Travel to Tunisia

The yellow taxis are an integral part of Tunisian streets

Entry and residence regulations

For stays in Tunisia that do not exceed three months, German citizens do not need a visa, but can enter with their passport. This must be valid for at least six months upon entry. Participants in organized package tours can enter with their identity card. Regardless of how you enter, you will receive a residence card upon entry, which you must present again when you leave the country. If you exceed the permitted length of stay, a fee of 10DT per week will be charged.

If you stay in the country for more than three months, you must apply for an extension of your visa or a residence permit. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for this, but you must submit the application to the police district in your district. In case of doubt, you can ask which authority is responsible in your region at any police station. If you are with a development cooperation organization in Tunisia, they will usually support you in obtaining the residence permit. This can only be done after entry and not already applied for in Germany. If you are registered as a resident in Tunisia, you have to levy an exit tax of 60 dinars when leaving by plane (except in other Maghreb countries). This is paid in the form of a tax stamp, which you can buy from the banks at the airport and from any tax authority (recette de finance).

Be sure to also take into account the information provided by the Federal Foreign Office on Tunisia, especially if you are planning a longer stay. Due to the corona pandemic, stricter requirements currently apply, which can also change at short notice. The Ministry of Health publishes current information also with regard to entry on its Covid page.

Travel, transportation and traffic in the destination country

According to oxfordastronomy, traveling in Tunisia is possible without any problems, the country has a good transport infrastructure. The state railroad SNCFT has two main lines that cover the coast from Tunis to the south to Gabes and Gafsa (with further bus connections to Djerba and Tataouine) and the north and west of the country to the Algerian border on a second route. The state bus company SNTRI has a dense network to all major cities in the country, and several regional bus routes connect the regions inland. The cheapest and often fastest, but not always completely harmless means of transport due to the rapid driving style, are the so-called Louages – minibuses, which cover the entire republic as collective taxis with eight seats with a dense network. They depart from certain stations when enough passengers have arrived, and the prices are set by the state. If you wait too long for other fellow travelers, you can also pay for several seats. Flies from TunisTunisair Express to Djerba, Sfax, and Tozeur.

It is also possible to drive yourself without any problems, but caution is required, especially at night and generally on country roads, as poorly or not at all illuminated vehicles and animals can be on the road. Seat belts are only compulsory outside of cities on the driver and front passenger seats. Tunisia has one of the highest road death rates per resident in the world. Cars with a driver or for self-drive can usually be rented cheaply. Street signs are written in French and Arabic.

In Tunis there is a tram network as well as a reasonably functioning bus system, the so-called metro léger. In addition, KfW is supporting the construction of a S-Bahn, which is expected to go into operation in 2020. Bicycles are widely used as a means of transport in the countryside and in smaller towns; in large cities they are used almost exclusively as sports equipment. Dense traffic, a lack of bike lanes and little consideration for cyclists by drivers make it a rather daring undertaking to get around by bike in Tunis, for example.

The yellow taxis are an integral part of Tunisian streets

Security for foreigners in the destination country

Despite the political unrest during and after the revolution, Tunisia was a relatively safe country to travel to. Foreigners were never targeted during the revolution. However, with the increasing influence of jihadist groups, the threat grows. More than 60 people were killed in the attacks on the Bardo Museum on March 18 and on a hotel in Sousse on June 26, 2015, most of them foreign tourists. In autumn 2013, attacks near the hotel were foiled in Sousse and Monastir, in which an alleged bomber was killed. There have been isolated attacks in the past, most recently in the spring of 2002 on the La Ghriba synagogue on Djerba, which also killed German holidaymakers.

Everyday crimes such as pickpockets affect Tunisians and foreigners alike, especially in big cities. Physical assaults are very rare. The police emergency number can be reached from the Tunisian network at 197, the fire department at 198.

Especially in the tourist strongholds on the coast, there are always sexist approaches from foreigners. The so-called bezness, sex tourism by mostly female tourists on the one hand and the targeted contact of mostly young Tunisians with foreigners in order to receive material consideration or even European papers, is widespread here and further promotes this phenomenon.

Night trips overland should be avoided due to poor road conditions and the associated increased risk of accidents as well as possible controls by incorrect security forces.

The local press and the Federal Foreign Office’s safety notices provide up-to-date information. Those who stay longer in the country can have themselves entered on the Federal Foreign Office’s crisis prevention list via the embassy website.