What You Can & Not Take Out of Tunisia

Page update - Jan 20, 2023

Tunisian customs regulations are described in the Customs Code - "Code des Douanes de la Tunisie" in its latest version of 2008 and its annexes, some 20 explanatory documents that came into force in 2009. These pieces of legislation can be downloaded from the official website of the Portail de la Douane Tunisienne (the "Tunisian Customs Portal") and read in French, but it is quicker and easier to read our page.

Import prohibited items

The list is very similar to the list of things you may not bring into Tunisia. These are:

- Narcotic substances other than medicines for personal use. In such a case, you must have the prescription certificate from a medical institution in your home country. If the need for the medicine appeared during your stay in Tunisia, you will have the prescription certificate for sure. But you better consult your embassy or consulate about rules of importing it into your home country.

- Pornography in any form. Please note that under this term Tunisians mean even topless photos. Of course, the customs officers will not interfere into the contents of your phone or laptop, but be careful with calendars, postcards and the like.

- Any items of historical or cultural value. Theoretically, any pebble could fall under suspicion, as you may have seized it from an excavation in Dugga, Udna or Carthage, or maybe a piece of the amphitheater in El Djem. Unpleasant situations where Tunisian customs officers pick on seemingly harmless pebbles have happened to tourists, it's best not to take any chances.

- Henna of any form. It is prohibited for exporting as well as importing into the country. This ban dates back to a long time ago when people tried to smuggle narcotic substances under the guise of henna. New chemical detectors now exclude that possibility, but the ban remains.

- The palm tree and its products. Warning. Date fruits and coconuts may be exported, but a spoon made of date palm wood is not allowed. Our advice is that if you decide to buy something wooden in Tunisia, buy products from olive wood, the texture of the wood is very colorful, it cannot be confused with anything else.

- Anything counterfeit.

- Plants and animals protected by CITES.

- All kinds of explosives, toxic or radioactive materials.

Alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes

The Tunisian customs code is evasive when it comes to the quantities allowed to be exported, with the phrases 'reasonable quantities' or 'for non-commercial use'. There's no definition of these phrases into the language of numbers, guess for yourself.

As for cigarettes and tobacco, you can use the IATA (International Air Transport Association) recommendations. They recommend taking no more than 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or up to 400 grams of loose tobacco (snuff, chewing or pipe) with you.

It is difficult to say what the point of exporting tobacco from Tunisia is. The country is not known for high-quality pipe or shisha tobacco, and Tunisian cigarettes MARS (see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge) and CRISTAL are not known for their quality and taste. In addition, Tunisia has relatively low prices in airports at DutyFree.

For example, in 2019 at the airport shop on Djerba Island, a 20-pack of Marlboro (made in the USA) cost USD 30 and a 60-pack cost USD 75. It's hard to remember where else there are such low prices at DutyFree. Recall your home country has the importing limits for sure, usually an adult passenger can bring up to 200 cigarettes, and this limit is more profitable to use for quality tobacco from DutyFree.

There is no recommendation for the export of Tunisian alcohol even by IATA. First of all, learn your home country's customs rules and bring as much as allowed. As for perfume, we recommend taking up to 250 milliliters.

Export of currency

It is strictly forbidden to take Tunisian dinars out of the country, including coins, notes and even millimes (local pennies).

There is no limit, as it's completely forbidden! Some guides are spreading information about some permitted minimums of 10 or 14 dinars, but this is a fiction. Any coins and notes (pictured near, click on the photo to enlarge) will be gladly confiscated by the customs officers and pocketed.

The remaining Tunisian dinars can be exchanged at the airport, but there are nuances, which you can read about in our detailed review "Currency Exchange in Tunisia".

You are allowed to take out the equivalent of 5,000 dinars or less in foreign currency. If you take out more, the currency must have been declared at entry into the country and your passport must be stamped accordingly. No stamp? Then you are not allowed to take it out if you don't prove the legal origin.

Olive oil and other gifts

The situation is similar; there are no exact recommendations. Here you can only be guided by tourists' experience and your own logic. First of all, learn your home country's customs rules and bring as much as allowed.

Our recommendations are as follows. We are sure such quantities will cause no problem from customs officers.

- Up to 2 liters of olive oil per person.

- Dates - up to 2 kg per person.

- Halva and other sweets - up to 1 kg per person.

- Fruits - up to 3 kg per person.

- Spices - up to 1 kg per person.

There will be no claims to such quantities. Although many tourists take away even more, and customs officers are not picking on them.


If you've purchased anything of value in Tunisia, such as carpets, gold ware, and the like, make sure you have your receipts to prove it's a legitimate purchase.

It's also advisable to get a receipt for any item that may be of cultural value, such as embossed objects, Tunisian ceramics, and similar souvenirs. Remember it's better to be safe than to have to explain yourself to the Tunisian customs and miss your flight home.

Can seashells and marine life be exported?

In theory, the law does not explicitly forbid it. It is even correct to say that the law does not explicitly say anything about shells and sea creatures.

However, it does prohibit the transport of rare species of animals and seashells, which are protected by the Tunisian Republic, the IUCN Red List, and the CITES Washington Convention. And believe us, the list of these species is very long. Any customs officer, if he/she finds shells, has every right to confiscate them and send them for examination - whether they belong to protected species or not. Therefore, it is better not to take shells and sea creatures.

Good to know

- For an overview of what tourists take home, see our review "16 best gifts from Tunisia";

- Many gifts are fragile and can break. For example, bottles of olive oil, wine or boukha. Fruits may give juice. We recommend providing packaging material if aiming for such gifts. We talked about this in the review "What to bring with you for Tunisia".

Have good dealing with Tunisian customs and read other useful pages about the country (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024