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Dubai: UAE tourists could face JAIL if they don’t declare medication

dubai uae medication drugs emirates holidays prison

Dubai: UAE tourists could face JAIL if they don’t declare medication (Image: Getty Images)

Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have introduced strict new regulations that could easily trip tourists up. This is the latest travel advice. 

Holidaymakers wishing to bring in medication for personal use now have to seek permission to enter the UAE with it.

An online form has to be filled out by those declaring medication – and those who do not do so could be prosecuted and face jail time. 

The new law  – which applies to both visitors and residents  – was introduced this month by The Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates

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Tourists are urged to fill out the required electronic form if they wish to take medicine on holiday with them.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have now updated their travel advice to the region since the October rule change.

“Following changes in October 2018, the UAE Ministry of Health announced the requirement for all tourists and residents entering the UAE to complete an electronic form to obtain online approval to carry medication for personal use, prior to entering the country,” explained the FCO website.

“The Ministry of Health has also published a user guide explaining how to complete the application and the supporting documents required.

“The British Embassy is currently requesting further information on this process and whether it is required for all types of medication.”

The FCO adds: “If you arrive in the UAE without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and you may be prosecuted under UAE law.”

dubai uae medication drugs emirates holidays prison

Dubai: If travellers do not declare their medication it will be confiscated (Image: Getty Images)

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines available in the UK are considered controlled substances in the UAE.

Travellers can bring up to three months’ supply of medication as a visitor or up to one months’ supply if the medicine is classed as controlled by the UAE.

Diazepam, Tramadol, codeine and a number of other commonly prescribed medicines are all considered “controlled drugs”.

Forty-eight per cent of the UK population takes prescription medicine (excluding contraception and nicotine replacement therapy) according to figures from the health survey for England.

So check before you travel whether your medicine is on the list of controlled drugs by searching the list on the UAE’s Ministry of Health page.

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dubai uae medication drugs emirates holidays prison

Dubai: Tourists have to seek permission to bring in any medication for personal use (Image: Getty Images)

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It’s advisable to contact your GP four to six weeks ahead of a trip to check if your prescribed medication contains any “controlled drugs”.

Undeclared medication is not the only thing that could see UAE tourists facing jail.

There are a variety of items that you are banned from bringing into the country and many activities that are also prohibited.

These include a ban on electronic cigarettes, porn and drugs. “The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe,” states the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. 

“Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can lead to a minimum four-year jail sentence.

Being drunk in public and showing public displays of affection are both illegal. Married couples can hold hands but kissing and hugging are considered offences against public decency.

Swearing and making rude gestures (in public and online) are also forbidden as these are considered “obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported,” states the FCO.

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