DUBAI: Are you travelling to the UAE and have a prescription for restricted and controlled narcotics and psychotropics? To ensure you are complying with UAE’s guidelines for carrying personal medicines, it is important to obtain pre-approval for controlled substances. But what are these controlled medicines and how can you apply for pre-approval? Here is all you need to know.
On December 8, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) posted on their Twitter account that passengers arriving in the UAE can get pre-approval for narcotic and psychotropic drugs through the ministry’s official website - mohap.gov.ae
As per MOHAP’s guidelines, “travellers carrying personal medicines are advised to seek permission from Registration and Drug Control Department, MOHAP, before travelling to the UAE”. Personal medicines carried by travellers are subjected to inspection by MOHAP Inspectors and the Customs Department.
The UAE is a signatory to international drug control conventions on narcotics and psychotropic substances, which are listed in two main UAE laws - Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 and Federal Law No. 4 of 1983. Both laws regulate the import of medicines – narcotic, psychotropic, general and any controlled medicine.
What medicines are approved for travellers coming to the UAE?
Before coming to the UAE, it is important to be aware that the MOHAP Drug Control Department has strict regulations and conducts thorough investigation and inspection of personal medication of travellers arriving in the UAE. Here are the categories of drugs, narcotics and psychotropic medicines allowed in the UAE, according to MOHAP’s regulations and guidelines.
1. Drugs listed in Schedule IV of Narcotic Law 14 of 1995 of UAE cannot be carried by international travellers in to the UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure.
2. Narcotic drugs included in Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention of International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) cannot be carried by international travellers in to the UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure.
3. Psychotropic substances included in Schedule I of the 1971 Psychotropic Convention cannot be carried by international travellers in to the UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure.
4. All medicines, other than those listed paragraph 1, 2 and 3, of the 1961 Narcotic Convention and of 1971 Psychotropic Convention of International Narcotic Control Board (INCB), and medicines listed in Schedule I, II, III, V, VI, VII and VIll of the annex to Narcotic Law 14 of 1995 and the medicines listed in Controlled Drug – Class A [CDa] and Controlled Drug – Class B [CDb] list by MOHAP, can be included in personal medicine.
How do travellers coming to the UAE get approval for personal medicines?
All passengers entering or transiting through the UAE are allowed to carry
- Personal medicines listed in class CDa and CDb
- Medicines in Schedule I, II, III, V, VI, VII and VIll of the annex to Narcotic Law 14 of 1995.
However, having approval permit from MOHAP is mandatory.
Before leaving your country of departure, you must make sure you have all the necessary documents and are informed about the drug regulations in the UAE.
How do I get approval for controlled medicines online?
If you are a transit passenger or coming into the UAE, carrying narcotic drugs requires prior approval from MOHAP’s the Registration and Drug Control Department.
Required documents for travellers:
1. Copy of the Passport
2. A medical report issued less than one year ago by the health facility in which the patient is treated, authenticated by the health authority in the country in which the treatment is received, or the country's embassy, or by any accredited authentication body in that country.
3. Copy of the prescription in the name of the patient, issued less than three months. The prescription must include:
- The patient's full name.
- The scientific and commercial name of the drug.
- The pharmaceutical form.
- The prescribed dose.
- The date of issuing the prescription.
- The duration of treatment.
- The name of the physician.
- An authenticated certificate or permit from the heath authority of the country of departure confirming the patient’s author to possess for personal use or medical preparations.
The above documents should be in the traveller’s possession during their stay in the UAE, and should be available on request for presentation to the authorities. Travellers are required to present the above documents to the customs authorities in the port of entry and get it signed and stamped by the customs officer.
Steps for online approval:
1. Go to the MOHAP website - mohap.gov.ae and go to the services section on the menu tab. Click on individual services, then go to the search bar on the right and type, ‘Issue of Permit to Import Medicines for Personal Use.’ Once you have seen the name of the service, click on start service.
2. Log in or create an account with the MOHAP website. You can also log in using the UAE Pass. What is UAE Pass? Read here.
3. Start the application process and fill in your personal details:
- Phone number
- Passport information
- Date of Birth
4. Then, enter all the list of personal medical products that require MOHAP’s approval. For an applicant to fill the medicine list, they must first click on the 'Add medicine' button, which will open a pop-up window. Then enter the following fields:
- Product Category
- Batch Number (Optional)
- Trade Name
- Generic Name/ Active Ingredients
- Product Form
- Pack Type
- Number of imported Packs
- Pack Size
- Pack Size Unit
5. Enter Arrival Information. In this section, you will need to fill in your arrival information along with your medical product’s arrival information, including the following:
- Importing Country
- Date of Arrival
- Date of Departure (Optional)
- Duration of Stay (Optional)
- Courier Shipping
- Courier Company Name
6. Attach the required documents (listed above).
5. Submit the application to obtain approval.
6. Application is reviewed by an employee at MOHAP and you will receive the permit, if approved, via email.
The service is free of charge and it will take three days to process. The validity of the approval is two months and the permit is single use only. If you have any questions or need assistance while filling in the application, call MOHAP’s hotline 800 111 11.
Can I carry herbal medicine?
When it comes to herbal medication, the drugs listed in Schedule IV of Narcotic Law 14 of 1995 of UAE are prohibited in the UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure.
For all other herbal medicines, follow the same procedure for regular, prescription-only medicines (POM).
• Not listed in Schedule IV of Narcotic Law 14 of 1995 of UAE, even if their use is permitted in the country of departure.
• Not included or containing any of the substances mentioned in the INCB conventions controlled registered medicines mentioned in the MOHAP CDa and CDb list.
A traveller to the UAE can carry along with them the POM medicines for their personal use, for period of not more than three months, provided that they carry a valid medical prescription.
Is there any way I can carry non-registered medicines?
The MOHAP guidelines state: “Carrying of non-registered medicines is prohibited by the UAE Federal Law no 4 for 1983. To bring non-registered medicines into UAE, the travellers are not allowed to carry non-registered and banned medicines.”