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Which Medications Are You Allowed to Take into Dubai? 

The UAE has a strict no-tolerance policy around drugs. There are some medicines that can be bought over the counter in one country but will be a controlled substance in Dubai and the rest of the UAE. People that are found to be in possession of even a small amount of illegal drugs could face imprisonment for four years and more.

However, whilst the UAE and Dubai are keen to avoid drugs getting into the wrong hands, allowances are made for those that need to take medication for health reasons. Travellers going to Dubai only need to adhere to the rules and processes to be able to take their medication in. Our guide explains all.

Which medications can I take into Dubai?

You are free to bring any non-prescription, non-controlled medication into Dubai. This includes medicine such as Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, travel sickness medication, and Calpol.

You can also take prescription medication into Dubai, as long as you obtain a permit from the UAE Ministry of Health and also carry your prescription with you along with the medication.

What medication is on the controlled list to take to Dubai?

There are a number of branded medications that are on the controlled list in Dubai. It includes Diazepam, and Xanax, Valium, which are commonly used for anxiety. It also includes Cocodamol, Paracodol and other medicines which contain codeine.

The full list can be viewed here.

How can I take my prescription medication into Dubai?

If you need to take prescription medication into Dubai that is classed as a controlled substance, you will need to get approval to do so. You can do this by filling out a form to Issue a Permit to Import Medicine for Personal Use on the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention website. A permit is only required for narcotic, controlled and semi-controlled drugs.

The form will request details such as your passport number, your prescription from your doctor for the medicine, as well as information about your trip. It usually takes around three working days for the form to be processed and a decision made. It is free to apply for this permit and it will be valid for two months but can only be used for one trip.

How much medication can I take into Dubai?

If you are taking medication into Dubai which is on the controlled list, you can take a maximum of 30 days’ worth. If your prescription medication isn’t on the controlled list, you can take a maximum of three months’ worth and you will need to ensure you have your prescription from the doctor with you. A resident of Dubai can take up to 12 months’ worth of medication in with them.

Taking too much medication, even if it is not on the controlled list, could result in it being taken by the authorities and even prosecution. It’s advised to only take the medication that is absolutely necessary for the duration of your trip.

Can I buy medicine in Dubai?

There are many pharmacies and supermarkets across Dubai that sell non-prescription medication. There are also medicines available to buy over the counter in Dubai that would sometimes require a prescription elsewhere.

If you need to buy prescription medication in Dubai, you will need to get a prescription from a local doctor. Pharmacies in Dubai are not able to accept foreign prescriptions.


If you’re travelling to Dubai, make sure you’re covered with international health insurance or travel insurance. As experts in international healthcare, Expatriate Group will ensure you’re protected with 24-hour support and instant healthcare cover for expats and emergency medical treatment for travellers.

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