top of page
  • Detained in Dubai

UAE debt statute of limitations


How long do you carry a Dubai debt?

The UAE economy was suffering badly even before the pandemic according to many experts. This 2018 article explains how the desert country got it so badly wrong, and that the signs are there for those willing to look.


From March 2020, UAE businesses have been making unprecedented numbers of white collar workers redundant. People who took credit in good faith found themselves unable to meet the repayments and unlike Western countries, the UAE treats debt as a criminal matter. Vast numbers of expats, fearing jail and a travel ban that could keep them from ever leaving the country, sensibly chose to flee and renegotiate from the relative safety of their home countries.

Upon arriving home, many people found their financial circumstances greatly reduced. Their wages were often only ten percent of what they could command in Dubai, and now they had to pay tax. For some people, paying off their debt is simply not possible.

Dubai banks have many strategies to chase debt: harassment of the debt victim’s friends, family, new work colleagues and even customers. They threaten, issue illegal Interpol Red Notices, retain UK debt collection firms and enforce bankruptcy. But is there a statute of limitations, or will they carry on forever?


Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai explains: “In the UK, generally speaking, an unpaid debt is cleared after 6 years. The UAE has a greater timeframe of 15 years and even then it is flexible.