General Information for Travellers Carrying Medicines Containing Controlled Substances

If you are under medical treatment and planning to travel internationally, you might be concerned about which medicines and how many doses you can legally carry with you abroad or when returning to your country. Please be aware that each country regulates this matter differently. This means that the legislation may differ greatly from country to country.

General Information

The following is a summary of regulations that are typical to many countries. Please carefully review the regulations specific to the country you are travelling to as they maybe different than these.

  • A medical prescription from a licensed doctor is required by most countries.
  • The prescription should be translated into the local language. For some countries, a translation in English will suffice.
  • Many countries do not permit carrying more than a 30 to 90 day supply of a prescription.
  • Requirements for foreigners might differ from requirements for citizens of that country.
  • Different requirements might be in place depending on where you are travelling from.
  • Countries are permitted to control other substances not under international control; meaning that non-internationally controlled substances not controlled in one country may be controlled in another.

INCB requests countries to submit their national regulation on this matter. The information so acquired is summarized and published in a standardized format, comprising:

  • Documentation required (e.g. medical prescriptions);
  • Qualitative and/or quantitative restrictions (e.g. doses sufficient for a specific maximum amount of time);
  • Contact details of the competent national authority in the intended country of destination or transit of the prospective travellers.

The responsibility for updating information regarding the regulations for travellers carrying medicines containing controlled substances lies entirely with the Governments concerned. Thus, INCB cannot confirm the correctness and accuracy of regulations for travellers published on this website, and strongly recommends prospective travellers to contact the embassy/consulate of the intended country of visit, or their competent national authority, regarding enquries or clarifications regarding these regulations.

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Schengen Area

If you are a citizen of a Schengen State and you are travelling within the Schengen Area, special provisions apply. An excerpt of the relevant regulation is found below, however you are strongly advised to read it in full.

  • The competent authorities of the Schengen States shall issue the Schengen medical certificate to persons resident on their territory who want to travel to another Schengen State and who, owing to a medical prescription, need to take narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances during this period. The certificate shall be valid for a maximum period of 30 days.
  • The certificate shall be issued or authenticated by the competent authorities of the country of origin on the basis of a medical prescription. A separate certificate shall be required for each narcotic drug/psychotropic substance prescribed. The competent authorities shall keep a copy of the certificate.
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