Taking Medication to Scandinavia

Independent Housing

The U.S. Department of State provides the following basic advice regarding traveling abroad with medication:

  • Bring medications in your carry-on luggage
  • Keep medication in its original container and clearly labeled
  • Assure your medication is legal to carry into the country
  • Bring a doctor’s note listing medication and why you are taking it

Meet with Your Doctor Before Traveling Abroad

DIS recommends that you talk to your doctor about your plans to travel abroad well in advance. As part of this conversation, ask your doctor if they have any concerns with you receiving enough of your prescription medication for the duration of your time abroad.

If your insurance only allows a limited amount of prescription at a time and this isn’t enough for your term abroad, call your insurance company and ask for an exception. A copy of your acceptance from DIS will often assist your appeal for additional coverage.

Some students have been unable to receive an exception and have had to pay out of pocket for the additional month(s). If this is your situation, ask if you can later file for reimbursement from the insurance company.

Note: Birth control is a legal substance in Scandinavia; talk with your doctor about bringing enough birth control for the entire term.

>> Read about planning for your health abroad here 

Bringing Medication Through Customs

The Swedish and Danish authorities limit the amount and type of medication that can be carried into each country. Generally, any type of medication that contains amphetamine, benzodiazepine, methylphenidate, and other euphoriants has import restrictions, which limits the amount that can be carried into Sweden to a 5-day supply and Denmark to a 14-day supply.

Never travel internationally with medical marijuana in any form. Marijuana is illegal in many countries, including Denmark and Sweden. Students with a U.S. prescription for marijuana can be arrested, prosecuted, and deported if in possession of any illegal substance. U.S. Airports and airplanes are under federal jurisdiction. Federal authorities do not recognize medical marijuana laws or cards of any state. If you are in possession of illegal substances, you can be detained and arrested when going through security on your way out of or into the U.S.

If the medication does not contain euphoriants, you are allowed to bring your full supply for your DIS Summer attendance through customs. Importing illegal medication to Sweden or Denmark may result in having the medication seized, receiving a fine, or other repercussions. Read more on the Swedish medical products authority’s website and the Danish Medicines Agency website.

When you have medication to bring to Sweden or Denmark, make sure to bring:

  1. The medication in its original container
  2. A copy of the prescription and a statement from the doctor explaining your condition
  3. Proof of legal purchase of the medication (e.g. a receipt from the pharmacy where it was purchased)Medication cannot be sent via mail to Sweden or Denmark. Any medication mailed to either country will be intercepted by customs before release and if the medication is prohibited in the EU, the medication will be destroyed.

If You Cannot Bring Enough Medication for Your Time Abroad: Next Steps

If you run into any problems getting enough medication to bring to Denmark and/or Sweden or the medication is not allowed to be brought into the country, you may have other options.

  1. You may be able to receive the medication in Sweden or Denmark. However, this should only be a fallback option as it doesn’t always work seamlessly.
  2. Talk to your doctor, well in advance of travel, about possibly switching medication. Any change in treatment may require an adjustment period and close monitoring by a medical professional, which you will want to undertake while still in the U.S.
  3. It is possible in rare situations to apply for a permit to import medication to either country. The process generally takes four weeks and approval is not guaranteed.

Contact health.accommodation@dis.dk to discuss your specific situation and the three options above.

NOTE: The information on this page is subject to change. For official information, rely on information provided by your doctor(s) and the above official medication websites.