TunisiaOfficial Name: Tunisian Republic
Valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
Import of Tunisian currency is prohibited
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Export of Tunisian currency is prohibited. An exit fee of 30 Tunisian Dinars is required for non-residents exiting Tunisia.
Embassies and Consulates
North East Zone
Les Berges du Lac
1053 Tunis, Tunisia
Telephone: +(216) 71-107-000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 71-107-000, press 0 and ask for the duty officer
Fax: +(216) 71964-360
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Tunisia for information on U.S. – Tunisia relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Visit the Embassy of Tunisia website or call the Embassy of Tunisia in Washington, D.C. at 202-862-1850 for the most current visa information.
Passports and Visas:
- A valid passport is required.
- For U.S. passport holders, a visa is not necessary for stays up to 90 days.
- A residence permit is needed for stays longer than 90 days. The residence permit can be obtained from the central police station of the district of residence.
- U.S. citizens born in the Middle East or with Arabic names have experienced delays in clearing immigration upon arrival.
- U.S. citizens of Tunisian origin are expected to enter and exit Tunisia on their Tunisian passports. If a Tunisian-American succeeds in entering using a U.S. passport, he or she will still have to present a Tunisian passport to exit the country.
A Tunisian-American child under the age of 20 (the age of majority in Tunisia) whose father is a Tunisian citizen must have his/her father’s permission to exit the country. This is required even if the child is travelling on a U.S. passport.
HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Tunisia.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance in light of recent terrorist attacks on sites frequented by tourists as well as security forces in central Tunis. The Tunisian government has shown its commitment to addressing security concerns and has visibly augmented its security presence at tourist locations, but challenges persist and the threat of terrorism remains high. A state of emergency was declared for 30 days (from 24 November 2015) throughout the country, and a curfew is in place from midnight to 5 a.m. in Greater Tunis for the duration of the state of emergency. The Tunisian Government has also closed all land border crossings with Libya for an initial period of 15 days (from November 24, 2015) with a possible extension through the end of the state of emergency .
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when frequenting public venues that are visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites and restaurants. Two attacks during the past year targeted foreign tourists: March 18, 2015, at the Bardo Museum in Tunis; and June 26, 2015 near Sousse at the Riu Imperial Marhaba and Riu Bellevue Park hotels. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for both attacks. U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility of kidnapping.
Terrorist organizations have also increasingly targeted Tunisian security forces and government installations. Most recently on November 24, 2015, a suicide bomber struck a bus carrying Tunisian Presidential Guard personnel on Avenue Mohammed V in central Tunis, killing 12 security personnel. ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013. The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). While security forces have successfully foiled a number of attack plots, the potential threat posed by violent extremists in the country remains real.
Protests, demonstrations, and civil unrest can occur with little warning throughout the country. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, as even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful have the potential to become unpredictable. When the last significant protests took place in Tunis in the summer of 2013, they were non-violent and not directed against U.S. citizens or foreigners. U.S. citizens should be aware of anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiment held by several groups in country. U.S. citizens should also be alert and aware of their surroundings. Travelers should monitor local events, report suspicious activity to the local police, and take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.
Travelers contemplating trips to the interior of the country should assess local conditions and routes when making travel plans. In particular, all travel south of the designated military zone in the south must be coordinated in advance with Tunisian authorities. Also, travel to either border should be avoided if possible given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border where security operations continue against armed extremists. The Tunisian National Guard encourages persons traveling into the desert to register their travel beforehand. For details on how and where to register, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page. No special authorization is required to travel to the desert as far south as Remada. The desert south of Remada is designated as a military zone by the Government of Tunisia. If travelers wish to enter the military zone, for example to travel to Borma, a special authorization is required. Please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.
Tunisia shares borders with Algeria and Libya. Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the border areas, and the Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya. Due to tighter security, backups of several hours can occur on the Tunisian side of the border. Access to border crossings is strictly controlled by Tunisian security forces. Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Libyan border, and should read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Libya, as well as the Department of State’s Country Specific Information and other international travel safety and security information for Libya and Algeria. Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Algerian border and read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Algeria. Some crossings may be closed occasionally and access is strictly controlled by Tunisian and Algerian security forces.
Government security forces, including the army, police, and National Guard, are visibly present throughout Tunisia. Under the state of emergency, the Ministry of Interior is granted broad powers and may ban rallies and demonstrations. The Minister of Interior and local governors have the prerogative to put any individual under house arrest, if considered a threat to national and public security; and to search houses and conduct other activities without requiring prior judicial authorization. Security personnel, including plain clothes officials, may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. It is against Tunisian law to photograph government offices and other security facilities. Suspicious incidents or problems should be reported immediately to Tunisian authorities and the U.S. Embassy. Travelers should remain alert to local security developments and heed directions given by uniformed security officials. U.S. citizens are urged to always carry a copy of their passport as proof of nationality and identity and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Tunisia.
The U.S. Government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned abroad sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under security restrictions which vary by country of assignment. Embassy Tunis travel regulations require advance notification to security officials of any travel by Embassy personnel outside greater Tunis.
Certain cities and governorates in Tunisia have a fluid and unpredictable security environment and travel to these areas require additional scrutiny before U.S. Government personnel may travel to them. These include but are not limited to the geographical areas adjacent to the border with Algeria (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine); the Libyan border (Ben Gardane and Medenine) and central Tunisia (Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid).
Travel to the Algerian border region (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine) is only allowed for U.S. Government personnel if deemed mission essential, and should be avoided by U.S. citizens given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi area where security operations continue against armed extremists.
Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation at the ports of entry at Ras Jedir and Dehiba along with the cities of Ben Gardane and Medenine, and the Libyan border is frequently closed to all traffic with short notice for extended periods. Travel to these areas by U.S. Government personnel is allowed only if deemed mission essential, and should similarly be avoided by U.S. citizens traveling in the country.
These measures occasionally prevent the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country.
Although these restrictions do not formally apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. Government, U.S. citizens in Tunisia should take these restrictions into account when planning private travel. The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification. Travelers should keep informed of local developments by following local press, radio, and television reports prior to their visits. Visitors should also consult their hosts, including U.S. and Tunisian business contacts, hotels, tour guides, and travel organizers
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia by visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check these useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
Crime: High value items left unattended and visible have been stolen from vehicles, hotel rooms, and private residences. Criminals have targeted tourists and business travelers for theft, pick pocketing, and scams. Muggings have occurred during daylight hours in upscale neighborhoods; in some cases these encounters have turned violent when the victim tried to resist. Travelers should remain vigilant of their surroundings and take care to secure their valuables as prominently displayed cash or jewelry may attract unwanted attention. Any thefts or attempted robberies should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy.
Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and processing the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Tunisia is 197, although the service will be in Arabic or French. Emergency services are widely available in the larger towns, but may be less reliable in rural areas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tunisia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws in Tunisia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: Islam is the state religion of Tunisia. The government does not interfere with the country's religious minorities’ public worship. Many religious denominations hold regularly scheduled services. It is illegal to proselytize or engage in other activities that the Tunisian authorities could view as encouraging conversion to another faith. In the past, U.S. citizens who engaged in such activities were asked to leave the country. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Tunisia. Penalties include sentences of up to three years in prison. In February 2015, a Swedish man was sentenced to two years in prison, and in September 2015 a Tunisian man was sentenced to one year in prison for violating Tunisia’s law against consensual same-sex sexual relations. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Money: Credit cards are accepted at some establishments in Tunisia, mainly in urban or tourist areas. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted for payment, even at large tourist hotels, and may only be cashed at a bank where the check holder has an account. Cash machines (ATMs) are available in urban and tourist areas. The Tunisian dinar is not a fully convertible currency. While the export or import of Tunisian banknotes and coins is prohibited, the export of foreign currency declared when entering Tunisia is allowed. Tourists are expected to make foreign exchange transactions at authorized banks and to retain receipts. A tourist may reconvert to foreign currency 30 percent of the amount previously exchanged into dinars, up to a maximum of 100 USD. Declaring foreign currency when entering Tunisia and obtaining receipts for dinars purchased thereafter will facilitate the conversion of dinars to U.S. dollars when leaving the country. Please keep all receipts of monetary transactions for presentation when departing.
Persons with Mobility Issues: Disabled individuals in Tunisia may find accessibility and accommodation very different from that in the United States. Though the government has been generally progressive and forward-leaning on the rights of the disabled, there remains a significant gap between theory and practice. Budgetary constraints have so far precluded the uniform retro-fitting of public buildings to make them accessible to disabled citizens. Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: Harassment of unaccompanied females occurs rarely in hotels, but it occurs more frequently elsewhere. Dressing in a conservative manner can diminish potential harassment, especially for young women. It is always wise to travel in groups of two or more people. Women are advised against walking alone in isolated areas. Travelers are advised to avoid buses and commuter rail when possible, and to never enter a taxi if another passenger is present. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical care in Tunisia is adequate, with a number of new, private “polyclinics” available that function as simple hospitals and can provide a variety of procedures. Specialized care or treatment may not be available. Facilities that can handle complex trauma cases are virtually non-existent. While most private clinics have a few physicians who are fluent in English, the medical establishment uses French and all of the ancillary staff in every clinic communicates in Arabic and/or French. Public hospitals are overcrowded, under-equipped, and understaffed. In general, nursing care does not conform to U.S. standards.
Immediate ambulance service may not be available outside urban areas. Even in urban areas, emergency response times can be much longer than in the United States. Over-the-counter medications are available; however, travelers should bring with them a full supply of medications that are needed on a regular basis. The U.S. Embassy in Tunis maintains a list of doctors and medical practitioners (dentists, etc.) who can be contacted for assistance.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S, Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments, although some hospitals may accept credit cards. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Tunisia to ensure the medication is legal in Tunisia. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, go to:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in Tunisia can be dangerous. Visitors should avoid driving after dark outside Tunis or major resort areas. Drivers fail to obey the rules of the road even in the presence of police. Traffic signs and signals are often ignored, and drivers sometimes drive vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Faster drivers tend to drive on the left while slower drivers stay to the right. Traffic lane markings are widely ignored. Bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles are operated without sufficient lights or reflectors, making them difficult to see darting in and out of traffic. Motorists should also be aware of animals on the roads, particularly in rural areas.
Pedestrians present an additional challenge as they continuously dodge traffic (even on controlled-access highways) and do not pay attention to vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists should be aware that drivers rarely yield and will not always stop at either crosswalks or stoplights. Defensive driving is a must in Tunisia. Drivers may be stopped for inspection by police officers within cities and on highways at any time, and drivers should comply.
Travel in the desert areas of southern Tunisia presents additional challenges. Many roads are not paved and even well-traveled routes are subject to blowing sands that can create hazards for vehicles. Persons driving off the major paved roads are encouraged to ensure that their vehicles are appropriate for off-road driving conditions, and are equipped with appropriate spares and supplies, including water and food. Groups should travel in multiple vehicles, so if a vehicle becomes disabled or immobilized, the group can return in the operable vehicle(s). Desert regions are subject to extreme temperatures, from sub-freezing evenings in the winter to dangerously hot daytime temperatures in the summer. In addition, there are many areas in the southern desert regions with little or no cellular telephone service. The Tunisian National Guard encourages persons traveling into the desert to register their travel beforehand. For details on how and where to register, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.
Emergency services are widely available in the larger towns. They can be less reliable in rural areas.
Traffic Laws: Drivers should be aware that if they are involved in a motor accident that results in death or serious injury of another person, the police may take them into protective custody until they are absolved of responsibility. This can mean spending one day to two months in detention. As with any arrest or detention, U.S. citizens taken into custody should immediately request that the police inform the Embassy of their whereabouts.
Emergency service numbers are:
Police (Police Secours): 197
Fire Department: 198
Ambulance (SAMU): 190
Towing (SOS Remorquage 24/24): 71 801 211, 71 840 840
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Tunisia’s national tourist office.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tunisia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Tunisia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.