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Tunisia

If you’re travelling to Tunisia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Novel Coronavirus

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Tunisia.  Wide-ranging restrictions were introduced to prevent and control the spread of the virus.  The Government of Tunisia has now lifted most of the emergency measures.  Some important restrictions remain in place across the country and in some localities where there have been recent clusters of the virus, local restrictions have been re-introduced. 

All persons arriving to Tunisia must have taken a PCR test within 72 hours of travel and be able to present evidence of a negative test result on arrival.  Restrictions on entry to the country are currently determined by the prevalence of COVID-19 in the country of residence of travellers and countries are categorised as: green, orange or red. 

Currently, Ireland is classified as a “red” list country. 

Residents of “red” list countries are not permitted to enter Tunisia, unless they are Tunisian nationals, or they hold residency in Tunisia.  In addition to having a negative PCR test result, travellers must undertake to remain in quarantine for 14 days after arrival. The first seven days of quarantine must take place in a quarantine centre where a second PCR test will be administered.  If the result of this test is negative, the remainder of the quarantine may be completed at home.  The costs of accommodation at the quarantine centre must be paid by the person travelling to Tunisia.

Individuals resident in “green” list countries require a negative PCR test and will be subject to health controls, such as temperature checks and completion of passenger locator forms, at the point of entry to Tunisia. It is also recommended that they quarantine at home for seven days after arrival.

Residents of “orange” list countries must, in addition to having a negative PCR test result, self-quarantine for 14 days, and sign a declaration undertaking to abide by conditions set by the Tunisian authorities.  This quarantine can be terminated early if a second PCR test, taken after seven days, at the traveller's own expense, provides a negative result. Separate arrangements are also in place in relation to a small number of countries.

All of these restrictions and country classifications are under constant review and subject to change. Irish citizens who intend to travel to Tunisia should consult with their travel operator, check the latest classification of countries and the dedicated COVID-19 website published by the Tunisian authorities, and confirm the level of restrictions that apply to the country where they reside before making any travel plans.  

All persons in Tunisia must wear a face mask in public places and workplaces.

With the ending of other restrictions travel between regions and cities in Tunisia is now permitted.  Cafes, restaurants, hotels, places of worship, cultural institutions and archaeological sites are now open but operating under health protocols. If you are in Tunisia, you should fully observe the measures that remain in effect.  

As the situation evolves these measures may be further adjusted and local measures to control the virus may be introduced as required.  It is therefore important to monitor developments regularly and to follow the advice of local authorities.

If you are in Tunisia and concerned that you may have COVID-19 symptoms and/or have been exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 you should immediately contact the Tunisian Ministry of Health’s emergency medical service: SAMU – Tel.: 190. 

The Ministry of Health also has a free information helpline for other COVID-19 queries: 80 10 19 19.

The following websites may also be useful:

Tunisian Government information on COVID-19

Ministry of Heath, Tunisia

WHO

Tunis Afrique Press, State News Agency

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Security Status

A state of emergency has been in place since 2015. It has been renewed periodically, and currently remains in place.
On 6 March 2020 a suicide bomber targeted a police patrol in the district near the US embassy in Tunis. As further attacks or attempted attacks are likely, we advise Irish citizens to exercise a high degree of caution and a strong level of security awareness. Remain vigilant, follow the instructions of the local authorities and stay informed of developments by, for example, staying in contact with the tour operator.

We advise Irish citizens to avoid demonstrations or public gatherings.

We advise against all travel to:

  • the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
  • within 30 km of the borders with Algeria and Libya
  • the town of Ben Guerdane and the immediate surrounding area
  • the militarized zone in Tatouine Governorate that lies south of, but does not include, the town of El Borma

We advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis
  • the governorate of Kasserine, (except the Chaambi Mountain National park area, where we advise against all travel), as well as the governorates of Sidi Bouzid, Kef and Jendouba.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand, so try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services by calling 197 (police), 190 (ambulance) or 198 (civil protection).

There is no Irish Embassy in Tunisia, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Embassy of Ireland in Madrid, which is accredited to Tunisia, if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the Embassy answering machine outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency, and an Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

EU DIRECTIVE ON CONSULAR PROTECTION
 
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on Twitter @dfatravelwise and @IrlEmbMadrid for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical Know Before You Go guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorists have carried out a number of attacks in recent years.
Since terrorist attacks in 2015 that targeted foreign tourists in Sousse, resulting in the death of three Irish citizens, and at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, additional security measures have been put in place to protect the country's major cities and tourist attractions. The risk of further terrorist attacks, or attempted attacks, remains high.

We advise Irish citizens in Tunisia to exercise a high degree of caution and a strong level of security awareness. You should follow the instructions of local authorities and keep yourself informed of the situation on the ground by, for example, staying in contact with tour operator or other local sources of information.

As crowded areas, transport hubs, and places frequented by foreigners could be targeted by terrorists, we advise particular vigilance in these areas.

On 6 March a suicide bombing was reported in the district near the US embassy in Tunis. If you are in Tunis, you should avoid the Berges du Lac area, where the US Embassy and other diplomatic missions are located.  Remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities.

On 27th June 2019, two bombings took place in central Tunis, targeting security personnel. On 29th October 2018, security personnel and members of the public were injured following a bombing in central Tunis.

Demonstrations

Tunisia experiences frequent demonstrations and protests. Travellers are advised to avoid protests and demonstrations. It may be advisable to avoid the centre of major cities on Friday afternoons, which is when most demonstrations take place. Always keep yourself informed of what's going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour operator.

State of emergency

Following an explosion in central Tunis on 24th November 2015, a state-of-emergency was imposed. It has been extended on a number of occasions and remains in place.

You should follow the instructions given by local security authorities and/or your tour operator. Carry a copy of your passport, or other form of photo ID, at all times as proof of nationality and identity.

Border areas

Tunisia's borders with Libya and Algeria are open but the security situation is very tense. Unrest in Libya is having a serious impact on the security of southern Tunisia, with a significant increase in cross-border trafficking and the availability of weapons, and occasional violent clashes between armed groups and the Tunisian security forces. Border crossing points can be temporarily closed without notice. We recommend that you avoid all non-essential travel to Tunisia's Greater South and to the border areas with Algeria. Do not travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park or within 30 km of the borders with Algeria and Libya. There is a risk of kidnap from terrorists operating in the south of Tunisia, close to the border with Algeria. You must get permission from the Tunisian authorities (National Guard) to enter certain desert areas near the border with Algeria. You are also strongly advised to travel with a reputable tour operator or a licensed local guide if you plan to travel to this region, which you are recommended not to do.

Crime

Incidents involving petty crimes do occur. Be aware that pickpockets operate in crowded marketplaces and bag-snatching does happen in tourist areas. You can minimise these risks by taking precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.  Be vigilant and do not carry all of your important documents and valuables in one bag. 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations

Kidnapping

There is a risk of kidnap from terrorists operating in the south of Tunisia, close to the border with Algeria.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Tunisia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact the Honorary Consulate in Tunis or the Irish Embassy in Madrid if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Tunisia, you should be extremely careful as traffic can be fast and erratic. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Pedestrians

Pedestrians should also be extremely careful, particularly when crossing roads and regardless of whether there is a signal allowing pedestrians to cross – drivers don’t always stop.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Personal identification

You should carry some form of photo ID (such as a copy of your passport) at all times.

Muslim culture

Tunisia is a Muslim country and its laws and customs reflect this. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. You should be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious sites. In the main coastal resorts the dress code if often similar to any European tourist area, but in the cities, at religious sites and in more rural areas dress codes are conservative. It is advisable to dress modestly outside of the coastal resorts.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. It may cause offence to eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

Sexual behaviour

Homosexuality is a criminal offence and sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law. Caution and discretion should be exercised at all times.

Illegal drugs

There are harsh penalties (long prison sentences and heavy fines) for possession of illegal drugs, including small amounts of ‘soft’ illegal drugs.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters

Tunisia is in an active seismic zone and earth tremors do occur. You can get information from the Global Disaster and Coordination System and monitor local media carefully. If you’re travelling to or living in Tunisia, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake and always follow the advice of local authorities.

Climate

Tunisian summers are hot and humid on the coast, drier in the interior. Winters are cool and damp, particularly in coastal areas. Tunisia experiences frequent dust and sand storms.

Additional Information

Additional information

Exit Stamp

From 1 October 2014, non-resident foreigners departing Tunisia must pay an exit tax of 30 dinars per person (about €13). To pay the tax you should buy an exit stamp, which will be on sale in hotels, travel agencies, finance offices, tobacco shops, banks and customs offices (including at the airport and other borders). The stamp will then be placed in your passport alongside your entry stamp.

Flying from Tunisia

Some countries do not allow electronic devices, larger than smartphones, to be carried in the cabins of aircrafts flying from Tunisia. It is recommended that before travelling you consult with your airline to establish what restrictions are being applied.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Tunisia and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

Health

Check with your doctor at least 8 weeks in advance of travelling to see what vaccinations you need for Tunisia. 

Before travelling to Tunisia you should ensure to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs.

Water

We recommend that you drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.

Money

Tunisian currency

The export and import of Tunisian dinars is expressly prohibited.

Foreign currency

When you arrive in Tunisia, you must declare any large amounts of foreign currency you are bringing with you. It is obligatory to declare sums greater than the value of 5,000 Tunisian Dinars. If you don’t declare it, you may have problems bringing it back out of the country. You could be required to show the currency declaration on departure, as well as receipts for any currency exchange operations made during your stay.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, you should call the main Embassy number, +34 91 4364093, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox. This mailbox is monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
Ireland House
Paseo de la Castellana 46-4
28046 Madrid
Spain

Tel: +34 91 436 4093
Fax: +34 91 435 1677

Monday to Friday 10:00-14:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Moncef Mzabi
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Rue Lac Lochness
Immeuble RAPHAEL 2ème étage (2nd Floor)
Les Berges du Lac
Tunis 1053
Tunisia

Tel: +216 71 862823/862809
Fax: +216 71 188739

Email: Email us