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Legally speaking: visa renewal with bounced cheque case

An expat in the UAE reached out with a question on her upcoming visa renewal that she believes will be made complicated because of her ongoing police case for a bounced cheque. Legal expert Barney Almazar of Gulf Law explains the legalities.

Reader asks: I defaulted in paying my loan and the bank filed a police case against me in 2021. My visa is expiring soon and my company has already made a reminder about my visa renewal. I did not tell them that I have a pending police case because I am afraid that they might terminate my employment. Please advise how I can resolve this problem.

Atty. Barney answers: Since 2022, the issuance of a bounced cheque is no longer a criminal offense. The police will no longer accept bounced cheque cases and all existing bounced cheque cases (such as the one filed against you) can be cancelled by simply visiting the police station and requesting a cancellation by paying a fine as per the new law. Once your case has been cancelled, you can already process your visa renewal.

It is important to note that even if your police case has been cancelled, the bank can still collect your outstanding liability by filing a collection case which is civil in nature. A travel ban will be imposed against you which can only be lifted once you have satisfied the payment as ordered by the execution court.

You should contact your bank with the aim of getting a Settlement Agreement to pay your outstanding liabilities. Interest charges, penalties and other fees can be waived, even portions of your principal loan depending on your payment history and personal circumstances.

It is strongly recommended that you start making payments once you have a Settlement Agreement issued by the bank. The Settlement Agreement must clearly state that the bank is accepting a lower amount as full and final payment of all your liabilities and all pending cases will be cancelled. If you do not have a pending case at the time of settlement, the bank must undertake not to file any case against you in the future.

Atty. Barney Almazar is a director at Gulf Law in the UAE, Philippines, UK and Portugal. He is a member of the Philippine Bar and holds a UAE legal consultancy license. He is listed by Thomsom Reuters as one of the Super 50 lawyers in the Middle East and North Africa. Asian Legal Business has ranked him as top lawyer in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Middle East., +971558650248

This story also appears in the Expat Media Special Edition magazine

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