Residents & Work Permits in Tunisia

Tunisia, a captivating Mediterranean gem, beckons with its warm sun, rich culture, and delectable cuisine. Whether you're drawn to this North African nation for work, business, language learning, or to embrace its vibrant culture, the idea of living in Tunisia is undoubtedly exciting.

Residents & Work Permits in Tunisia

However, before you pack your bags and embark on your journey, there are certain formalities to navigate. One essential step for long-term living in Tunisia is obtaining a residence permit. In this blog, we'll guide you through the process, requirements, and offer some tips for a smoother transition to your new home.

Work Permits

Tunisia's immigration laws have seen limited changes in recent decades and are known for their restrictive nature. Work permits are granted to foreigners in Tunisia only when there is a genuine shortage of Tunisian workers with the required expertise in a specific field.

Mandatory Documents

Foreigners seeking paid employment in Tunisia must acquire a work contract with a Tunisian employer and hold a residence card indicating they are "allowed to exercise a remunerated activity in Tunisia."

Both of these documents are compulsory, and failure to comply can result in severe consequences for both the employer and the foreign worker, including fines, deportation, and even criminal charges.

Ministry of Employment Approval

The work contract between a Tunisian employer and a foreign worker must be approved by the Ministry of Employment. Approval is granted if the Ministry is satisfied that there is a lack of qualified Tunisian candidates for the position in question.

However, some categories of foreign workers are exempt from this requirement and can work in Tunisia after submitting a simple declaration to the competent services of the Ministry of Employment.

This declaration grants the foreign worker a certificate of 'non-submission to a work contract' with the same legal force as an approved work contract.

Equal Rights and Obligations

Foreign workers in Tunisia are entitled to the same rights and are subject to the same obligations as Tunisian workers. All employers and foreign workers must strictly adhere to the legal requirements when hiring foreign staff.

Residence Permits

Once the work contract is approved (or the certificate of non-submission is obtained), the foreign worker can apply for a residence card.

During the application process, the applicant will receive a temporary residence card, allowing them to leave and re-enter Tunisia until the final document is issued.

Tax Compliance Requirement

The Finance Law 2023 has introduced a new requirement for foreign tax residents working in Tunisia, mandating the justification of their tax situation concerning overdue taxes at the time of renewing a residence permit, following international treaties and special agreements.

Work Visa

Work visa requirements in Tunisia may vary depending on factors like the applicant's country of residence and the intended length of stay.

A work visa is generally long-term, granting entry to Tunisia. Upon arrival, the foreign worker must apply for a residence and work permit at the nearest police station. Typical documents needed for a work visa application include:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport (issued within the last 10 years, with at least six months validity)
  • Copy of the passport's first page
  • One or two passport-sized photos
  • Proof of accommodation in Tunisia
  • Travel itinerary
  • Invitation letter from a Tunisian employer
  • Proof of visa fee payment

In addition to these employee requirements, the employer must demonstrate the unavailability of suitable Tunisian candidates for the job.

Job Search in Tunisia

Tunisia provides both public and private job search assistance services. Public services are primarily aimed at Tunisians, so foreigners may find it more beneficial to contact private agencies. Some relevant services and resources include:

Public Services:

  • Ministry of Training and Employment (MFPE)
  • National Agency for Employment and Independent Work (ANETI)
  • Tunisian Cooperation and Technical Assistance Agency (ATCT)

Private Services:

  •'s Working in Tunisia Forum
  •'s Jobs in Tunisia
  • National Employment Agency and Self-Employment
  • Yellow Pages of Africa - Tunisia
  • Human Force Tunisie
  • Presse tunisienne
  • Bayt
  • UN Jobs - Tunisia

Always check the reputation and reliability of these agencies with the Ministry of Training and Employment.


Tunisia offers support for self-employed individuals through various public, private, and civil society organizations, including:

  • Business space of the National Agency for Employment and Self-Employment (ANETI)
  • Industry and Innovation Promotion Agency (API)
  • Education for Employment

What is a Residence Permit?

A residence permit is your ticket to residing in a foreign country for an extended period, be it temporary or permanent. While it doesn't grant citizenship, it does provide more privileges than a standard Tunisia tourist visa. Each country has its rules and regulations for obtaining a residence permit, and Tunisia is no exception. Whether you're planning to work, study, or invest in Tunisia, understanding the residence permit process is crucial.

What is a Residence Permit

Tunisia's Visa Policy

Before diving into residence permits, let's exploreTunisia visa policy. Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit, you might not even need a residence permit. Nationals of around 97 countries can enjoy Tunisia for up to 90 days without a visa. German and Canadian citizens can stay for four months, while Bulgarians have a two-month limit.

For some travelers, a standard tourist visa or even an ID card and a hotel reservation might suffice. It's essential to determine your intended duration of stay and whether it exceeds the standard visa allowance.

How to Obtain a Permanent Residence Permit in Tunisia

The application process for obtaining a residence permit in Tunisia is relatively straightforward. If you are seeking a temporary residence permit, you will receive a temporary residence visa from your embassy before departure or apply at the nearest police station upon arrival in Tunisia. The application involves completing the necessary forms, submitting required documents, and receiving information about the subsequent steps.

For those pursuing permanent residence, the process is similar, but you will need different documentation to demonstrate your eligibility. While the application process itself is not overly complex, it is often time-consuming and may involve bureaucratic procedures inherited from the country's colonial history.

Residence Permit in Exchange for Investment

Investor-Friendly Tunisia

Tunisia encourages foreign investment and offers the opportunity to obtain a residence permit in exchange for an investment. The Investor Support Department at the Ministry of Foreign Investment assists foreign investors and entrepreneurs in this process. Documents required for a residence permit application include:

  • Pre-printed form provided by the office
  • Copy of the certificate confirming the submission of the investment project, authorization, or trader's license
  • Registered copy of the company's charter
  • Certified copy of the employer or foreign employee's certificate
  • Copy of the employment contract with the seal of the Ministry of Employment
  • Copy of the fiscal card availability certificate
  • Copy of an extract from the commercial register
  • Copy of the publication notice to JORT regarding the company's establishment
  • Copy of your passport (first three pages and entry visa page)
  • Two 10 TND stamps
  • Copy of the prenuptial agreement or identification card of the spouses in the case of a mixed marriage with a Tunisian citizen

For more information, visit the Tunisian investment website.

Residence Permit for the Purchase of Real Estate

Foreigners can obtain a residence permit by purchasing real estate in Tunisia. Specific requirements and documents may vary, so consult the appropriate embassy or consulate for more information.

Permanent Residence Permission

Tunisia offers permanent residence visas in two categories:

  • Temporary Residence Visa: For foreigners not intending to settle permanently in Tunisia. The validity period may not exceed one year.
  • Permanent Residence Visa: Eligible for those who have lived in Tunisia continuously for at least five years with a temporary residence permit, are married to a Tunisian citizen (for women), have Tunisian citizen children, or have made significant contributions to Tunisia. The residence permit is usually granted for two years with the possibility of renewal, with each renewal valid for up to five years.

Residence Permit Renewal

The renewal of a residence permit in Tunisia typically requires the submission of the following documents:

  • 3 photos of the identity card
  • Original document of the former residence card

The cost for applying for permanent residence is 150 Tunisian dinars (75 dinars for students and students).

Family Reunification

Family reunification is possible if you are married to a Tunisian citizen or have children who are Tunisian citizens. This can lead to obtaining a permanent residence visa. Requirements may include:

  • Valid biometric passport
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof of accommodation in Tunisia
  • Travel itinerary
  • Invitation letter from the host
  • Documents confirming kinship
  • Proof of visa fee payment

The specific documents may vary by country and embassy.

Acquisition of Citizenship

Tunisian citizenship is generally acquired through jus sanguinis (by birth) or by naturalization for permanent residents.

Naturalization candidates must meet specific criteria, including an understanding of Arabic, Tunisian customs and traditions, integration into society, good character and morals, a clean criminal record, and no mental or physical health issues that could make them dependent on the state. Naturalization is usually granted after five years of continuous residence in the country.

Simplified Naturalization

For individuals with family ties to Tunisian citizens or in cases where citizenship renunciation is not required for marriage, the residence requirement is less than five years. Simplified naturalization can occur in two years for those not required to renounce their original citizenship.

The Tunisian President makes the final decision regarding naturalization requests, with the option to grant, reject, or postpone consideration. Silence from authorities for one month after application submission is equivalent to a refusal.


  1. What is a residence permit in Tunisia?

    A residence permit in Tunisia is an official document that allows foreign nationals to live in the country for an extended period, either temporarily or permanently. It provides certain rights and privileges, similar to a visa but for a longer duration.

  2. Do I need a residence permit to live in Tunisia?

    If you plan to stay in Tunisia for an extended period, beyond the standard visa duration, you will likely need a residence permit. However, for shorter stays, a standard tourist visa may suffice.

  3. What are the different types of residence permits in Tunisia?

    There are two main types of residence permits in Tunisia: temporary and permanent. Temporary permits are usually valid for one to two years and are granted for purposes like work, study, family reunification, or investment. Permanent permits are available under specific conditions, such as long-term residence, marriage to a Tunisian citizen, having Tunisian children, or making a significant contribution to the country.

  4. How long does it take to obtain a residence permit in Tunisia?

    The processing time for a residence permit in Tunisia can vary depending on your specific situation, the completeness of your application, and the local bureaucracy. It's advisable to start the process well in advance of your planned move.

  5. What are the typical requirements for a residence permit in Tunisia?

    Common requirements include a valid visa (temporary residence or tourist visa), a completed and signed application form, a valid passport and copies, and documents that justify your need for an extended stay. These documents can include a marriage certificate, employment contract, proof of investment, and more.

  6. How do I apply for a residence permit in Tunisia?

    The application process involves submitting the required documents to the appropriate authorities in Tunisia. For temporary permits, you can apply at the nearest police station or immigration office. For permanent permits, the Directorate General of National Security in the Ministry of the Interior typically handles the application.

  7. Are there fees associated with obtaining a residence permit in Tunisia?

    Yes, there are fees associated with obtaining a residence permit in Tunisia. The exact amount can vary depending on your circumstances. You will be informed of the fees as you progress through the application process.