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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

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest travel alert

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.  Remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities.

Novel Coronavirus

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Tunisia.

See links below for details. 

Ministry of Heath, Tunisia

WHO

If you are in Tunisia, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below. 

National Airport Authority, Tunisia

Ministry of Transport, Tunisia

Ministry of the Interior, Tunisia

Tunis Afrique Press, State News Agency

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below. 

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

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.

As the threat of terrorist attacks in Tunisia remains high, we advise Irish citizens in Tunisia to exercise a high degree of caution and a strong level of security awareness. Irish citizens should follow the instructions of local authorities and keep themselves informed of developments by, for example, staying in contact with their 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