Is Modafinil Legal? | What You MUST Know

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 2, 2023

Is Modafinil Legal

Is Modafinil legal for you to buy and to use?

Moreover, is it legal to buy Modafinil online, as so many anonymous smart drug users on the Internet seem to claim?

The possibility of facing Modafinil-related legal issues has crossed the minds of many people who are brand new to the nootropics scene.

Especially since many tend to be involved in highly competitive careers…where one bad stain on their record could sabotage all of their years of hard work.

While this fear might be grounded in legitimate concern, it stops people from using this powerful smart drug to experience its cognitive benefits for themselves.

This article was written with the sole purpose of helping you put your worries and fears to rest. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know exactly where to look to see if Modafinil is legal for you to use and how you can safely buy Modafinil online.

Of course, we aren’t lawyers and this isn’t legal advice. But…

The information we present below has helped thousands of readers make smart, informed decisions when it comes to buying Modafinil.

Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

Is Modafinil Legal? | The Basics

Is Modafinil legal for you to possess and use?

In virtually every country across the world, YES — provided you have a doctor’s prescription. Modafinil is a well-known and well-researched medication that has been approved for medical use in the United States and Europe for two decades.

But also across Western world, it is treated as either a controlled substance and/or prescription-only medication. And we’re guessing that if you’re reading this article then you probably don’t have a prescription. So the question becomes:

Can I possess and use Modafinil if I don’t have a doctor’s prescription for it?

The answer to this revised question will completely depend on your country of residence and that country’s regulations concerning d the distribution, purchase, and personal use of Modafinil.

But to show you the type of research you would need to answer this question based on your individual circumstances, let’s look at a country-specific question:

Is Modafinil legal in the US, and what exactly do I need to know about using the smart drug in America?

First, it’s important to know that Modafinil is categorized as a “Schedule IV” substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Other common examples of Schedule IV drugs include Xanax and Ambien.

There are five schedules under which drugs in the United States are categorized, with “Schedule I” drugs having the highest risk of abuse and harm, and “Schedule V” having the lowest [3]:

“The [Schedule 4] drug has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs in schedule 3. The drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse of the drug may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs in schedule 3.”

Which means one very simple thing…

The only 100% guaranteed way to legally use Modafinil in the United States is by having a doctor-signed Modafinil prescription and purchasing it through a licensed pharmacy as Provigil or generic Modafinil [4].

And for a doctor to write you a Modafinil prescription, you’ll likely need to medically prove you are suffering from one of the three approved medical conditions we described earlier.

In this context, “proving” may mean undergoing a series of sleep tests to properly diagnose you as having SWSD, OSA, or narcolepsy.

Additionally, the FDA specifically states it is generally illegal for anybody other than a DEA-registered importer to import medications for personal use into the country.

You can even be charged with a felony for the simple possession of Modafinil without a valid prescription or other legal cause [5].

So based on the information we have gathered thus far, we can also answer another question…

Is it legal to buy Modafinil from an overseas online pharmacy while living in the United States? The short and technical answer is a resounding, “No.”

But what are the actual real-world consequences of buying Modafinil online?  

In other words, are there any “teeth” behind these laws?


Is it Legal to Buy Modafinil Online?

Is Modafinil legal to buy online for smart drug users looking for a competitive advantage through cognitive enhancement, but who lack a doctor’s prescription?

The by-the-book answer is NO!

To our knowledge, there are three possible outcomes that will occur if you buy Modafinil online and have it delivered to your doorstep:

First, the customs officials working at border agencies do not investigate your package and allow it to go through.

Second, the border officers find your Modafinil order and seize it.

In this instance, you will likely receive a seizure letter from your country’s border agency requesting you to submit proof of a valid prescription for Modafinil [7].

In the US case, you are given two options:

You may elect to do nothing in response to this notice. If you elect to do nothing, the controlled substances will be considered abandoned after 30 days and destroyed.

Finally, you may elect to request that CBP commence seizure and forfeiture proceedings to allow you the opportunity to engage in a formal legal process to petition for the return of the property.”

As you can see from the above, you would have the option of inaction. By not replying to the letter, the border agency will automatically assume you picked the first option.

And that closes the matter.

Third, your government could prosecute you for ordering and importing Modafinil to your country of residence.

This would be the worst-case scenario.


In fact, several recently published scientific studies reveal that Modafinil is readily available for purchase online without a prescription. Moreover, Modafinil can be bought for cheaper prices and delivered to your door much faster [8, 9].

Which begs the question:

How likely are any of these Modafinil legal outcomes?

The Reality?

Here’s our take on the real-world risks associated with buying Modafinil online, based on our experience:

After hundreds of orders, we’ve had NO problem buying Modafinil online and importing it for personal use; that said, we would NEVER attempt to sell Modafinil or share it with another individual.

To our knowledge, there have been only two situations in which individuals have faced legal difficulties after purchasing Modafinil online…

The first instance involved people importing Modafinil for personal use in Japan. However, it should be noted that these individuals were importing more than 100 pills at a time [10]. In fact, you are legally allowed to import into Japan no more than 6 g (~60 tablets of 100 mg Modafinil) if you have a doctor’s prescription [11].

The second instance involved people who were attempting to import HUGE quantities of Modafinil. We’re talking thousands of Modafinil pills in a single package, or instances where Modafinil was packaged with other drugs [12, 13].

But outside of these exceptional cases, we have yet to hear of anyone getting arrested for ordering smart drugs for personal use off the Internet [14]:

“A new federal law gives the FDA authority to destroy your personally imported medication, but not without notifying you first, and providing you with appropriate due process and opportunity to obtain your prescription drug order.”

“…we have received expert legal advice and have been informed that no one has ever been prosecuted for importing medication for their own use. Even FDA personnel have attested to this.”

While your government has the basis for prosecuting you if you order Modafinil online, in our experience there is a next-to-zero chance of this happening. Common sense tells us that they aren’t concerned with your smart drug usage and are more focused on seizing illicit narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

In an interesting paper involving the online purchase of pharmaceuticals without a prescription, only three out of 56 orders (~5%) failed to be delivered [15].

As for the issue regarding orders getting confiscated at border control, it does happen from time to time. However, it is extremely rare. In our estimation, about 1% of all Modafinil orders done online involve confiscation, as very few incoming packages get flagged down for further inspection [16].

You can be fairly confident that you’ll avoid issues by buying Modafinil from a reputable, legitimate online Modafinil vendor such as Buy Moda or ModafinilXL.

They will sell you generic Modafinil, which is as equally potent as Provigil and much cheaper to purchase. The generic Modafinil is produced by reputable Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Sun Pharma and HAB Pharmaceuticals, both of which produce FDA-approved products in FDA-certified labs and possess multiple worldwide manufacturing certifications [17, 18].

To wrap up: in the highly unlikely event that your order does get seized by the customs authority, a reputable Modafinil pharmacy online would instantly refund your money or send you another shipment. You decide!

Is Modafinil Legal? | Country-By-Country

If you’re wondering “Is Modafinil legal?” in your country, 99 times out of 100 the answer will be “only if you have a prescription.”

In most Western countries, you won’t be able to legally buy the drug if you cannot present proof of a doctor-written prescription.

But in some Asian and some Latin American countries like Mexico, you’re able to buy Modafinil without a prescription from any pharmacy that has it in stock.

Let’s look at the Modafinil legal classifications in various countries.

  • United Kingdom: Modafinil is a prescription-only medication (POM) and can only be legally bought once you have the prescription. Bear in mind that Modafinil is ONLY prescribed for narcolepsy in the United Kingdom [19]. However, it is not a criminal offense to POSSESS Modafinil (with or without a prescription) as it does not appear on the UK Misuse of Drug Act 1971 [20].
  • Australia: Modafinil is a Schedule 4 drug, meaning it can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription as Modavigil for narcolepsy and sleep apnea [21]. Despite this classification, Modafinil does not require permission to have it imported or exported from the country [22].
  • The Netherlands: Modafinil can only be bought after being prescribed the smart drug from a licensed medical doctor for narcolepsy [23]. After consulting with Dutch legal practitioners and conducting our own research, we found no legal basis for concluding that possession of Modafinil in the country is illegal.
  • Germany: Like other western nations, you can only get your hands on Modafinil legally in Germany by prescription under the brand name “Vigil” [24]. However, as in the Dutch, we could not find any laws or regulations stating that Modafinil is illegal to possess.
  • Canada: Modafinil is a Schedule 1 prescription drug in Canada and can only be bought via prescription under the brand name “Alertec.” You cannot buy it  online in the country, but it is not considered criminal to be in possession of Modafinil [25].
  • Mexico: Modafinil can be bought from any major pharmacy and possessed without a prescription, and is usually available under the brand name “Modiodal’ [26].


Legalities of Modafinil | Verdict

Is Modafinil legal? It is absolutely legal for you to purchase Modafinil for personal use if you have a prescription.

But is it legal to buy Modafinil online from an overseas vendor? While in many cases the law of your country will likely bar you from doing so, there are, in our experience, next to NO risks with ordering Modafinil online in small quantities. From what we can tell, there’s a 99% chance your order will show up within two weeks of your order date.

In the rare case where your order gets seized by customs, a reputable Modafinil vendor will either re-ship your package at no additional cost or provide you with a full refund.

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  2. Medicine: This Will Keep You Awake. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  3. Schedule 4 (IV) Drugs. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  4. MEDICATION GUIDE: PROVIGIL®. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. Is it legal for me to personally import drugs? Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  6. Modafinil. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  7. Informed Compliance Notice for Imported Controlled Substances. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  8. Dursun S, Dunn M, McKay FH. The availability and acquisition of modafinil on the internet. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2019;38(6):699-702. doi:10.1111/dar.12977
  9. Hockenhull J, Wood DM, Dargan PI. The Availability of Modafinil and Methylphenidate Purchased from the Internet in the United Kingdom Without a Prescription. Subst Use Misuse. 2020;55(1):56-65. doi:10.1080/10826084.2019.1654516
  10. Japan – news (in Japanese) of actual arrests of people who have imported Modafinil from India. Retrieved June 8, 2020. r/afinil
  11. Japan – Medications, medicine and drugs in Japan. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  12. Qingdao Customs Seizes 1,000 Modafinil Pills Posted from Abroad. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  13. 140,000 illegal tablets seized through postal system around globe including NI. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  14. RECLAIM Your Seized Meds. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  15. Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  16. JFK is America’s largest mail room. Here’s how customs searches 1 million mail packages a day for drugs and counterfeit goods. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  17. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  18. Habpharma – home. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  19. Modafinil (Provigil): now restricted to narcolepsy. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  20. Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  21. Brand name: ModavigilTM. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  22. List of drug substances requiring permission to import and/or export. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  23. Overall summary of the scientific evaluation of modafinil-containing products. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  24. Modafinil: Cognitive Enhancer mit Abhängigkeitspotenzial. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  25. Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (S.C. 1996, c. 19). Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  26. Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

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