What do I need if I take my medication abroad?

If your medication falls under the Opium Act, you will need to apply for a Schengen certificate or a medical certificate, depending on what country you will be visiting. Opiates include sleeping pills, strong painkillers, medication for ADHD and medical cannabis. A medication passport can be useful when you are travelling; it is not, however, a travel document.

Information on medicines that fall under the Opium Act

Ask your pharmacist if your medicine falls under the Opium Act, or consult lists I and II of the Opium Act, which list the active ingredients. Heavy painkillers and Ritalin, for example, are on list I. Sleeping pills and drugs to reduce anxiety are on list II.

Schengen certificate or medical certificate for medication

If you are travelling to a Schengen country with medicines that fall under the Opium Act, you will need to apply to the Central Administrative Office (CAK) for a Schengen certificate (in Dutch only). The certificate is valid for 30 days. If you are going away for more than 30 days, you must have multiple, successive Schengen certificates. A Schengen certificate is valid for travel in up to four Schengen countries.

You will need a medical certificate for countries outside the Schengen area. The certificate is valid for a year and is also valid in Schengen countries that you pass through to reach your destination outside the Schengen area. You can find an example of a medical certificate on the CAK website.

You will find a list of destination countries on the CAK website (in Dutch only) which tells you what you need to do to apply for a Schengen certificate or a medical certificate for the country in question. For some countries, for example, your medical certificate has to be legalised. Sometimes you need to contact the country's embassy to ask about additional rules and requirements.

Medication passport not a valid travel document

A medication passport is not a travel document; it only lists the medication that you use or what drugs you are allergic to. This is useful if you visit a pharmacist or doctor while you are abroad. You can get a medication passport from your family doctor, pharmacy or consultant. A medication passport is sometimes referred to as a European Medical Passport.

Keep medicines in their original packaging

When you go abroad, keep your medicines in their original packaging. This makes it clear to foreign officials that the drugs are medicines, not illegal drugs.