Returning home for good is an eventuality in the life of all expatriates. We often find people who have begun a career and had been in the UAE all their working life. For such people returning home is a big step. But for people who has been in UAE for a short while, leaving UAE might involve slogging through paperwork, packing, paying the bills, looking for health insurance, and taking the children out of school.
After deciding to leave, some may be lured to think that they can avoid paying debts in the country and just leave. Expatriates who abscond from debts could be blacklisted from re-entering the country for years to come. These blacklisted people on entering an Emirate airport, even in transit, can end up having problems with the local authorities.
Absconding will also eliminate your end-of-service gratuity and final payment, which in this country are linked to proper exiting procedures. Under the UAE criminal procedures law, if it can be shown that the Debtor has left the country without settling his debts, it is possible for the Creditor to obtain a Court judgment in absence of the Debtor. In addition, the Creditor can apply for the matter to be registered even with Interpol.
Once you have decided to leave, you have to inform your employer, and your employer has to inform the bank about your credit card or loan. Once the bank is informed that the employee is leaving and their visa is canceled, the company will make a final salary transfer to your current bank account, which will have `final salary' mentioned in the wire transfer description. Banks are known to automatically freeze accounts of people receiving a final salary if they have a loan or an outstanding balance on credit card. The point of freezing your account is to ensure that there are funds in place to cover any debts. Some banks will take a lump sum from your current account and place it in a temporary holding account to guard against your possible absconding.
In order to receive your final salary or severance package, your employer may also ask you to produce a `No Liability Certificate' stating that you have no outstanding loans or credit card bills that your bank may try to force the company to pay if you default, which may take upto two days to two months.
There are certain things one need to consider if you are to leave the country in a good stead. Some of them are given below.
DEWA: One week before you leave, apply for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (www.dewa.ae) closure, and ask them to come 2 days before leaving to check the final reading. Two days after final reading, they will give you the final bill. Pay the bill and collect your deposit of Dhs 1000. Majority of employers even ask for clearance from such utility departments for initiating labour card cancellation procedure. In order to claim your deposit, approach the DEWA Head Office ‘Security Deposit Counter' and hand over:
- The final bill receipt.
- Your original security deposit receipt.
- A copy of your passport.
- A copy of your labour card or UAE driving license to confirm your identity. If the security deposit is in a company name, a letter stamped by the company asking the deposit to be refunded and clearly stating the name of the person who is authorized to collect the deposit. The final bill will be adjusted against the security deposit.
ACCOMMODATION: If you are residing in the accommodation provided by your employer, you will have to vacate within the grace period mentioned in the contract. If you are leaving before the end of your contract and if your company has paid for your flat, you will be responsible for repaying the company the balance.
SCHOOL: If you have kids, you have to get the TR Certificates. Speak to the school well in advance and find out the procedure. Some schools do not allow the student to attend once the TR is issued. You have to remind the school for the TR a couple of days before their committed date, as they usually have specified dates on which they coordinate this with the government authorities.
MOBILE PHONES: Get it disconnected from Etisalat if you have post paid, and destroy your SIM card.
CABLE DISCONNECTION: You have to disconnect the cable connection before the month-end, as they take payment at the beginning of each month. You have to fill in a cancellation request and give back the box to Showtime.
SALE OF GOODS: Advertise online the items you want to sell with their respective photographs. You can even put up the ads on Spinneys, Carrefour boards, which are free. You can even advertise free in Gulf News Classifieds and Khaleej Times Classifieds. One can also upload ad in souq.com, which is an auction site where you can get higher prices, but has a commission if the goods are sold through the site.
SALE OF CAR: You have to try selling your car at least 4 weeks before you leave. You have to place a separate ad in the same places as the goods. It is always safer to take cash and sell the car locally. You will have to do the Murroor (transfer registration) of the car before leaving. If you have a loan on your car, you will have to contact your bank to do this and they have to issue you with a statement saying that the loan is fully paid off, which can take 2 to 10 days. You and the new owner of the car need to go to the Traffic Police Department and transfer the ownership documents. The buyer of the car needs to have already obtained insurance for the vehicle before you go to the Traffic Department. You will also need to clear off any fines you have got on the vehicle.
PACKERS AND MOVERS: One can go through the yellow pages and find packers and movers who may charge Dhs 10.75 per kg. Air Cargo, and extra for packing/sealing. You have to be wary of the service charge which could include airport cost, custom etc.
BANK/CURRENCY: Making sure your financial affairs are in order is perhaps the most essential step before moving on from the Emirates. After you have to cleared all the dues, you have to get a reference letter from your bank. and make sure you have at least 1 year’s statements with you. Carry your currency in draft format, valid for 3-6 months. If you move to your new country in the middle of a tax year, you may be responsible for taxes on all of your income that year.
PETS: Most airlines won't ship your pets when the temperature either in the Emirates or at your destination airport rises over a certain comfort level. You must obtain a valid UAE Export Permit (Ministry Health Certificate) for your pet. While shipping your pets, you will need:
- Original Valid Vaccination Card
- Flight details
- Health Certificate
- A travel box that must meet IATA standards (refer www.ipata.com for more info)
Cancellation of Residence Visas in UAE
Cancellation of Residence visas, unlike expiry of residence visas are usually taken care of by the company or sponsor. If not, visit the UAE Immigration Department, which issued the visa, along with your passport, and present it for cancellation. Pay the requisite fee and get the typing works done. You can cancel your visa even if you are overseas, but, the sponsor will have to visit the department on your behalf, with at least a copy of your passport. Documents required for Residence Visa Cancellation
- Original passport of the sponsored worker
- Two copies of approved cancellation certificate by the Labour Ministry
- Copy of valid commercial license
- Copy of establishment card
If you have a family under your sponsorship, it is mandatory to cancel the Family Residence Visa, before starting the work permit cancellation process. When the visa is cancelled, you will be given a 30-day grace period for exiting the country. Thereafter, for every day overstayed, a Dh.25 will be fined for initial six months, Dh.50 for next six months, and Dh.100 beyond that.