What is the change? Travelers are now required to obtain permission to bring prescription medicine to the United Arab Emirates.

What does the change mean? Travelers must fill out a form online before bringing medicine to the UAE. They will be asked to upload supporting documentation, including a health report, prescription, the duration of their stay and passport or Emirates ID information. Medicine that is not declared prior to travel may be confiscated at the airport.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Who is affected: Business travelers, tourists and residents seeking to bring prescription medicine to the UAE.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will add to the time it takes to plan travel to the UAE. It may also cause some delays at the airport, as authorities check to make sure medicines have been preapproved.
  • Next steps: The Ministry of Health and Prevention published a user manual outlining the steps required to obtain permission to bring personal use medicine to the country. It is available here.

Background: The ministry instituted the change in October as part of its effort to enhance community health. The new rules apply to narcotics, psychotropic and controlled medicines. Travelers will generally not be required to obtain permission to bring over-the-counter medicine, provided it is for personal use.

Analysis & Comments: Travelers must be sure to seek and receive preapproval to bring any prescription medicine to the UAE. Those who fail to do so risk serious travel delays or even prosecution under UAE law. Anyone with questions about what medicines must be declared should contact their immigration professional.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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