There are mainly two means of transport to cross the strait: by boat and by plane. It is also possible to travel by car, but even then you must cross by boat, leaving the vehicle in the hold of the boat. We will start by detailing how to enter by sea and then talk about flying into Morocco.
Entering Morocco By Boat
Once you know from which port you are leaving, you will go to the window of the ferry company, where they will provide you with two documents: the ticket voucher and the entry form (we will talk about what this consists of later). If for whatever reason you do not pick up the form, do not worry: inside the ship you will see it distributed everywhere.
With both documents, your luggage (if you have it) and identification (valid passport with a minimum expiration of three months and visa if you do not belong to this list of countries) you will go to the boat. On rare occasions it will only be necessary to present your ID (mainly day trips, but also a few circuits operate with these conditions) but this variation is produced by specific agreements of the wholesaler with the Moroccan authorities: do not assume that this is something widespread, and when in doubt ask.
The first control will correspond to the ferry company, which minutes before departure will check that you have the ticket in order, and then go through the luggage control. There they will scan your belongings, and immediately afterwards you will present your identification at the police window. Depending on the requirements of the port, these last two steps may change order, although they will always be followed.
As soon as you get inside the ship I recommend you to fill in the entry form that you have been given, as you must hand it in there. This is a procedure to control who enters and leaves the country, as well as for statistical reasons. Although there are variations, it should be more or less like the photo below:
You will have to fill it in the following way:
>Name: Last name(s)
>Prénom: First name
>Nom de jeune fille: Maiden name, to be filled in only by those of you who have adopted your spouse’s surname upon marriage.
>Date et lieu de Naissance: Date and place of birth
>Nationality: Nationality (e.g., Spanish)
>Pays de résidence habituelle: Country of habitual residence (this will normally coincide with nationality unless you have emigrated).
>Profession: Occupation. If you work in a new profession, I strongly recommend you to “simplify” its nomenclature, in order to prevent the police from arguing about not “understanding” your profession. For example, if you are a community manager you are a publicist or an administrative manager instead of a tax advisor.
>No. Passeport/Date déliverance. Passport number and date of issue (not to be confused with expiration date).
>Destination/provenance: Origin (the city where you come from, e.g. Seville, Spain)
>Adresse au Maroc: Address in Morocco. Indicate the city where you are going to stay (the first one, if there are several), as well as the name of the accommodation and its address. For example Tangier. Hotel Continental (36, Rue Dar Baroud). Normally, just indicating the name of the accommodation is enough, but there are times, especially if you cross the strait by plane, that you will also be asked for its address.
>Motif principal du voyage: Main reason for the trip (for the vast majority, tourism).
Depending on the model of the form, there will be more boxes to fill in, but it will not be necessary to pay attention to them and you can leave them blank.
In addition, the first time you travel to the country you will be marked with a code in your passport, made up of numbers and letters, which will serve to identify you when you return. Therefore, if you have already travelled to Morocco before (or even if not, when you return) I advise you to write it down in the upper right-hand corner of the card, so that the procedure is faster. It is also necessary to know that it is associated with your own passport, so if you renew it, the code of the previous one will not be valid for the new one.
Among the requirements for travel to Morocco is having a valid passport
Now all that remains is to hand it over to the ship’s authority together with the identification, so that they can corroborate the data and put the corresponding stamp in your passport. They will be one or two policemen with a laptop, sitting at a table or at the window for this purpose and will have a queue in front of them that will serve to locate them.
Please don’t wait too long to hand in the form. It’s better to just go in, or if there are a lot of people queuing, wait for them to blow off some steam, or you risk not delivering it yet and causing a considerable delay.
I insist on it. To understand the magnitude of the slowness of these queues, remember how the Moroccans take everything in stride. Now add this to the particularity that this one is a civil servant. Now that a shiver runs through your body you will understand the importance of this matter.
Once you arrive in Tangier or another port, on the departure of the ship another policeman will ask you for your passport, to check that you have the stamp. Now you will only have to go to the terminal and pass a luggage control again, to start enjoying your trip.
The green card of Morocco is the international insurance of vehicles to cross the strait with your car
And on the way back?
When you return, the process is similar, although not identical, as most of the formalities are carried out at the port itself: there you will first have to go through the Moroccan police checkpoint, where you will be given both your passport and your departure form. The fact that you have to hand it in here and not inside the boat will be responsible for the main traffic jam at the beginning and it is so advisable to go with enough time in advance, 60 minutes approximately, especially on days with a lot of traffic.
The data to be filled in will be the same as on the outward journey, with the difference that in Destination/provenance you will have to indicate the last address where you stayed in Morocco, as in Adresse au Maroc and that, as you have already been stamped for the first time, you can indicate your entry code in the upper right-hand corner of the form to speed up the procedures.
All you have to do now is scan your luggage, give your passport again to another Moroccan policeman who will check that it has been stamped and finally, before entering the entrance gate, give your ticket to the person in charge of the shipping company.
Inside the ship it will not be necessary to carry out any procedure, and when you land on Spanish territory you will pass the Spanish police control, where your passport and luggage will be checked, and finally you will leave the port.
What if I go by car?
If you have chosen to cross by boat accompanied by a vehicle, there are two differences you should know, based on the necessary identification and the way to transit through the port.
In addition to the documentation that corresponds to each person, you must have the documentation that corresponds to the car, that is: the driving licence (commonly known as a grey card) and the international insurance certificate (also known as a green card).
The procedures of the Moroccan customs are necessary to pass them both outside and inside the boat
You must also fill in the so-called D16 ter model, with similar intentions to the entry form but referring to vehicles. You can either pick it up when you enter the port or go here and click on the link that says “formulaire”, fill it out, print it out and go with your saved work. Again I explain each section:
Concerning the owner or person responsible for the vehicle:
Prénom et Nom: Name and surname
Identifiant: Relationship with the country
- CIN(Nationaux): Moroccan resident abroad
- Etrangers résidant au Maroc: Foreigner resident in Morocco.
- Etrangers non résidant ayant déjà visité le Maroc: Non-Moroccan who has travelled to Morocco before
- Foreigners on first visit to Morocco: Non-Moroccans travelling to the country for the first time
I understand that all of you who read this belong to the last, or at most the third option. If it is the third case, you will not have to enter anything else, and if it is the last, you will have to indicate the registration code you were given the first time you travelled to Morocco.
Referring to the vehicle itself:
>Genre: Type (tourism, caravan, motorcycle, etc.)
>Pays: Country in which the car usually moves
>Date de 1ère mise en circulation: Date of first registration
>Chassis number: Chassis number, specified in the grey chart.
Finally, if you are not the owner of the vehicle, you will have to present a signed statement from the owner expressing his consent or, if it is rented, the rental contract, which must state that you can leave with it to Morocco. It goes without saying that all these documents must be available to you until you leave the country.
With regard to how to enter, the steps to follow will be exactly the same as if you do it without a car, only that at all times it will not be necessary for you to leave this one, since you will have another access enabled. There can be subtle differences, for example in the port of Tarifa, where the first step (the collection of the boarding pass) is done at the same window of the shipping company used by the rest of the passengers. But even here, when there is a lot of movement (return operations or similar), they improvise another window so that this is also done without leaving the vehicle.
One of the most efficient ways to travel to Morocco is by air, the airport of Marrakech being the most used destination
Entering Morocco By Air
This is the most common way for international travel, also taking into account that this way you can directly access different points of great tourist interest, such as Marrakech. It is also widely used by Spaniards who do not live in the south of the country.
I am going to pass on the tiptoes as far as the procedures that correspond to the terminal of the airport in Spain, and that I synthesize in arriving with your voucher already acquired, to check your luggage if it was necessary, to pass the control of passports and luggage, to wait for the call to our airplane, to approach you to the corresponding door and to deliver the voucher and the passport to the personnel responsible for the aviation company.
Once you have landed on Moroccan soil, you will go to the arrival area to collect your boarding form to fill it in. If you want to save time, I advise you to go to the queue of the police control and, once there and while you wait your turn, fill it out (if you have taken the precaution of bringing a pen, better). In order not to repeat, I indicate the link to go back to how to fill in the entry form.
When your turn comes, you will hand in the form together with your passport, you will go through the metal and luggage control, you will pick up your luggage (in case you have checked in) and you will be able to leave the airport.
Finally, if you are going on your own you will almost certainly need to use a taxi. If this is the case, you will be shown the fares on a panel when you leave the airport. I advise you to pay attention so that they do not try to overcharge you.
On your return, the procedure will be exactly the same: check in your luggage if necessary, collect and fill in the departure form, hand it in with your passport to the authorities, go through the police and metal detector, wait for the door to be indicated, show your ticket and passport to the person in charge of the airline and walk down the footbridge to the plane, on your way back to your place of origin.
Some final tips
Make sure, if necessary (which is almost always the case) that your passport is in order and has an expiry date of more than three months. Even if you have heard people say that their passport is about to expire and yet it did not have any problems, do not take that exception as a rule.
Do not rest on your laurels: remember that in Morocco everything goes at a different pace and that you should not abuse the phrase “I think I have time”, especially when it comes to handing in the entry form.
Bring a pen to fill in the forms. That way you won’t have to ask anyone and you’ll save time. The only problem is that you will be asked to do so.
Make sure you don’t have anything forbidden in your suitcase, because they won’t be afraid to take it back. I mean mainly if you travel by plane, because in the case of the boat they are more permissive: you can take all the luggage you want and if you want to take alcohol, they will leave a maximum of one bottle of high and two of low alcohol (beer, wine) per person.
Have the address and telephone number of the accommodation where you are going to stay, both to speed up the formalization of the entry form and in case any police officer asks you, especially if you are travelling by plane.
If someone travels by car and parks it in the port car park, they can benefit from a discount for travelling to Morocco. To do this, you must stamp the parking ticket in a machine before passing the Spanish police control on your return: pay attention, because if you don’t do it at that moment you won’t be able to benefit from it.
And with these last tips and beating the record in number of words I finish today’s article, not before telling you …