If you plan to travel to Morocco in the near future, it is important to know what rules to follow and how to keep yourself safe.
Morocco is reopening its borders to some foreign tourists, an exciting development after six months of being closed to non-citizens and non-residents. However, several restrictions are still in effect due to COVID-19. It is important to learn about Morocco’s travel requirements before booking your ticket.
On March 15, Morocco shut its borders to international travelers, leaving foreigners and Moroccans alike stranded inside and outside of the country. Four days later, on March 19, the Ministry of the Interior announced a state of emergency and implemented a strict lockdown the following day.
In June, Morocco’s government began easing lockdown measures in some provinces and prefectures depending on the local epidemiological situations. The following month, Morocco opened its borders to Moroccan citizens and residents.
Due to the state of emergency, currently effective until October 10, regular flights to and from Morocco remain suspended.
However, Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia Maroc recently extended their special flight programs — initially established to bring home Moroccan citizens and residents — to some foreign tourists.
Here is what you need to know about Morocco’s border reopening.
Who can enter Morocco?
Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia Maroc confirmed Morocco’s border reopening on September 6 and September 11, respectively. Nationals of visa-exempt countries with confirmed hotel reservations can enter Morocco through either national airline.
Passport-holders from 67 countries may travel to Morocco without a visa. These countries include the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
In Europe, the visa exemption includes all member states of the EU, as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Switzerland, and the UK.
In the Middle East, nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE do not need a visa to enter Morocco.
In Central and South America, nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru are exempt from visa requirements.
Asian countries include China, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea.
African countries include Algeria, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Senegal, and Tunisia.
Foreigners with an invitation from a Moroccan company may also travel to the country for business purposes on the two airlines.
It is advisable to contact the Moroccan embassy in your country for more information about flights and necessary procedures.
Testing and quarantine requirements
Although Morocco is reopening its borders to some tourists, public health remains the government’s primary concern.
To travel to Morocco, you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test and a serological test for COVID-19 that should have been done less than 48 hours before your scheduled departure. Upon arrival at the port or airport, there will be a health screening for travelers entering the country.
Due to the mandatory COVID-19 test, the Moroccan government does not require travelers to self-isolate or undergo a quarantine period after they arrive in the country.
However, if you are not feeling well and start displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to self-isolate and contact the Moroccan Ministry of Health’s hotline at +212 (0)8-0100-4747.
If you are hoping to visit family and friends in Morocco or simply a globetrotter who just cannot wait to get back to exploring the world, there are strict COVID-19 measures you must comply with amid the border reopening.
Morocco has recorded more than 86,000 cases of COVID-19. The country has a 77.9% recovery rate and a 1.82% fatality rate.
Face masks are required in all public places and inside vehicles. Morocco’s national police (DGSN) has set up frequent security checkpoints to ensure compliance with this measure.
Respecting a one-meter distance from others in all public spaces is essential, as is steering clear of any gatherings and crowded areas to avoid making contact with COVID-19 carriers.
After touching any surface, it is advisable to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
When entering most buildings in Morocco, such as malls, shops, restaurants, and administrative buildings, you will be subject to a temperature screening. Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes to avoid the spread of germs.
Lockdown and closed cities
While Morocco is reopening its borders, many popular tourist destinations in the country remain under lockdown, such as Marrakech, Fez, Tangier, and Casablanca.
Travel to and from cities under lockdown is banned without authorization and the areas have strict curfews.
Popular cities for tourists that are currently not under lockdown include Rabat, Agadir, Essaouira, Laayoune, and Dakhla.
In cities without lockdown measures, travel is unrestricted. Public spaces, including outdoor sporting areas and public parks, are open. Tourist establishments such as hotels and beaches are open.
Regardless of where you are in the country, all health measures such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing remain in effect.
Keep in mind that the state of health emergency is still in effect despite Morocco’s border reopening.
The state of emergency means the Moroccan government can reimpose lockdown measures in any neighborhood, city, prefecture, or province at any time if it considers the COVID-19 situation alarming.
Trains, buses, and taxis in Morocco are operational. However, public transportation is operating at only 50% capacity to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Passengers must respect health measures by wearing a face mask and maintaining a safe distance from others.
Tourists in an area under lockdown must acquire authorization from the local authorities to travel to another city.
Penalties for violating health measures
As COVID-19 cases rise in Morocco, each region’s authorities apply restrictions and take every precaution necessary to limit the local spread of the pandemic.
Failing to respect and comply with health measures can lead to arrest with a prison sentence of up to three months or a fine of up to MAD 1,300 ($142). Morocco’s border reopening does not mean tourists are immune to these potential penalties.
Traveling in the age of a global pandemic can be challenging. If you want to travel to Morocco for family, friends, love, or leisure, it is important to follow all the necessary procedures and comply with the health measures and regulations designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Make sure you take the following steps in preparation for your trip.
First, contact the Moroccan embassy in your country to confirm if you are eligible to travel to Morocco amid the border reopening. The embassy is the best resource for any lingering questions you have, as they have a direct line of communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Do your research about where you plan to visit and stay in Morocco. It is not advisable to attempt to visit COVID-19 hotspots or cities under lockdown.
Make a reservation with a certified hotel establishment in Morocco and do not lose the confirmation.
Book your ticket to Morocco through an authorized airline: Royal Air Maroc or Air Arabia Maroc.
Schedule to have the necessary COVID-19 tests completed in time for your departure.
Pack face masks, hand sanitizer, and any other essentials.
Finally, make sure you are prepared for sudden changes. Remember that Morocco is a sovereign country with the right to impose restrictions that are in its best interest as it sees fit.
Stay safe, be alert, and enjoy your time in Morocco!