Tunisia Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time in Tunisia is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: Electrical current in Tunisia is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round European-style, two-pin plugs are used.

Money: The unit of currency is the Tunisian Dinar (TND), divided into 1,000 millimes. Banks and some hotels provide foreign exchange. ATMs are found in most towns and at all the tourist resorts; almost all will accept Visa cards and many will also accept Maestro (Switch) cards. Visa, Maestro and MasterCard are accepted for payment in many souvenir shops, upmarket hotels and restaurants, although Visa encounters the least problems. All Tunisian currency must be exchanged before departure.

Currency Exchange Rates

TND1.00 = USD 0.35GBP 0.29CAD 0.47AUD 0.52ZAR 5.30EUR 0.32NZD 0.55
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The overwhelming majority of people in Tunisia speak Arabic and French. English is taught in all schools and is increasingly spoken especially by younger people. Some German and Italian is also spoken.

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals must have a passport that is valid for six months after the arrival date, and can stay visa-free for up to three months.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British passports should be valid for the duration of the stay. British passport holders don't need a visa for visits of up to three months.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond the expected departure date. Canadians do not require a visa to visit Tunisia for three months.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals need a passport that is valid for at least six months from the departure date, but can stay visa-free for up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their intended stay, but can enter visa-free for up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a visa. A passport that is valid for the duration of the stay is required. A visa is not requirement for maximum stays of three months.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors must hold documents and tickets for return or onward travel. Some nationals can obtain visas on arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. If the minor's father is a national of Tunisia, irrespective of minor's nationality: when departing Tunisia as an unaccompanied minor or accompanied only by mother, a Paternal Authorization is required. For divorced couples, an official copy of the court decision awarding custody to the mother is required. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Getting around: Tunisia has a well-developed transport network. Buses run on a daily basis to just about every town in the country, and domestic flights are cheap enough but don't operate too frequently. Train service is extremely limited, but there are relatively cheap trains from Tunis to Carthage, Marsa, and Sousse. Hiring a car and self-driving can be pleasant enough in the north, but watch out for mopeds.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are recommended for Tunisia and no serious health risks exist, but all travellers are required to show a yellow fever certificate if coming from an infected area. Visitors travelling outside the resorts should ensure they drink only boiled, purified water. All medical expenses must be paid for immediately after treatment in Tunisia, and costs can be quite high. The availability of medication is limited. Visitors should bring adequate supplies of their own medication. Travel insurance is a necessity.

Tipping: Tipping is not a requirement in Tunisia but appreciated for good service in local establishments. Most people performing a useful service will wait to be tipped. Waiters in resort and hotel restaurants expect a tip of around 10 percent.

Safety Information: As a rule, travellers are advised to avoid the border areas with Algeria, and be extra cautious if travelling alone in the southern and eastern border areas. In general, the northeastern coast region from Tunis all the way down to Gabes, remains safe and tourist friendly, although in recent years, there have been isolated incidences in the safer resort areas, such as Sousse and Port El Kantaoui on the east coast, where violent terrorist attacks have been especially aimed at large groups of foreign tourists. As a result, many resorts have dramatically increased security to protect their visitors. For this reason, foreign travellers are advised to pay close attention to travel warnings and recommendations from official government sources before travel to Tunisia and to cooperate with security officials and carry a copy of their passport at all times, while in the country. And although violent crimes are unlikely in larger tourist cities and resorts, petty theft and pick pocketing does occur. An increase in bag snatching has been noted in tourist areas and visitors are advised to keep bags close at all times. Note: A state of emergency is currently in effect in Tunisia, following a suicide bombing in 2015.

Local Customs: Tunisia is a Muslim country and visitors should respect the local sensibilities, especially during the month of Ramadan. Visitors, and women in particular, should dress modestly outside of the beach resorts. Women should note that coffee houses are mainly populated by men and women are often ushered into the 'family section' in restaurants as this is for the comfort. Homosexuality is illegal and although it is common to see Arab men greet each other with a kiss on the cheek and even hold hands in public, this is unacceptable for tourists. Despite being a Muslim country, alcohol is widely available.

Business: Tunisians like to get to know the person with whom they will be doing business and negotiations tend to be prolonged and very sociable occasions. As with other Arab countries, one is expected to dress conservatively and formally in Tunisia. French is the common language of business and interpreters will be necessary otherwise. A firm handshake is the accepted form of greeting and the Arabic 'salaam aleikum' works better than a simple 'hello.' Business hours are generally 8am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: The international dialling code for Tunisia is +216. City and area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Tunis. There is widespread internet coverage with wifi in most tourist resorts, hotels, and restaurants.

Duty Free: Travellers to Tunisia do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 400g tobacco; 1 bottle of alcohol; a reasonable amount of perfume; and gifts to the value of 10 Tunisian dinars.