Morocco Travel Guide for Filipinos: visas, entry/exit requirements, and more!
This post was last updated on January 5, 2021.
Welcome to Part III of No Visa? No Problem! series: a collection of articles on visa-free countries for Filipinos. This series aims to give another perspective to Filipinos about the other countries they can visit, if they are rejected a US or Schengen visa.
I’m going to Morocco again next month and I want to screeeaaaammm! 4 years ago, I found myself in a very devastating situation and because of this experience, I vowed to myself that I will never go back to this country again.
But yep! Times change. We keep the faith. We grow up. We move on. So I am going back because Morocco was a place where I spent 90-I-have-no-words-for-days. I don’t know how I am going to feel about it but aside from making new memories, one of the reasons I want to go back is to make better pictures. You see, when I was in Morocco, Instagram and all that creative industry were still on its way. I didn’t have any idea how to take good photos (I was just snapping mostly stupid stuff) and I didn’t have the “gadgets” for it. I was that super poor backpacker who didn’t earn a living from creating content.
Now that my life has changed and my career has elevated to another level, I want to go back and do Morocco differently.
Is Morocco open for tourism?
Since I am living in Mexico at the moment, I had to call for reinforcements. I called my local friends in Morocco to see if the country is open for tourism.
Ex-pats with proof of residency (‘carte de séjour) can enter. Still, they need to show a negative PCR test even if they are living in Morocco. If you have a family member living in Morocco (spouse, parents, children), you need to be accompanied to enter Morocco and you should be registered as a family member (livret de famille) in the local registry. In order to do this, you need to contact the Moroccan consulate in your country.
Foreign travelers must have a confirmed hotel reservation. If you are traveling for business, you need to have an invitation from a Moroccan company. Make sure to call the Embassy of your country in Morocco to confirm the details! Don’t book your flight without knowing if you are allowed to enter. If you pass the eligibility of traveling to Morocco during COVID, you need to complete a passenger health form online. It must be printed and signed. Everyone (including Morocco expats) are required to present a negative PCR test result not more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Morocco.
Once you arrive, you will undergo a clinical examination. You will also have to download their COVID app, Wiqaytna. Morocco is currently in a state of emergency and it is expected to be lifted on January 10, 2021. With this state of emergency, there is a nationwide curfew from 9:00 pm – 6:00 am. All cafes and restaurants should be closed by 8:00 pm. There is a ban on public (and private) big gatherings. Of course, it is mandatory to wear a face mask in public.
Getting to Morocco from Manila
I flew from Manila to Casablanca via Qatar Airways. Please take note that it’s a very long flight so you have to be comfortable! There is no way you can fly with a budget airline (you can try) but for long hauls like this, pick a good airline. Besides, Morocco is a cheap country so it won’t hurt if you allot a bigger budget for flights.
Two-way flights from Manila to Casablanca and back via Qatar Airways range from ₱30,000 to ₱45,000. This may stop in Singapore or in Doha but in my case, I flew directly from Singapore to Casablanca.
Notice that in the price comparison above, I highlighted the Premium Economy because it’s way more convenient than the Economy. When we are determining “cheap,” we are only looking at the prices without checking the value of the service that we will get. Check the seat quality and the miles (if you are collecting). In the table above, Economy is cheaper than Premium Economy by ₱6,000 but sees the points that you will get. You can use it for your next flight!
If you haven’t thought about signing up with loyalty programs, then you should. My recent super QMiles with Qatar Airways sent me to a business class flight from Tbilisi to Colombo!
MY USUAL MOROCCO TRAVEL ADVICE? INCLUDE IT IN YOUR EUROPE ITINERARY
I hail from a country where the top travel priority/dream is Europe and when I come across readers who were fortunately granted a Schengen visa, I always tell them to include Morocco in their itinerary.
Look, Manila to Casablanca vs Manila to any city in Europe has exactly the same flight ticket price. The good news is, flying to Morocco (Marrakesh to be exact) from any European city is super cheap! Budget airlines have unbelievable promos as Morocco has become a tourism hub to Europeans because of its close proximity. Imagine ₱3,000 two-way? That’s even cheaper than your usual Manila-Hong Kong flight! You can even take a boat/cruise from the south of Spain!
Budget airlines in Europe are very shitty but hey, it’s not a long flight so we can always endure a little not-enough-leg-room-pain.
Visa regulations for Filipinos entering Morocco as a tourist
Philippine passport holders can stay in Morocco for a total of 90 days, visa-free. I maximized my stay during my first trip in 2013: I literally did 90 days but this second visit, I only planned it for a month. Moroccans are Filipino-friendly despite not having a big Overseas Filipino Workers there. Salary is too low so more Filipinos opt Middle Eastern countries.
What do they ask Filipino travelers when entering Morocco?
Nothing, really! I’ve been to Morocco twice and on both occasions, I maxed the 90-day stay but I wasn’t asked too many questions when I entered. I didn’t even have hotel reservations or outbound ticket. They just stamped my passport and I was let in.
The thing is visa-free means visa-free. As a Philippine passport holder traveling to Morocco, imagine you are just going to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries visa-free for Filipinos – it’s really the same process. Don’t overthink! Just present your documents and don’t be scared. After all, there aren’t a lot of illegal Filipino workers in Morocco. The salary is not that high so Filipinos don’t really work here. There is no reason for them to deny you entry.
As a long-term traveler, I maxed the 90-day Morocco visa for Filipinos. However, if you want to stay longer than that, you can easily apply for a visa extension. You have to apply for an extension in Police Stations ((Préfecture de Police) in major cities. Bring a Moroccan friend if you don’t speak Arabic, French or Spanish.
Upon entry, what do I need to present?
It really depends on the immigration officer. Again, in my case, I wasn’t asked anything. The officer in charge just browsed my passport, asked where I was staying and that’s it – I got a stamp. However, it’s always helpful to have the following documents ready:
Proof of accommodation
Accommodations in Morocco are cheap and if you are backpacking and have not decided your full route yet, you can always book via Booking.com – it allows you to book a hostel/hotel without paying. You will receive a printed confirmation that you can present to the immigration officer. In the case that you already have a fixed itinerary, you can use Airbnb. Immigration officers can call your host but it is very unlikely that they’ll do that. Airbnb hosts can be very attentive to guests’ needs as you pay 100% of the fees right away. This website does not allow reservations without payment.
Outbound flight ticket:
I was not asked this in the Immigration in Casablanca however, before boarding my flight from Singapore, Qatar Airways asked for it upon boarding. Since I didn’t have it, Qatar Airways asked me to sign a waiver that if Morocco denies my entry, they will not be responsible for my flight back. I signed it anyway since I was sure there was no way I was going to be denied entry in Morocco. However, this happened in 2013. As I am updating this now (2020), I realized that an outbound ticket or proof that you’re going to leave Morocco is necessary.
If you are a backpacker and you really don’t know your travel dates, there are many agencies that offer dummy ticketing for a small fee (probably $20 USD). Note that they can only hold the ticket reservation for you for 24 hours or less so do it the day of your flight.
If you are a Filipino with a valid Schengen visa, you can always buy a cheap ticket to Spain as proof of exit. They’re usually less than 50 Euros!
They did not ask for an itinerary but they did ask where will I go in Morocco. Of course, I did prior research about the places I want to visit in Morocco but I didn’t put it in paper. It was just in my head. I told the officer I wanted to visit Tangier (most importantly), the Sahara Desert, and the blue city of Chefchaouen. These were not the only places I visited in Morocco but it was the ones that struck me without prior knowledge about the country.
What is the ideal budget to travel to Morocco?
You’d be surprised to know that the cost of living in Manila, Philippines is 16% more expensive than in Morocco. Different Moroccan cities have different price ranges but every Moroccan city is still cheaper than Manila. In this section, I will use Marrakech as an example since this is where most Filipinos go when they visit Morocco.
Morocco’s currency is called the Moroccan dirham (MAD). As of April 24, 2020, 1 MAD is equivalent to ₱5 PHP. If you are travelling with US dollars, $1 USD is equivalent to 9 MAD.
- Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: ₱270
- Combo meal in fast food restaurant (big mac meal or similar): ₱167
- 1 bottle of red wine, good quality (supermarket): ₱459
- 500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese (market) ₱160
- 2 liters of coca-cola: ₱91
- Airbnb Riads per day: from ₱1,700 for two persons
- Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km: ₱224
The numbers above are estimates. It’s just an example of how far your Philippine peso will go in Morocco. As for the daily budget, I can say that with ₱1,500 per day, you can enjoy your travels well. This daily price estimate does not include shopping, or entertainment. This is just for accommodations, food, and transport.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need a transit visa if I have a layover?
Flights from the Philippines to Morocco usually stop in the Middle East or Europe so as always, if you are not going out of the airport, there’s no need for a transit visa. Just go directly to the transfer desk. It’s always smarter to ask the airline you are booking your flight with. They can answer your transit visas queries better.
When is the best time to visit Morocco?
During my 90-day stay in 2013, I wasn’t aware that it was Ramadan so I endured one month of crazy during the observation of this holiday. Food was barely available during the day and when the souks (markets) open, it is extremely crowded! Make sure to check the Muslim holidays for more information. Morocco is a country that lives off tourism so I included the price hikes including the seasons below:
- May to September: Extremely hot but there are many discounts on accommodations and tours.
- April & October: A few sandstorms in the Sahara + accommodations and tour prices are tolerable.
- November to March: Prices are very high than normal. This is also Spring/Autumn so the weather is good.
Morocco is a Muslim country. What should I pack?
Don’t worry! They are not one of the hardcore Muslim countries where you have to cover all of your skin. As I said, Morocco lives off tourism so they are used to Westerners in shorts and spaghetti straps. I wore shorts all the time when I was traveling Morocco because of the very hot weather and they are fine with this. Just be as decent as possible. Ladies, I would understand if you won’t be comfortable showing skin so you can wear long sleeves and pants if you want. It really depends when you will be visiting.
Is it easy to navigate Morocco as a Filipino? Will I meet Filipinos?
I did not meet any Filipinos when I traveled to Morocco but in my experience, I didn’t have a hard time going around on my own. Morocco speaks Spanish and French and most big cities can speak English. I do speak Spanish fluently though, and it helped me a lot! English is fine, don’t worry! If things go south, there’s always sign language.
Do I need to show that I have enough money in the bank to travel Morocco?
I wasn’t asked for proof of income but it’s always good to have your bank statement when traveling anywhere. You don’t need a printed bank statement like the type we are asked to submit when apply for USA and Schengen visas. If you have a mobile banking app, this is more than enough proof. But really, in Morocco, they didn’t ask for this!
My Schengen visa is expiring soon. Can I cross to Morocco to renew my Schengen visa?
No. I tried this not just in Morocco and found out that all Schengen visa applications for Philippine passport holders must be processed in the Philippines. Only USA visas can be applied in any country.
Will my luggage go straight to Morocco or I will have to re-check it in my layover?
It really depends on the airlines. In Manila, you will know this right away by checking the tag they will put on your bag and/or by asking the ground stewardess. All boarding passe, including your the one for your layover, will be given in Manila though.
Can I work in Morocco with a tourist visa?
No, you may not. I do not encourage it either. This blog is about visiting Morocco as a Philippine passport holder, not living nor working. You can always do the visa processing the right way if you intend to live and work there. Please do not do anything illegal as it will affect not only your travels but all your fellow Filipinos, too.