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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > I’m Worried I’m Going to Get Arrested For My Bad Debt in Dubai and Sit in Jail for a Long Time. – William

I’m Worried I’m Going to Get Arrested For My Bad Debt in Dubai and Sit in Jail for a Long Time. – William

William

“Dear Steve,

I’m in a rather difficult predicament. I’m currently in Dubai and due to having lost my job I’m no longer going to be able to afford to pay the monthly instalments on my credit card debt as well as on a personal loan I was forced to take out due to the Dubai law whereby one has to pay a full year rent upfront.

I’m not going to sit around and wait for someone to knock on my door and arrest me for defaulting. I’m planning on jumping on a flight out of the UAE before the week ends.

I will try and start repaying what I owe, even if in very small amounts, as soon as I am settled and found a new job back home. My only concern is: Could they go after me even if I am no longer in the country? Many people I know have found themselves in the same situation I’m in and have had to leave even if they did not want to, but the law is such here that we are left at a loss for choices. Thank you for your time. I’m not a fraudster, things just didn’t work out the way we were hoping due to the economic meltdown.

Regards

William”

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The Answer

 

Dear William,

You have a right to be concerned about your debt issue in UAE. It is reported that 40% of prisoners in Dubai’s central jail are incarcerated for debt problems.

But in Dubai, with no laws regulating defaults on personal borrowing, a person jailed for such an infraction is likely to remain there even when their sentence is over until a relative, charity group, wealthy businessman or even a member of the ruling family pays the debt.

It is very unlikely that your creditors will chase you once you get back home. However, you may get some collection calls if they can track down your number. A creditor could send your account out for international collections but that rarely happens.

But one international debt collector was quoted as saying, If, for example, you’re in the UK and you owe money here, I can go to the county court, get a court order and a bailiff and I’ll have your house. The law will allow me to do that.”

But it is very likely that you will have criminal charges filed against you in the UAE once the payments are not made and it is discovered you are gone. This is especially true it your loan required you to write out advance checks, which is the typical process in the UAE. The bank will deposit those checks, they will bounce, and the police will start looking for you in Dubai. It is reported that the police in the UAE spend 60% of their time trying to find debtors.

Once you get home and back to work, I would suggest that then you try to find a loan to pay off the balance back in Dubai, as soon as possible and then contact your creditor with a plan to pay what you owe. Don’t be surprised that your balance will have grown since the amount you owe will have interest building during your period of no payments.

The debt laws in Dubai are very archaic and it is true, you are left with few good options. Once you leave the country, don’t make any plans to return to the UAE or Middle East until your debt is satisfied. In fact, if you do have to return, carry proof with you that the debt is repaid in case their is an old warrant out for your arrest.

Have a nice flight.

Big Hug!

Im Worried Im Going to Get Arrested For My Bad Debt in Dubai and Sit in Jail for a Long Time.   William
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Sources: International debt collector, Dubai prison population

I'm Worried I'm Going to Get Arrested For My Bad Debt in Dubai and Sit in Jail for a Long Time. - William by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Neoparis

    I am going to be in transit in Doha to go to Thailand; would I be arrested if I owe 10K at a bank in Dubai where I used to leave 2 years ago?

  • Neoparis

    I am going to be in transit in Doha to go to Thailand; would I be arrested if I owe 10K at a bank in Dubai where I used to leave 2 years ago?

  • Steve Rhode

    Ian,

    All I can share with you are results others have reported. A previous commenter had a similar situation and mentioned they did not have any issues is transferring flights and they were not detained. See “Will I Be Arrested in Dubai For My Debts? I Have a Flight Connection to Make There? – Sheikh.”

    If you wanted a definitive answer you’d probably have to speak to an attorney in Dubai.

    Steve

  • Ian

    Hello Steve: I have an outstanding UAE Visa debt of about Dhs130,000. I am attempting to settle this, but the collectors refuse to work with me. Amazing but true. However, this is not why I am asking for advise. What am want to ask is this: I do not know if I have an arrest warrant out for me or not, but if I do have a UAE arrest warrant and have an international flight that transfers through Dubai, where I do not go through immigration, will any know about it – or be looking for me at all? I would like to transfer aircraft without getting put in a Dubai jail. Can you please advise me on this? Thank you very much.

  • Ian

    Hello Steve: I have an outstanding UAE Visa debt of about Dhs130,000. I am attempting to settle this, but the collectors refuse to work with me. Amazing but true. However, this is not why I am asking for advise. What am want to ask is this: I do not know if I have an arrest warrant out for me or not, but if I do have a UAE arrest warrant and have an international flight that transfers through Dubai, where I do not go through immigration, will any know about it – or be looking for me at all? I would like to transfer aircraft without getting put in a Dubai jail. Can you please advise me on this? Thank you very much.

  • treb
  • Jasmina Canty
  • mathew

    Dear Mr. steve,
    i need an guidance from you. sir, i have outstanding totaling to 200,000dhs in dubai. i am still in dubai and with 6500dhs salary it has become impossible for me to repay all of them. i worte to all banks to allow me start paying of for small cards and switch to bigger cards and then loans. all appreciated the idea but asked me to start repaying their bank on preriority basis. this again became a trouble for me as no bank is agreed to wait for their turn of payment time. sir in this connection is there any way out with which i can approach police or court and ask them for helpe to allow me pay small cards and then swtich to bigger ones and then to personal loans. i dont mind if the court or police hold my passport till i clear all the debts. i have fair intention to repay all my outstanding as i am still on job, kindly advice please. thanks

  • Anthony Barnard

    Hi Steve,
    I need quite an urgent response if possible.
    I have got an outstanding loan/credit card. I have been in touch with the bank to let them know that I want to try and pay them back, I have already left Dubai after being re-trenched and have just been offered a job back there.

    When I spoke to the bank they told me that a case has been opened, I asked the guy at the bank if the case could be withdrawn, he said no and if I return to Dubai I would be arrested at the airport.

    What I dont understand is that I have told them that I want to pay back the debts but it seems as if they dont want you to.

    The reason I need a quick respone is because the company that offered me the position want me to fly to Dubai on Friday, the 10th.

    the company that re-trenched me still owe me AED 50,000 which I am willing to pay the bank once I arrive, but it seems like a catch 22, I cant enter without getting arrested, at the same time, I need to enter to get the mony to pay the bank.

    Have you got any advice?

    Regards
    Tony

    • Hassan

      Anthony,

      i was wondering what happened with your case. and if you were able to go back or not .. ? please respond asap as i have very similar case to your.

      thanks

    • Saj

      Hi Anthony,

      Can you please give any updates on your situation, entering dubai with debts and a case against you? I am in a similar situation. I left Dubai 4 years a go. I left 3 banks behind with credit cards, which ultimately is not a big amount only like 20000 Dhr.

      Now i have been transferred by my office to Dubai office. I would like to seek you help, kindly let me know what happened on the the airport when you landed there. I want to settle my cards as soon as i go there, because i have a job now. But the question is, would i be given a chance to go out of the airport and work? Any time to settle my dues or they will just arrest me and put me behind the bars?

      I mean i want to settle all this when i am there, but if they put me behind bars, no one will eventually be benefited from that, as the banks will not get paid and at the same time my life will be ruined as well. So, please advise. I need an urgent response please. i am suppose to go there in next 2 weeks.

  • hollowman17

    Your column is very satisfying! Actually I have the same problem mentioned aboved.I have 6 creditcards & 2 loans in Dubai and im only earning Dhs 5000- its been 5 months since i payed any of them so I fly out of dubai to avoid the debtors prison.But I cant find a work in my country.My question is- Am i gonna get in trouble if i decide to go back to Dubai??Am I gonna get jailed upon arrival?? I truly hope u can advise me before I make a stupid mistake. Thanks!

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Potentially you could be jailed on arrival back in the UAE if legal action has been taken against you.

      Steve

      • Saj

        Dear Steve,

        Did you get any reply from Anthony on his situation? I am in a similar situation. Kindly post his updated reply if there are any. I am about to go back to Dubai in next 2 weeks. I was worried if i will be detained at the airport or will i be given a chance to settle my situation while allowed to enter the country. please help me out!

        Thanks,

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