Schengen Visa: Moroccan exporters struggle to participate in EU trade fairs

Moroccan exporters are increasingly encountering major obstacles to their participation in trade fairs in Europe, due to the complex procedures involved in obtaining a Schengen visa. Exporters, who need this visa to enter the European Union, are expressing their frustration at the difficulties encountered in the application process and the practices of unscrupulous intermediaries.  

According to exporters, the process of obtaining a Schengen visa has become particularly arduous. Problems associated with booking appointments to submit applications, which are then resold by intermediaries, make it difficult for many exporters to apply for these visas.  

Several exporters have already had to cancel their participation in major trade events in Europe because of these problems. The forthcoming Fruit Attraction exhibition in Madrid in October is just one of the events that some Moroccan exporters will not be able to attend, jeopardizing their business opportunities with European partners.  

One interviewee explained that the chaotic outsourcing of consular services has made visa applications impossible for many. This lack of participation in important trade events could have a negative impact on the economic activities of these exporters, who maintain vital commercial relations with European customers.

The major difficulty lies in the time it takes to get an appointment to apply for a Schengen visa, which often takes months. Exporters are urging the authorities to take steps to make this process smoother and more accessible, so that they are not excluded from trade events crucial to their business.  

Other Moroccan Schengen visa applicants have also reported unethical practices by intermediaries. Cases have been reported of intermediaries booking appointments and then selling them on the black market at exorbitant prices.

Despite these obstacles, all Moroccan citizens are still required to have a visa to travel within the Schengen area. Morocco has not concluded a visa waiver agreement with any Schengen country, which means that Moroccan Schengen visa applicants must follow strict procedures and provide a variety of documents, including proof of accommodation, payment of visa fees and travel health insurance.

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