Expat wants to clear debt, go back to Dubai after years of missing payments

I left Dubai in 2010 because of an emergency, as my wife back home in India was expecting a baby and there were a few complications. I had personal loans and credit cards but left without paying them, and have not made any payments since that time. I am now in a better situation in life and want to pay off my debts and eventually come back to Dubai. Please suggest the steps I can take to do this. SJ, India

It is commendable that SJ wishes to repay the money he owes, and the first step is to contact the banks with whom he has the debts to find out how much is outstanding. It is best to get this information in writing. When making first contact, tell them that there is the intention to repay but that the outstanding balance is required. Given the time that has elapsed there is likely to be a significant amount of additional interest, but if someone is able to repay the outstanding amount in a single payment, or over a few months, it may be worth asking if the bank will accept a lower amount to clear the debt. There is no obligation on the lender to accept a reduced sum, but there have been cases where they will do so to get the debt cleared and off the books. When each debt has been cleared in full, it is important to get this confirmed in writing so that no further charges can be levied; SJ should ask the banks to confirm that there are no police cases outstanding. He can also ask a friend in Dubai to visit the police station to confirm if any cases are registered against him before he attempts to return to the UAE.


Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com and 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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