How to bring medicine to the UAE: A step-by-step guide for residents, visitors

It is important to pay attention to local medicine laws when traveling to the UAE, as non-compliance can have serious consequences.

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Published: June 16, 2024, 9:35 AM

Last updated: June 16, 2024, 10:41 PM

The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy on recreational drug use, which is strictly enforced by the Anti-Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act*. The law criminalizes the production, importation, transportation, purchase, sale, storage and possession of narcotic and psychotropic substances unless they are carried out as part of medical or scientific activities that are regulated and managed in accordance with applicable laws.

It is important to pay attention to local medicine laws when traveling to the UAE, as non-compliance can have serious consequences. Visitors must pick up prescriptions for their medications and ensure that their medications are administered.

Controlled drugs

Controlled drugs in the UAE are substances that the government controls because of their potential for abuse and dependence. These drugs are classified under strict regulations, and their importation, distribution and use are closely monitored.

Narcotic and psychotropic (controlled drugs – Class A or CDa) drugs are controlled and controlled drugs are given to patients with acute and chronic diseases. They are often given to potential patients.

Controlled drugs – Group B (CDb) is half regulated.

Commonly controlled drugs include:

  1. Drugs: Strong drugs such as morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.
  2. Psychotropic Substances: Drugs that affect the mind, mood, and behavior, such as benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam, lorazepam), antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
  3. Stimulants: Medications used for ADHD or narcolepsy, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines.
  4. Drugs and Narcotics: Medicines used for anxiety or sleep problems, such as barbiturates and other hypnotics.

For controlled drugs and non-controlled substances, prior authorization through the website of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) is mandatory for UAE residents, tourists and transit passengers. Over-the-counter and over-the-counter drugs do not require this prior authorization.

This process usually requires complete documentation, including a prescription and a letter from the doctor. In addition, the quantity of medicines allowed is usually limited to a sufficient supply for one person’s use during their stay in the UAE.

Required documents:

To apply for a service permit, you need to have the following documents:

  • The prescription should include the patient’s full name, drug name and dosage, dosage form and duration of treatment, and date of manufacture, as well as the name of the physician.
  • The document must be issued within the last three months and approved/printed by the health care facility where the patient is being followed.

  • Medical records should include the patient’s full name, diagnosis (medical condition), treatment plan (name of drug, dose, dosage form and duration of treatment), date of discharge,​​​​ and the doctor’s name.
  • The document must be issued within the last year and approved/printed by the health care facility where the patient is being followed.
  • Copy of Emirates ID and passport

How to apply for a permit

The permit allows nationals to obtain permission to import personal narcotic and psychotropic drugs through shipping companies.

– Login to MoHAP website or smart device using UAE PASS and click on ‘services’.

— Click on ‘individual services’ or use the search field to find and select ‘order for authorization to import medicines for ‘your use’.

– Click on ‘start service’.

– Log in to the Ministry of Health and Prevention portal with your credentials or UAE Pass

– From the dashboard, click on ‘new device’ and select a service from the menu and click on ‘apply’

– Fill in the required fields and add ‘medication details’

— Click on ‘packages’ to upload the required documents, then click on ‘review’ to check or edit the information.

Working time: Your request will be processed within three working days and is free of charge.

Instructions for travelers who have taken their medicines to the UAE:

a) Controlled Drugs (Narcotic, Psychotropic, CDA and CDB)

1. For taking narcotic drugs: Visitors coming to or passing through the UAE need prior approval from Mohap.

2. The traveler must have the documents (in Arabic or English) mentioned below.

  • A valid prescription, if the prescription is kept at the pharmacy that issued the prescription, the traveler must keep a certified copy of the prescription.
  • A certified certificate and/or authorization from the health authority of the country of departure, confirming his legal capacity to have the medical preparations specified there for his use.
  • The amount of medication administered by any visitor should not exceed a 30-day treatment period.

3. The above documents must be with the visitor during his stay in the UAE and must be available when requested to be presented to the authorities.

4. The visitor will be required to present the above documents to the customs authorities at the port of entry and to be signed and stamped by the customs officer.

5. Transit passengers must follow the necessary procedures when entering and exiting the UAE.

b) Regular medication – Prescription medication only (POM)

A person going to the UAE can take with him POM medicines for his own use for a period not exceeding three months of use, provided he must carry a valid prescription.

c) Carrying unregistered medicines

It is prohibited by the UAE* to import medicines that are not registered in the UAE; therefore, visitors are not allowed to take unregistered / prohibited medicines.

d) Carrying expired medicines

Visitors are not allowed to take prescription drugs as they are considered prohibited for use in the UAE.

Canceled Medication is or;

➤ have been registered with the Ministry of Health but subsequently canceled due to safety or quality defects

➤ They are not authorized to register or distribute

e) Carrying herbal medicine

Some drugs* are banned in the UAE, even though their use is permitted in the country of origin. For all other herbal medicines, follow the same standard medicine procedure (POM) as described in part (b) above.

Transporting medical devices containing any of the active medicinal ingredients mentioned in the above categories, a, b, c, d and e should follow a different procedure.

For any questions related to “traveller procedures” contact the Narcotic and Psychotropic Control Section, Drug Registration and Control Department, Ministry of Health, UAE.

Phone: +97126117505/6117354 Fax +9712 6313742

Contact email:

*Federal Law by order No. 30 of 2021

* Federal Law No 4 of 1983

*Schedule IV of the Narcotic Law 14 of 1995 of the UAE

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