Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international 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 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), remaining open at mid-day but closing earlier in the afternoon. Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country. During Ramadan, many local establishments refrain from serving any food or drink during daylight hours and from serving any alcoholic beverages entirely (with limited exceptions for foreigners).
Include a link to the State Department consular information sheet for your country (may need to use Chrome browser).
- For current travel information, and the department of State’s Travel Advisory system refer to https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/morocco-travel-advisory.html
- U.S. Citizens traveling in Morocco are encouraged to register via the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/.
- U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website
“U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website”
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.
Credit or debit cards are accepted in major shopping places and restaurants, most ATMs accept U.S. ATM networks. It is preferable to carry small amounts of cash to use when needed.
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. The country offers hundreds of direct, daily flights to the United States, Europe, South America, the Middle East (including Israel), and elsewhere in Africa, and received 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 TGV, 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. The other two official languages are French and Berber. Darija or spoken Arabic 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.
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 and any contingencies. 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)+5 hours.
NOTE: for the month of Ramadan only, which shifts yearly following the Islamic lunar calendar and is expected to take place April 1-30, 2022, Morocco usually reverts to GMT. Double-checking timing of flights and meetings scheduled during this time frame is recommended
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 and 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.