Research Clearance for Tunisia

Researchers receiving grants from AIMS or CAORC can consult with CEMAT about their research clearances. Fulbright researchers’ clearances are handled by the Public Affairs Office (PAO)/Tunis, but prospective Fulbrighters are welcome to consult CEMAT for advice concerning their research.

All other graduate level researchers requiring assistance from CEMAT with the clearance process are requested to pay their AIMS membership fee, should CEMAT agree to handle the clearance process. In addition to American researchers, CEMAT can also help European researchers affiliated with European universities.

*Under no circumstances can CEMAT guarantee that a researcher will receive permission from the Tunisian authorities.

Each researcher completing the clearance process through CEMAT is requested to contact CEMAT with a notice of at least four months before their anticipated date of arrival. The preferred means of communication with CEMAT are e-mail, and fax for sending documents. CEMAT must initially receive:

  1. C.V
  2. Research project description in English
  3. Short translation (one page) of the project description in French or Arabic.

Procedures for obtaining research clearance vary according to the type of research. Research can be divided roughly into the following categories:

  1. RESEARCH WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (libraries and university research centers, consulting professors)
    • CEMAT writes directly to the president of the university to ask for permission, which is usually granted immediately.
  2. ARCHIVAL RESEARCH ONLY (National Library, National Archives, research centers, etc.)
    • Researchers should write letters (in French or Arabic) directly to the directors of institutions they wish to use (see Libraries in Tunis). These letters should be sent to CEMAT, who will forward them with a cover letter. CEMAT’s Web site has a list of the main libraries and centers in Tunis with addresses. Generally, it is fairly easy and straightforward to get access to such institutions.
    • Research which falls under the Ministry of Culture (e.g. archaeology, music, art), the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, etc. will be handled by CEMAT directly with the concerned ministry, upon receipt of the C.V. and project proposal. A formal letter from the researcher to the Minister concerned (in French or Arabic) to request research permission should be sent to CEMAT.
  4. FIELD RESEARCH OUTSIDE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS (interviewing and questionnaires)
    • The procedure for obtaining clearance for research outside public institutions (and especially outside Tunis) is long and requires a substantial amount of paperwork. Researchers are strongly advised to confer with CEMAT well in advance for advice, and, if possible, to establish contact with a Tunisian institution (Office de la Famille et de la Population, CREDIF, etc.) or individual Tunisians (professors, etc.). At least four months should be allowed for completing the process. The researcher must indicate to CEMAT the exact dates of stay and in which governorates he/she plans to work. Note: these dates cannot be changed.

The following documents are necessary:

  1. Curriculum vitae, indicating place and date of birth, marital status, address and phone/fax
  2. Research project description in English and in French/Arabic which states location for research (governorates) and exact period of stay, purpose of research, research question, methodology, etc.
  3. Photocopy of passport pages providing passport number, place & date of issue, place and date of birth & expiration date
  4. Photo (not just a photocopy of passport photo)
  5. Photocopy of Tunisian ‘carte de séjour’ (if already obtained)
  6. Photocopy of highest academic degree received
  7. Letter of support from professor/department
  8. Proof of enrollment (for graduate students) at university, including photocopy of student card or statement from registrar
  9. Letter of support from Tunisian institution or individual

CEMAT submits these documents with a cover letter to the Minister of Higher Education. The file is then sent on to the Ministry of Interior and can take up to three months to clear. If approved, the Ministry of Higher Education issues a research authorization, which the researcher must sign, and for which the researcher provides revenue stamps. The authorization commits the researcher to submitting a research report within a month of completing the research, and also to submitting a copy of the finished work (dissertation, etc.) to the Ministry of Higher Education This authorization must be signed by each governor’s office in the area where the researcher plans to work.