Beware of the complication of travelling with medicine

Travelling overseas with medicine

Medicine & TravelTravelling 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.)

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Do you have any questions?

Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.

If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We've also created a flowchart to explain the process.

Not sure what you need? Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

So, what's next?

Visit our Notary Fees page for a free quote for our notary public services. Otherwise, call us on +61 2 9687 8885 to speak with our friendly team about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We're known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice.

Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.

Ern Phang, Notary Public
Ern Phang
Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.

Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.

All information on this website is for general purposes only and correct at the time of publication. Only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.