Alsuwaidi & Company

UAE: Rent, unpaid loans, custody battles… 7 reasons you could have a travel ban placed on you

Mohamed Elmasry’s recent contribution to the Gulf News focuses on how travel bans may be placed due to administrative or legal reasons. 

AS PUBLISHED IN GULF NEWS

Dubai: Have you defaulted on your bank loan or have a case pending against you in UAE courts? If so, you may be worried if you have a travel ban placed on you.

UAE’s authorities may place a travel ban on an individual, restricting them from entering or exiting the country, due to different reasons. According to lawyers who spoke to Gulf News, a travel ban may be due to administrative reasons – issued by executive bodies like the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) – or legal reasons, where a court has placed restrictions on the travel of an individual. But, what are the various instances when you may face a travel ban? Find out.

1. Visa overstay

If you have overstayed your visa and are facing deportation because of it, a travel ban would be applied after you leave the country.

2. Absconding case

Another reason you may have a travel ban placed on you is if your employer has filed an absconding case against you for failing to report to work. 

“According to the UAE Labour Law, if you fail to report to work for seven consecutive working days, the employer has the right to file an absconding case or an Unexpected Work Abandonment (UWA) report against you. This ban can only be lifted by the sponsor. Or, if you can successfully prove that the absconding case is not valid to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), then the Ministry may lift the travel ban against you. 

3. Defaulting on a bank loan

When it comes to defaulting your bank loan or not paying your credit card dues, a travel ban may be placed either because your security cheque bounced or because the bank is claiming the payment of the complete amount of money.

“If you had given a security cheque for Dh10,000, for example, for your credit card, but you later had the card limit increased to Dh50,000 and used up the entire credit limit, the bank may either try to encash the security cheque, in which case it would be a case of bounced cheques, or claim the payment of the full amount of Dh50,000 with a court. 

While bounced cheques are no longer a criminal offence, you would still have a civil case registered against you for this violation.

“When a decision is made to ban travel, the UAE authorities issue a decision to all border crossings of the country to prevent the person concerned from entering or leaving the country. Also, this decision does not require the authority’s possession of the person’s passport, since the UAE government already acquires the individual’s details online.”

4. Late on your rent

If you are not responding to your landlord’s rent payment notice, or if the landlord has sent you a notice for non-maintenance of the property or for failing to renew your contract, he or she may approach the Rental Dispute Centre (RDC).

“In that case, the RDC will put a travel ban on you and compel you to pay the rent or fulfil any other obligations you need to fulfil as a tenant,”

5. You have a criminal case against you

In the instance of criminal cases, you may have a travel ban on you if there is an ongoing police investigation or court case, which means you may not be able to exit the country.

“A circular may be issued by the administrative authority to prevent a person from travelling after a criminal complaint is registered, until the complaint or case is finally settled, and the verdict is implemented,” 

“Also, if you are convicted in a serious criminal case, like drug use or assault, which leads to deportation, a travel ban may be placed on you, preventing you from re-entering the UAE after deportation,”

6. In some civil or commercial cases

You may also have a court place a travel ban on you in some civil cases, whether it has to do with commercial cases involving non-payment of dues by a company, or in family courts, where there is a guardianship dispute.

According to Mohamed Elmasry, an associate at Alsuwaidi and Company Advocates and Legal Consultants, a travel ban may be placed on you if you are the manager in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that has defaulted on payments or the owner of a sole proprietorship that has a case against it for non-payment of dues.

“If the commercial case is against an LLC, a travel ban maybe issued against the manager. The manager will be banned from travelling till the time he presents a report to the execution court, which includes the cash flow statistics of the company and a proof that the company is incapable of settling the debts. If the case is against the owner of a sole proprietorship, he or she will be banned from travelling outside the country unless he or she settles the debt, or was proven insolvent by a court order,” Elmasry said.

Similarly, according to the UAE government’s official website – u.ae – if either parent in a custody case has a concern that the other parent may flee the country with a child, they can obtain a travel ban preventing the child from leaving the airport. If there is a dispute, the matter can be referred to a judge.

7. You stood as a guarantor for someone

If you have stood as a guarantor for a family member or relative who has a police or court case against them, that would automatically mean that you will not be able to travel during the time you are standing as a guarantor for the individual. While in most cases, your passport may be kept by the police or court, even if your passport is still with you, you would still be facing a travel ban while you stand as a guarantor.

“When a decision is made to ban travel, the UAE authorities issue a decision to all border crossings of the country to prevent the person concerned from entering or leaving the country. Also, this decision does not require the authority’s possession of the person’s passport, since the UAE government already acquires the individual’s details online,” Elmasry said.

To know more about how you can check if you have a travel ban placed on you, and how to lift a travel ban, read our detailed guide here.

Mohamed Elmasry