Be careful when travelling to UAE with old debts

If you fail to repay a UAE debt a police case can be taken out against you that could result in a court proceeding and, potentially, jail time. Keren Bobker advises.

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I left the UAE in 2012 with a credit card debt, which I have not repaid. I have now been told by the bank that they have reported this to the police. I would like to know if there will be a problem travelling to UAE based on this? Can I check this somewhere before travelling? AO, Germany

If the bank has registered a case with the police then there is a good chance that the information has been passed to the Department of Immigration in all the emirates, and if AO tries to enter the country he would be arrested for unpaid debts. The quickest way of checking is to contact the bank directly and ask them if they have taken action. It is also possible to ask a friend living in the UAE to go to the main police station in the relevant emirate to find out if a case has been registered against AO. They will need a copy of the passport, and ideally a letter of authority, to inquire if there are any cases or complaints registered. They will not be told details, just if there are any cases on file. Once a case has been registered in respect of a debt, a bank is not likely to retract the case until the debt has been repaid, or at least until the majority has been paid back and the remainder is being paid off. The bank will be able to advise on the total outstanding, then AO should arrange to repay the money that he owes.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years of 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. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.