Many Indians travelling to the UAE buy medicines from India because they are less expensive there. But they are usually unaware of the drugs that are banned in the UAE, and end up landing in jail after carrying these drugs into the country.
The violators face strict penalties, including imprisonment followed by deportation.
The Consul General of India in Dubai has published detailed guidelines on banned items on its website.
1. All kinds of narcotic drugs (hashish, cocaine, heroin, poppy seeds, hallucinogenic pills, etc.).
2. Goods intended to be imported from boycotted countries.
3. Goods of Israeli origin or bearing Israeli trademarks or logos
4. Crude ivory and rhinoceros horn.
5. Gambling tools and machinery.
6. Three layered fishing nets.
7. Original engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures and statues in any material.
8. Used, reconditioned and inlaid tires.
9. Radiation polluted substances.
10. Printed publications, oil paintings, photographs, pictures, cards, books, magazines, stone sculptures and mannequins which contradict Islamic teachings, decency, or deliberately imply immorality or turmoil.
11. Any other goods, the importation of which is prohibited under the authority of UAE customs laws or any other laws in the country.
12. Forged and duplicate currency.
13. Cooked and home-made foods.
The embassy has also listed a detailed nine-point guideline on its website for bringing medicines and drugs into the country:
1. As certain chemicals and drugs are banned in the UAE, it is essential to check and ensure that the medicines which someone is carrying do not contain a banned or restricted substance. The list of drugs and medicines banned in the UAE is available on this website.
2. If for medical or emergency reasons, one needs to carry any medicines, one should have a medical prescription from a UAE-licenced doctor. If treatment was undertaken outside the UAE, one must carry both a doctor’s prescription as well as a detailed medical report, both of which should be suitably attested.
3 Residents and non-resident patients can bring into the UAE at most a three-month supply of prescription medicine, for their personal use.
4. Psychotropic medicines can be brought by non-residents to cover their personal consumption for a maximum of three months.
5. Psychotropic medicines can be brought in by residents in a quantity sufficient for one month’s consumption. However, residents can bring at most a three-month supply if the medicine is not available in the UAE provided that they obtain prior approval from the Drug Control Department.
6. Resident and non-resident patients should not bring narcotic medicines into the country without the prior approval of the Ministry of Health. Each case will be studied and approved. A valid prescription and medical report from the concerned hospital or department will be required.
7. Medicines that arrive in the country via postal courier cannot be released to the patient unless the above requirements are fulfilled.
8. For more information related to restrictions on carrying of medicines, drugs and chemicals into the UAE, one must check the Dubai Customs website or www.dubai.ae beforehand.
9. Be careful of carrying in poppy seeds which are banned, so avoid accidentally carrying bakery products that might contain such seeds. Also banned are qat leaf, betel leaf or nuts, niswar, gutkha. These while admissible in some countries are not permitted in the UAE.