Can former UAE resident with debts transit through Dubai, Abu Dhabi airports?

I have read an answer of yours about expatriates who have worked in the UAE and have outstanding debts. The article was about people who transit through the UAE to another destination and do not actually go out of the airport or through immigration. I have debt on a credit card, and although not a large amount it is a nightmare to pay it off when not living in the UAE. Even trying to pay the money over the counter at a branch of the bank outside of the UAE has obstacles. Can you confirm that the law is still the same in relation to transiting through the UAE? And how does the passport situation work? Since leaving the UAE I have renewed my passport, as the old one ran out, so would my new passport details be on the UAE system? JC, UK

There are two separate issues here. If a person is transiting through an airport, they do not technically enter the country and pass through immigration, but there is still a risk, especially if a flight is delayed and they are then asked to exit the airport. If someone with a police case registered against them tries to go through immigration, it is likely they will be arrested. That can still happen with a new passport, as a person can be identified by name and date of birth.

Branches of banks in different countries can operate quite separately, and although it is not usually possible to make a deposit over the counter in another currency, it is possible to make an online transfer to the relevant account in respect of the debt. JC would be advised to contact HSBC in the UAE to make arrangements to repay the debt through online transfer. Once the debt is repaid he can then ask the bank to cancel a police case to avoid future problems when travelling.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only


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