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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  I Was Working in the UAE But Medical Issues Caused Me to Stop Paying. - Gijo

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.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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 

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