Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Tunisia is a fairly open society, and most business practices resemble those of Europe. The business environment is formal. Business suits are recommended, and company representatives should always have business cards available. Exchange of inexpensive gifts is common practice, but U.S. business representatives should refrain from offering high-value items.
See Tunisia’s Country Specific Information webpage at:
U.S. business travelers generally do not need a visa for stays in Tunisia of less than 90 days. A traveler who wishes to live and work in Tunisia must appear at the local police station to obtain a residency card. The Ministry of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation can help expedite the residency and/or work permit process for foreign investors. By law, these permits are valid for only one year and renewable for one additional year by application.
The U.S. Embassy in Tunis is committed to facilitating valid business travel by qualified Tunisian nationals to the United States. Generally, travel that qualifies for a business (B-1) visa includes consultations with business associates; attendance at scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, or conferences on specific dates; contract negotiations; or participation in short-term training. Applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of intended travel. The Embassy’s website outlines the nonimmigrant visa application process and offers links to the required online forms and appointment system.
U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website.
Embassy Non immigrant Visa Page : https://tn.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/
Visa Appointment Website: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/
Tunisia’s local currency is the Tunisian dinar (TND), which is divided into 1,000 millimes. All major credit and debit cards including Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted by vendors offering such payment methods, though cash is the more common means of payment. Vendors may require additional identification, such as a passport, for use of a credit card.
ATMs are commonplace in cities and towns, on the street, in retail outlets, and at some gas stations. Visitors should be aware that bank transaction fees may apply. It is not uncommon for ATMs to be out-of-order. Traveler’s cheques are not generally accepted for purchases. Visitors should inquire about the policy of the bank, hotel, or store before seeking to cash a personal check.
For currency or other numerical quantities, a point (i.e., a period) is commonly used to mark off the thousands position and a comma to denote millime amounts; for example, “1.234.567,890 TND.”
Access to high-quality telecommunications services, particularly high-speed/high-capacity data transmission and the internet, is widely available. Tunisia uses GSM cellular phone technology, although 3G and 4G network services are available. Many U.S. cellular companies provide roaming service to Tunisia, though verification of availability with a particular carrier is advised prior to travel. International calling cards do not work in Tunisia.
Six private Internet Service Providers are licensed by the GOT. Broadband connections have recently been made available to private customers. In 2021, there were about 9.8 million internet subscribers, 86% of which (8.4 million) subscribed through smartphones.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services are available in Tunisia and provided by the telecom operators (Tunisie Telecom, Lycamobile, Ooredoo, and Orange). The use of VOIP technologies and applications such as Skype, Messenger, and WhatsApp is permitted.
Tunisia has relatively well-developed transportation infrastructure that includes eight international airports. Tunisia’s principal airport gateway is Tunis-Carthage International Airport, situated eight kilometers from the center of Tunis, the capital city. Other international airports are Monastir-Habib Bourguiba, Djerba-Zarzis, Tozeur-Nefta, Sfax-Thyna, Tabarka, Gafsa-Ksar, and the most recent, Enfidha. These airports handle tourism-related charter flights from Europe and are mostly seasonal.
The national airline, Tunisair, started direct flights between Tunis and Montreal in June 2016. In 2014, Tunisia and the PRC signed an agreement to allow direct flights between the two countries, but scheduled flights have yet to start officially.
The railway network is operated by the public sector company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), and Société de Transport de Tunis (TransTu) operates the light-metro railway. TransTu also runs the public urban railway and bus transport system in Tunis.
A 53-mile high-speed train network, dubbed Rapid Railway Network (RFR), is under construction in Greater Tunis, using EU funding. The first 11.5-mile portion of the network was completed in July 2021 and is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.
Tunisia’s road network is well developed. Major toll highways have been constructed, are under construction, or are in the planning phase. The highways link the major coastal population centers to the interior.
Although overall road and telecom infrastructure in Tunisia is developed, regional disparities exist. Rural areas in south and central Tunisia lag behind the major urban centers on the coast.
The official language in Tunisia is Arabic, but French is widely spoken and serves as the language of commerce. An increasing number of Tunisians speak English, Italian, and/or German.
Except when specialized care is required, most illnesses can be treated locally. Private clinics in Tunis and other major urban centers feature Western-trained physicians. However, Western-style trauma care is not available, and the number of intensive care units is limited. Food standards are fair, and potable water is available for 85.2% of the population. Bottled water is inexpensive and readily available.
Local time, business hours, and holidays
Tunisia is GMT+1.
Business hours are:
Winter Mon-Thurs 08:30 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 17:30
Friday 08:00 – 13:00 and 14:30 – 17:30
Ramadan** and Summer (July/August)
Mon-Thurs 08:00 – 15:00
Friday 07:30 – 13:00
Private Sector* (including banks)
Winter Mon-Fri 8:00 -12:00 and 14:00 -18:00
Summer (July/August) Mon-Fri 7:00 13:00
Ramadan** Mon-Fri 8:00 15:00
* Many private companies are moving towards a shorter break in the middle of the day, with the close of business brought forward to 17:00.
Major Tunisian secular holidays are as follows:
Tunisian Revolution Day and Youth Day January 14
Tunisian Independence Day March 20
Martyrs’ Day April 9
Labor Day May 1
Republic Day July 25
Women’s Day August 13
Evacuation Day October 15
The following religious holidays are also observed. Actual dates are based on the lunar calendar and vary from year to year (o/a = on or about).
Dates for 2022 are:
Eid Esseghir (El Fitr) (three days) o/a May 1, 2, 3
Aid El Kebir (El-Idha) (two days) o/a July 9-10
Ras El Am El Hijri (one day) o/a July 31
Mouled (one day) o/a October 8
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:
Depending on the legal status of non-residents, temporary entry of materials and personal belongings is permitted. Companies and individuals should verify regulations applicable to their specific status before attempting to bring items into Tunisia.