The British Embassy in the UAE has warned British citizens living in the UAE to clear all of their debts before leaving the country.
In a series of posts on its social media acounts, the British Embassy launched a Checking Out Of The UAE campaign in which is advised expats to clear all debts before leaving the country, warning those that don’t could face being arrested should they return.
The Embassy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, have been providing checklists of the most important tasks that need to be carried out before leaving the UAE.
Checking out of the #UAE: Clear all debts before you leave. Authorities record them, you could be arrested on return pic.twitter.com/LbwQNQX8FU
— UKinUAE (@ukinuae) May 8, 2016
UK Ambassador to the UAE Philip Parham told Gulf News: “This is the time of the year, as school year ends, when some families and individuals think about relocating back to the UK or moving to another country. It is important that British nationals who have such plans settle financial, visa, accommodation and property issues before they leave the UAE. Non-payment of a debt is a criminal offence and could result in an individual not being able to leave the country, or being stopped and arrested if they try to come back, or even transit through, the UAE.”
Checking out of the #UAE: If your contract is ending, cancel your visa, return medical cards & request your gratuity pic.twitter.com/7Vwweziooi — UKinUAE (@ukinuae) May 9, 2016
Here’s what you need to know from the British Embassy before Checking out of the UAE:
Property, cars and possessions
• If you have a property you wish to sell or rent then you will need to engage the services of an agent if you are leaving the UAE.
• If you rent a property then make sure you give the required notice in your contract or you may be liable for a further payment.
• Sell your car before you leave or leave a Power of Attorney with a friend or colleague to sell it for you. If you do use a Power of Attorney, you will need a local lawyer to advise you on this.
Read: UAE Law – Know Your Rights
• Check for any outstanding traffic fines: Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
• Remember to cancel your Salik tag if you have one.
• Your insurance company may offer a rebate when the car is sold.
• Get quotes for removals. It can take six weeks or longer to ship your belongings to the UK.
• Remember to get your shipping insured and consider the cost of storage if required.
• Decide what you are taking and organise a sale to dispose of the rest or contact one of the companies that will take your junk for you.
Read: Employment Rights In The UAE
• Give notice to your landlord in accordance with your lease.
• Request and collect utilities clearance certificates: Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
• Collect any deposits outstanding from the utility or phone companies.
• Cancel your contracts with your mobile phone, internet and TV providers.
• Cancel any newspapers or other services delivered to your door.
• Cancel your home contents insurance policy.
• Return the keys to your landlord and collect any outstanding deposits. You may need to have the original receipts to do this.
Read: Property Law In The UAE
Employment and Visas
• If your contract is coming to an end, you will need to hand over your passport temporarily to your employer who will cancel your residence visa.
• Failure to do so could delay your departure or mean you are marked on the immigration system as an absconder.
• Request your gratuity payout statement and payment from your employer. The Embassy does not get involved in employment disputes. Please contact the Ministry of Labour and refer to the List of Lawyers.
• If you are terminating your employment then you will need to give the required period of notice.
• Return medical cards.
Read: Maternity Law In The UAE
Bank Accounts, Credit cards and loans
• Remember to clear all your debts before you leave the UAE. Non-payment of a debt is a criminal offence and could result in arrest and a possible prison sentence. If you have outstanding debts you may not be able to leave the country or you may be stopped and arrested if you try to come back to, or even transit through the UAE.
• Keep copies of all documents relating to closed accounts.
• Cancel any credit cards, loans and overdrafts with the bank. It can take up to 2 months to complete all the paperwork.
• Close any bank accounts if no longer required.
• Request a bank clearance letter for your employer.
• Leave a forwarding address for any future correspondence.
If you need legal help, the embassy has a list of recommended lawyers.