Why Should You Reconsider Filing a Travel Ban on Your Child?

family law


April 05, 2021



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At the beginning of 2021, significant and amazing changes were announced in the Dubai Decision No. 3 of 2021, which was applied in the Emirate of Dubai only. One of the most significant changes in this decision is organizing the freedom to travel with the child and the travel ban decision, which can be issued against the child by one of the parents.

As per Article No. 14 of this decision, the right to travel with the child shall be secured by the force of law and protection of this right is beside the right of the father and mother, and in consideration of the child’s right before any other. Should one of the parents request to impose a travel ban, the following factors shall be considered:

  1. The nationality of the father, the mother, and the child, and if one of them is a local citizen or not.
  2. Present proof that the father or mother is preparing to travel with the child.
  3. Present proof that the other spouse travelled with the child previously without the consent of the applicant.
  4. Present proof that travelling with the child shall affect the child physically or morally or his health or might subject him to risk.
  5. The child and the applicant shall have a valid residency visa.
  6. The custodian’s family should not be residents of the UAE.
  7. Alternatively, in any other case, the Judge may find it necessary to impose a travel ban. 

The same decree gave the custodian the right to request travel with the child, however, the court shall consider the following points:

  1. The nationality of the custodian and the child, and if one of them is a local citizen or not.
  2. The custodian shall submit proof that the guardian's father’s refusal to such travel is without reason, and the benefit, which the guardian shall receive, does not match the harm that the travel ban inflicts, and the judge has the right to request to listen to the father before issuing his decision.
  3. If the custodian mother would like permission to travel, both she and the child should have a valid residency visa.
  4. The child should be registered in one of the educational institutions in the county.
  5. The custodian should be working in the UAE.
  6. The child’s age should be taken into account.
  7. The destination and the distance shall be taken into account.
  8. The reason for the travel and period of travel.
  9. The person who would accompany the mother and the child.
  10. If the travel is within the educational year or annual vacation.
  11. If the custodian and guardian are married or divorced.
  12. If the custodian has a final judgment or not.
  13. If there is a final visitation court order.
  14. The number of previous travel permissions.
  15. The number of times the wife complied with the decision issued permitting her to travel.

For the first time, this decision gives the guardian the right to travel with the child for a short term even if the custodian has refused. Such significant changes are protecting the best interests of the parties and the child, where there would be restrictions, which affect the child and guardians’ best interests.

Therefore, the decision gives the guardian the right to travel with the child in certain cases and if certain conditions have been considered, such as the following:

  1. The guardian has to present proof that the custodian refused such travel and such refusal was without a valid reason, and the benefit that the custodian would receive is much less than the harm received by the guardian or the child.
  2. The guardian, custodian, and child should have a valid residency visa.
  3. Whether the family of the guardian lives in the UAE.
  4. Whether the child is admitted to an educational institution in the UAE.
  5. Whether the guardian is working in the UAE.
  6. The age of the child.
  7. The Judge shall consider the destination, distance, and safety measures for the travel.
  8. The reason for travel and the period between departure and return as per the request.
  9. The person who would accompany the guardian and the child in travel.
  10. If the travel is within the educational year or the annual vacation.
  11. If the father received permission and respected the time of return in previous permissions to travel.

It is important to highlight that as per Article No. 2 of Decision No. 3 of 2021, the context of this decision is issued for the sake of guidance, and shall be considered in each undecided procedure or case, before the date of the decree's issuance.

Legal Update:
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.

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