco. It doesn't provide notarial services but the Australian Embassy in Paris can assist if you need these services. Passport services are provided by appointment only. Appointments can be made online through the Australian Embassy in Rabat website.

Australian Embassy, Rabat 

28, Rue Emir Sidi Mohammed
10105 Souissi-Rabat
Morocco
Telephone: 212 (0)  537 63 33 33
Email:  rabat@dfat.gov.au
Website:  morocco.embassy.gov.au

Check the Embassy website for information about the services currently available, opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

Australian Embassy, Paris

4 Rue Jean Rey
75724 Cedex 15
Paris, France
Telephone: (33 1) 4059 3300
Facsimile: (33 1) 4059 3315
Website: france.embassy.gov.au

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources