Do I Need to Worry About Being Arrested When I Enter Dubai Because of My Old Debt?


Dear Steve,

Hi there I left Dubai in 1998 with a debt of around 15000 GBP; I was in a dreadful situation personally, my wife and I pregnant and my employer is quite difficult. We left on vacation and didn’t return. As my passport was being withheld, as is Policy I believe, yet felt like I was trapped. We desperately wanted to get away and raise our son in Europe.
I did genuinely intend to pay back the money, but I found it difficult to find work once back in Europe. So the debt sat there.

Not my style but finances at that time were scarce. Not proud.

However! I did contact and pay the Mashreq bank all owed monies in 2014. Via my accountant, we made a deal and paid back with interest all the debt.

Am I allowed to ever return? I breached my contract with my employer also and that concerns me.

Now I’m older, wiser, more responsible, debt-free, and high up in my career, Would I be able to return?

It hangs on my consciousness that I was less than totally honest, and worries me if I ever return, will I be whisked off to jail.

In advance thanks



Dear D,

I asked your question to Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai.

Here is what she had to say/

“It is highly likely that you will be able to return to the UAE since you were not deported from the country and have since settled your debts.

However, there is a reasonable chance that you may be detained on arrival based on previous police reports and travel bans that may still be active.

It is important to carry a clearance letter from the bank when you travel.

If you haven’t been provided one, you may wish to initiate contact with the bank to request this.

If it wasn’t requested at the time however, it may not be a priority to them.

See also  I Left Debt in Dubai and Now in the Philippines but Headed for a Job in Canada

The second thing you will need to do is a police status check. A thorough check can not be conducted online. You will need a professional to check this for you and you can either instruct a local lawyer or contact the Detained in Dubai organisation to assist you.

If your status check returns clear, then you shouldn’t have any issues on arrival.

If there are alerts against you, you will need to resolve them before entering the country. For example, there may be a fine you need to pay. If everything is attended to in advance, you will avoid being arrested and detained. Safe travels!”

So there you go. That is some very good advice and some steps you can take to ease your mind.


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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.
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