National requirements for travellers under medical treatment carrying preparations containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances under international control


Under the international drug control régime, Governments are allowed to permit the carrying of small quantities of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for personal medical use, by international travellers. In such cases, Governments need to introduce, at the national level, a suitable regulatory framework to deal with situations in which patients travelling abroad are carrying with them small quantities of preparations containing substances under international control.

To assist Governments in developing such national regulatory frameworks, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has prepared, upon the request of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), a set of specific guidelines for national competent authorities. Those guidelines, entitled "International guidelines for national regulations concerning travellers under treatment with internationally controlled drugs", were first published in 2003 in the six official languages of the United Nations.[1] They are also available on the INCB web site (

The guidelines also present elements of unified procedures that can be implemented by national authorities resonsible for the control of narcotic drugs and spychotropic substances. A wide application of those procedures would facilitate both the mutual disclosure of relevant information and the work of government authorities. However, it should be understood that countries have latitude to implement the guidelines only partially or with suitable modifications, depending on their legal requirements and practical considerations.

Listing of restrictions currently applicable in individual countries

Governments are requested to inform INCB of the legal provisions or administrative measures adopted in their ountries for travellers under medical treatment, including information on restrictions and conditions that need to be met by travellers entering or leaving their territory and carrying medical preparations containing controlled substances for personal use.[2] This information is to be collated by INCB and made available to all Governments on a regular basis.  Governments are encouraged to furnish INCB with information on any new or revised requirements as soon as it becomes available.

In September 2004, INCB addressed a circular letter to all Goverments, asking them to provide the information requested by CND. A reminder circular was sent in May 2007. So far, over 70 countries and territories have provided such information to INCB. The in verbatim texts of the responses provided by Governments to INCB are reproduced in their original language. In addition, consolidated summaries in standard format, prepared by INCB and endorsed by the respective Governments, are reproduced in all six official languages of the United Nations, as soon as they are endorsed by the respective Governments.

In all of the countries currently listed, travellers are allowed to carry medical preparations containing narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances for their personal use in the amount indicated in their medical prescriptions and for the length of treatment prescribed by their doctors, provided that the travellers possess supporting documents.

However, that information should be considered as indicative of the requirements that travellers should be aware of prior to entering the countries in question. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the responsibility for updating that information lies entirely with the Governments concerned, and that INCB is in no way to be held responsible for the correctness of the information thus reproduced.


Therefore, international travellers should be encouraged to obtain more details from the competent national authorities of the countries they intend to visit, or through other authorized channels such as the diplomatic missions of countries of destination.

The names and addresses of national competent authorities of all countries can be consulted in in the United Nations sales publication, entitled " Competent National Authorities under the International Drug Control Treaties". Alternatively, travellers may request the national competent authority (normally the Ministry of Health) of their own home country, to provide them with the names and contact details of the national competent authorities of the countries they intend to visit.

Finally, INCB wishes to encourage all Governments that have not yet done so to provide the requested information as soon as possible. Furthermore, Governments are invited to regularly check the information reproduced on the INCB web site and update it, as necessary. To do so, Governments are invited to also make use of the standard format prepared for INCB, which is available in the six official languages of the United Nations. 

[1] Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russsian, Spanish

[2] By CND resolutions 45/5 and 46/6

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