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Visiting Morocco for Indian passport holders

I realise I haven’t posted much about my Morocco trip after my first day in Marrakech. All in good time…hopefully. Meanwhile, I wanted to get this quick one out of the way. When I first booked my flights to Morocco in August 2011, one of my biggest concerns was to figure out whether it would be possible for me to get a tourist visa. This turned out to be a major headache for me because I found so many conflicting answers to what visa requirements for Morocco are. I’m making this post in the hopes that it helps any traveller in the future in a similar predicament.

I’m an Indian passport holder resident in the UK, so it is possible what I write below is specific to how the embassy here handles procedures or even my specific case. Don’t consider this binding legal advice. Do your own due diligence before applying for a visa; rules change all the time and by the time you come across this, the information below may be out of date.

Does Morocco offer visa-free entry / visa-on-arrival?

A select list of nationalities do not require to get a visa in advance. Morocco does not offer visa-on-arrival for any nationality, that I know of.

What are the requirements for a Morocco visa, according to online sources?

The Embassy of Morocco in UK lists the following requirements for filing for a tourist visa:

  • Application form in three pages (downloading)
  • Your original valid passport + copy of the first page with photo+ Copy of your legal status in the UK
  • 02 recent passport size colour photos.
  • Original passport along with copies of the main pages of details and the page of the right of abode in the UK
  • Copy of your detailed provisional flight itinerary.
  • Employment certificate from your employer in the UK.
  • For students, copy of a recent letter confirming that the applicant is attending the school.
  • For business owners, copy of the last Income Tax as substitute of the employment letter,
  • A recommendation letter from your business partner in Morocco for business visa.
  • Hotel provisional reservation or notarized Letter of Invitation from your sponsor in Morocco.
  • For applicants married to Moroccan citizens, a copy of the marriage certificate plus a copy of the Moroccan passport or national ID of the Moroccan spouse can be a substitute for the invitation letter or for the hotel reservation.
  • Proof of travel insurance covering at least the period of trip to Morocco.
  • last three months pay slips or salary attestation (ORIGINALS AND COPIES )
  • last three months bank statements (ORIGINALS AND COPIES )
  • Copies of marriage certficate and spouse s pasport .

VisaGuru mentions a slightly different set of requirements:

  • Passport (Valid 6 Months on entry)
  • UK residency (Must have been resident in UK for the minimum of 1 year)
  • 3 application forms
  • 4 passport photos
  • Original employer or school/college letter
  • Copy or Original airline tickets
  • Copy or Original hotel confirmation (Hotel confirmation must show paid in full.)
  • Copy or Original itinerary
  • Copy or Original Travel Insurance
  • Copy of the information pages of passport incl. UK residency.
  • Application Fee

What is your personal experience applying for a tourist visa for Morocco?

What bothered me most was conflicting advice on what supporting evidence was needed for accommodation. Visa HQ said a confirmation was required directly from the hotel, which brings up the question – am I allowed to book via third-party travel booking sites? Does it have to be a ‘hotel’ or will a hostel suffice? VisaGuru (see above) also said it should show hotel booking paid for in full. On the other hand, the Moroccan embassy website mentioned ‘provisional’ confirmation without any clarification on what this ‘provisional’ meant!

Contacting the Moroccan embassy in UK was no help as I tried calling them up over a period of a week and yet never once did they answer my call. I ultimately applied for my visa through a visa processing company called CIBT (which has offices in many countries around the world) since they seemed trustworthy. There wasn’t a lot of information forthcoming from ‘official’ sources so I only provided the following documentation, as advised by CIBT:

  • Proof of UK residency: My UK visa.
  • Proof of employment: I am currently on an internship with a UK-based company, but I’m also a registered full-time university student as this internship is part of my degree. I could have asked at either place for this proof (students can substitute ‘proof of employment’ with proof of academic status); I went with my workplace since that would be faster to procure. This is simply a letter on company letterhead according to a template you can download off CIBT’s site.
  • Proof of financial means: Past two bank statements. I had to request paper copies from NatWest specifically since I’ve turned off paper statements. Leave time to obtain this as postal mail can take 4-5 days to deliver.
  • Proof of travel arrangements: Copy of my flight ticket and hostel booking. CIBT advised that booking through a third-party site rather than directly with a hotel was fine, staying at a hostel was fine, and a booking which only showed a downpayment was also fine.
  • Proof of travel insurance: I went for the cheapest travel insurance policy I could find online with the least amount of frills for cheap cost; I went for one from Columbus Direct.

I sent these documents with required photos, photocopies, visa form and passport by recorded mail to CIBT and they got in touch with me for updated bank statements printed off online banking, which I sent to them by email. My visa was processed in three weeks by Morocco embassy (perhaps due to high processing times was close to Christmas) and I got it back by recorded mail via CIBT, just three days before my flight. (I heard the same received-just-in-time story from a South African couple I met in Morocco.)

In all, not a particularly cheap visa to get factoring CIBT’s fees – almost half the prices of my return flights! Still, I’m glad I let them handle it as otherwise I would’ve had to take days off from work to submit / collect my application.

To any future traveller: bon voyage!

http://www.visaguru.co.uk/182/223/India/Morocco/visa-requirements.htm

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