Before you pack your suitcase! Bringing Prescription Medicine to the UAE
6 min read
A quick guide on to how to get prior online approval for medication following the The UAE Ministry of Health announcement of a new approval process.
New Online Requirements
Post Updated December 2018 with new information – see below.
The UAE Ministry of Health announced the requirement for all tourists and residents entering the UAE to complete an electronic form to get online approval to carry any kind of medication for personal use, prior to entering the UAE.
What the regulations say
Updated 8th December 2018 – See below image, this taken from the MOH website.
“In order to carry personal medication, both controlled and regular medication, it is now mandatory for all passengers entering UAE to get this prior approval from the ministry to carry their prescription-based medication.
Supervised medicines with a prescription are allowed for one-month entry. Other medicines with a prescription are allowed for three-months entry. Any medicine that does not meet these requirements will be seized at the airport.
The onus is on passengers should know the law even if the medicine is legal in their country of origin, thereby there will be no excuse for importing medicines without a prescription or categorised as drugs.”
*Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Licencing and Public Health Policy at the Ministry of Health.
As it is now ‘visitor season’ in the UAE and I’m expecting to travel soon, I thought I would do some research to find out how this is going to work in practice.
Please note it’s early days for the implementation of these new regulations, so I’m publishing what I’ve found out, but things may change so please do your own research.
Cost of Service : FREE
Issuing permission to import medicines for personal use
MOH Website – Details of the process and all relevant PDF documents
MOH LOGIN – Login page to start the 3 step online process.
Once approved the certificate will be available for download in your MOH account.
Download a copy of your approval certificate
This is a new process and as yet I have not yet tried it so can’t share my personal experiences.
The website says there is a 5 day turn around on approval, whilst Dr Al Amiri mentioned 1 day. Be prepared and complete the process early and expect some amendments or changes to the process or regulations from time to time.
Whilst I will try and keep this post updated with changes, always do your own due diligence and research using the links above in the Useful Resources section.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2018
This appears to be the most recent update (Dec 2018) – Requirement only for narcotic, psychotropic and controlled medications (see link below for that listing).
The electronic pre approvals service is now optional rather than mandatory, but medicines have to be declared on arrival in the UAE.
Attestation of documents
My understanding of this, is that attestation is only required for medicines with narcotic or psychotropic substances *
*clarification being sought
Dr Al Amiri advised passengers to check with their country’s health authorities if the medicines have any narcotic or psychotropic substances. The prescription should be attested by the official authorities according to the accredited assets to avoid any sanction.
Allaying fears of punitive action, Dr Al Amiri said that if any passenger failed to get this prior approval the custom would seize the medication.” There is no punitive action. If it is a small quantity of non-narcotic medication, the authorities will decide if they want to allow. In case of other kinds of control medication it will be seized at the port of entry without prior approval.”