Dubai: If you have left the UAE without paying off a loan, would you be able to return to the country? Or would a travel ban be placed on you?
A Gulf News reader wrote in raising this query.
They said: “I lost my job in 2017 and was told to leave immediately, which I did. I did not have the time to inform the bank with which I had a car loan. The loan had been paid for 19 months and the rest of the payment – for another 40 months – was pending. Now, I would want to return to the UAE with the intention of clearing out all my liabilities, but I am not sure if I can do so.
“My intentions have always been to return to the UAE and clear my liabilities. How can I find out if I can come back to the UAE to search for a job?”
To find out how non-payment of loans may affect former residents, Gulf News reached out to Dr Ibrahim Al Banna, CEO of Ibrahim Al Banna Advocates and Legal Consultants.
He explained that if an individual who is in such a situation does plan on returning to the UAE, he or she must consult a lawyer.
“Lawyers can check if there are criminal or civil cases filed against anyone. To check if there is a criminal case, the lawyer will require a copy of the passport, current or previous UAE visa, and a signed Power of Attorney from the individual. For civil cases, you would need to submit a notarised Power of Attorney, passport copy and current or previous UAE visa. For clients located outside the UAE, this is available online through Notary Public services,” Al Banna said.
Can the bank file a criminal or civil case against an individual that has left the UAE?
While bounced cheques have been decriminalised after a new law – Federal Decree Law No. (14) of 2020 – came into effect this year, Al Banna clarified that banks could file a criminal and a civil case against defaulters before January 2022 – which was when the new law was implemented.
Is it possible to close the case under the new law?
If there is a criminal case against an individual, there are certain legal remedies available, according to Al Banna.
“This law [Federal Decree Law No. (14) of 2020] gives us the right to submit a request to close a criminal case in Dubai. If the case was filed in another Emirate – we can file an objection on a judgement, the defendant can attend the hearing online, and the case might be closed,” he said.
“This law [Federal Decree Law No. (14) of 2020] gives us the right to submit a request to close a criminal case in Dubai."
However, Al Banna pointed out that that this legal remedy is only available if the cheque bounced due to insufficient funds.
“If the cheque was bounced because the account was closed by its owner, or money was withdrawn before the cheque was deposited – then the defendant must serve the penalty. If a judgement was issued in the absence of the defendant, we can object it and get a more favourable judgement,” he said.
He added that the scenario might be different if it is a civil case.
“In civil cases, there is no other option except to pay the full amount as per the court judgement,” he said.