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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

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest Travel Alert

Citizens should exercise caution in any decisions about international travel, taking account of their overall health, their vaccine status, and the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad. Anyone considering travelling abroad should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and additional restrictions may be imposed by the country of your destination, including during your visit.

Travel to Tunisia

Passengers over 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated must present valid proof of vaccination (with the last dose administered at least 7 days before travelling, or 28 days for Janssen vaccines).

Passengers over 18 years of age who are not fully vaccinated must present evidence of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before travel or an antigen test taken 24 hours before travel. The test result must include the date the test was administered and a QR code as verification.

Minors under the age of 18 are not required to present evidence of vaccination or a negative test.

Additional health checks, including testing on arrival, apply at points of entry to Tunisia. If you test positive on arrival, you will be required to self-isolate for 5 days, a period which can be extended for a further two days in the case of persistent symptoms.

Irish citizens who intend to travel to Tunisia should consult with their travel operator before making any travel plans. 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:

Ministry of Health, Tunisia

Tunisia tourism website

Tunis Afrique Press, State News Agency

General Travel Advice

It is required to wear a facemask in public places, on public transport and workplaces. Failure to do so can result in a fine. You will be required to present valid evidence of vaccination in order to enter certain public spaces.

Additional restrictions or measures can be imposed at short notice. If you are in Tunisia, you should fully observe the measures that remain in effect.

A state of emergency has been in place since 2015 and has been renewed periodically. 

The Department recommends against all travel to the following specific areas:

  • 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

Irish citizens are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities. Please see the further information available in the ‘Safety and Security’ tab.

As there is no Irish Embassy in Tunisia, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Madrid in Spain.

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. In recent years, a number of attacks have taken place, including:

  • 6 March 2020, a suicide bombing was carried out in the district near the US Embassy in Tunis in which a police officer and civilian were killed and a number of others were injured. 
  • 27th June 2019, two bombings took place in central Tunis, targeting security personnel.
  • 29th October 2018, security personnel and members of the public were injured following a bombing in central Tunis.

Border areas

Tunisia's borders with Libya and Algeria are open, but the security situation is very tense. Unrest in Libya continues to have 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.

Do not travel to:

•             The Chaambi Mountain National Park

•             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 (Tunisia’s Greater South).

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. It is recommended that you do not travel to this region, but if you plan to do so, you are strongly advised to travel with a reputable tour operator or a licensed local guide.

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.

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.

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

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. Your passport must be valid for the full duration of 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