Living in Tunisia
This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Tunisia, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Tunisia.
Click here for information on Healthcare in Tunisia Disclaimer The British Embassy in Tunis assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by the medical professionals, the clinics, or the hospitals in Tunisia.
Click here for information on education in Tunisia
Employment and recognised qualifications
Please read through these frequently asked questions:
- I should like to work in Tunisia. Is this allowed?
Only if you have a properly drawn-up contract which has been endorsed by e.g. Ministry of Social Affairs. Foreigners are not allowed to do jobs which Tunisians could normally fill. There are special provisions for foreign-owned or off-shore companies.
- How do I obtain such a contract?
You cannot apply for one yourself. When an employer has offered you a job, you will draw up a contract by mutual consent and it is incumbent on your employer to get proper Ministerial endorsement of it.
- How do I find a job?
If you do not have a personal contact who wishes to employ you or can help you meet prospective employers, you could answer advertisements appearing in the local press or place an ad yourself. You should register your CV and job application with the ‘Bureau d’Emploi Regional’ in the town where you wish to work (while this is not thought to be a very productive way of reaching prospective employers it is the “official” way.)
- How do I place an ad in the press?
Call at, or write to any newspaper with the wording of your ad, and the dates you wish it to appear. They will tell you exactly what to do and how much it will cost.
- How should I expect to be paid?
Monthly, in Tunisian dinars which are non-transferable (unless the terms of your contract specify otherwise).
- Would I be liable for tax?
Yes. All income is taxable. Expect a rate of 20% but ask your employer for precise details. There is a UK/Tunisia non-double taxation agreement, signed in London on 15 December 1982.
- Can I get advice on a contract when one is offered to me?
Certainly, and it is strongly advised that you do consult a lawyer before signing any contract. A list of lawyers is available at the British Embassy Tunis or the Consular Division of the FCO in London.
- Is there anything special I should look out for?
Ask about provisions for medical care. There is no free treatment available to you here. Your employer may have a group medical-cover scheme, which you could join. If not, take into account the expense of doctors’ and dentists’ bills etc. when doing your sums. Expect to wait several weeks/months before salary payments start to reach you: have funds available to tide you over until then.
Entry and residence requirements
Customs allow visitors to bring their personal effects and sporting equipment into the country. The duty free allowance on arrival is: 2 to 4 bottles of wine, for personal consumption and not commercial quantities. A carton of beer, i.e. a box of 24 cans, one litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes.
If you are a British citizen or British subject with right of abode in the UK, you do not require a visa to enter Tunisia. Other British Overseas Territory citizens should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Tunisian Embassy.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Tunisia as a visitor. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
There is an “ID requirement” in Tunisia. This means that you must carry proof of identity on you at all times. For British nationals, this is a valid original British passport. This is a legal requirement. Copies of passports cannot be carried.
In case they extend their stay to more than three months, they must apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour, see below for more information).
You are required to apply at the police station of the sector in which you reside for authorisation (a visa and Carte de Séjour) to extend your stay. Take along your passport, 4 identity photos, documentary evidence of accommodation and evidence of your means of support.
You will be given a date to return (generally in about 2-3 weeks’ time) to collect your visa, if it is granted, or be told that you do not qualify and are expected to leave the country. If your visa is granted, you will be asked to present your passport and 2 fiscal stamps for 15 dinars each.
The visa will be rubber-stamped in your passport and validated by the affixing of the 10 dinars fiscal stamp. Note the date of expiry. A “carte de séjour” will be handed to you, endorsed with the other fiscal stamp and bearing your photograph. This is the identify document you should carry with you at all times and be ready to show to police and local authorities when asked.
You would be committing an offence if you stay in the country without a legal proof for which you could be charged under the law.
For information on local pension and benefits, please check the local authority website.
Click here for information on benefits when you are abroad.
Click here if you are moving or retiring abroad.
Driving licences and vehicles
If you bring your car or motor-cycle when visiting Tunisia, you are required to have in your possession:
a. A valid national Driving Licence and/or International Driving Permit
b. A vehicle registration document
c. If b. is not in your name, a legalised document signed by the person or company whose name is on that registration certificate, permitting you to drive it
d. Third party liability insurance. Insurance cover can be bought on arrival at the port, for periods of days or weeks as required, and must be paid for in foreign currency (i.e. Not Tunisian dinars).
On entry, the details of the vehicle are written into the driver’s passport, and he is expected to re-export the vehicle when he leaves.
The vehicle may not be sold or left behind in Tunisia without express Customs’ permission. Enquire at the Direction Régionale des Douanes, La Coupole, port de Tunis. Import dues are high and have to be paid before any sale is authorised. The regulations forbid the sale of any vehicle which is over three years old on entry.
For more information consult the local authority by clicking here.
The Tunisian Dinar is a non-convertible currency. You are advised to check with a bank the various packages they offer to open a bank account and to invest your money.
The money unit is the Dinar divided into 1000 millimes. One Dinar is about 0.38 Pound (1 GBP = 2.65 TND). Money can be changed in banks, change offices and big hotels. Credit cards are accepted in supermarkets, the main hotels, large restaurants, airline companies, travel agents and souks. Cashpoint (ATM) machines accept UK debit and credit cards are widely available.
All income is taxable. You should expect a rate of 20% but ask your employer for precise details. There is a UK/Tunisia non-double taxation agreement, signed in London on 15 December 1982.
Guidance on bringing medication into Tunisia
If you are bringing medication into the country for a pre-existing medical condition, you should carry a letter from your doctor listing the names of the medications, and any syringes or needles, you are carrying with you.
More information can be found on website for the Tunisian Embassy in London.
Sponsoring family members
All British residents should apply for a Catre de Séjour if they plan on staying more than three months. There are no requirements for sponsorship. For information on how to apply for a residency permit please see “Entry and residence requirements” above on this guide.
How to buy property abroad
The following information is offered as a guideline only. We strongly recommend that you check any points of law with the local authorities or consult a lawyer.
Can a British Citizen buy /own a property in Tunisia?
Yes, as long as the property is not on agriculture land. Under no circumstances agree to purchase a property in someone else’s name.
Do not sign any papers if you do not understand what is written. You can seek the assistance of an English speaking lawyer who can explain to you how to proceed safely and who will check for you whether there are any legal encumbrances on the property.
A preliminary contract has to be signed and you need to obtain the approval of the local authority that is the local Governor, if the property is not located in a touristic or industrial area.
Tunisia encourages foreign investment. Free investment may be made without authorisation, in particular for those investing in a tourist or industrial zone.
Non Tunisians wanting to buy a property in a residential zone need to obtain an authorisation from the Governor of the area where the property is located.
In practice people are still asked to submit a file to obtain authorisation to buy even if the property is located in a tourist or industrial zone.
Please note that if you decide to sell the property, you are required to obtain authorisation from the Governor.
Be aware of some non-Tunisians who present themselves as foreign estate agencies but who cannot work in Tunisia. Legal advice should be sought from a local lawyer
Translators and interpreters
Please check this list of local translators and interpreters.
You will need to open a bank account in Tunisia and declare to the bank that the funds you deposit are intended for the purchase of a property in Tunisia. A “fiche d’investement” should be asked for after each transfer. Authorisation from the Governor should also be obtained.
Please ensure you get the contract checked by your lawyer before signing it.
How to pay
The secure way of payment is bank transfer. You will need to open a convertible account in Tunisia. Your appointed lawyer will advise you on how to proceed.
All information about the Local Tax could be found on e-jibaya.
When you buy property from a registered developer, you initially need to pay 1٪ of the total purchase price. However if you buy from a private owner, the minimum is 6%.
To report fraud you should seek advice from a local lawyer.
How do I find an English speaking lawyer to deal with my purchase?
A list can be found on our website. Click here for a direct link to the list. It is wise to choose one who is fluent in your language so that you understand all the legalities.
How do I go about buying a property?
Once you have decided to buy a property in Tunisia, it is important to choose a lawyer. If you have one arranged from the beginning it will be easier. It is also advisable to engage an independent lawyer to check over all documents. When you have found a property that you like you will need to make a verbal offer. Once this has been accepted you may be asked to sign a preliminary contract, which is legally binding, and pay a deposit, this should be done with your notary.
Buying property in certain areas
Agricultural land cannot be bought by non-Tunisians but may be rented for a maximum term of three years.
Selling a property
If the property has increased in price you will be subject to capital gains tax on the profit. It is always advisable to go through this with a lawyer.
Renting out your property
There is no local legislation affecting foreign landlords and tenants, only agricultural leases for more than 3 years are subject to authorisation.
Complaints against the legal system
You can lodge a complaint in a police station or before the Court. Be prepared to give a statement in person otherwise your complaint will not be heard.
In Court you can seek legal advice from the Deputy of the Prosecutor. Court hearings will be in Arabic only. An interpreter can be present during the hearing
There is no free advice bureau in Tunisia.
Other sources of advice
Information about registered properties and their deeds can be sought from the Tunisian land registry.
Social ethics and traditions
Check the local laws and customs detailed as part of our travel advice.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.