Travelling overseas with medicine
Travelling overseas with medicine can be full of complications depending on the countries that you intend on visiting. Do not expect that other countries will have the same laws and regulations regarding medicines or drugs that we enjoy in Australia. There have been many reports of Australians travelling abroad who have been stopped, arrested and potentially even jailed for carrying medicines. Some medicines can be legally bought in Australia (perhaps even over the counter) but are illegal in other countries whether you are visiting or just transiting through. Do not be caught out. The last thing you would want to be dealing with, especially if you are travelling for holidays, is to face legal issues in a foreign country.
If you are unsure of the legal restrictions or limitations on travelling with medicine, please check with the travel advisory (which is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/, your travel agent or the airlines/cruise ship that you are travelling with for more information. You may also want to check with your prescribing doctor about obtaining a prescription, letter or doctor’s certificate to support the use of the medicine that you are travelling with. This information may be important as you pass through customs, but you must also ensure that you follow the procedure below.
Notarising your doctor’s certificate or prescription
You may be stopped for inspection and questioning if you travel through customs with medicines. Ensuring that you have the right supporting documents will hopefully help you avoid complications. Generally, to support your right or need to carry medicine through customs you should have a prescription, a letter from your doctor or a doctor’s certificate – and it should be notarised.
As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we commonly assist clients with notarising their prescriptions, letters from their doctor or doctor’s certificates. In order to notarise these documents, we first verify the information with the prescribing doctor, medical clinic or hospital. We then provide a notary certificate confirming that we have verified the information contained in the attached document and that the attached document is either the original or a certified copy as preferred or required. After notarisation, some documents may also need to be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and legalised depending on the intended destination (or transit) country and their specific requirements.
The whole process can take several days to weeks depending on the doctor, medical clinic or hospital as well as the apostille or the authentication and legalisation process. If you are planning on travelling, then you need to make your plans well in advance to avoid doing things at the last minute and unexpected delays. The risk of travelling overseas with medicine without a notarised prescription, letter or doctor’s certificate is unnecessary and the complications you could face while travelling through customs can be easily avoided with a little preparation.
(This article really is only intended for people travelling with medicine, and is not intended nor can it assist anyone intending to travel with illicit drugs.)