I crossed from Spain to Morocco in my van on Christmas day (after my christmas breakfast – see video). This was a bit different to all the other European crossings that I’m used to so I thought I’d do a post to help anyone who wants to do this in a van or vehicle.
There are 4 things you need to do to get into Morocco by van or car:
1. Get a ticket
I think these ferries are so often there’s probably no need to buy online. It also seems a fair bit cheaper, especially for an open return which is probably what most people want.
As I got closer to the Algeciras ferry port in Spain, there were loads of people by the road side waving at me to sell me a ticket. I’m pretty sure these people are all legit but I hate not being given chance to think by a pushy ticket seller – they seem so desperate to sell you a ticket. I kept driving straight to the port, parked up in the ferry port carpark (free for about 45 minutes) and went into the building with all the official ticket sale desks (2nd roundabout on the right after entering the Algeciras port).
I got an open return for 150euros. This price seems to be the same whether you have small car or a campervan.
When you board the ferry you get given a form to fill out. This is for immigration. You fill this in and give it in to a guy sat at a little table in the cafe area. They may ask you further questions about why you’re visiting and where exactly you are visiting. There might be big queue when you first get on the ferry. I just did this about 15 minutes before I got off the ferry when there was not queue.
3. Import vehicle
A few hundred meters after getting off the ferry in Morocco all the cars are stopped and checked by customs. Whilst waiting you have to get out your vehicle and pick up a vehicle import form from one of the customs offices at the front of the queue. Eventually an officer will come to the van and ask to see the completed import vehicle form and your vehicle registration document (V5 in the UK).
This wasn’t obvious to me. The whole thing was a bit hectic and it took me a while to work out what to do. I went to every single officer and non of them spoke English. It’s really useful to know what you are doing at this point, and I didn’t.
At this point the officers may also want to check the vehicle. Some people were having to unpack their whole cars and even their suitcases. As soon as I opened the side door of my van he no longer seemed to care. He didn’t even peer inside.
This took over 2 hours for me. Some people longer some shorter.
Side note: whilst waiting in this queue people will go round the cars selling stuff. I bought a SIM card for 3euro and topped it up with 4gb of data for 5euro – that was useful.
4. Vehicle Insurance (skip if you are already insured)
Just down the road (about 100m) from the customs offices (step 3) there is an office that says ‘assurance automobile’ with a carpark next to it. This is where you need to go with your vehicle registration and import document to buy vehicle insurance if you are not already covered for Morocco.
Problems with insurance and vehicle types
My van is still registered as a ‘panel van’ which meant it was going to cost 450 euros for 3 months insurance in Morocco. The guy insisted (luckily he spoke English) that he can only go by what the registration paper says. I got his point and explained that I’m waiting for this paper to be updated and asked if he wanted to look inside the van. He still wouldn’t accept that it was a camper van and wrote down 450 on some paper in big numbers and slid it to me.
I went back to the customs office (step 3) and got a customs guy to write ’caravan’ on my vehicle import paper – see the photo below. I took it back to the insurance office and the insurance price went from 450 to 180 euros (that was after convincing him that I didn’t write ‘caravan’ myself). Still expensive but it’s a big difference.
I’m in Morocco
I went to find the nearest beach and camped there for the night. Coordinates: N35 50.771 W5 33.654
I’m not sure what it’s like for other ports but probably a very similar process. I don’t recommend doing what I did and just work everything out as you go along. It’s way more stressful and confusing.
Feel free to add any other information (in the comments below) that might help others.
See my other post: My first week in Morocco – by van