Travellers leaving the UAE will have to declare large sums of money from September as part of a crackdown against money laundering, senior Central Bank officials said yesterday.
Beginning September 1, travellers will have to declare cash, or any other financial tool that exceeds Dh100,000, upon departing the UAE.
The threshold of undeclared cash that visitors can bring into the country will rise from Dh40,000 at present to Dh100,000 in September.
"This declaration is in line with international criteria and global best practices," said Abdul Rahim Mohammad Al Awadi, executive director and head of the Central Bank's anti-money laundering and suspicious cases unit.
Article continues below
"It does not mean passengers cannot carry cash into the UAE; it is about putting a legal and regulatory framework in place to counter money laundering and to combat terrorist financing. The UAE has a robust system in place to combat money laundering," he added.
The revised regulation has been developed by the Central Bank, the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, the Federal Customs Authority and the UAE's various customs departments.
"The system applies to all ports of entry — air, land and sea. It is every passenger's duty to declare and submit the appropriate forms to customs officials upon entering and departing the UAE," said Khalid Al Bustani, acting general manager of the Federal Customs Authority. "The purpose of this move is for statistical requirements. There is no restriction on the amount of cash that travellers to the UAE can bring into the country," he added.
Al Bustani says the new system applies to all travellers arriving and departing the UAE and is designed to collect important data.
"We have worked with the Central Bank to enhance the system and we have also formed a joint committee with Emirates Customs on a unified procedure for cash declaration," Al Bustani said. "We have already approved and implemented a procedure for passengers arriving in the UAE and discussions are ongoing with regards to departing passengers," he added.
The FCA also said it had developed a new IT system to capture statistical data and is working with local customs departments to ensure the new rules are reinforced at all points of entry into the UAE.
"The UAE has a vibrant and well-diversified open economy," said Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the Central Bank governor.
"As a major trading and financial centre, the UAE attaches great importance to the regulatory environment and has put in place a strong, legal, regulatory and institutional framework to counter money laundering and combat terrorist financing, and thereby protect its institutions from any reputation risk," he added.