R Kelly has asked a judge for permission to travel to Dubai so he can perform shows and “meet with the royal family”.
The cash-strapped singer’s request comes as he faces sex abuse charges.
R Kelly, who denies the allegations against him, says he has been struggling to find work in the US since he was arrested in February.
A filing by his defence lawyers in Chicago said the 52-year-old hopes to perform up to five shows in the United Arab Emirates.
It is unclear where he would be playing, or how much he would earn.
Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman.
The allegations follow release of a documentary called Surviving R Kelly.
The filing says the singer has struggled to pay child support, legal fees and other bills because concerts in Illinois have been cancelled, his record contract has been terminated, and streaming services have removed his songs.
A bond condition means Kelly must stay in Illinois unless the judge approves out-of-state travel – but his defence team insist the star is not a flight risk.
The court filing reads: “Before he was arrested Mr Kelly had signed a contract to perform between three to five shows in Dubai, UAE, in April 2019.
“He requests permission to travel to Dubai for the shows. While there he is supposed to meet with the royal family.”
The filing adds the United Arab Emirates would never jeopardise its relationship with the US by harbouring a fugitive.
However, the US does not have an extradition treaty with the UAE.
It is unclear what is meant by “royal family” as the UAE’s seven emirates are overseen by hereditary rulers who hold absolute power.
Dubai’s ruler is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Kelly’s next court date is on Friday.
Officials in Dubai and the wider UAE have not immediately responded to requests for comment.