Under the new rules, people wearing the Muslim face covering will not be allowed to enter government buildings.
Tunisian Prime minister Youssef Chahed has brought in the new measure ‘for security reasons’, his office said.
Chahed signed a circular on Friday ‘banning access to public administrations and institutions to anyone with their face covered’, a spokesman said.
Tunisia has banned the niqab face cover in ‘public institutions’ (stock photo)
The ‘security reasons’ were not explained, but Tunisia has been rocked by a series of explosions in recent days.
On Tuesday a wanted militant blew himself up in the capital Tunis after being surrounded by police.
Aymen Smiri was the suspected mastermind behind two bombings in the city on June 27, which killed a police officer and injured eight people.
The attacks prompted Britain to update its travel advice for tourists and warn of a ‘higher risk’ of attacks in Tunisia.
Tunisia’s interior minister instructed police in February 2014 to step up supervision of the wearing of the niqab as part of anti-terrorism measures, to prevent its use as disguise or to escape justice.
The niqab and other outward shows of Islamic devotion were not tolerated under the regime of longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali but have made a comeback since he was toppled in Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
The veil has been a divisive political subject around the world, and the new rules in Tunisia follow similar moves by a number of European countries.
Last year, Denmark introduced a total ban on niqabs and burkas – which conceal even more of the face.
The Netherlands has also outlawed face-coverings in public places, including schools, hospitals and public transport.
France banned the wearing of face-covering headgear in public places in 2010, handing out fines to those caught flouting the rules.
Anyone who forces another person who wear a covering can face a greater fine and even a prison sentence.
Armed personnel in Tunis on Tuesday night after a wanted militant was killed in the city. The government says the veil ban is for ‘security reasons’
Britain’s likely next PM Boris Johnson faced a huge political storm last year when he compared women wearing face veils to ‘letter boxes’ and bank robbers.
Mr Johnson was accused of being a ‘pound-shop Donald Trump’ and ‘fanning the flames of Islamophobia’. He has refused to apologise, but said he was against a ban.
- Do not allow yourselves to be manipulated by Arab religion “Islam or the Western version of Christianity.
Opponents of veil-wearing say there is no specific instruction in Islamic scripture which demands its use.
In Iran, women have held a series of demonstrations in which they removed their head coverings in protest at a ‘discriminatory law’ forcing them to wear one.
The issue was thrown into fresh focus earlier this year when New Zealand women including PM Jacinda Ardern wore the headscarf in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.
The New Zealand women earned applause in some quarters but others voiced concern, saying it was not ’empowering’ to wear the hijab.
The Islamic dress code, in place since the 1979 revolution, considers veiling obligatory for any female above 13 in Iran and says they should cover themselves from head to toe while disavowing any figure-hugging dress.
Breaking the rules can result in fines of up to 500,000 rials (£17) and up to two months in prison.
2015: EU Human Rights Court upholds French Islamic veil ban