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MOROCCO - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Morocco. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorism in the region.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Western Sahara and border regions
Western Sahara is a non-autonomous territory whose political and legal status has yet to be determined through the United Nations. Although the Government of Canada does not recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, you are subject to the laws and regulations of Morocco, which unilaterally administers the territory. Because of the remoteness of Western Sahara, the Government of Canada may be extremely limited in its ability to provide assistance in this region.
Restrict travel to officially designated tourist areas if you choose to travel to this area. Western Sahara is a former area of conflict still littered with unexploded landmines, particularly in remote regions. Seek local advice prior to travelling to the desert areas in the south and hire only official guides recommended by hotels, travel agencies or local tourist authorities. A four-wheel-drive vehicle and appropriate supplies are essential for off-road driving in the mountains or the desert.
There is a general threat of terrorism in Morocco and past attacks have targeted foreigners. On April 28, 2011, a terrorist attack at a restaurant on Jemaa el Fna Square, a popular tourist site in Marrakech, resulted in several deaths and numerous injuries. Exercise caution in public places, monitor local news reports, avoid demonstrations and follow the advice of local authorities.
There is a general threat of kidnapping in the border and remote regions of Morocco. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, especially when travelling in the southern and border areas of Morocco.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Demonstrations take place mainly on Friday afternoons and on Sundays. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Women travelling alone may be subject to certain forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Petty crimes—notably pickpocketing, purse snatchings (sometimes by motorcyclists), scams and other thefts—take place frequently in the medina, market areas, in parks and on beaches. Thefts occur around automated banking machines. Credit card fraud is also frequent. Panhandling is increasing and some panhandlers can be aggressive toward tourists. Ensure that your personal belongings are secure and do not show signs of affluence, particularly when walking at night.
Do not accept food, drink or invitations from strangers, or change your planned itinerary at their request. While Moroccans are generally very friendly and hospitable, you should always exercise common sense and travel wisely.
There have been reports of tourists being taken to certain stores and intimidated into making purchases. Stay on major roads, especially in the medinas, exercise caution and politely but firmly decline.
Exercise caution in the mountainous Rif region, on the northern coast of Morocco, since drugs are produced in this area and tourists are occasionally tricked into unknowingly committing drug offences.
Road conditions vary according to location and weather (for example, in the high mountains or during the rainy season). National roads are generally in good condition but narrow and heavily congested. Driving is generally easier on the highways.
Morocco has a very high traffic mortality rate. Despite police enforcement, traffic regulations are not respected by all drivers. Pedestrians, scooters and animals on roadways can also pose risks. Avoid driving at night.
If an accident occurs, first ensure your personal safety, but avoid moving the vehicles before the police arrive, if at all possible, even if this makes the traffic jams worse. If no one has been hurt, an accident report drawn up by the parties involved will suffice.
Carry your identification and vehicle documents at all times, as checkpoints are frequent.
Be extremely careful when driving on the Rabat–Casablanca highway, and on certain national highways because of high traffic volume. Accidents, which are numerous and often attributed to poor driving practices, have resulted in serious injuries and deaths.
The rail network is developed, reliable and safe.
Do not expect safety standards to be the same as in Canada.
The border with Algeria is closed. Do not attempt to cross into Algeria by land.
Exercise caution if travelling to Morocco for romance, especially in cases of relationships initiated on the Internet. Find out beforehand about the country’s customs and laws on conjugal relations and marriage. Ensure that you hold on to your return plane ticket, your money and your passport in case problems arise.
General safety information
While swimming conditions in tourist areas are generally safe and problem-free, public beaches in major cities are often polluted and unfit for swimming. Check with your hotel for advice on conditions.
Dial 19 for police services and 15 for firefighter or ambulance services.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Moroccan authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Morocco, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of less than 90 days)
Business visa: Not required (for stays of less than 90 days)
Student visa: Not required (for stays of less than 90 days)
You must secure proper authorization if you plan to extend your stay in Morocco beyond 90 days. Contact the local police station, Service to Foreigners Section, at least 15 days prior to the expiry of the three-month limit.
Airport authorities regularly ask dual citizens to produce their Moroccan national identification card. See Laws & culture for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 16, 2015 09:48 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in North Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in North Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech have good, private medical facilities for non-emergencies. The services provided in public facilities do not compare to those in Canadian facilities. Services may be limited elsewhere.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Illegal or restricted activities
Public alcohol consumption is prohibited. Transgressions could be punished by detention or other penalties.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict and judgment is expeditious.
Unauthorized importation of Bibles or other religious material is prohibited, except for personal use. Religious proselytizing is forbidden.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Extramarital sexual relations are illegal. Hotels will refuse to allow couples who are unable to provide proof that they are married to stay in the same room, although foreigners are almost always exempt from having to provide proof.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Photographing military or security interests can result in problems with authorities.
It is illegal for visitors arriving by private boat to enter Morocco other than at a recognized port of entry.
Criticizing Moroccan institutions or the monarchy is a crime and may result in imprisonment.
Children and custody
Children of Moroccan fathers automatically acquire Moroccan citizenship at birth, regardless of where they were born. Children must have their father’s permission to travel, regardless of whether they are travelling on a foreign or Moroccan passport.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Morocco. If local authorities consider you a Moroccan citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Dress and behaviour
Islamic practices and beliefs are adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 6, 2016.
The local currency, the Moroccan dirham (MAD), cannot be exchanged outside of the country and it is illegal to take any out of Morocco. Unused dirhams can be reconverted to hard currency at the airport exchange counter upon departure, provided the wickets are open and you have kept the receipts for the dirhams purchased. Exchange only as much money as needed. Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are accepted in certain stores and restaurants in urban centres, and in major hotels.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from November to March. Flash floods can be frequent and sometimes severe during this period. They can be especially dangerous in the High Atlas Valley area. Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Morocco is located in an active seismic zone.
Rabat-Souissi - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Rabat-Souissi and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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