How is the UAE changing the rules for MEDICINE?

22 November 2018

Lab Chat

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) recently announced a change of legislation controlling the amount of medicine being brought into the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Residents and tourists carrying personal medicines into the UAE will first have to fill in an electronic form, which can be downloaded for free from the MoHAP website.

The new rules also dictate just how much medicine can be brought into the country at one given time. Per person, the quantity of medicines to be brought into the UAE shouldn’t be over a personal use period of 3 months for non-controlled medicines, and just one month’s worth for controlled or semi-controlled ones.


As well as quantity restrictions, the new guidelines also require travellers to submit a prescription issued by an attending physician. The application to bring personal medicines into the UAE must first be approved by the MoHAP in order to travel.

Applicants also need to submit a medical report, approved by health entities, and a copy of Emirates ID or passport. For a full list of rules and to find out which medicines are allowed, take a look at the MoHAP guidelines for carrying of personal medicines.

Once the application has been submitted, along with the required documents, an officer in the drugs departments will examine the request and will either issue an approval or send the application on to be looked at further.

Restricted medicines

Those medicines that aren’t registered or have been cancelled are prohibited in the UAE. Even if the medicines are permitted in your home country, the UAE regulations are the ones you need to take note of. Some herbal medicines are also prohibited, despite their use elsewhere.

Carrying narcotic drugs to or through the UAE requires a prior approval from the Registration and Drug Control Department of the Ministry of Health. Recent studies linking opioids and narcolepsy have made the admission and prescription of narcotics stricter. The amount of controlled medicines on one passenger at any given time should not exceed 30 days of treatment.

Be prepared

If you’re planning on travelling to, from or through the UAE and have any prescribed or controlled medicines in your possession, you’ll need to pre-plan and get your approval before travelling. Failure to comply with this new legislation could result in you not being allowed to pass through the country. You could even face hefty fines or prosecution, so it’s not worth the risk.

Download PDF

Where to stay Visa

Get in touch and stay in touch...

Join our mailing list and receive the ARABLAB newsletter and event updates.