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Hazards of Overseas Living

September 16th, 2012 at 02:42 am

I am a United States citizen living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Firstly, let me say that the title is not talking about the present political difficulties taking place in the Middle East. In fact, Dubai is fairly immune to such disturbances because only about 10% of the population is Arab. Most of us here are expatriates, such as myself.

The hazards I refer to are best illustrated by my present predicament. On September 2, 2012, I sent a wire transfer back to my US bank account, so I could pay my US-based bills. To do this, I need to convert the money into dollars - which costs me money. I then need to give the money to someone to send it - which costs me money. The money then arrives in the US, where my bank charges me a fee for receiving it - which, you guessed it, costs me money.

Naturally, I try to minimize the charges involved in me transferring the money. For the last four months, I have been using an agency set up to transfer money out of the UAE. This was saving me about $15 per transmittal, as I only saved money on the "sending" fee, and not on the exchange or receiving fee. The previous option was using my UAE bank for the transmitting business.

My money from this transfer has not yet gone through. Today makes 2 weeks I have been waiting. I have initiated an investigation. I believe what has happened is the US government has held up the transfer; probably waiting for me to prove I am not laundering funds from Iran. If this turns out to be true, I will be upset. The government has NO RIGHT and NO JUSTIFICATION to make such an arbitrary decision as to hold up my funds transfer. They can record it, and then investigate it, and THEN, they can bring charges if necessary.

My transaction is from me in the UAE, to me in the US. There's nothing illegal about it, and the government has no probable cause to stop the transfer. They are being a-hole bureaucrats, and this is why everyone hates government employees. They're all little Hitlers, given the chance.

So, I have several thousand dollars in limbo, and I'll have to use the bank (at a higher price) for my next transfer. The bank not only costs more, but it also takes longer... at least it takes longer if I don't count this attempt.

I just have to wait, and hope for the best. I've heard of things like this taking up to six months to resolve over here. How would you like to "lose" several thousand dollars for six months or more? I know how I feel about it. I can't say, though, because I try to keep my blog PG rated, at worst.

5 Responses to “Hazards of Overseas Living”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I can understand your frustration!

    I would like to say though that not all government employees are "Hitler". Many working their jobs are just as frustrated by the rules that their job require. As a US citizen, can you contact the embassy or your stateside senator for assistance. I've seen that work wonders for many coming up against the red tape!

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I would suspect the government as well. If you are banking with Chase or Bank of America you are banking with an entity that sees nothing wrong with violating sanctions against North Korea, Iran or Libya, so they certainly would not withhold your money en route to you in Dubai, UAE. (My brother, also from North America, is over in Abu Dhabi, which also is close to 90% non-Arab.)

  3. Looking Forward Says:

    I would be beyond frustrated!

  4. Jerry Says:

    Living overseas does lead to these kinds of frustrations, especially in the Middle East I would imagine. That is really annoying! We had some similar problems banking in the US from the former East Bloc, but now we have been banking with USAA, who also does our insurance, and that has become a thing of the past. If you have any family members who are military or former military, you might look into it, they bend over backwards for clients who are overseas. Good luck!

  5. Wino Says:

    I'm going to update the situation in my next post. Thanks to all for the comments. I still don't have my money. One small correction: the money is coming from Dubai and going to the US.

    Abu Dhabi is less than an hour from my house. My wife and I are planning to go there in two weeks for some sightseeing. AD and Dubai are "sister emirates." It is similar to Dallas and Houston or New York and Newark.

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