I’ve been asked many times if I hold dual nationality. The answer is no. I only have a Moroccan passport, which I am really proud of. However, visa-free countries for Moroccans are quite limited. Morocco ranks 72 worldwide for passport power with barely 58 countries to visit without visas. So how do I manage to visit 40 countries with my green passport? This blog post gives some lights to readers eager to know more about visas I took and what countries I visited visa-free.
I took so many visas between 2012 and 2015 that I had to renew my passport ahead of its expiry. I know it’s really annoying, but not completely impossible. I will give some visa advice but please look for further information. Check with embassies and consulates for the most accurate information as it might have changed since then!
Countries I visited: Brazil, Hong Kong, Jordan, Macau, Malaysia and Turkey.
It was such a relief to travel to those countries without visas! It is really a great feeling! In Brazil, it was straight forward at the immigration point: very relaxed an easy-going guards. Likewise in Turkey. In Hong Kong and Malaysia, I had some questions like where I would be staying but it was quick interview. However, in Jordan it is very particular.
Moroccan men can visit Jordan without a visa. However, women need a visa in advance. I find this very discriminatory. The immigration officers were also quite rude with me as I couldn’t understand Middle-Eastern Arabic well and they didn’t understand my Moroccan Arabic too. Luckily, I met nice people outside of the airport!
Visa on Arrival
Countries I visited: Lebanon.
Moroccans can obtain a visa on arrival at Beirut Rafic Al Hariri Airport for Lebanon. However, there are conditions: hold $2000 in cash or cheque to proof your financial support, have accommodation booked for the stay and a return ticket. I prepared all of this but on arrival, they didn’t check anything at all. They gave me a visa on arrival which I paid around $25. Very easy and very friendly guards. I think I was really lucky to pass so easily. I heard of people being refused boarding from Morocco to Lebanon or others once they arrive to Beirut. So I would still advice to go prepared for the visa on arrival or arrange it before the trip to avoid disappointment. Because honestly, Lebanon is worth the visit!
Europe and Schengen States
Countries I visited: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Even though Morocco is physically 13 kilometres away from Europe, I need a visa to visit as a tourist. All the above countries, I visited with a Schengen Visa. It is fairly easy to get as long as you provide the necessary documents such as financial proof, travel proof, accommodation etc.
My experience with Schengen Visa has been quite interesting. When I apply with France, I get 6 months to 1 year Multiple Entries Visa. However, with Switzerland I got 1 entry and with Spain, I got 7 days visa only. I know, they decide on case by case basis and each application is unique but I have the feeling that the French are the most easy going and generous with Moroccans, in terms of visa lengths. Perhaps it is due to the history?
Although I wish I didn’t have to take it, I still love the concept of one visa for many countries. It opens many doors as it is also possible to visit other countries in Europe or even outside Europe.
Non-Schengen States in Europe
Countries I visited: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Vatican.
Not all European countries are Schengen States. So they have their own visa system. However, some of them accept tourists holding a Schengen visa to visit.
Moroccans can visit Albania with a multiple entries Schengen, UK or USA visas, given that they have used it for at least once. In my case, I travelled with my UK visa to Albania from Montenegro by bus.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia accepts visitors with multiple entries Schengen or UK visas for 15 days visit. However, there is a key rule. Travellers must come from an European Union country. I wanted to travel from Serbia to Bosnia but it was impossible as Serbia is not part of the EU. Instead, I changed my plans and started by visiting Sarajevo and then leaving to Belgrade.
Moroccans who hold a multiple entries Schengen, Ireland, UK or USA visas or are permanent residents to those countries can visit without a Montenegro visa for 30 days.
Romania is not yet part in Schengen states but it has the same rules as Schengen states for tourists. So it’s possible to visit with a Schengen Visa.
Serbia is one of my favourite countries but if I had to take a Serbian visa, I would never go as it is really complicated to get. Luckily, Moroccans holding multiple entry visas from Schengen, USA, UK or other EU countries can visit as a tourist for up to 90 days. So I went 3 times to Belgrade!
San Marino and Vatican
Both countries are land-locked in Italy. So it’s only possible to visit from Italy where a Schengen visa is needed. Even though San Marino and Vatican have no border controls, I still went to get a souvenir visa for my passport in San Marino, it’s just a stamp for 5 euros.
United Kingdom Visa
Moroccans need a visa for the UK. In my case, I came here with a student visa as I did a Bachelor, then I renewed this visa to get a Masters (but I boycotted my university graduation). I then got a work visa as I work full-time in an adtech company in London.
Visas for the UK – regardless of types (study, work, tourist)- require a lot of attention to details. I always provide every single document they require, not more, nor less. British people love being organised and even though the visa system is looks very complicated, it remains however very straight forward.
One other important factor to consider when applying for a UK Visa is the money. Lack of financial support might negatively affect applications. For a tourist visa, there is a very good positive point. Unlike Schengen visa where the duration is determined by the consulate, the UK visa leaved the choice for the visa duration. So there’s a choice from one or multiple entries but also 2 years, 4 years etc. It is just more expensive. But really worth it if you can get the most out of it, London is a pretty nice city to visit!
I lived in the UK for 5 years now and I really enjoy. British people are funny and friendly unlike the reputation they have as being cold. Definitely worth a trip here! Plus, the UK visa opens doors to visit other countries as Moroccan such as Bosnia, Albania or Serbia.
Countries I visited: Canada, Egypt, Georgia, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and United States of America.
I visited Montreal and parts of Quebec as part of a family trip back in 2005. I do not remember much of it but I know that the Canadian visa has similar requirements as Schengen visa. In my case, I had 2 years tourist visa. It is a trip I want to do again, so I will add more information regarding visas for my next trip!
Moroccans generally need a visa for Egypt. However, for groups of over 10 people it is not required. I went with a travel agency from Morocco. So it was visa-free trip.
I visited Georgia with my UK visa as holders of multiple entries Schengen or UK visas can visit without Georgian visa. I flew there from Belgrade and I returned to Istanbul after. It was quite straight forward with the immigration officer. Tbilisi was a great introduction to Georgia!
Moroccans need a visa for India but it is stress-free to get. I had an appointment at VFS Global in London as they handle visas for Indian Consulate. Documents required are just a few and it costs £35 for a 6 months visa.
Russia has a very strict visa-policy for all countries. So I don’t feel unlucky as Moroccan! Tourists must hold a travel voucher which is given by some travel agencies and hotels in Russia. In my case, I travelled as part of a business trip with a family member so I was lucky to tag along on this trip so I didn’t have to deal with the voucher. It was quite simple to get and very straight forward. It’s just documents that are annoying. I got it at Russian consulate in Casablanca for around 250 DHS. My trip to Moscow is one of my favourites!
Tourism is quite inexistant in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of my trip was pilgrimage in Mecca and Al Madinah. Therefore, my visa was a Omrah Visa delivered in Morocco by the travel agency organising the pilgrimage. It is a restricted visa as it only covers a limited time and limited area in Saudi Arabia. I think that going as a pilgrim is much easier than a tourist!
United Arab Emirates
I visited the UAE on transit. I was eligible for online transit visa by flying with Etihad. The visa was really expensive around $60 for one day transit. It was worth it though as I got to have a luxurious stopover in Abu Dhabi but my layover in Dubai was not my favourite!
I had a 5 years multiple entry visa for the USA. Moroccans usually have no troubles getting visas for the USA for up to 10 years visas. However, with the recent events such as Trump Ban it is possible that it might be harder to get the visa. I will never know as I don’t want to try whilst Trump is president. However, the USA visa is a real door opener. Holding a US tourist visa can provide many advantages such as visiting other countries totally outside of the US such as Albania, Serbia or Mexico.
Moroccan passport is not an easy passport to hold due to many visa restrictions. But I’m holding on to it with pride as I am usually met with a lot of smiles at the border controls given that they rarely see a Moroccan passport. That was the case in Warsaw, Poland where the immigration officer called for help to read my passport. She turns it back and forth, she sees Arabic writings, she smiles and at the very end, she says welcome. This is a story that repeats itself for me and to be honest, I enjoy it. Such experiences make me realise that no matter visa restrictions, borders or even bans, I will never stop travelling.
Do you hold a Moroccan passport too? Tell me your experiences when travelling with it!