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TUNISIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Tunisia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the nationwide risk of civil unrest and terrorist attacks.
Regional advisory - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the following areas:
- the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, including to the town of Kasserine, due to violent clashes and the threat of terrorist attacks.
- within 30 km of the borders with Algeria (with the exception of the town of Tabarka in Jendouba Governorate, where we advise a high degree of caution) and Libya.
- the militarized zone in Tatouine Governorate that lies south of, but does not include, the towns of Dehiba and El Borma.
See Safety and security for more information.
Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following areas:
- Tunisian governorates bordering Algeria; that is, Kasserine (except for the Chaambi Mountain National Park area and the town of Kasserine, where we advise against all travel), Kef and Jendouba, as well as the road corridor from the town of Kasserine via Sbeitla to Sidi Bouzid.
- Tunisia’s Greater South in all areas south of, and including, the towns of Douz, Matmata Médenine, Nefta and Zarzis (except for areas of Tatouine Governorate south of Dehiba and El Borma, where we advise against all travel).
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Mount Chaambi National Park (see Advisory)
There is an increased threat of kidnapping and terrorism in the area of Mount Chaambi National Park in Kasserine Governorate. Ongoing Tunisian military operations against suspected terrorists occur 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 (see Advisory)
There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping along the border with Algeria. Military operations against terrorist groups have been ongoing in the governorates of Jendouba, Kasserine and Kef since the end of April 2013. The use of IEDs has been reported.
Due to the flow of terrorists 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. Tunisian security forces regularly confront terrorists in these areas. The border between Tunisia and Libya may close with little or no notice.
Tunisia’s Greater South (see Advisory)
The deterioration in the security situation in neighbouring Libya has resulted in greater volatility in southern Tunisia, particularly in remote areas.
Terrorism and kidnapping
Terrorist attacks and kidnappings have occurred throughout Tunisia. Tourist resorts and attractions, Tunisian military and state institutions have all been targeted, and further attacks cannot be ruled out. Public sites frequented by large crowds, particularly foreigners, such as hotels, shopping centres, tourist sites and restaurants, could also be targeted. You should be particularly cautious in these areas. Attacks could be indiscriminate. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
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.
A state of emergency remains in effect after the November 24, 2015, bombing of a bus carrying officers of the National Guard in downtown Tunis; at least 11 people were killed and many others were injured. National and regional curfews, which are enforced by the police, may be imposed without advance warning.
Given the threat of terrorism and kidnapping, exercise increased caution, including near tourist facilities and particularly in the Greater South (in all areas south of and including the towns of Douz, Matmata, Médenine, Nefta and Zarzis), in border areas with Algeria and Libya, the Mount Chaambi National Park and the Jendouba, Kasserine and Kef governorates (see Regional Advisory). Regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Political, social and economic tensions have caused civil unrest. While it has occurred mostly in central and southern Tunisia, unrest may occur throughout the country. Demonstrations, labour strikes, roadblocks and other disturbances have deteriorated into violent clashes between the police and demonstrators, resulting in considerable property damage, injuries and deaths.
Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, confrontations and areas where unrest could occur. Follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media. Regularly review your security practices and remain alert to the changing situation, as it could deteriorate suddenly.
Street crime, including theft, pickpocketing, purse snatching and scams, has been much more frequent in Tunisia since the 2011 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 the 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.
Young Tunisian men have pursued marriage with older Canadian women in coastal resorts, for financial gain or in order to gain entry to Canada. See Overseas Fraud for more information on scams abroad.
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 lane markings. 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. Most taxis are equipped with fare meters, which should be activated for all trips.
Buses are crowded.
Rail service is generally safe, fast and efficient. Petty crime occurs on city and inter-city trains. Be extremely vigilant with your belongings at all times.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Tunisian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your 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 expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Canadians do not require a visa to visit Tunisia for less 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 the 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 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 as a result have missed their flights. If your Tunisian passport is no longer valid, it is recommended that you contact the Tunisian embassy in Ottawa prior to travel.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by 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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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 pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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.
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).
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention 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.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Tunisia. If local authorities consider you a Tunisian citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Tunisian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
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.
In cases where one or more family members hold Tunisian citizenship, parents should consider the risks before their children travel to Tunisia. 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. Tunisia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and Canadian custody documents are not recognized 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.
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 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
Taking photographs of military installations, government buildings and embassies is strongly discouraged. Ask permission before photographing individuals.
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 that 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 (2,000 CAD) 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
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.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 197 / 193
- medical assistance: 190
- firefighters: 198
Tunis - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada 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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