Straits of Gibraltar, from Morocco

Some people get some information from an unnamed Moroccan official, that all foreigners who are actually in Morocco without a residency permit should leave the country the 10th of August the latest, or they would be fined.

That sounds perfectly logical. Border openings, transportation available, end of emergency state, no more reasons to postpone again the normal three months a foreigner is authorized to stay in Morocco, when he can enter without a visa.

Wait…

Did borders open ?

The Moroccan government has been quite clear : the flights and ferrys that were scheduled after 14th of July are a special operation and not a border opening.

On the other end (the receiving country), some borders are still totally closed : Belgium, for example, put Morocco on its red list, and refuses entry to anyone, even its own nationals. Ireland does the same thing.

As no country accepts non-resident foreigners, some people are, de facto, still blocked in Morocco.

Is transportation available ?

Yes, some of them. Not all… for example, on 16th of July (ie the day after the special operation began and the day before the ferry arrived), Gran Navigo, the company operating the only authorized ferries, received notice from the French administration that they would not be authorized to dock in Sete before the 22nd of July, and only if the passengers could provides PCR a serology tests not required for flights, nor by French Embassy.

Will emergency state be over ?

10th of August is the date when the current state of emergency ends. We don’t know if it will be postponed or not, like it was last time, and my little finger tells me it will be postponed, probably last minute, as it was.

Why is the temporary acceptance for vehicles extended till the end of the year ?

A foreign vehicle cannot stay in Morocco for more than six months. A few days ago, Moroccan government announced the delay will be extended long after the 10th of August, till 31st of December 2020.

So the government plans that people leave the 10th of August the latest and authorize them to leave their car till 31st December ?

It can means three things only :

  • it knows all foreigners won’t be able to leave on 10th of August, and he only tries to frighten them and push them away as much as possible
  • it knows borders won’t fully reopen before long, and already organizes things for the people with a car that won’t be able to board on a ferry and will leave by plane
  • it’s a totally illogical blunder (which is never the case, sometimes it’s difficult to understand the logic, but there is some)

Will you be able to find a seat you can afford ?

It seems prices rocketed up for some flights. After four months trapped in a country without working normally, you might not be able to pay a ticket around 6.000 – 9.000 MAD.

Will you be able to come back ?

You can have a business in Morocco, without being resident. You have to be aware you might not be able to come back before a real borders opening, that I personally do not foresee before September the earliest, December the latest (or even later, depending of the situation, mortality rate, potential second wave, in Morocco or in your country of origin).

Plans A, B, C and D

Plan A is to leave Morocco as soon as possible, at all costs.

You desperately need and want to be back home. You have a flight / ferry not cancelled, and your mother country welcomes you with open arms. If you don’t need to come back quickly, that’s the best.

Plan B is to ask for a prolongation of your stay.

You’ll have to go to the “Police des Etrangers” (Police for Foreigners), justify the reasons why you want to stay, and you are usually allowed to stay for three more months.

Plan C is to apply for a residency card.

The process is quite long, but you can get an official receipt for your application (a “récépissé”) rather quickly. The receipt must be renewed every month till you get your CIN (Carte d’Identité Nationale) and authorizes you to stay.

Plan D is to stay, and accept that you’ll have to pay a fine when you leave the country.

When you leave. Not before. Believe me, police is not going to come to your house or office, arrest you, or requires that you pay the fine asap.

Since 2004, I have never seen any foreigner who did not commit a heavy crime (paedophilia, drug traffic, etc.) being deported (at least when he has a strong passport and does not need a visa to enter Morocco).

The fine depends of the number of days you stayed after the limit. So you have to pay it only when it’s calculated and when you leave the country. You can respectfully explain the reasons that forced you to stay in Morocco after the limit. If the administration accepts them, you’ll be authorized to leave the country without paying a fine, or only a low one.

In any case, you’ll be able to enter again Morocco when borders open.

So, what to do ?

You have to balance the costs and risks. If you absolutely need to come back quickly in Morocco, I would advise you to stay, and turn towards plan B, C or D depending of your other constraints. Plan D being the “ultimate option”.

If you’re just a tourist, of have very strong reasons to leave Morocco, try to leave as quick as possible. All this communication about the 10th of August could be a typically Moroccan hint that the “special operation” will end by the 10th without any opening of the borders.

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