|Still current at: 02 March 2013
Updated: 31 January 2013
|No restrictions in this travel advice||Avoid all but essential travel to part(s) of country||Avoid all but essential travel to whole country||Avoid all travel to part(s) of country||Avoid all travel to whole country|
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary and the Terrorism section (threat of retaliatory attacks following French military intervention in Mali). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Morocco.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Travel advice for this country
- Travel Summary
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Entry requirements
- Natural disasters
There is a general threat from terrorism
in Morocco. This threat is sustained, including due to a threat of
retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali. Attacks
could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates
and foreign travellers. You should take sensible safety precautions and
maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
There have been sporadic but generally peaceful demonstrations in various locations across the country over the past year. See Political situation
Travellers should take sensible precautions for their personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.
In April and May 2010, a number of foreigners, including British
nationals, were expelled from Morocco for alleged proselytising. You
should be aware of religious sensitivities in Morocco. See
Local laws and customs
Morocco has a poor road safety record. See
If you are travelling to Western Sahara, please see the separate
covering this disputed territory.
If you are considering rally racing in North or West Africa you
should read the travel advice for all relevant countries and our Rally racing page.
Most visits to Morocco are trouble free. See Consular assistance statistics.
There are occasional incidents involving theft at knifepoint in the
major cities. Violent crime, though not a major problem in Morocco, is
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.
There is a general threat from terrorism in Morocco. See Terrorism. This threat is sustained, including due to a threat of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should take sensible safety precautions and maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
Significant events include:
- On 28 April 2011, 17 people were killed and 25 injured in a large explosion in Marrakech at the Argana Restaurant in Jema el Fna Square. Suspects have been convicted and imprisoned.
- In May 2003, 45 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks
in Casablanca. These attacks were against relatively soft targets,
including hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners or those with
Jewish links. The Moroccan authorities arrested and imprisoned a number
of those considered to be responsible for the attacks.
Since February 2011 there have been sporadic demonstrations and protests in a number of locations across the country. In general, demonstrations have been peaceful but on 20 February 2011 some of the demonstrations led to incidents of vandalism and looting in Tangier, Marrakech and other locations. You should take precautions for your personal safety, avoid political gatherings and demonstrations and take local advice. Always observe instructions given by the local security authorities.
Violent crime is not a major problem in Morocco, but it is growing. There are occasional incidents involving theft at knifepoint in the major cities and along beaches. Avoid areas that you do not know especially after dark. Do not carry large amounts of money or valuables around with you.
Carjacking incidents do also occur. You should drive defensively, avoid stopping at the side of the road and keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed at all times.
Petty crime (such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching), is common. Pay attention when using ATMs as crime and aggressive begging can occur. Credit card fraud and scams such as substituting inferior goods for those that were actually purchased are common. Intimidation is sometimes used to force customers to purchase goods. You should remain vigilant and alert to potential confidence tricks.
When visiting the medinas, should you require the services of a guide, you should ensure that the guide is authorised by or operating with the agreement of the local tourist authorities, and displays an official badge. Harassment of tourists by men posing as official tourist guides is common. There have also been reports of tourists being harassed on Moroccan trains.
Travellers to Morocco should be aware of the impact that the situation elsewhere in the Middle East has had across the Arab world and the risk of public disturbance in response. You should follow news reports and be alert to developments in the Middle East that might trigger public disturbances. In addition, demonstrations against rising food and fuel prices across the region have on occasion turned violent. You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.
Morocco has a poor road safety record. According to the Moroccan Ministry of Equipment and Transport, in 2011 road accidents claimed the lives of 4,222 people, with 12,482 seriously injured and 89,529 sustaining minor injuries. These figures represent an increase of 2.5% in the number of road accidents, 12% in the number of road deaths and 9% in the number of serious injuries. Accidents are especially frequent on busy major routes but also on narrower secondary roads. All drivers should take extra care when overtaking, particularly where there are no hard shoulders. You are advised to leave plenty of time to reach your destination and to stay well within speed limits.
If you are involved in a road accident resulting in a fatality and the Moroccan authorities consider you responsible, you may be detained pending a trial hearing.
If you are involved in a minor accident, you should complete a 'Constat Amiable' form, to be signed by both parties. The blank forms are available upon arrival at the Tangier port from the insurance company booths, or can be purchased from tobacconists in all cities.
Local laws reflect the fact that Morocco is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
Women, especially when travelling alone, may attract attention. To minimise hassle, you should dress inconspicuously and avoid wearing clothes that could be regarded as provocative (e.g. short skirts and low-necked strappy tops), except on the beach.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco. Sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law. It is not uncommon for hotels to ask couples to show evidence of marriage (ie a marriage certificate) at the time of check-in, and if such evidence is not available, to insist on separate rooms being booked.
British nationals travelling to Morocco with a view to marrying a Moroccan should, before they travel, check what documentation they will need to provide. Advice can be found on the British Embassy’s website (www.ukinmorocco.fco.gov.uk).
The penalties for possession of even small amounts of drugs are severe: up to 10 years’ imprisonment, with no remission for good behaviour, heavy fines and confiscation of your vehicle/vessel. If you travel through the Rif Mountains, a major cannabis growing area, you may be harassed by drug dealers.
It is against the law to carry bibles in Arabic, to attempt to distribute any non-Muslim/evangelical literature or be involved in any such activity.
British nationals do not require entry visas to Morocco for the purpose of tourism, for visits of up to three months.
You must hold a valid passport to enter Morocco. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Morocco. When entering the country, particularly during the busy summer months, you should ensure that your passports are stamped. You will then be able to stay in Morocco for up to three months. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passports bear no entry stamp.
UK Emergency Travel Document
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry to, airside transit, and exit from, Morocco.
We are not aware of anyone experiencing problems bringing prescription medication into Morocco. Moroccan Customs do not have a list of prohibited products, but they do advise anyone travelling with prescription medication to ensure that they have a copy of the doctor’s prescription with them and that the quantity of medication carried is within the limits of the prescription.
Travelling to Western Sahara
If you intend to travel to the disputed territories to the South of Morocco, you should consult our separate Travel Advice for Western Sahara.
You should also be aware that the border between Algeria and Morocco is closed, and no attempt should be made to cross it at any point.
Travelling by private boat
When arriving by private boat, you must enter the country by a recognised port of entry. Entry through other ports will be considered illegal.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 150 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which can cause a painful allergic reaction including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
You should bring sufficient funds for the visit in cash or credit cards. There is no limit on the amount you can import. Most major credit cards are accepted in the larger urban centres throughout Morocco. It is not possible to change Scottish bank notes and it‘s very difficult to change travellers’ cheques in Morocco. The Moroccan Dirham is non-convertible and its export is prohibited. ATMs are widely available in cities and most main towns. If you enter Morocco with a vehicle, the registration number will be entered in the immigration computer. If you are not in possession of the same vehicle when leaving Morocco, you will be refused exit and detained.
Consular assistance statistics
Most visits to Morocco are trouble free. 104 British nationals required consular assistance in Morocco in the period 01 April 2011 - 31 March 2012, including for 29 hospitalisations; and 27 arrests.
Contact Details for the British Consulate-General, Consulates and Honorary Consuls
British Honorary Consulate - TANGIERS
Contact the British Embassy in Rabat in the first instance
Tel: 00 212 537 63 33 33
Fax: 00212 537 63 33 66
British Honorary Consulate - AGADIR
The English Pub, Boulevard 20 Août, Agadir
Tel: 00 212 528 84 12 19
Fax: 00 212 528 84 12 57
British Honorary Consulate - MARRAKECH
47 Avenue Mohamed V (next to the Marrakech Grand Prix store), Gueliz, Marrakech
Tel: 00 212 524 42 08 46
Fax: 00 212 524 43 52 76
If you are a British national and have a genuine emergency outside normal office hours, please call the Embassy switchboard on +212 (0) 537 63 33 33 where you can obtain details of our Global Response Centre who may be able to assist you. Please note that only emergency calls can be handled out of office hours. Visa enquiries can only be dealt with during office hours.