Getting ready to bid adieu to your life in the UAE? Whether you’re leaving after a short stint or after spending a lifetime in the country, you’re bound to have your hands full with all the exit formalities, relocation tasks and last minute things to do.
And now owing to the pandemic and the financial toll it’s had on businesses in the country, many expats are facing an undoubtedly challenging time with layoffs and redundancies forcing them to leave the country they’ve called home for the last few years or even decades. So apart from the practical considerations of relocating, it’s going to be an emotionally exhausting time for many as well.
Getting stopped at the airport – An actual possibility?
If you cover all your bases and follow the right steps before making your exit, you’ll no doubt be able to leave with zero interruptions. But if you leave without wrapping up all your responsibilities and without repaying your dues, be it to banks, government agencies and service providers, you could very well be detained at the airport. Consequences of leaving without tying all loose ends could be as small as a delay in departure or as big as being faced with legal charges, and being marked as an absconder in immigration records.
So to make your life a tad bit easier, the Souqalmal team has listed some of the most important tasks to add to your checklist, to ensure you have a smooth exit from the UAE.
Close your loans and credit cards
This is probably the most important aspect to consider if you have active debts and are planning to leave the UAE soon. Banks in the UAE have the right to demand immediate and full settlement of your debts when you’re leaving the country. In fact, your personal loan contract even entitles the bank to offset and adjust your End of Service Benefits towards the outstanding loan amount.
Now when it comes to unsecured loans, auto loans and credit card debt, you will have to settle these before you go. You can try to negotiate a reduced settlement amount in favor of a lump sum payment. As for your mortgage, you may be able to continue repaying it from overseas, especially if you’re able to show that you have sufficient rental income to cover the mortgage installments.
What about your bank account?
Did you know your bank account could be blocked when your final salary and End of Service Benefits are credited into it? Banks do this as precautionary measure to ensure you do not leave with any outstanding debt dues. This can be a big inconvenience to say the least. So you must inform the bank beforehand and come to a mutual agreement regarding your loan settlement.
In case you have other investments linked with your current bank account, you can change your bank details and link these back to another offshore bank account.
You could also keep your bank account operative, especially if you have an active mortgage that you plan to repay using your rental income in the UAE. Remember to leave a forwarding address for the bank to get in touch with you. However, if you have no use for your bank account, you should withdraw your funds and close it to avoid incurring monthly non-maintenance charges going forward.
Check your credit report
So you’ve settled your loans and credit cards, closed your bank accounts, and obtained a No Liability Certificate from the banks. But you’re not done with the banking bit just yet – You must apply for a copy of your credit report to ensure all repayments and settlements are being accurately reflected in the report. A simple admin error at the bank can leave you being chased by debt collectors, even in your home country. So you must review your credit report carefully to make sure you haven’t left any loose ends when it comes to closing your debts.
Settle and close your utilities accounts
Now coming to your water and electricity bills, and your DEWA account (or ADWEA, SEWA accounts). You will have to request for your final utilities bill and apply for disconnection of services before you can make a smooth exit from the country. All outstanding dues must be cleared in order for you to get your original deposit back.
Similarly, you must also terminate cooling services if you pay for these separately. All pending dues to cooling service providers (Empower & Emicool in Dubai, and Tabreed in Abu Dhabi) must be settled before you go. Same goes for gas services availed from providers such as SERGAS, Lootah and others.
Word of caution – Don’t leave these tasks for the last minute, as processing times may vary based on the service provider. And if you’re a tenant, consider getting a ‘No Objection’ letter from your landlord, once all the above mentioned accounts have been duly settled and closed.
Cancel telecom services
Your mobile, fixed line, internet or TV contract with either of the country’s two telecom providers – Du or Etisalat – will also have to be terminated before you leave. If you’re exiting your post-paid or home internet contract prematurely, you will have to pay one month’s rental fee as penalty as well. If you’ve been using any hardware provided by these companies for fixed line services and TV packages, it will have to be handed back to them too. As for your mobile connection, you can swap your postpaid mobile service for a prepaid one for ease of usage later on.
Repay traffic fines and cancel Salik
This task goes hand in hand with the process of selling your car. You will have to settle all outstanding traffic fines before you can sell your car. And even if you’re planning to ship your car back to your home country, you’ll have to clear all traffic dues beforehand. You’ll also have to check your Salik account for any dues and violations (insufficient funds etc.), and close the account thereafter.
Cancel your visas
Your residence visa, as well as your dependents’ visas (family members as well as domestic help) will have to be cancelled before you exit the country. While your employer will be responsible for cancelling your residence visa, you will have to carry out the visa cancellation formalities for your dependents on your own. Be wary of visa violations – These could end up leaving you blacklisted in the UAE immigration system.