Moroccan interim French visa from 1956
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  • Moroccan interim French visa from 1956
  • French Moroccan colonial passport
  • French Moroccan colonial passport
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  • Moroccan passport
  • Tangier international zone

Moroccan interim French visa from 1956

French High Commission for Morocco.


The French established a protectorate in Morocco that span from 1912, following the Treaty of Fez, to 1956, the year of independence.



The French ruled their new colony but not without opposition and unrest from within. There have been several attempts of revolt, with the Berber revolt being the most serious of them all, called also the Second Moroccan War or the Rif War, which was suppressed only with the joint cooperation of both France and Spain.


The 1930’s saw the rise of moderate and calm nationalistic parties in the protectorate that advocated for independence in non-violent methods. The Sultan himself backed and supported such notions which at the end led to his deportation, with his family, to Madagascar in 1954. Due to his popularity and civil unrest that erupted following his removal, the French decided to allow his return back home in 1955; he later managed to conclude positive talks which led to the relinquishing of the protectorate, and to full independence in 1956 with himself becoming king a year later.


There is the matter of Tangier, which was seen as an international zone since 1924; lasting until it reintegrated back into Morocco in 1956. The international status of the area was achieved via the Tangier Protocol, signed in Paris in 1923. For a brief period of 5 years it fell under Spanish control during WWII, after Germany occupied France.


The passport here was issued during the French protectorate: being issued on May 17th 1951 at the city of Fes (following the Rif War, where the rebels lost in 1925, Rabat became the capital, resulting in moving the royal court from Fes); it was used until 1957, a year after gaining independence.


The interesting part of this colonial passport is the additional markings and applied “corrective” hand-stamps on the cover, title page and the rare INTERIM FRENCH VISA that can be seen on page 15 (the corrections are to indicate the changing of power and independence in 1956).


Following the relinquishing of the protectorate and moving towards independence, the French had to start establishing diplomatic relations with the “new” country and also open legations in their former colony. A diplomatic legation was sent over from Paris to open their first diplomatic missions; one of them was in the city of Fes. The heading of the visa, issued to Jewish merchant Abraham Abitbol (a common Jewish Moroccan name that can be found today throughout Israel), reads ” Délégation du Haut commissariat de France au Maroc“. This was a short-lived visa, since it was later changed to a consulate general, as appearing on a January 17th 1957 visa for France, issued at Fes, on page 17.


I have added as well an image relating to the international zone of Tangier.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.




Neil Kaplan
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