Leaving Dubai

Just as moving here involves a multitude of tasks and red tape, so does leaving. Don’t be tempted to skip these steps – it’s important to leave your affairs in good order, as the consequences of not doing so can be considerable. 

You’ll probably hear tales of people in the past who simply parked their car at the airport and headed out, leaving unpaid loans, post-dated cheques and more in their wake. Even abandoned pet cats. 
In reality, institutions have full procedures they expect you to follow. Besides, it’s in your interests to leave properly – cut corners, and you’ll probably lose money and possibly affect your ability to return, even for a nostalgic holiday. 
 
This section brings into one place many of the ‘closing account’ procedures mentioned elsewhere. These cover banking, utilities, mobile phones etc. It also lists other things you may need to do, such as leaving a school and selling a car, as well as some of the practical steps around actually going, including shipping your possessions home and cancelling your residence visa.

 
Closing your bank account You must pay off all outstanding bills, loans and post-dated cheques before you can close an account, otherwise your funds can be frozen. Once your employer knows that you are leaving, they can notify the bank of your departure if you opened the account through your company – meaning you must clear any debts. It is not enough to simply empty your account and leave the country as banks can charge a monthly account fee once your salary payments stop going in and the balance remains at zero; this can catch up with you if you ever plan to return to Dubai. To close an account, simply complete a closing form at any branch. Assuming there are no liabilities, the account can be closed on the spot.
 
 
Leaving a school Each school has different requirements for leaving, but these points are worth noting: Notify the school well in advance  that you are leaving Dubai. You are unlikely to get a refund on fees, but it’s worth checking the school’s terms and conditions. Request a report from the school before your children leave, plus any certificates. As well as academic achievements, include anything medical such as vaccinations, and extra-curricular activities. Ask for a referral letter too, as this may help with applying to new schools.
 
Before we look at these points below in detail, here is an overall checklist.
 
Checklist
Two to three months before leaving
  • Check pet vaccinations are up to date; prepare export paperwork
  • Start selling unwanted possessions
  • Organise shipping
  • Give notice on home phone/broadband etc
  • Begin process of cancelling residence visa
  • If you have a maid, arrange for a transfer to a new employer or cancel residence visa and book her flight home.
  • Get dental and doctors’ records to take with you
One month before leaving
  • Settle any debts, including loans, car finance, credit cards and any post-dated cheques you’ve written.
  • Sell your car
  • Close your bank account
  • Close your PO Box
  • Close your home telephone and broadband
  • Cancel your mobile phone
  • Close your home DEWA account
  • Return keys to landlord, reclaim deposit (assuming you’ve left the property in good order).
 

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