The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a very strict, zero-tolerance anti-drugs policy and conducts thorough searches at its airports using highly sensitive equipment.  Possession of even tiny amounts of illegal drugs has resulted in the imprisonment of travellers entering or transiting the UAE.

Prescribed Medications

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered to be controlled substances in the UAE. Any such medication is not allowed into the UAE without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. If a passenger arrives in the UAE without prior approval and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and the person may be subject to prosecution under the laws of the UAE.

A doctor’s prescription should be carried along with any medication that is brought into the country.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers to the UAE are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with which medications they can and cannot bring into the country. The UAE Ministry of Health updates a list of such medication on a monthly basis. This list can be found on their website. However, the medication on the website is listed by its generic name, which may not necessarily be the name by which it is known as in the UK. If your particular type of medication is not listed on the website that does not mean that it is not a controlled substance.

We therefore recommend that you contact the Drug Control Department (DCD) of the Ministry of Health to check whether your medication is on the controlled list. The DCD can be contacted at +971 2 611 7239, by e-mail ( or by fax +971 2 631 7644.