Electricity

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

Language

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

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.

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.

Health

No vaccinations are recommended for Tunisia and no serious health risks exist, though 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, so visitors should bring adequate supplies of their own medication. Travel insurance is a necessity.

Safety

Travellers are advised to avoid the border areas with Algeria, and to 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, 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, and foreign travellers are advised to pay close attention to travel warnings and recommendations from official government sources before travel to Tunisia. Travellers should also cooperate with security officials and carry a copy of their passport at all times while in the country.

Although violent crimes are unlikely in larger tourist cities and resorts, petty theft and pick pocketing do occur. An increase in bag snatching has been noted in tourist areas and visitors are advised to keep bags close at all times.

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. 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.

Doing 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.

Duty free

Travellers to Tunisia do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 500g tobacco; 1 bottle of alcohol; 250ml of perfume; and gifts to the value of $25.

Communications

The international dialling code for Tunisia is +216. There is widespread internet coverage, with WiFi in most tourist resorts, hotels, and restaurants. Visitors can purchase local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones.

Passport & Visa

All visitors must hold documents and tickets for return or onward travel, though some nationals can obtain visas on arrival. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination, as immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources. Dual nationals should enter and leave Tunisia on their Tunisian passports.

Entry requirements

US nationals must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay, and can stay visa-free for up to four months.

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.

Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay. Canadians do not require a visa to visit Tunisia for four months.

Australian nationals need a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay, but can stay visa-free for up to 90 days.

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.

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.

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.

Useful contacts

190 (Medical Emergency); 197 (Police); 198 (Fire).

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Tunisia, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 862 1850.

Embassy of Tunisia, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7584 8117.

Embassy of Tunisia, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 0330.

Embassy of Tunisia, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6290 2061.

Embassy of Tunisia, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 342 6282.

Embassies / consulates in Tunisia

United States Embassy, Tunis: +216 71 107 000.

British Embassy, Tunis: +216 (0)71 108 700.

Canadian Embassy, Tunis (also responsible for Australia): +216 70 010 200.

South African Embassy, Tunis: +216 71 800 311.

Honorary Consul of Ireland, Tunis: +216 71 426 730.

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