UPDATE: Reader Email From The Pill Police In Action At The UAE Customs


Earlier this week, we wrote (access here) about new regulation that is in place for those visiting or even transiting in United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) which requires passengers in advance to declare all their medication using very intrusive and time consuming online form.

UAE Pill Police

A LoyaltyLobby reader send us a message that he had received from his friend about customs inspection in UAE where she was asked to translate someone from Germany that couldn’t explain what her pills were for (contraceptives). 

Here’s the email from the reader:

Regarding the declaration of prescription medication issue in UAE, a friend of mine was stopped on arrival by Customs, whilst they cleared her, she was asked to translate for a female customs officer with a German tourist arriving with her boyfriend for a visit.

Yesterday I arrived at Dubai Airport the hand luggage control entry machine just after the immigration s . A young German lady was questioned about what’s in her handbag . This young lady could not speak English so they asked me to help and translate …..’

it seems that the official was keen to establish what a strip of pills were in her bags, which were contraceptive pills. However the official did not take on board or understand what ‘Baby stopping pills’ were. Probably just as well! As we know it is also an offense to cohabit with anybody who is not your legal spouse! So are contraceptive pills having to be declared on all female visitor immigration forms? Very intrusive ….


This new legislation doesn’t really make much sense. As was noted on the earlier piece, the list of “prohibited” medications for which prior clearance is required even when transiting includes most modern ones and even then it is unclear if you really need to get clearance for ALL meds.

My hunch is that this “law” is as selectively enforced as the alcohol one in the UAE. You theoretically need an alcohol license if you are under the influence (even a drop) outside of the licensed venues and this includes even the airport.

So, if they cannot catch you for having an adult beverage perhaps you have some pills with you that you haven’t cleared in advance? So, it won’t be an issue until it is.

Someone noted that Emirates and Etihad too should email their passengers and inform about this requirement. I am sure that they won’t because this certainly would affect passenger number on connecting routes. People have better things to do with their lives than to upload sensitive documents to a likely unsecure server in the UAE.