Can UAE credit card debtor be arrested in other GCC countries?

Keren Bobker advises on the laws when travelling with an unpaid credit card debt following residency in the UAE.

Credit card debts need to be paid before departure from the UAE. Antonie Robertson / The National
Powered by automated translation

Can you tell me if an unpaid UAE credit card debt of Dh14,000 can lead to arrest in other GCC countries or at any airports, such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman or Qatar? SK, unknown

SK has provided me with little information and not responded to inquiries, so I can only assume that he has either left the UAE without repaying the monies owed and now wishes to work in another GCC country, or that he plans to leave the UAE without arranging repayment. I presume he does not yet have a police case registered against him, as this would prevent him from both leaving and entering the UAE. Any debt issues in the UAE relate to this country only and should have no legal status in other GCC countries, but I have heard stories of banks “selling on” a debt to a division in an­other country, so steps should be taken to start repaying the loans as soon as possible to avoid fut­ure problems. In addition, he is both legally and morally responsible for repaying money borrowed. The other issue is that if someone lands in the UAE in transit, even if unplanned, there is a possibility of being arrested if a police case has been registered, so travelling in the region can be a risk until such time as a debt is repaid.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 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