Debtors likely to be arrested on entry into the UAE if cases have been registered

I left Dubai in 2007 and unfortunately left some unpaid debts behind – a car loan and some credit card debt. I made consecutive payments while I had enough income, but stopped after a few months, as my salary level in Europe was lower than the full monthly payments. Since February 2008 I have not paid any money against those accounts; my car was surrendered to Dubai police and, I think, has been sold for an amount that partially repaid my debt. I believe there is still approximately Dh58,000 of debt outstanding. I have now been approached about a new job in Dubai, but I cannot find a company that can find out whether I have any police cases lodged against me. I have every intention to pay off the money I owe to the bank, but I am not entirely convinced that they are going to lift the police case they originally filed against me. In fact, I do not actually know if they filed a case at all. Is there any way I can check whether there is a problem with me re-entering the UAE without having to actually do so? TS, Hungary

The first step is to contact the banks directly and ask them if they have filed a police case. You can also ask a friend in Dubai to go to a main police station with a copy of your passport, and ideally a letter of authority, to enquire if they have any cases against you registered in their system. All the friend will be told is whether there are or not, without any specific details. If there are cases registered the debt must be repaid in full before the case can be cancelled. Until all police cases against an individual are cancelled, debtors are likely to be arrested on entry into the UAE and not released until a settlement is agreed.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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