TUNISIA - Exercise a high degree of cautionThere is no nationwide advisory in effect for Tunisia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of civil unrest and the heightened threat of terrorism in the region.
Regional Advisory for the Chaambi Mountain National Park and Tunisia’s Greater South
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, west of Kasserine, due to regional tensions, as well as to Tunisia’s Greater South, near the borders with Algeria and Libya and the Goubellat-Dougga region in the governorate of Beja.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Mount Chaambi National Park and Tunisia’s Greater South (see Advisory)
There is an increased threat of kidnapping and terrorism in the area of the Mount Chaambi National Park. Military operations against suspected terrorists have been ongoing in the regions of Kef, Jendouba and Kasserine, including Mount Chaambi, since the end of April 2013. The use of improvised explosive device has been reported in these areas.
Exercise a high degree of caution when travelling the Goubellat-Dougga region in the governorate of Beja.
You must inform the authorities if you plan to travel overland through the Sahara, and give a copy of your itinerary, including your point of departure, to the National Guard Post at Médenine. Such travel should be undertaken in a group accompanied by an experienced tour guide, a car equipped with features such as a global positioning system and adequate supplies. Due to the intense heat, travel in the Sahara during the months of July and August is not recommended.
Exercise a high degree of caution, regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.
Tunisia is facing an increased risk of potentially violent demonstrations following the July 25, 2013, assassination of a politician and member of the National Constituent Assembly in Tunis. On July 27, 2013, hours before his funeral, a low intensity IED exploded near a car, in proximity of the coast guard office of La Goulette, on the Northern outskirts of Tunis. Despite solid efforts to begin a national dialogue, the political situation remains unresolved and the risk of demonstrations persists. Movements should be planned carefully given these recent incidents. Notwithstanding noticeable improvements in the security situation up until the latest assassination, the security situation has generally remained unstable since the February 6, 2013, assassination of an opposition leader.
French educational institutions in Tunisia were closed February 8 to 9, 2013 for security reasons. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada does not issue advice on school attendance. You should evaluate your own situation and make your own decisions in light of the current situation and your personal circumstances.
Public order is regularly disrupted for various reasons, including political, social and economic tensions. These disruptions take the form of public protests, labour strikes, roadblocks and other disturbances that on many occasions have deteriorated into violent clashes between members of extremist movements, the police and/or civil society demonstrators, resulting in considerable property damage, injuries and deaths. There have been reports of members of extremist movements harassing foreigners.
On September 14, 2012, protesters attacked the United States Embassy and the American Cooperative School of Tunis. Exercise a high degree of caution, regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation, follow the advice of local authorities, avoid all confrontations, public gatherings and areas where unrest or other demonstrations could occur, since the situation could deteriorate suddenly.
Increased threat of attacks and kidnappings
In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.
Terrorism and kidnappings
There is a general threat of terrorism and kidnapping in Tunisia. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
In the past year, a number of suspected terrorists and arms dealers have been captured in various regions of the country, indicating that extremist elements are present and that the instability in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East continues to pose a general threat to the security of foreigners, religious sites, foreign institutions and tourist facilities. A suicide bomber detonated himself on a beach near a hotel strip in Sousse on October 30, 2013. The same day, an attack was foiled at a popular tourist attraction in Monastir. These events did not result in civilian casualties.
Given the threat of terrorism and kidnappings, exercise increased caution, including near tourist facilities, and particularly in the Greater South (south of the towns of Tozeur and Gabes), including Djerba, in areas near the border with Libya and Algeria, the Mount Chaambi National Park including the regions of Le Kef, Jendouba and Beja (see regional advisory). Regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.
Reports of petty crime, including theft, pickpocketing, purse snatching and scams, are much more frequent since the revolution. Watch out for pickpockets in public places and tourist areas. Ensure personal belongings are secure and carry photocopies of identification documents and your passport at all times. Store originals in a safe place.
Women travelling alone may be subject to certain forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Please consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel for safe travel advice specifically for women.
Cases of young Tunisian men pursuing marriage with older Canadian women for financial gain or in order to gain entry to Canada have been reported in coastal resorts. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Carefully plan any travel in the southern regions of Tunisia and along the Libyan and Algerian borders, as regional tensions increase the risk of terrorism or exposure to other disturbances.
Remain vigilant because of the risk of crime, political demonstrations and road blocks in these regions, which have led to confrontations.
While the borders with Algeria and Libya are open, they may close on short notice. Consult with local authorities for the latest security information. We strongly encourage you to register through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, monitor local news reports, stay well informed and consult the Travel Advice for these two countries prior to departure.
Driving can be dangerous, particularly after dark. Traffic signs and signals are routinely ignored. Be especially cautious as cars rarely stop at pedestrian crosswalks or stoplights. Motorists sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road and ignore priority lanes. Bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles often operate without sufficient lights and reflectors, and regularly dart in and out of traffic. Pedestrians compound the problem by dodging traffic and ignoring vehicles. Police officers frequently stop cars for inspection, especially rental cars.
Taxis are available but may be scarce in major cities at peak hours.
Buses are crowded.
Rail service is generally safe, fast and efficient.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Avoid the crowds that can form at soccer matches as such events have sometimes led to incidents of violence.
General safety information
Despite the ongoing political transition, the security situation remains fragile. There has been a notable increase in the number of violent acts committed by extremists since the beginning of the year. Although these excesses are widely condemned by the authorities, enforcing the law does not always seem possible, which makes it difficult at times to restore order.
You should be accompanied by a guide on your travels or use a guide to help plan your travel.
A state of emergency remains in effect in Tunisia and travelers should be aware that local curfews could be imposed at any time in any region.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Tunisian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is the traveller’s responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Tunisia, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of your expected departure from Tunisia.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Canadians who intend to stay in Tunisia for more than three months should contact the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Ottawa for information about visa, work permit or temporary resident status regulations prior to their departure. In Tunisia, you must report to the police station or the Ministry of the Interior.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Tunisia.
Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but are usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas. Physicians and hospitals often require a deposit or upfront cash payment for medical care. Some clinics may accept private insurance coverage if they have a guarantee of payment from the insurance provider.
Medical evacuation services are available. A decompression chamber is available at the naval base in Bizerte (60 km from Tunis).
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may result in jail sentences and heavy fines.
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Both valid Canadian driver’s licences and international driving permits are accepted in Tunisia.
Strict regulations may be enforced on the temporary import and export of firearms, religious material, antiquities, medications and business equipment. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia for specific information regarding customs requirements.
The majority of the population is Muslim. Dress conservatively and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Taking photographs of military installations, government buildings and embassies is strongly discouraged. Ask permission before photographing individuals.
Tunisian authorities expect Canadians with Tunisian citizenship to enter Tunisia on their Tunisian passports. If Canadians with Tunisian citizenship are able to enter on a Canadian passport, it is likely that they will be required to obtain a Tunisian passport before exiting the country. Dual citizens have been questioned and detained. Consular access may be limited for dual citizens.
A child born of a Tunisian mother or father may be considered a Tunisian national by Tunisian authorities, regardless of the place of birth or whether the child has acquired citizenship of another country.
The Department publishes a booklet entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
The currency is the Tunisian dinar (TND).
Automated banking machines are widely available in tourist areas and can be found in all major centres. Credit cards are accepted at many establishments in urban and tourist areas. Banks and other establishments could refuse to cash traveller’s cheques if they are not accompanied by original proof of purchase (the purchase contract).
You must declare all foreign currency upon arrival in Tunisia and retain this declaration. Tourists are expected to make foreign exchange transactions at authorized banks or dealers and to retain receipts for dinars obtained. Prior to departure from Tunisia, you may convert a maximum of 3,000 TND into another currency, but must provide proof of purchase (customs declaration or proof of purchase abroad). Tunisian law prohibits the import and export of Tunisian dinars.
Natural Disasters & Climate
The Sahara can be very hot, especially in the summer, with temperatures well above 40°C. Dust storms and sand storms frequently occur.
Although Tunisia is not in a high-risk earthquake zone, low seismic activity can occasionally occur. In winter, roads can be blocked by downpours.
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