Flying drones, whether for sports, leisure, or professional use, has become commonplace in recent years as they allow you to make incredible recordings from the air of cities, motorcycles in the desert, cars, or while traveling… and whatever else comes to mind that just a few years ago was unthinkable.
But if you’re thinking of bringing a drone with you on your upcoming trip to Morocco, think again.
Using drones in Morocco is prohibited by a law put in force in February 2015, and it is very strict with the use of these devices by tourists. If you try to bring a drone with you into the country, it will be retained or confiscated at customs.
You only need to see the number of alerts and notices that there are in the Marrakech Menara Airport and Casablanca warning that drones cannot be carried or used in Morocco.
Generally, if, when entering the border, you declare possession of this device, they will retain it until you leave Morocco.
But, if, on the contrary, you enter with the drone illegally and try to use it, not only will they confiscate it, but they will also apply the full sanction which is specified in the law.
Morocco is a country with a high level of security, and drones, leaving idle use aside, are considered objects that violate security and can also be used as tools for espionage.
So trying to bring a drone into the country is completely prohibited if you do not have a special permit.
Attempting to do so can cause us serious problems since, at the very least, they will confiscate it.
In theory, you could get it back when you leave the country.
At the worst, you will not be permitted to enter the country, or you may be fined, or arrested. If you manage to get a drone into Morocco but get caught, you will likely be deported, at the very least.
A special permit to carry in a drone is difficult to obtain (see next section), so it is recommended that if you travel to this country, you do not take a drone.
The most likely scenario is that it could be confiscated either at the land border and at the airport or seaport.
Please note that Morocco has expanded security checks in order to detect drones, and the police have great knowledge of detecting these aircraft. Be smart and leave the drone at home.
The approval process for bringing a drone to Morocco
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information on the website stating that all flying pilotless objects operated by an engine or controlled by a remote should be processed through the Ministry.
Use of the drone won’t be approved without being processed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Additionally, to use the approved license, it also has to be validated for accuracy by the Moroccan Civil Aviation Authority.
It is emphasized that the entry of a drone into Morocco without proper authorization will mean that the drone will be automatically confiscated, while its owner could be fined for violating the right to privacy and for putting the security of the State at risk.
This authorization must be processed by the applicant before the Moroccan Customs Service eight (8) days before entering this country. It should be noted that it is unlikely that a tourist will receive approval, regardless.
Be forewarned – know the risks of trying to bring a drone into Morocco
It is best to be clear that drones are prohibited in Morocco, more than anything, to avoid the hot flash and the scare that it entails, that the Moroccan police “detain” you for a long time.
The use of civil drones in Morocco is strictly prohibited, both for amateur Moroccans and for foreigners of any nationality.
In short, do not play around with government rules.
Normally, at customs, they will ask you if you have a drone (among other things), and even if you act Swedish and they don’t find it, you may have a problem.
If you really want to try to take it with you, then it is best that you formally request authorization from the Moroccan Customs Service eight days before entering the country.
What if you were found with a drone?
More than one traveler has had a scare when he found himself in the hands of the Moroccan police for carrying a drone, and… it’s not worth it.
Many travelers who take a drone to enter Morocco, when they arrive at the Ceuta border and declare to the Moroccan police that they were carrying the small aircraft, they have a really bad experience (but a great adventure story to tell when they get home)!
Moroccan authorities will confiscate the drone, and the traveler will be arrested by the police for a long time.
The traveler may be released after being compelled to sign a document in Arabic, of which they are totally unaware of what is written in the document.
This is most likely a serious mistake, but very understandable since, in those moments, the only thing the traveler wants is to leave.
In most cases, travelers won’t be able to recover their drones.