List of Banned Items in Dubai

The government of United Arab Emirates forbids bringing in banned drugs or narcotics, irrespective of whether they are brought in person, hand carried or in the luggage. In case of a failure to comply with the rules, the government has the right to either deport the person, confiscate the items and/or send him/her to prison.

The same rules apply in Dubai. There are a few materials that can get a tourist arrested in Dubai – irrespective of what his nationality may be. Those materials include, but are not limited to:

– Radar jammers
– Endangered animal species,
– Paintings/books and literature which does not comply with Islamic values

The banned items are discussed in detail in the preceding steps and you should refer to them before planning your trip to Dubai.


  • 1

    Banned prescription drugs

    If you’re visiting Dubai, the best thing would be to not bring any prescribed drugs with you at all. But if you do need to, then bring a prescription with you and get it notarized/attested by the UAE embassy near your location.

    Cases have been reported where tourists have been jailed in Dubai while the prescriptions for their drugs were being sent over. But even that may not guarantee you getting out of jail.

    A few of the banned prescription drugs that can get you a 4-year jail sentence include:

    - Alfentanil
    - Amphetamine
    - Buprenorphone
    - Codeine
    - Fentanyl
    - Ketamine
    - Methadone
    - Methyphenidate

    The best advice anyone can give you is to check with the authorities before bringing in any kind of prescription drugs.

  • 2

    Pornographic material

    Since Dubai follows the Islamic code of conduct, pornography is strictly prohibited. This can be in the form of magazines, books as well as pictures and videos. If found by the customs officials, they can be confiscated and a tourist may also be penalized. There is no leniency for anyone if found in possession of pornography or drugs.

  • 3

    Anti Islam Material

    According to a census done in 2005, 95% of the citizens of UAE are Muslims. UAE has also declared Islam as the official religion and while the blasphemy laws in Dubai and other emirates may not be as strict as they are in countries like Pakistan, bringing in any kind of anti-Islam material is banned. It can lead to a prison sentence, fines and confiscation.

  • 4

    Firearms in Dubai

    It is absolutely forbidden to bring firearms in the emirate whether you are a tourist or an expatriate. Dubai is one of the safest cities’ in the world and this is a result of its strict laws. Not only will it be impossible for you to bring arms in Dubai with you through the airport, but a tourist is also not allowed to import them.

  • 5

    Taking gifts to Dubai

    If you plan to visit the city as a tourist and take a gift for someone, you are allowed as long as the gift is not valued at more than AED 3,000. You should also note that the gifts should be for personal use and not for selling commercially.

  • 6

    Cigarettes in Dubai

    There is no need to bring cigarettes in Dubai because they are sold cheap in the city. However, if you do take them, the number of cigarettes should not exceed 500, 50 grams of tobacco (minced or pressed) or 50 cigars.  However, anybody who is under 18 years of age is not allowed to bring them in the city and may be penalized for it.

  • 7


    Alcohol can be brought in Dubai by tourists but there is a limit on its quantity. It should not exceed 4 litres, or 2 cartons of beer having 24 cans each, which are not more than 355 ml. This relaxation is only for non-Muslim tourists and Muslims, if found in possession of it, can face legal action. Also, only adults are allowed to bring alcohol into the city.

  • 8


    Gadgets are allowed to be brought into the city. However, they should not be for commercial selling. If otherwise, they should be reported to the authorities. The gadgets allowed for personal use include:

    - Telescopes
    - Projectors for displaying slides and films
    - Musical instruments
    - Radio systems
    - Laptops and computers
    - Mobile phones
    - Portable TV sets
    - Baby cars
    - Electronic wheelchairs
    - Calculators

  • 9

    Cash limit allowed for tourists in Dubai

    People who are planning to visit Dubai for tourism purposes are allowed to bring currencies and travelers checks that are worth less than AED 40,000. But the person bringing the cash must be at least 18 years or older. All major currencies of the world can be exchanged in Dubai and there are ATMs in all major shopping malls, hotels and public places.

  • 10

    Pets/endangered species

    Pets and animals of endangered species, subject to the CITES Convention, must be declared to the authorities otherwise they will not be allowed in the city, and a tourist may be penalized for bringing them.

  • 11


    If a tourist is planning to bring any kind of plant in the city, he/she would be advised to check with the UAE authorities first and ensure they are allowed to be carried. Some plants have to be reported to them before they are allowed to be brought in.

  • 12


    A  tourist cannot bring explosives or fireworks in the city under any circumstances; whether through hand carry, in the luggage or through other means. Not only will the custom authorities at the Dubai Airport not clear them, the airline you’re coming on will also not let you carry them.

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