Morocco and Israel seek to simplify visa procedures to promote trade

By Meryem Idrissi The Tel Aviv Liaison Office in Rabat, headed by Shai Cohen, is considering a significant improvement in the visa process for Moroccans wishing to travel to Israel, in order to boost bilateral cooperation. This announcement comes against the backdrop of a steady increase in Moroccans’ interest in traveling to Israel, despite the complications associated with obtaining visas. Cohen, at a press conference on Tuesday, June 6, to commemorate Israel’s National Day, expressed the need to facilitate the issuance of visas, while acknowledging that this process constitutes a major obstacle to the free movement of individuals between the two nations. This dynamic has also been recognized by the Rabat liaison office in Tel Aviv, which seeks to simplify the procedure for Israelis wishing to visit the Kingdom of Morocco. “A noticeable imbalance exists between the number of Israeli tourists visiting Morocco and Moroccans traveling to Israel,” Cohen said. According to recent tourism figures, around 6,893 Israelis traveled to Morocco in the first four months of 2023, while only 1,400 Moroccans visited Israel during the same period, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. However, Cohen remains optimistic about the future. “From what I can feel and observe on the ground, I’m confident that number is going to see a rapid rise,” he said. Anticipating this development, the head of office considers it essential to find the most appropriate solutions to simplify obtaining visas. However, he clarified: “We are not considering a visa waiver, at least not in the near future. However, there are several methods to facilitate and lighten the visa process. “Cohen also suggested the issuance of multiple entry visas for businessmen who travel frequently between the two countries for professional reasons, thus replacing single entry visa. Similar relief could also be considered for work or study visas. Cohen’s experience as Israel’s Consul General in Istanbul proved invaluable as similar measures were implemented to facilitate visas for Turkish businessmen wishing to do business in Israel. . “I firmly believe that similar initiatives could be taken here in Morocco,” he concluded. This commitment to the simplification of visa procedures illustrates the intention of the two countries to strengthen their bilateral ties, with the aim of increasing trade, cultural and personal exchanges. This announcement reinforces the importance of continued cooperation to facilitate travel and trade between Morocco and Israel, a move that will undoubtedly strengthen diplomatic relations between these two important nations in the region.