I’ve taken medicine with me all over the world. I take a pill for allergies, and I have over the counter pain relief in my travel bag. I’ve never had a problem, although of course carrying medicine can run afoul of local laws. Not everything that’s legal in the United States is legal elsewhere.
It’s always a good idea to carry all medications (including things like vitamins even) in their full original packages (including paper inserts describing contents of the drugs). That’s a pain because it takes up extra space, and you may not even save those normally. But you want to be sure you’re able to show the name of the drug and its contents and in the case of something prescribed to you that the name on the prescription matches the name on your passport. Ideally you want a copy of the prescription as well.
I know people who are so conservative in their approach they get a letter from their doctor with the medications they need and why and have that letter translated into the local language for where they’re traveling.
These are best practices that not everyone follows. The United Arab Emirates though has a new requirement that you submit the medications you’ll be bringing into the country for approval in advance.
All tourists and residents of UAE will now be required to fill in an electronic form to get approval to carry any kind of medication for personal use, said a top Ministry of Health and Prevention official. The Import of Personal Medication service was launched at Gitex 2018.
…Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Licencing and Public Health Policy at the ministry told Gulf News: “In order to carry personal medication, both control and regular medication, it is now mandatory for all passengers entering UAE to get this prior approval from the ministry to carry their prescription-based medication. We are doing this to control drug threats that hinder the economy and public health.”
Here’s the process. You credit a profile on the Ministry of Health website, submit a copy of the prescription and your passport, and other details — the form is supposed to be reviewed within one business day.
In general I would expect that failure to do this would simply involve having medications confiscated at the border if they’re found when you’re entering the country. However I do not want to be in violation of UAE laws — the problem is that there are many rules which are often not enforced, until they are.