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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Leaving the UAE: everything you need to know before you go

Clear your debts, cancel your visa and take the kids out of school – how to clear the way for a smooth exit from the country

Passengers can now purchase hand baggage-only fares through Etihad to various locations within its network. Getty 
Passengers can now purchase hand baggage-only fares through Etihad to various locations within its network. Getty 

Whatever the reason you are leaving the UAE — be it due to the end of your visa or work contract, returning home or seeking new adventures in another country — there is a lot to consider before you catch your flight. We have put together an essential checklist of everything you need to have in place before you leave to ensure your exit is as smooth as possible.

Clear your debts

This should be your top priority. Non-payment of a debt is a criminal offence and could lead to arrest and a prison sentence. You could even be stopped from leaving the country if you try to jet off without putting your finances in order.

Cancel your visa

As soon as you become aware that you will be leaving the country, you must inform your employer (your visa sponsor) of your intentions. You will be required to hand over your passport temporarily while your residence visa is cancelled. Failure to do so could delay your departure and see you marked as an absconder on the immigration system.

Get what you are owed

Firstly, make sure you give your employer the required period of your statutory notice. From here, you should request your gratuity payment from your place of work. Such matters will be dealt with by your company's human resources department.

Close your bank account

Ensure that you close all bank accounts that you no longer intend to use ahead of your exit. Visit your branch and fill out a closure form. Many banks will be able to give you the cash sum of your balance, although if you have active accounts in another part of the world, such as the country you are going to next, it makes sense to transfer the funds instead. Make sure you clear up all loans with the bank prior to requesting the closure and bring your passport and Emirates ID with you.

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Read more:

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Sell your car

If you own your vehicle, selling it is fairly straightforward. You can place a classified advert, use online platforms or simply put notices advertising its sale in your building, place of work or on the windscreen of the car itself.

If you have your car on finance, you must speak to the bank with whom you have the loan. If you have a loan to repay, get the buyer to purchase the car in a lump sum, giving you the necessary funds to clear the debt.

Settle bills

You are likely to have phone and TV contracts as well as water, electricity and air conditioning services to sort out. Contact the customer services department of your service providers to request a final bill and make sure you have no outstanding payments to make.

End your tenancy

Make sure to read the fine print on your tenancy contract. The clauses are likely to include the number of months' rent you will be expected to pay for breaking your tenancy agreement. It can be up to three months, but it may be possible to negotiate a better deal with your landlord. Another possibility is finding a tenant to take over your lease — if possible, the landlord may agree to end your tenancy without a fee.

Take your kids out of school

You will need to obtain a transfer certificate from your school to prove the years of study your child has completed. According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai, you will need a "student leaving certificate" from your school. This will confirm your child's education history. You will also need to discuss whether tuition fees paid in advance will be returned if you are leaving before the end of the academic year.