UAE: Could I be arrested for not paying credit card dues?

A KT reader asks about the penalties on defaulting on these payments


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 22 Jan 2023, 1:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:13 AM

Question: As per prevailing rules, can I be arrested for not paying credit card dues? What’s the penalty for the same if I am unable to?

Response: In the UAE, a credit card facility provided by a lender to a borrower may fall under the provisions of rules and regulations governing the terms and conditions of a personal loan. When a credit card facility is granted to a borrower, a lender may collect cheque(s) as security against the limit of the credit card.

A holder of a credit card who fails to pay three consecutive monthly bills of credit card or six non-consecutive bills on the credit card may be considered as an event of default. This is in accordance with Article 4(4) of the Personal Loan Agreement format of Loan Agreements Formats Approved by the Central Bank of UAE.

Therefore, in case of a default, a lender may choose to deposit your security cheque(s) for collection (if any). If the said security cheques are dishonoured due to insufficiency of funds, a lender may file an execution case against you along with a request to impose a travel ban in accordance with provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 14 of 2020.

Based on the case filed by a lender, the court may approve the request and impose a travel ban on you. Thereafter, upon completion of 15 days from the date of notifying you, a lender may commence the relevant execution procedures against you in court and request to issue an arrest warrant against you.

Further, you can approach a court of competent jurisdiction for voluntary settlement of your debts with your creditor or commence insolvency proceedings against you as per the provisions of UAE Insolvency Law which applies to individuals in the UAE. However, it is at the discretion of the such court to consider your application for voluntary settlement of debts or commence insolvency proceedings against you and the lender may still consider filing criminal and/or civil proceedings against you if the voluntary settlement of debts or insolvency proceedings against you are not approved by the court.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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