Local laws and customs

Local laws reflect the fact that Tunisia is an Islamic country. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2016, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 6 June and finish on 5 July. See Travelling during Ramadan

In the coastal holiday resorts the dress code is very much like any European city or tourist area, although topless sunbathing on beaches may cause offence. If you’re visiting the main cities, religious sites or more remote areas of Tunisia, you should dress more modestly.

There have been some reports of fringe groups seeking to impose their interpretation of Islamic dress and behaviour on others through violence against individuals. While the primary target of these groups has been Tunisian nationals and businesses serving and selling alcohol outside the main tourist areas, this behaviour could affect foreigners. Attacks in tourist areas have been rare, but you should be aware of the potential for such acts to take place on beaches and in restaurants and cafes especially during religious holidays. The Tunisian government has stated that it will seek to prevent any such violence.

Possession, use and trafficking of controlled drugs are all serious criminal offences. The possession of even a small amount of ‘soft’ drugs could result in a prison term.

You can’t remove antiquities from Tunisia without first getting permission from Customs authorities. Failure to get permission could result in lengthy delays on departure, a fine and/or imprisonment.

Carry a form of photo ID at all times (eg a copy of your passport) and be prepared to show this to uniformed security officials if asked to do so.

British nationals wishing to buy property in Tunisia have often been advised to do so through a Tunisian ‘friend’ on the basis that it is illegal for foreign nationals to purchase property in Tunisia. If you are considering purchasing property in Tunisia, you should consult a local lawyer who will be best placed to offer advice. Don’t make private arrangements, which may be illegal and could result in large financial loss.

Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Tunisia and sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law.

Avoid taking any photographs near sensitive political or military sites.