x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Bank matters

Making sure your financial affairs are in order is perhaps the most essential step before moving on from the emirates.

When you cancel your work visa, your company is expected to notify all of your banks of your imminent departure, and any final salary payments must be marked as such by law. Be warned – if you have outstanding debts, your bank accounts and credit cards will be frozen immediately until the amount is cleared, or until the institution is notified that you have the means to make the necessary payments. 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. But keep in mind that, depending on the bank’s procedures, obtaining this clearance can take two days – or two months. You are also expected to close bank accounts and cancel credit cards before leaving, because they have been opened under the sponsorship of your employer. This will also take a couple of days. Be sure to take your passport to the local branch, along with all your banking information.

According to Antoine Mourad, a manager at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, you can subsequently open a non-resident account and deposit any funds you wish. However, no chequebook is included, and your credit card limit will likely be lower. The best advice, Mr Mourad says, is simply to plan ahead and get your financial house in order before taking the leap. Banks are very reluctant to let you leave without clearing your debts, and can even take preventive measures to ensure expatriates settle up. “If somebody wants to leave the country with a loan and no intention to pay, we inform the airport, and if he leaves we contact the collecting agen