British expats in the UAE told to clear debts before leaving

If you’re thinking of leaving the UAE, it’s not quite as simple as packing up multiple suitcases and buying a ticket. The British Embassy in the UAE have released a campaign across their . Calling it the ‘Checking Out’ campaign, the embassy have highlighted important tasks and potential pitfalls.

Top of the agenda is paying off debts which, if left unpaid, could result in follow ups from debt collection agencies and legal action. Allow for up to two months to cancel cards, settle overdrafts and complete this part of the paperwork. But aside from simply paying off things like outstanding credit card bills, the embassy reminds people to check for traffic fines and penalties that could have easily been missed. Leaving a forwarding address is also a good idea, so that if something has been overlooked you can be contacted and won’t run into any trouble if you return to the UAE on holiday.

According to the embassy’s Facebook page UK in the UAE, only around 10 percent of people see their long-term financial requirements as the most important factor to consider when moving country.

You also need to think about notifying your employer and canceling your visa – make sure you leave plenty of time for this. You’ll need to hand over your passport to your company in order to ensure your residency visa is cancelled. If you don’t do this, you may find that you’re marked as an absconder.

Here’s the checklist from the British Embassy in the UAE:

Finance

• Cancel any credit cards, loans and overdrafts with the bank. It can take up to 2 months to complete all the paperwork.
• Close any bank accounts if no longer required.
• Request a bank clearance letter for your employer.
• Leave a forwarding address for any future correspondence.

Employment and Visas

• If your contract is coming to an end, you will need to hand over your passport temporarily to your employer who will cancel your residence visa.
• Failure to do so could delay your departure or mean you are marked on the immigration system as an absconder.
• Request your gratuity payout statement and payment from your employer. The Embassy does not get involved in employment disputes. Please contact the Ministry of Labour and refer to the List of Lawyers.
• If you are terminating your employment then you will need to give the required period of notice.
• Return medical cards.

Accommodation

• Give notice to your landlord in accordance with your lease.
• Request and collect utilities clearance certificates.
• Collect any deposits outstanding from the utility or phone companies.
• Cancel your contracts with your mobile phone, internet and TV providers.
• Cancel any newspapers or other services delivered to your door.
• Cancel your home contents insurance policy.
• Return the keys to your landlord and collect any outstanding deposits. You may need to have the original receipts to do this.

Property, cars and possessions

• If you have a property you wish to sell or rent then you will need to engage the services of an agent if you are leaving the UAE.
• If you rent a property then make sure you give the required notice in your contract or you may be liable for a further payment.
• Sell your car before you leave or leave a Power of Attorney with a friend or colleague to sell it for you. If you do use a Power of Attorney, you will need a local lawyer to advise you on this. List of Lawyers: 
• Check for any outstanding traffic fines.
• Remember to cancel your Salik tag if you have one.
• Your insurance company may offer a rebate when the car is sold.
• Get quotes for removals. It can take 6 weeks or longer to ship your belongings to the UK.
• Remember to get your shipping insured and consider the cost of storage if required.
• Decide what you are taking and organise a sale to dispose of the rest or contact one of the companies that will take your junk for you.

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