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As an Expatriate How Can I Prevent Myself From Getting Jailed in Dubai for Debts? – Elmer


“Dear Steve,

I’ve been living here in Dubai for the past four years, in that years passed by, I have accumulated a large amount of debts which i can no longer pay with my present salary. I have four hundred thousand dirhams loan from different banks. My wife’s salary plus mine combine is around 15,000 dhs. We’re having difficulty now making both ends meet because our children lives with us adding more expenses on our monthly budget.

Now, my question is – How can I legally prevent myself from getting jailed from defaulting payments? Is there any lawyer in this Country that protects the rights of an expatriate declaring bankruptcy. Is there any way I can re-structure my payment? What is best best solution to my problem?

I don’t want to go in jail, I’ve been reading a lot of testimonies about people getting jailed from debts here in Dubai with this amount that I have, and there is no way that you’ll get released unless you pay all your debts. How can a person pay his debts if the bank put them in jail?


Dear Elmer,

Living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and being in debt is nothing but problematic. You ask if you can go bankrupt but no laws in Dubai allow you to do that, so that’s out. You ask why being jailed makes sense since you you can’t pay your debts while in jail but you overlook that jail is punishment, not logic.

The consumer debt laws in the UAE are archaic. No regulations provide any framework to allow you to workout a negotiated solution with all of your creditors based on what you can afford.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the traffic is getting lighter in Dubai and that life isn’t quite as hectic as it once was there. This is because of the masses of people fleeing Dubai in these uncertain economic times.

READ  Will My Dubai Debt Cause Me Problems in the UK?

My best advice, contact your embassy and ask for a recommendation of a local lawyer to help advise you about the realities of defaulting on debt in the UAE or get the fuck out of the country before you wind up in jail.

You might want to leave your car at long-term parking at Dubai International Airport with the keys and a note in it. According to reports and the 3,000 abandoned cars at the airport, It seems to be the preferred way to turn the car back in.


About the author

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.


  • My husband made me the guarantor of his loan in Dubai and fled to India. After reaching india he sent me an SMS notifying divorce. In this case im i still liable to pay his debts 

  • i can’t imagine asking a question to somoene who is going to reply to me with a “fuck” as part of his answer. this guy steve is unprofessional and most of his answers don’t really tell us anything. so why bother asking this guy when there are many more worthy and better people out there you can ask your questions to. you can also post your questions on yahoo answers and normal people like you and me who have been through similar situations will answer. an answer from someone who has been through it all instead of someone who knows it all is much better in my logic.

  • Hello
    The debt laws in UAE differ in all the emirates. Couple of things you should consider and identify where the area of your problem:

    1) how bad is your credit ? is it overdue more than 3 months, then you will get regular calls from the collection agents, they will force you to pay only the interest and other charges and your over due balance will pile up.
    2) Make sure they dont put your cheque!!!
    3) Law for Any Bounce cheque is very strong
    4) After sometime, the bank will decide to file a case against you based on the bounced cheque.
    5) Your name will be blocked at the exits (airports)
    6) You will eventually get a call from the police inorder to meet them to sort out.
    7) You go to police station with your passport (no of passports required based on your amount / the passports should be with residence visa and the VISA JOB TITLE)
    8)Once you are bailed out with yours/friends passports, you are set free to speak to the bank for the settlement
    9) You have usually 2-3 months based on your amount before the file transfered to court
    10) once the file has been transfered to court, you will get a court date
    11) You will get a sentence based on the cheque amount
    12) once the sentence is done, you go to the next process.

  • Dear Steve,
    I have been living Dubai from last 8yeras,Now I left the country due to fear of loosing job becose my total debt in 4 banks is more than 400 thousand.Heard that banks can follow at my home country(India) also.I dont want to be in jail
    at dubai becose my family (wife and 2 kids) was aslso there.
    And can I go any other GCC country for job?is it possible to get police clearence letter from dubai to canada visa?
    looking for your advice.

    Babu Raj

  • I have an unpaid credit card back in Qatar, unfortunately it accummulates and reach about 35thousand Qrs. I dont have a plan not to pay it, so happened that i got a new job here in UAE. I want to ask how much credit it would be, before they required the person arrested.
    I don’t know my legal status now, but last time i went on vacation there was no problem in airport.
    I am willing to pay it because i have a job here in UAE, but i can pay it in monthly term.
    Can you please advice me how much it would be before they apprehend the person and put in trouble.
    Your advice would give me confidence to prepare and start paying my debts in credit card.

    Thank you.

  • How does one know that they are already in the police list of people with bad debt? Will I be picked up at my apartment or work by the police?


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