taking medication into dubai

Simple Guide for taking Medication into Dubai

What do I need to know about taking my medication into Dubai?  Is my medication banned in Dubai?

This simple guide to taking medication into Dubai will answer these important, and often troubling, questions.  Thankfully, the rules for taking medication into Dubai are very straightforward.

The questions on travel forums about bringing medicine to Dubai are endless and the confusion is enormous.   Spend five minutes reading the results of a Google search on ”taking medication into Dubai” you’ll probably be too perplexed and scared ever to visit.  Thankfully, the truth is simply this:

The government of Dubai has no interest in stopping visitors bringing in their legally prescribed medication and wants you to have a healthy, worry-free holiday.

Taking Medication into Dubai – Dubai Banned Medicines List

This mythical list is probably the single most off-putting and confusing part of this whole subject.  There is an awful lot of outdated and contradictory information on the internet.

The simple, and somewhat dull, truth of the situation is that Dubai and the UAE have a controlled drugs list just like every other country in the world.  There’s nothing big, scary or particularly special about Dubai’s controlled medications list.  As long as it’s legally prescribed for you, you can bring medication into Dubai.

Simple Guide for Bringing Prescribed Medications to Dubai

You can bring any legally prescribed medication into Dubai as long as you follow the simple rules:

1 Carry a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s letter to confirm the medication you are bringing to Dubai has been legally prescribed for you

2 Keep the medicine in its original packaging

3 Bring as much as you need for your trip – don’t, for example,  bring six months’ supply of medication for a two week trip

Any time you fly, to any destination, it’s best to pack essential medication in hand luggage in case your checked baggage goes astray.

There is no need to declare medication and it’s very unlikely you will be asked about it.  Information online inferring that all arriving passengers are subject to rigorous searches is simply incorrect.

Taking Medication into DubaiBringing Codeine into Dubai

Codeine is a controlled substance in Dubai and you can’t bring it in without a prescription.  If you use medicine with codeine as an ingredient, you have two choices:

1 Go to your doctor and get a prescription

2 Leave the medicine at home and use an alternative

Taking Medication into DubaiOver the Counter Medication

Some medicines which are available over the counter in other countries require a prescription in Dubai.  This is particularly true of cough and cold remedies which may contain codeine or pseudoephedrine.  It’s essential that you check the ingredients of any OTC medication before you travel to the UAE.

You’ll find a list of restricted medications by brand name and generic name, here.

Taking Medication into Dubai – Medication in Transit

Even if you are just in transit in Dubai you should follow the rules for importing medication for two reasons:

1 An unforeseen circumstance (think an Icelandic volcano or other major disruption) could force and unplanned stop in Dubai

2 You’ll need your prescription for your final destination country anyway

The internet may be full of horror stories but there is no need to worry.  The rules are simple and taking medication into Dubai isn’t really any different to taking it to any other country.

So, go to Dubai and enjoy a healthy, stress-free holiday!

See also:  Dubai – Simple What to Wear Guide


taking medication into dubai


18 thoughts on “Simple Guide for taking Medication into Dubai

  1. Lisinda

    Hi we are flying to Dubai in the 7th of March…I use omprazol..venlor…sopax and stilnox. what do I need to do…we are going to my son for 10 days. Please help. Lisinda

  2. Stephen

    Can you explain about this position for toiletries such as mouthwash and E45 please. I would assume that they were not banned but I suppose they could be classed as medicines. I would assume that sun tan lotion would be the same.

  3. Annie

    Hi I forgot to mention in my previous post that my letter from the doctor was written in 2013, he wrote it for me to bring with me, because I travel monthly for work. Will this be allright?

  4. Annie

    Hi, I have a two day trip to Dubai planned this week.
    My emoloyer send me information about the regulations of bringing medication into the country very last minute. I have Temazepam and zopiclon. For Temazepam I have a letter from my doctor, though not notarized, for the zopiclon, I have a pescription (in French) From what I have read in your article, I think this will be fine for me to enter the country. I’m not sure though, I am very stressed because of some online stories and even considered leaving my meds at home. But that stresses me out too.

    1. Candice - Desert to Jungle Post author

      Hi Annie, there’s no reason to leave your medication at home but I would advise two things: 1) get up to date prescriptions or a doctor’s letter for both; 2) make sure the letter or prescription is in English.

      As I’ve previously mentioned, there really is nothing to worry about if you follow the rules and it’s very, very unlikely you will be searched but you want to make sure you are doing everything legally just in case.

  5. Vicky

    This is so helpful thank you! I am going to Dubai tomorrow and was considering going without the diazepam I have for a fear of flying- only take it if there is turbulance but it saves me from a full blown panic attack. Everything I had read on google had made me regret booking the trip! I’m hoping a simple photo copy of my prescription will suffice!

    1. Graeme

      Hello. I wondered how got on? I have similar prescription medication for anxiety and depression. I have a doctors letter. Just wondered how you got on as I will be travelling and staying over in Dubai on way to/from Australia at end of year and was a bit concerned about what I had read elsewhere!


      1. Candice - Desert to Jungle Post author

        Hi Graeme, thanks for your question but I’m not sure I understand what you are asking. I have entered Dubai many times with prescription medication and a doctor’s letter. As detailed above, that’s all you need. I realise there are many horror stories on the net but as long as you follow the very simple rules (above) you will be fine. Have a great time in Dubai – if you have any other questions do let me know.

        1. Rev Graeme Hancocks

          Thanks. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I will be staying in Dubai for four day stopover on way to/from Australia in couple of months time. I have prescription medications for anxiety/depression – with GP letter. I had been ununerved, though, by some of stuff I had read on internet about intensive searches/questioning etc. But your answer was reassuring. Thanks.

          1. Candice - Desert to Jungle Post author

            Glad to hear you’re feeling reassured, Graeme. I’ve entered Dubai scores of times over the last 11 years (and lived there for 5 years) and I’ve never been questioned or intensively searched. On one occasion a bored-looking customs officer took a cursory glance through my carry on backpack but that’s the extent of it. So, questioning and searches are definitely not the norm and nothing to be concerned about. In the very unlikely event that you are questioned then you have the doctor’s letter so you will be fine.

            1. Hania

              Hi, I’m travelling to Dubai in December. I take medicine for anxiety and diazepam for flying. Both are on a controlled psychotropic medicine A list. I will get a letter from the doctor but looking at the guide lines on uae embassy page, it seems that it has to notarised and than the medicines declared on entry. Is that correct or am I just being over paranoid? (too many scary warning on the forums here). Also some people suggest to put it into the main luggage.. has anyone been actually stoped and asked for the documentation?I would appreciate your advice so I can start learning looking forward to my trip rather than worry..

              1. Candice - Desert to Jungle Post author

                Hi Hania, thanks for your question. Although the website says the doctor’s letter has to be notarised, in practice very, very few people do this. I’ve never done it and neither have any of the regular Dubai travellers I know. I would always advise keep necessary medication in your hand luggage in case you checked baggage goes astray. It’s highly unlikely you will be stopped and searched and there is no need to declare the medication on arrival. Have a great holiday!


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