Morocco- Business TravelMorocco- Business Travel
Many of Morocco’s leading business executives are European-educated. Morocco is a former French protectorate and many of its business practices are based on the French system. The main language used in business discussions is French. Both public and private procurements are predominantly in French with some exceptions. A growing number of U.S.-educated entrepreneurs returning to Morocco are contributing to an improved receptivity for U.S. firms and U.S. business culture.
Hospitality is an important cultural norm. U.S. business representatives are advised to politely accept invitations such as drinking tea or coffee. It is wise to build trust and friendship in order to advance business goals. Nevertheless, be wary of agreeing or entering into any “informal” business ventures, vet all proposals and document all commitments. Verbal agreements, which are common in Morocco, will not hold up in court.
The work week is Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturday morning. Most businesses close for lunch from noon to 2:00 p.m., except during the month of Ramadan, when both private and public sectors work reduced hours (six hours/day). They remain open at mid-day but close earlier in the afternoon. Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country. During Ramadan, many local establishments refrain from serving any food during daylight hours and from serving any alcoholic beverages entirely (with limited exceptions for foreigners).
For current travel information, and the department of State’s Travel Advisory system refer to
U.S. Citizens traveling in Morocco are encouraged to register via the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Proram (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/.
U.S. citizens and citizens of European Union member countries do not need a visa for entry into Morocco. Entry visas are required for foreign nationals from certain countries, including Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and others. For visits of more than 90 days, U.S. citizens are required to apply for an extension of stay (providing a reason for the extension) and should do so as far in advance as possible. U.S. citizens who stay in Morocco more than 90 days without receiving an extension will be unable to leave Morocco before appearing in court and facing penalties for the overstay. U.S. citizens who plan to reside in Morocco must obtain a residence permit. A residence permit may be requested and obtained from immigration authorities (Service Etranger) at the central police station of the district of residence.
The Moroccan Dirham is the currency of Morocco. The currency code is MAD. It is subdivided into 100 centimes. The dirham is issued by Bank Al-Maghrib, the central bank of Morocco.
The national telecommunications network offers a range of services including cellular, paging, video conferencing, voice mail and Internet. The telecom market is dominated by three firms: Maroc Telecom, owned jointly by the state and Etisalat (UAE); Orange, owned by Orange (France); and Inwi, owned jointly by Zain (Kuwait) and Al Mada, a holding company owned by the Moroccan royal family. Most U.S. phones will be able to roam in Morocco.
Morocco’s road network is among the most developed in Africa. Most parts of the country are readily accessible by well-surfaced roads. Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport is the largest airport in Morocco and one of the largest on the continent. It offers hundreds of direct, daily flights to the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Africa, and receives more than eight million passengers per year. A reliable passenger rail system connects the major cities. In November of 2018, Morocco launched Africa’s first high speed train. Known as the LGV, it connects the economic hubs of Tangier and Casablanca in two hours and ten minutes at a top speed of 320 kph (199 mph). A frequent ferry service runs to and from certain ports in Spain, France and Italy.
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language, but the local dialect, called Darija, is the spoken vernacular. It differs substantially from Modern Standard Arabic, both in pronunciation and vocabulary. There is also a substantial Berber-speaking minority; however, this is generally not a language of business.
French is prevalent, especially in urban areas and among the educated. Generally, business meetings are conducted in French. Meetings with Moroccan government officials are most commonly conducted in French, while some ministries conduct meetings in Arabic. In the north of Morocco, Spanish is commonly spoken.
Moroccan entrepreneurs with degrees from the United States and other English-speaking countries may conduct business in English. As Morocco has a growing tourism sector, English is becoming increasingly common, particularly in the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to determine in advance the language to be used during a meeting should it be necessary to hire an interpreter.
Medical Facilities: Adequate medical care is available in Morocco’s largest cities, particularly in Rabat and Casablanca, although not all facilities meet Western standards. Specialized care or treatment may not be widely available. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in the urban areas, but most medical staff will have limited or no English skills. Emergency and specialized care outside the major cities is far below U.S. standards, and in many instances may not be available at all. Travelers planning to drive in the mountains and other remote areas may wish to carry a medical kit for emergencies. In the event of car accidents involving injuries, immediate ambulance service is not usually available. Persons taking medication are advised to bring enough to last during their stay in Morocco. Moroccan customs and health authorities will not release medication sent through the mail.
Useful information is available at the U.S. Embassy Morocco website:
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Morocco is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)+1, which is Eastern Standard Time (EST)+6 hours. Between 2008 and 2018, Morocco was on GMT and observed daylight savings time, advancing to GMT+1 from late March to late October. A government decree in late October 2018 kept Morocco on GMT+1, and the country did not change back to GMT.
NOTE that for the month of Ramadan only, Morocco usually reverts to GMT. Double-check timing of flights and meetings scheduled during this time frame.
Holidays observed by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate (local and U.S.) can be found here:
Note: Many religious holidays are based on the lunar calendar, change every year, and are only fully confirmed the eve of the holiday. Dates shown are those projected for the year.
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
Customs may authorize temporary entry of goods on an individual basis. The limit for temporary entry is six months, renewable for up to two years.