Meds & Travel → How to get them through customs

We're not talking about Midnight Express here – but prescription medicines can land you in hot water, too, if you don't follow a few simple rules.

More sure you travel with enough medication for the length of your trip; the prescription written by your doctor at home will not be valid overseas. you might also want to carry a couple of extras in case of delay, or if one goes down the sink.

Carry medicines in their original packaging with prescription labels showing your name attached.

Ask your doctor to write a note verifying they're only for your personal use, stating what the drug is (not brand), what you're taking them for, and in what dosage.

If you're on an extended trip, and taking more than one month's supply, (three months in some countries), you may need to explain. A copy of your itinerary or return airline ticket should do.

Get a medication permit and letter

If you use strong, opioid (morphine-based) pain-killers, or treatment for addiction (methadone, for example), many countries require you to get a special permit before you arrive. This may include codeine-based medicines. You may also need a letter from your doctor which outlines which medications you are taking and their dosage.
Contact the relevant embassy in your country for details, should you have any questions before traveling.

Traveling with vitamins

Those pills you take every day to boost your immune system or brain function, such as vitamins and supplements, should also be carried in their original packaging, so authorities can identify their contents.

Most western nations have removed codeine from over-the-counter medicines. If there is codeine in a medicine, you'll need a prescription to get it, so the rules above apply.

Get a travel insurance quote for Worldwide

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

15 Comments

  • ben howell said

    hi,im planning on traveling to srilanka with my partner and her daughter,her daughter is on 100mg of methedone,will she be able to travel with us,

    Reply

    • Jacqueline montoya said

      I plan on traveling to Lagos, Nigeria, to be married. I also plan on living there if I can get all my daily medication. I am on 85mg of methadone I also take Clonazepam for anxiety also take U-500 for diabetes. What do I need to take a one months supply from the State ofNew Mexico in the United States. I also need to know how I can find a doctor who can perscribe me my medication legally. Thank you

      Reply

  • vicki cushing said

    I am a UK Citizen going to visit my son in Canada for 30 days (May 15-June12) & take strong opiates for severe medical conditions (ZoMorph tabs/codeine tabs/diazepam (severe anxiety/PTSD) I have a Drs letter explaining what these are for (1 month supply) and the strengths/amounts etc. Will I encounter any problems entering Calgary Canada?

    Reply

    • Mindy said

      I'm going to be travelling to the USA from Canada for approx 4 - 6 months. I take prescription Nabilone. Can I carry this much medication with me?

      Reply

  • Dannah said

    I am flying from Chicago to Japan and then on to manila, philippines next month. I will be gone about a month. Will I be able to take a multivitamin, probiotic, and vitamin c /magnesium in my carryon? Whether it's in the original container or baggies, should I have a problem?

    Reply

  • Adrienne atkin said

    Hi
    Travelling to Sri Lanka and Maldives shortly. I have some medication drugs which I am taking my prescriptions. I was advised by the GP some time ago to take parectomol over the counter as it's cheaper than on prescription. I take very few a day but on adverse 2 to 4. Am I allowed to take in parectomol without problems

    Reply

  • Dee Dee Kearney said

    We are traveling to Barbados June 2018. I am on methadone liquid. Will I be able to make it through customs as long as the bottles have my and my info on them?

    Reply

  • Mark said

    I'm living in UK. Born there. I am moving to live in France. I'm trying to find out if I can still get my medication.
    Methadone
    Diazepam
    And other mess
    Cheers

    Reply

  • victoria said

    my partner is on 90ml of methdone a day and we are flying to tenerife from uk this year and need to know where we put does it go in hold luggage and keep perscription and letter from perscriber in hand luggage.does he need a licence aswell we are only going for 7 days

    Reply

  • Annmarie Clark said

    I am travelling to Mexico in August.. I take tramadol for pain relief will this be OK

    Reply

    • Graham said

      I am travelling to Prague, Czech Republic and Bulgaria in July. I very low doses of Effexor and Clonazepam. I have a doctors prescription and a medical certificate to carry with me.

      Do I need anything else?

      Reply

  • Debbie Klein said

    Hi im going to the Dominican republic soon and have to take codeine based psin killers for a chronic back condition do i have to have a doctors letter

    Reply

  • lorraine melrose said

    I am going to the Philipines next year I am on morphine for pain can I take it with me

    Reply

  • Caren said

    I'm on 75mls methadone im planning to go to Bahrain for 1 month to be with my husband as he's working there do I need a license or just the letter from the prescriber?? I already traveled to Pakistan 9 months ago with no problems I just took the letter from the prescribed.

    Reply

    • julie said

      I went to saudi arabia in 2013 for 1 month. Took physeptone tablets as methadone liquid not allowed. No problems whatsoever. I was on 120mg liquid so i took 360 tablets of physeptone instead. Must be in original packaging and original script plus cover letter from prescribing doctor. No one blinked an eye. I came from Australia to saudi. I had overnight stay in dubai on return trip. I would think bahrain would be the same.

      Reply

Add a Comment