In a surprising move, Italy has announced its plans to open a new office for visa applications in Morocco in February 2024.
It comes following agreements between the two countries and VFS Global..
This decision comes as part of Italy’s efforts to streamline and improve their visa application process for Moroccan citizens wishing to visit the country.
The new office will be managed by VFS Global, a visa-processing service provider, according to a report from SchengenVisaInfo.com.
The report explains that the Embassy of Italy in Rabat and VFS Global have already signed an agreement on February 16 in preparation for the opening of the new office.
Italy’s Ambassador to Morocco, Titanilla Toth, and VFS Global’s Regional Head-North Africa, Johan Virassamynaïck, signed the agreement.
As of October, Italy manages five diplomatic representative offices in Morocco, including the embassy and consulates in Rabat, the consulate in Agadir, the consulate in Fes, the consulate general and promotion centre in Casablanca, and a consulate in Marrakech.
The report reveals that interest in Italian visas in Morocco has spiked in recent years. Data from SchengenVisaInfo shows that Italian embassies and visa centres received over 10,500 visa applications from Moroccan nationals last year alone.
Italian diplomatic representative offices in Morocco approved over 7,700 applications, while more than 2,500 were rejected.
In addition to Italy, there has been a growing interest in Schengen visas in Morocco since last year, the report says. Morocco has become the fourth biggest market in terms of Schengen Visa applications.
Moroccan nationals filed over 420,000 Schengen visa applications, SchengenVisaInfo.com indicates. Schengen visa rejection rate in Morocco has also surged.
In 2022, 30% of Schengen visa requests from Moroccans were rejected, with France and Spain accounting for the largest numbers of rejected visas.
The total number of visa applications in 2022 reached over 7.5 million, a 158.7% increase compared to 2021.
The overall rejection rate for Schengen visa applications in 2022 stood at 17.9%. Morocco was among the top countries with the highest Schengen visa rejection rates.
Italian officials are confident that this initiative will strengthen the ties between the two nations and promote tourism and business opportunities. It is expected that the new office will provide a more convenient and efficient visa application process, allowing more Moroccan nationals to experience the beauty and culture of Italy.
This move by Italy showcases their commitment to enhancing diplomatic relations and facilitating travel for Moroccan citizens. It represents a significant step forward in promoting cultural exchange and opening doors for economic growth and cooperation.