As people jet off on their summer holidays, here is a reminder of what you are and are not allowed in your hand and hold luggage on an aircraft.
This not only includes dangerous and restricted items, but the more apparently harmless things, such as a mercury thermometer, rolling pins, small plants, or even simple, home-cooked food.
Each country has its own rules and if you are flying to Dubai, you can find the list of prohibited items on Dubai Custom’s website, which is updated regularly.
Ibrahim Al Kamali, director of passenger operations at Dubai Customs, said travellers should check the rules before flying. If in doubt, they can also use the iDeclare app and declare anything that they are not sure of.
“We call upon passengers to declare their possessions on arrival and not to carry luggage for others,” he said.
List of prohibited items
Prohibited goods are any items that cannot be carried in the checked or hold luggage without the approval of the relevant authorities. These include:
All kinds of narcotic drugs, including hashish, cocaine, heroin, poppy seeds, and hallucinogenic pills. Certain prohibited drugs may be imported or exported subject to official approvals.
Crude ivory and rhinoceros horn
Gambling tools and machinery
Three-layer fishing nets
Original engravings, prints, lithographs (prints made on stone), sculptures, and statues in any material
Used, reconditioned and inlaid tyres (made of high quality sponge materials)
Substances that cause radiation
Printed publications, oil paintings, photographs, pictures, cards, books, magazines stony sculptures and mannequins that contradict Islamic teachings, decencies, or deliberately imply immorality or turmoil
Forged and duplicate currency
Cooked and home-made foods
Paan and betel leaves
Live animals, plants, fertilisers and insecticides
Weapons, ammunition, explosives and fireworks
Transmitters and radio equipment
This list can be updated occasionally to add or remove items. For the latest information, check the official Dubai Customs website.
Items prohibited in hand luggage
All types of hammers, nails, screwdrivers, and sharp work tools
Scissors with blades longer than 6cm
Personal grooming kit (parts longer than 6cm will be confiscated)
All types of swords, knives and sharp objects
All types of firearms, ammunition, or flare guns
All types of laser guns and martial arts weapons
All types of ropes
Matches, safety (one small packet) or a small cigarette lighter that does not contain unabsorbed liquid fuel, other than liquefied gas, intended for use by an individual when carried on the person. Lighter fuel and lighter refills are not allowed on a person or in checked or carry-on baggage.
Sports equipment that can be used as a bludgeon
Electrical cables except for personal trip use
Large metallic items
Compressed gas cylinders
Car spare parts
E-cigarettes (including e-cigars, e-pipes, electric portable incense burners or other personal vaporisers) containing batteries must be individually protected to prevent accidental activation. They can only be carried in the checked luggage, not in the hand luggage.
Hypodermic needles (unless you have a medical certificate explaining why you need them).
High quantities of liquids such as soup, jam, honey, syrups, cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotion, oils, perfumes, mascara, lip gloss, sprays, shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants, toothpaste, contact lens solution and gels, including hair and shower gel.
All liquids should be packed inside a clear, re-sealable plastic bag and cannot be more than 100 ml per item. The maximum limit is 1 litre.
Certain medicines are included in the list of banned items at Dubai Airport.
Some medicines from passengers’ home countries may unintentionally contain substances banned in the UAE, which can lead to possible arrest.
Passengers should carry a valid and attested prescription from a doctor if they do not have any other option but to carry the banned medication.
Passengers should not have medication that is more than the required normal usage for your scheduled stay in Dubai.
Medicines that are banned in the UAE include:
Morphine tablets (used to relieve short-term acute or long-term chronic pain)
Codeine (used for pain and is found naturally in the sap of the opium poppy)
Tramadol (a narcotic analgesic)
Alpha-methylifentanyl (opioid analgesic)
Ketamine (an anaesthetic that can be used for depression)
Betamethodol (used for skin diseases but is a cortisone-like medicine or steroid)
Trimeperidine (an opioid analgesic)
The entire list of banned medicines can be found on the website of Dubai Customs.
What can people bring into the country, legally?
Passengers can bring the following items into Dubai without paying customs duty:
Gifts that are under Dh3,000.
Passengers 18 or older can bring less than 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 500 grams of tobacco (minced or pressed for pipes), tobacco or mild-tasting tobacco. Passengers will have to pay duty if they exceed the limit.
Alcoholic beverages and beers should not exceed four litres, or two cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355ml for each can or its equivalent).
Personal belongings exempt from customs fees
Still and moving image video cameras with their appropriate tapes, films and accessories.
A passenger who is 18 years or older can carry cash, different currencies and traveller's cheques, but the total amount should be less than Dh60,000.
CDs, DVD players, slides, films and accessories that are used in projectors but only for personal use.
Telescopes, mobile telephones, portable TV sets, computers including laptops.
Portable music equipment
Sports equipment (should be taken in checked luggage if it can be used as a bludgeon)
Portable typing sets
Disabled wheelchairs and cars
The above items must be for personal use and not for resale.
The passenger should not be a frequent traveller coming in with these goods on a regular basis.