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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
TUNISIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Tunisia due to the nationwide risk of civil unrest and terrorist attacks.
Regional advisory - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to to the following areas, due to recurring counter-terrorism operations:
- the governorate of Kasserine including the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
- Mount Mghila, located between the governorates of Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid
- the forest located northwest of the city of Jendouba and the forest located west of Ain Draham, in the governorate of Jendouba
- Mount Orbata, located in the governorate of Gafsa (east of the city of Gafsa, between El Ksar and Sened)
- within 30 km of the borders with Algeria, except for the tourist cities of Tabarka, Nefta, Tamerza, Chebika, Mides and Ain Draham
- within 40 km of the border with Libya in the governorates of Medenine and Tataouine
- the militarized zone in Tataouine Governorate that lies south of, but does not include, the towns of Dehiba and El Borma
Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following areas:
- the towns of Jendouba, Remada and Sidi Bouzid, as well as the road corridor from the town of Sbeitla to Sidi Bouzid.
- Tunisia’s Greater South in all areas south of the Jebil National Park (except for areas south of Dehiba and El Borma, where we advise against all travel).
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place. Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing.
COVID-19 response - Government of Tunisia (French or Arabic only)
Mount Chambi National Park
There is a threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping in the area of Mount Chambi National Park in Kasserine Governorate. Ongoing Tunisian military operations against suspected terrorists occur regularly in the area. The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been reported in the area.
Regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.
Border areas with Algeria and Libya
There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping along the border with Algeria, especially in the mountainous areas in the northern half of Tunisia. The use of IEDs has been reported in the area.
Due to the flow of suspected terrorist cells and militants, as well as contraband, between Tunisia and neighbouring countries, the Tunisian government has increased its security presence at borders with Algeria and Libya. However, the threat of cross-border terrorist activity remains and attacks have targeted security forces.
Tunisian security forces regularly conduct counter-terrorism operations in the border areas of the governorates of Jendouba, Kasserine and Kef.
The border between Tunisia and Libya may close with little or no notice and for an unspecified period of time.
Tunisia’s greater south area
The deterioration in the security situation in neighbouring Libya has resulted in greater volatility in southern Tunisia, particularly in remote areas. Remote areas, including the area south of Jebil National Park and desert areas, can have unreliable cellphone reception and few resources for assistance.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks have occurred throughout Tunisia. Since 2015, tourist resorts and attractions, as well as Tunisian military and state institutions have been targeted, and further attacks cannot be ruled out. On June 27, 2019, two suicide bombings occurred in downtown Tunis, killing two persons and injuring several others. Other parts of the country are also at risk of terrorist attacks.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
- sports events
- cultural festivals
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
A number of suspected terrorists and arms traffickers have been captured in various regions of the country, including the capital, Tunis. This indicates that extremist elements are present and that instability in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa continues to pose a general threat to the security of foreigners, religious sites, foreign institutions and tourist facilities in Tunisia. Security forces are on a high state of alert and carry out anti-terrorism operations across the country to prevent attacks.
A state of emergency was declared in 2015 following a deadly bus bombing targeting National Guard officers in downtown Tunis. The state of emergency is regularly extended and remains in effect until further notice. National and regional curfews, which are enforced by the police, may be imposed without advance warning.
Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times. Regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.
Kidnappings have occurred, along border areas. Kidnappings are not numerous and do not usually target foreigners but cannot be ruled out.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Political, social and economic tensions have caused civil unrest throughout the country, but mostly occur in central and southern Tunisia and in parts of Tunis. Some demonstrations and labour strikes have led to roadblocks, burning tires and have deteriorated into violent clashes between the police and demonstrators, resulting in considerable property damage, injuries and deaths.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place or could occur as local conditions may change rapidly
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Street crime, including theft, pickpocketing, purse snatching and scams, has been much more frequent in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution.
“Drive-by” thefts by individuals on scooters and motorcycles have occurred in tourist areas.
Women travelling alone may be subject to certain forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Be aware that Tunisian men have targeted Canadian women for fraudulent marriages (see Fraud).
Safe-travel guide for women
Young Tunisian men have pursued marriage with older Canadian women in coastal resorts, for financial gain or in order to gain entry to Canada.
More about overseas fraud
Driving can be dangerous, particularly after dark.
Traffic signs and signals are routinely ignored.
Many roads in urban and rural areas don’t have adequate road lighting.
When walking, be especially cautious as cars don’t routinely stop at pedestrian crosswalks or stoplights.
Motorists sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road and ignore lane markings.
Bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles often operate without sufficient lights and reflectors, and regularly dart in and out of traffic.
Sidewalks are not consistently present and pedestrians are sometimes forced to walk on the street.
Pedestrians often cross the road while dodging traffic and ignore vehicles.
Police officers frequently stop cars for inspection, especially rental cars.
Taxis are available but may be scarce in major cities at peak hours. Most taxis are equipped with fare meters, which should be activated for all trips. Few taxis have functioning seatbelts.
Buses are crowded. Petty crime occurs in buses.
Rail service is generally safe. Petty crime occurs on city and inter-city trains. Be extremely vigilant with your belongings at all times.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
General safety information
Avoid the crowds that can form at soccer matches, as such events have led to incidents of violence.
You should be accompanied by a guide on your travels or use a guide to help plan your travel.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Tunisian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave Tunisia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Canadians do not require a visa to visit Tunisia for fewer than 90 days. If you intend to stay in Tunisia longer, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Ottawa for information about visa, work permit or temporary resident status regulations prior to your departure.
In Tunisia, you must report to a police station or the Ministry of the Interior.
Tunisian authorities may ask Canadians with Tunisian citizenship to enter Tunisia on their Tunisian passports.
If Canadians with Tunisian citizenship are permitted 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 at length and, as a result, have missed their flight.
If your Tunisian passport is no longer valid, contact the Tunisian embassy in Ottawa prior to travel.
Laws about dual citizenship
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in North Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in North Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in North Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
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).
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Illegal or restricted activities
Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may result in jail sentences and heavy fines.
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Tunisian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Tunisia.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Both valid Canadian driver’s licences and international driving permits are accepted in Tunisia.
More about the International Driving Permit
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Tunisia.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Tunisia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
In cases where one or more family members hold Tunisian citizenship, parents should consider the risks before their children travel to Tunisia, including:
- At the request of family members, Tunisian authorities can prevent children from leaving Tunisia (a procedure known as a “stop order”).
- Canadian children who are identified as Tunisian citizens will be treated as Tunisian nationals.
Imports and exports
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.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2020, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 23.
Taking photographs of military installations, government buildings and embassies is strongly discouraged. Ask permission before photographing individuals.
The currency is the Tunisian dinar (TND).
ATMs 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.
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 DT3,000 ($2,000) 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 and 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.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 197 / 193
- medical assistance: 190
- firefighters: 198
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Embassy of Canada in Tunisia is not providing in-person services. If you need consular assistance, contact the Embassy by email.
Tunis - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Tunisia in Tunis and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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