Passing through Dubai airport with prescription medicines could land you in jail

United Arab Emirates recently issued a new law which requires all visitors and residents to gain online approval to carry medication for personal use before entering the country.


                            Passing through Dubai airport with prescription medicines could land you in jail

Travelers from Australia have been warned by their government to research the local laws before traveling to other countries, as Dubai has released new rules which apply to tourists carrying prescription medication, according to reports.

The Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently issued a new law, which requires all visitors and residents to gain online approval to carry medication for personal use before entering the country. Reports state that if travelers do not conform to the rules, their medication will be confiscated and they also risk being prosecuted.

The medications covered under the new law include ones which contain codeine or similar narcotic-like ingredients and anti-anxiety drugs like diazepam. Some over-the-counter cold medications are also included in the list.

People wander around Dubai Duty Free at Dubai Airport on April 3, 2007 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Commerce and Industry is currently thriving in Dubai.
People wander around Dubai Duty Free at Dubai Airport on April 3, 2007 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Commerce and Industry is currently thriving in Dubai.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson, while talking to Daily Mail Australia, said that it keeps all travel advisories under close review, including the ones from the UAE.

The spokesperson said: "We encourage all Australians to research local laws, including with respect to medication, before traveling."

Reports state that the UAE is known for having strict regulations when it comes to drugs and there are certain substances which are outright banned in the country. According to the new law, if visitors want to take the regulated drugs inside the country, then they can take three months supply or only a month's supply if it is classed as a controlled substance, the Daily Mail reported.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the UK, also updated its advice to British travelers heading to Dubai and said that they should fill out the electronic form if they wish to take any medication to the country.

Tom Dsouza of the British Consulate General of New York waits to assist British citizens stranded at terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy Airport on April 21, 2010 in New York, New York.
Tom Dsouza of the British Consulate General of New York waits to assist British citizens stranded at terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy Airport on April 21, 2010 in New York, New York.

"Following changes in October 2018, the UAE Ministry of Health announced the requirement for all tourists and residents entering the UAE to complete an electronic form to obtain online approval to carry medication for personal use, prior to entering the country," the UK office said.

"The Ministry of Health has also published a user guide explaining how to complete the application and the supporting documents required. The British Embassy is currently requesting further information on this process and whether it is required for all types of medication," it added. 

A British man was arrested earlier this year after an UAE customs officer refused to believe his prescribed anti-anxiety medication was for his own use. Despite explaining to the officer at the port of Fujairah that he had to have enough to last him a six-month voyage at sea, former soldier Perry Coppins was arrested before the charges were dropped.