Living in the UAE: How to make a smooth exit if you plan to leave

What you need to take care of before heading on to another country

You will need to make sure you have taken care of several matters before you can leave the UAE. Photo: FabrikaCr
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An inevitability for some people living abroad is that they will move back home at some point.

There might be a temptation to simply pack up and hop on the next plane out of the country, however a failure to take care of personal matters could lead to unexpected legal consequences down the line.

The National takes a look at some of the matters that need to be resolved before you can head off to pastures new.

Closing a bank account and clearing credit cards

One of the most important issues that needs addressing before you leave the country is financial.

Closing down your bank account will give you peace of mind against unexpected complications later on.

While each bank has its own individual processes, the procedure for closing an account is largely the same across the UAE.

To begin the procedure to close an account, it is more than likely you will have to make an in-person visit to a branch of your bank.

It can take about two months for paperwork to be completed to shut down overdrafts, loans and credit cards, therefore it is advisable to begin that process three months before leaving the country.

You will need to submit a bank account closure form, along with offering a form of identification, usually an Emirates ID or a passport.

Chequebooks and debit or credit cards linked to the account should also be deactivated.

You can then request a letter of closure from the bank confirming the account is defunct. It is advised to leave enough money in your account to cover the cost of any fees incurred.

It will typically take three to five working days for confirmation that the request has been successful. Any debit cards or chequebooks that have not been handed back to the bank will be deactivated.

Cancelling your mobile phone contract

To terminate your mobile phone contract, you must pay the full recurring charge for the month as well as any outstanding fees.

Once all documents are provided and the fees have been paid, you should receive confirmation of the account closure within 72 hours with du, while for Etisalat customers, the contract is closed immediately once paid.

How to cancel home broadband

Etisalat customers are advised to visit a store, phone the company helpline or check on the app to see what exit fees will be incurred by a cancellation.

The company website also says the cancellation process should begin no later than 48 hours before you plan to leave the country.

Du customers are advised online that all outstanding fees on the account must be paid and a full month's rental must also be paid if still under the contracted period.

The monthly rental of the current month will also be charged on a pro-rata basis.

Turning off your water and electricity connection

You must also ensure you have disconnected your water and electricity connections before leaving the country.

To close down your connection in the UAE you must do the following:

  • Contact the authority providing the water and electricity. This will vary from emirate to emirate.
  • Inform the ADDC of your preferred moving out date and how you want your deposit refunded.
  • Arrange a meter reading.
  • Pay the final bill in order to receive a letter of closure.

Cancelling your residence visa

Before you depart the UAE, it is essential to cancel your employment visa. To do this, you must give your visa to your employer for them to begin the termination process.

You must also work your required notice before leaving, as per UAE labour law.

Clear outstanding traffic fines

It is also important to ensure that any outstanding traffic fines are paid before leaving the country.

You can do this by contacting the driving authority in the relevant emirate.

Removing children from school

It goes without saying you should notify your child's school of plans to move out of the country in advance.

It might also be the case that whatever school they end up in their new country will require a record of their education.

A transfer certificate or record of education can be obtained from the Minister of Education or the school authorities in different emirates including KHDA, ADEK or SPEA.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 12:11 PM