Special Travel Circumstances in Morocco

The Government of Morocco considers all persons born to Moroccan fathers to be Moroccan citizens. In addition to being subject to all U.S. laws, U.S. citizens who also possess the nationality of Morocco may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on citizens of Morocco. Recently, Morocco has begun allowing Moroccan mothers of children born outside Morocco to petition for their children’s citizenship. For further information on that process, please contact the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, D.C., or the Moroccan Consulate General in New York.

Foreign Currency: Current Moroccan customs procedures do not provide for accurate or reliable registration of large quantities of U.S. dollars brought into the country by tourists or other visitors. As a result, U.S. citizens may encounter difficulties when they attempt to depart with large amounts of cash. In particular, U.S. citizens with dual Moroccan nationality have been asked to provide proof of the source of the funds and have incurred heavy fines. The export of Moroccan currency (dirhams) is prohibited; however, Moroccan currency can be converted back into U.S. dollars prior to departure only if the traveler has a bank or money transfer receipt indicating he or she exchanged dollars for dirhams while in Morocco.

Residency Permits and Foreigners: Since 2013, there is a new procedure to renew residency status in Morocco. The following documents must accompany a residency renewal application:

a. Birth Certificate

b. Copy of the current passport

c. Copy of the current Moroccan residency card

d. Medical certificate from a doctor stating that the requester is free from any contagious disease

e. Court record (Casier Judiciaire) obtained from the Ministry of Justice in Rabat

f. 100 MAD stamp

The residency card is renewable each year for the first three consecutive years of residency. At the fourth renewal, the applicant may be granted a card valid for five years. In the absence of any derogatory information, at the fifth renewal, the applicant may obtain a 10 year residency card.

Import Restrictions: Moroccan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Morocco of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, business equipment, and large quantities of currency. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, D.C., or the Moroccan Consulate General in New York for specific information concerning customs requirements.

Sending Passports through the Mail: According to Moroccan law, it is prohibited to send passports by mail across international (or domestic) borders. Passports sent to or through Morocco via Fedex, DHL, or other courier will be confiscated by Moroccan authorities.

Religion and Proselytizing: Islam is the official religion in Morocco. However, the constitution provides for the freedom to practice one's religion. The Moroccan government does not interfere with public worship by the country’s Jewish minority or by expatriate Christians. Proselytizing is, however, prohibited. In the past, U.S. citizens have been arrested, detained, and/or expelled for discussing or trying to engage Moroccans in debate about Christianity. In March 2010, several U.S. citizens were expelled from Morocco for alleged proselytizing. Many of those expelled were long-time Moroccan residents. In these cases, U.S. citizens were given no more than 48 hours to gather their belongings or settle their affairs before being expelled.

Property: U.S. consular officers are prohibited by law and regulation from accepting personal property for safekeeping regardless of the circumstances involved.

If there is concern over the protection of property left behind in Morocco due to confiscation or deportation for political, legal, or other reasons, U.S. citizens should take every precaution to ensure that available legal safeguards are in place either before or immediately after purchasing property in Morocco or taking up residence there.

Consultations with local attorneys concerning property rights and available protections are a prudent way of attending to these concerns. A list of attorneys who have expressed a willingness to represent U.S. citizen clients is available from the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca; the U.S. Embassy in Rabat does not offer consular services. The U.S. Consulate cannot vouch for the reliability of attorneys on this list. They were selected for their English-speaking abilities and willingness to take on cases involving U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens are also encouraged to consider assigning a Power of Attorney, or Procuration, to be used in Morocco if necessary. More information and sample Power of Attorney forms are available on the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Morocco in New York website.

Although rare, security personnel in Morocco may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance.

Photographing Sensitive Locations: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities. As a general rule, travelers should not photograph palaces, diplomatic missions, government buildings, or other sensitive facilities and, when in doubt, they should ask for permission from the appropriate Moroccan authorities.

Internet Romance and Marriage Fraud: Many U.S. citizens befriend Moroccans through Internet dating and social networking sites and these relationships often to lead marriage or engagement. While many of the marriages between U.S. citizens and Moroccans are successful, the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca warns against marriage fraud. It is not uncommon for foreign nationals to enter into marriages with U.S. citizens solely for immigration purposes. Relationships developed via correspondence, particularly those begun on the Internet, are especially susceptible to manipulation. Often, the marriages end in divorce in the United States when the foreign nationals acquire legal permanent residence (“green card”) or U.S. citizenship. In some cases, the new U.S. citizens or permanent residents then remarry spouses whom they previously divorced, frequently around the same time as they enter into relationships with sponsoring U.S. citizens.

Some of the signs that an Internet contact may be developing a relationship with a U.S. citizen in order to obtain an immigrant visa through marriage are:

Declarations of love within days or weeks of the initial contact;

Proposals or discussions of marriage soon after initial contact;

Requests to the U.S. citizen to visit the foreign national’s home country soon after the declaration of love or proposal;

Responses to messages from the U.S. citizen friend are along the lines “I love you/Sorry I missed your call,” or similarly one-sided conversations;

Once engaged, married, or an immigrant visa petition is filed, the Moroccan spouse/boy or girlfriend suddenly starts missing scheduled appointments to chat or call.

While chat rooms, dating and social networking sites are great ways to make friends across international borders, the U.S. government urges U.S. citizens who meet foreign nationals on the Internet to keep in mind the signs noted above. Entering into a marriage contract for the principal purpose of facilitating immigration to the United States for an alien is against U.S. law and can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment for the U.S. citizen and the foreign national involved.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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