- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Morocco because of the threat of terrorist attack against Western interests. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- There is a risk of retaliatory attacks against Western targets in Morocco following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013.
- In 2011, a number of large protests occurred in Moroccan cities, including Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Asfi and Tangier. Some protests led to isolated violence. Protests have continued in 2012.
- You should monitor the media for reports of protest activity and avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations as they may turn violent. You should exercise particular caution on weekends, including in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
- We have received reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Tourist areas have been attacked in the past. On 28 April 2011, there was an explosion in a restaurant in Jamaa el-Fna square, Marrakesh. A number of people were killed, including foreigners.
- There is a general threat of kidnapping against Westerners in North Africa. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times and especially when travelling in southern and border areas of Morocco.
- We strongly advise you not to travel to the Western Sahara because of the risk posed by landmines. Permission from Moroccan authorities is required before travelling to Western Sahara.
- Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Morocco. The Canadian Embassy in Rabat provides consular assistance to Australians in Morocco (except the issue of passports). The Australian Embassy in Paris can also assist Australians.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you for regular information updates or in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Morocco for the most up to date information.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Morocco because of the threat of terrorist attack against Western interests. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
We have received reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners. Tourist areas have been attacked in the past.
There is a risk of retaliatory attacks against Western targets in Morocco following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013.
During 2012, the Moroccan security forces made a number of arrests of suspected terrorists, including nine members of an alleged terrorist cell on 1 November 2012.
On 28 April 2011, there was an explosion in a restaurant in Jamaa el-Fna square, Marrakesh. A number of people were killed, including foreigners.
In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. These include places frequented by foreigners 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.
Moroccan security forces have arrested people for allegedly planning assassinations of political figures, military officials or members of the Jewish community, and for planning terrorist acts targeted at Moroccan Government facilities and tourist sites.
There is a general threat of kidnapping against Westerners in North Africa. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times when travelling in southern and border areas of Morocco. For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnapping Threat travel bulletin.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should ensure you have personal security measures in place, seek professional security advice and take out kidnapping insurance.
Civil unrest/Political tension
Domestic and international political developments may prompt demonstrations and protests.
In August 2012, hundreds of activists gathered in Morocco’s main cities, including Casablanca, Marrakesh and Rabat. On 27 May 2012, a trade union-initiated protest saw thousands of people marching in the streets of Casablanca.
In 2011, a number of large protests occurred in Moroccan cities, including Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Asfi and Tangier. Some protests led to isolated violence.
You should monitor the media for reports of protest activity and avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations as they may turn violent. You should exercise particular caution on weekends, including in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
Security incidents can also occur in the periods surrounding sporting events that attract large crowds.
The level of crime in Morocco is high. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, continues to increase. There are increasing reports of acts of violence associated with theft. Valuables should be kept out of sight, and you should exercise vigilance in public places. Travellers have been mugged when walking on deserted beaches and poorly lit streets at night.
There are reports of banditry and extortion in the Rif Mountain region and of theft, intimidation and kidnappings in the coastal region around Asilah.
Credit card fraud such as double billing and scams such as substituting inferior goods for those that were actually purchased are common. Keep your credit card in sight when conducting transactions.
Commercial and internet fraud scams are common in Morocco. Australians have also been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes . If you receive a message that sounds too good to be true - don't be fooled, it probably is. Our International Scams travel bulletin provides details on the type of scams that may originate in Morocco.
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.
Aggressive begging near ATMs is frequent. Thefts have also occurred around ATMs.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money in Morocco, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency is not accepted in Morocco, you should consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas.
Most international credit cards are accepted by the wide network of ATMs in Morocco. It is illegal to export Moroccan Dinars.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe, dry place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
The land border between Morocco and Algeria is currently closed. You should not attempt to cross it by land.
Travellers should exercise caution when driving, particularly on mountain roads and major highways. You should avoid road travel at night outside urban areas due to the risk of motor accidents with other vehicles and animals. There have been several fatal bus crashes on intercity routes and the number of annual fatalities from road accidents in Morocco remains high. On 4 September 2012, a bus fell into a ravine in southern Morocco, killing 42 people. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Single female travellers may find themselves the object of unwanted attention particularly in markets, beaches and sites associated with tourism. You should avoid walking alone in deserted areas and at night.
Western Sahara: We strongly advise you not to travel to Western Sahara because of the risk posed by landmines. Travel from Morocco to Western Sahara is restricted by the Moroccan Government and you will need to obtain permission from Moroccan authorities before travelling.
There are unexploded landmines throughout the region, especially adjacent to the border with Mauritania. There have been reports of exploding landmines and landmines shifting away from the border area due to the movement of sand dunes.
Australians are advised to avoid protests and demonstrations in Western Sahara.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Morocco, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long prison sentences, even for possession of so called 'soft drugs'.
Sentences for serious offences, such as high treason, terrorism, multiple murder and rape, can include the death penalty.
Homosexual acts and heterosexual relations outside marriage are illegal in Morocco and penalties can include imprisonment.
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.
It is illegal to preach religions other than Islam and to import religious materials other than those relating to Islam. Several individuals have been expelled from the kingdom for carrying such items and preaching other religions.
Possessing pornographic material is illegal.
Acts or statements criticising or denigrating the monarchy are illegal and can result in prosecution and detention.
Travellers should not consume alcohol in public places, particularly in traditional and rural areas.
Be aware that by purchasing pirated or counterfeit items you may be breaking both Moroccan and Australian laws.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money, laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Morocco and you should take care not to offend. It is recommended women wear loose-fitting clothing covering the arms and legs and wear a head scarf. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Physical contact between men and women in public should be avoided. 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.
During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims.
Information for dual nationals
Although Morocco recognises dual nationality, Moroccan citizenship takes primacy over the second nationality, especially concerning issues such as military service and parental custody. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian/Moroccan dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Children of Moroccan fathers automatically acquire Moroccan citizenship at birth. An amendment to Morocco's 1958 Nationality Code was adopted on 18 January 2007. The amendment allows Moroccan women who are married to foreigners to pass on their Moroccan citizenship to their children. Child custody decisions are based on local law. You should consult a lawyer for advice on custody disputes to find out if you may be prevented from leaving Morocco with your children.
Any Australian citizen wanting to marry in Morocco must apply for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage and an Attestation of Citizenship from the Consular Section of the Australian Embassy in Paris (see under Where to get help for contact details).
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicine and staying healthy while overseas.
While the standard of medical facilities in the major cities is generally good, 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. Inability to pay may delay treatment.
Insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis and typhus) are common in Morocco. Malaria is less common. We recommend you take precautions against being bitten by insects, including using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Some water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases are prevalent. We encourage you to discuss your travel plans with your doctor and consider having vaccinations before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis ('bilharzia'). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Morocco. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the local Canadian Embassy provides consular assistance to Australians in Morocco. You should register your presence with the Canadian Government. This service does not include the provision of notarial services or the issue of Australian passports. However a travel document can be issued by the Canadian Embassy in an emergency.
Contact details are:
Canadian Embassy, Rabat-Agdal
13 Bis, Rue Jaafa-as Sadik
Telephone (212) 537 68 7400
Facsimile (212) 537 68 7430
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 08:00-11:00 hrs
You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in France:
Australian Embassy, Paris
4 Rue Jean Rey
75724 Cedex 15
Telephone (33 1) 4059 3300
Facsimile (33 1) 4059 3315
If you are travelling to Morocco, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency -whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue. We will also be able to inform you when an Australian Consular Officer will be visiting Morocco, for example to conduct passport interviews.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Parts of Morocco are subject to earthquakes. Flash flooding can occur especially during the November to March rainy season. Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities in Morocco we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments.