How runaway borrowers can clear names and return to UAE? I Lawyer on call I Affordable legal intelligence.

Even with the tightening lending conditions, there’s still hope for expatriate loan defaulters who have once fled the country to return to the emirates without getting arrested at the airport.

Runaways can return to the UAE for work without landing behind bars. But first, they need to get in touch with their creditor, and, if an arrest warrant has been released or a case is still pending, they need to wipe their records clean.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on what necessary steps that former UAE expats can take, to free themselves from debt and/or any legal liability – for good:

1. Double check

Appoint an authorised person in the UAE or appoint Wire stork to double check if there have been cases filed against you, and to talk to the lenders on your behalf. Any representative, including legal professionals, might need to present a Special Power of Attorney, although in most cases, banks will accept a simple authorization letter mentioning the account details of the customer as well as the details of the representative.

2. Negotiate with the bank

Unpaid balances, including the terms of your credit, are not set in stone. As it is the main priority of the banks to get back their money, they are open to other payment options.For instance, if you have a Dh200,000 unpaid debt, you may be able to convince the bank to waive the fines and penalties and bring it down to Dh140,000, or to any amount that you can realistically afford to pay. You can also agree on a new installment plan.

3. Put down everything in writing

Once a verbal agreement has been reached, have everything written down and signed: get a settlement agreement drawn up by the bank. This must be signed/released first before handing over the payment. This document must bear the letterhead of the bank, duly signed by a bank official and stamped with the bank’s seal.Do not, under any circumstances, hand over the money if there is no written verbal agreement. This paper is for the protection of the borrower, as it prohibits the bank from making future payment claims outside the agreed amount. There’s no need to have this signed in front of a police officer. This should be obtained whether or not there is a court case, police complaint or arrest warrant.

4. Ask for a clearance letter and "release" document

Once the payment has been made, you need to secure at least two documents from the bank to clear your records. The clearance paper will serve as proof that you have settled all your dues with the creditor. This will also prove useful to those who have pending cases, as the police would require the same document to withdraw any charges filed against the borrower. The bank can issue the clearance letter on the same or following day, or this can take up to two weeks.The “release” document will serve as proof that the bank has withdrawn its complaint against the customer. The paper can be obtained on the same day you have requested for the clearance certificate.

5. Submit the release paper to the authorities

Your representative must proceed to the police station where the case has been filed and hand over the release document, to confirm that your lender is no longer after you.

6. Obtain a police clearance certificate

Once the case has been cleared at the police station level, your representative can move on to the police main headquarters to apply for a clearance, if necessary. Once the case has been cleared with the police (the police will delete it from the system and give a verbal confirmation), the person can enter UAE without any problem. However, if you prefer to have a written confirmation that you don't have any case, apply for a police clearance certificate.

7. Travel back to UAE

Once you secure all the documents, you are now ready to restart your life in the UAE. Upon returning, make sure you have the documents on hand. By now, your police and immigration records would have been wiped clean.

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