Prior approval required for bringing medicines to UAE? Ministry clarifies

Prior approval required for bringing medicines to UAE? Ministry clarifies

The changes have been made to save time at the airport.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Fri 2 Nov 2018, 12:10 PM

Last updated: Sat 3 Nov 2018, 8:13 PM

All residents and visitors coming to the UAE have the option to seek prior online permission only for narcotics, psychotropic drugs and controlled medicines to save time at the airport.
Travellers are not obliged to seek prior permission for other drugs for personal use, according to the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP). 
The controlled medicines, however, can also be declared upon arrival if prior permission hasn't been sought. 
Last month, a senior official from the ministry had told Khaleej Times that anyone bringing such medicines from outside the country has to notify the government.
"This is as per the law and the system is already in place now," said Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Licencing and Public Health Policy at the ministry.
The ministry said on Friday that the online service aims at facilitating the process of carrying controlled and psychotropic medicines for travelers coming to the country. The service is optional and can be used by travelers who want to avoid waiting at the airport.
Dr Al Amiri said that such services are available in many developed countries across the world. He also said that the approval requirements have been in place in the UAE for more than 20 years for carrying controlled and psychotropic medicines but was previously done through email or upon arrival at the airport.
"The only change now is that this service is also available fully electronically for convenience," he said.
He also explained that the service is not mandatory, and travelers will continue to have the option of declaring these medicines and sharing the related medical reports with customs upon arrival to the UAE.
However, the quantity of medicines to be imported for personal use should not exceed a period of three months for non-controlled medicines and one month for controlled and semi-controlled medicines.
"The rest will be taken care of by the authorities and no punitive action will be taken against the person," he said.
"We do not want people to bring medicines from outside. We have pharmacies here. In countries such as Australia and Singapore, people are not allowed to carry more than a box else they will be stopped," he had said earlier.
He also said that the move was to curb counterfeit. "We cannot check each and every of the hundreds of thousands of people entering the country daily so we have to put in place this system," he explained.
The request to issue permits to import medicines for personal use has to be put through by filling in an electronic form on the ministry's website or through its app.
The permission certificate is free of charge and is issued in a day's time.
But before that, a prescription has to be issued by the attending physician and if the passenger is a visitor, the prescription has to be attested by the relevant authorities in their home countries.
A medical report has to also be uploaded that shows approval by health entities along with a copy of the Emirates ID for residents and a passport copy for visitors.
The request will be examined by the concerned officer in Drugs Department and an approval will be issued accordingly and delivered to the person requesting it.
The form can be accessed at

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