Expats barred from driving car out of Qatar unless fully repaid

Some questions still remain for this major move i.e. what if the vehicle is obtained through company via salary deduction. Like mine, istimarah shows my name on the front page although it is financed through company. My friend said that what matter most is what is written at the lower right section on the rear side of istimarah. If it says something like “belongs to/financed by Bank XYZ” or “belongs to/financed by company ABC” in Arabic, then this rule applies. But once the owner has a chance to fully repay he needs to make sure that he obtains loan clearance certificate and transfer its vehicle’s istimarah to under his name to be able to cross the border.

In addition to this, the circular from Qatar Central Bank also noted some important changes:

1. Total vehicle financed should not exceed 80% of the value of the vehicle (including interest rate and all charges). So, down payment to be made in the region of 20-30% 

2. Maximum term of loan is now only 4 years

3. To get vehicle finance, salary must be transferred to respective loan-issuing bank.

4. Max loan value for expat 400,000 QAR (even if expats own salary of 100,000 QR per month, 400K applies (including personal loan etc should not exceed 400K)

5. Expired credit card issued by a bank with whom card holder doesn’t transfer his/her salary to will not be extended.

6. All credit card outstanding is also included in 400K max loan value.

7. Maximum monthly payment should not exceed 1/3 of salary (minus all liabilities)

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DOHA: In a major move, expatriates have been barred from driving private cars out of Qatar and they could cross the country’s borders only if they prove that loans taken to buy vehicles have been fully repaid.

So, expatriate motorists need to produce loan clearance certificates from a bank or a financial services company to be able to cross the border through Abu Samra land customs check point.

The Department of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior has issued a circular to the land customs authorities at Abu Samra asking them not to allow any expatriate to leave the country in a private car unless he or she produces a loan clearance certificate.

The certificate must say that loan taken for the car being driven out of Qatar has been fully repaid.

A large number of expatriates who were travelling overseas through Abu Samra customs check point on Thursday were sent back by the customs authorities due to the new directives of the Traffic Department, Al Sharq reported yesterday.

The daily said that within hours after the diktat of the traffic authorities was issued a number of expatriates, some of them travelling with their families, had to return from the customs check point disappointed.

Expatriates from countries like Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, among others, will be hit hard by the decision since they mostly travel to their home countries in their cars.

Non-Arab expatriates traveling in their cars to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage or those going to the UAE, Bahrain or Oman by road will also be affected.

It is understood that the move by the traffic authorities is aimed at making sure that expatriates who take car loans do not leave the country for good with the vehicles (bought through such loans) unless they have fully repaid the loan.

Source: The Peninsula

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