As countries approach the elimination phase of tuberculosis, specific problems and challenges emerge, due to the steadily declining incidence in the native population, the gradually increasing importance of the importation of latent tuberculosis infection and tuberculosis from other countries and the emergence of groups at particularly high risk of tuberculosis. Therefore, a Working Group of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) and the Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Association (KNCV) have developed a new framework for low incidence countries based on concepts and definitions consistent with those of previous recommendations from WHO/IUATLD Working Groups. In low-incidence countries, a broader spectrum of interventions is available and feasible, including: 1) a general approach to tuberculosis which ensures rapid detection and treatment of all the cases and prevention of unnecessary deaths; 2) an overall control strategy aimed at reducing the incidence of tuberculosis infection (risk-group management and prevention of transmission of infection in institutional settings) and 3) a tuberculosis elimination strategy aimed at reducing the prevalence of tuberculosis infection (outbreak management and provision of preventive therapy for specified groups and individuals). Government and private sector commitment towards elimination, effective case detection among symptomatic individuals together with active case finding in special groups, standard treatment of disease and infection, access to tuberculosis diagnostic and treatment services, prevention (e.g. through screening and bacille Calmette-Guéria immunization in specified groups), surveillance and treatment outcome monitoring are prerequisites to implementing the policy package recommended in this new framework document.