In today’s time and age, it’s nearly impossible to survive without availing of banking facilities. Safety, mobility, efficiency, convenience – these are some of the benefits one gets when they open a bank account. And be it is local payments, remittances abroad, bill payments or other such responsibilities, people rely on their banking services.

With UAE being a financial hub, if you’re moving to this country, it’s important for you to have a bank account. You would use it for various purposes, particularly if you intend to run a business or do a job here. For example, if you are looking for a property for sale in UAE as a realtor, you would need a bank account to complete the proceedings i.e. paying advance and the rest of the installments. Even if you are not into real estate, you would still need a bank account for many purposes.

The Process of Opening a Bank Account for Foreign Nationals in the UAE

Understand the Basics

To begin with, you should know the basic rule of opening an account. As per UAE law, the applicant must be present in the country physically to be able to open the account. They need to visit the bank and confirm their identity, along with signing the required documents prior to their application, is processed.

However, if you are not in the UAE and want to open an account, you can contact a renowned international financial institution such as Citibank or HSBC that operates in the UAE.

Once you have understood the basics, you can proceed to the further steps.

Select a Bank

It is an important step since finding the right bank can help you in numerous ways. It will reduce costs, provide an extensive range of services, and offer better security. Simply put, if you have selected the best bank, you can rest assured that your money is safer and always accessible.

You can find four types of banks in the UAE. These are:

  • Commercial Banks – This type includes branches of foreign banks and locally established banks.
  • Industrial Banks
  • Investment/Merchant Banks
  • Islamic Banks

Choose from one of the top banks after thorough consideration, deliberation and research. Ensure that it has a branch near your place of stay and workplace. The best approach is to get information about different banks online and then compare their services.

Choose the Account

After you have selected the bank, the next step is to choose the account type. Bear in mind that if you do not have a residency visa, you can only open a savings account. However, once you have obtained the said visa, you can choose from a personal (current) or business account, depending on your requirements.

Fulfil Requirements

Requirements depend on many factors, including the bank in which you are opening an account, and most importantly, whether you have a residency visa or not.

Requirements for Opening Saving Accounts as a Non-Resident

  • Original and Copy of Passport having UAE Entry Stamp
  • An Accurately Filled Application Form
  • NOC by Your Employer or Sponsor
  • Documents Showing Proof that Your Residency Visa is in Process
  • Documents Showing Proof of Employment and Salary Details
  • Letter of Recommendation Written by Your Previous Bank
Important Information

You may not get a chequebook with this account. Some banks only provide these account holders with an ATM, which they can use to withdraw money.

The process to open this account may take more time as compared to other accounts.

There may be a particular minimum or maximum budget limit that you will have to abide by. You will be penalised if you do not maintain the account limit.

Requirements for Opening a Personal Account as a Foreign National

As stated above, you can open this account only if you have gotten your residency visa. These are the requirements that apply for opening this account:

  • Original and Copy of Passport having UAE Entry Stamp
  • Original and Copy of Emirates ID
  • Documents Showing Proof of Residency in the UAE (Rental Agreement or Utility Bills)
  • Letter of Employment or Salary Letter from Employer for Employed Individuals
  • Original Trade License for Self-Employed Individuals
  • Original and Copy of Labour card or Work ID for sponsors
Important Information

Banks in the UAE also require the applicant to deposit a particular amount at the time of opening this account. It varies from bank to bank.

This particular account does not take a long time to open. You have it operable in a matter of a few hours.

Requirements for Opening a Business Bank Account for a Foreign National

If you intend to open an offshore or onshore company, you can open a business bank account here. However, it is important to note that some banks require the user to maintain a higher minimum balance. Furthermore, there will be certain limitations with the account as it shall be treated as a non-resident account.

Take a look at the requirements for opening a business bank account in the UAE:

  • Memorandum and Articles
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Passport and Residency Visa of the Shareholder’s Representative
  • Emirates ID’s Copy of the Shareholder’s Representative
  • Passport’s Photocopy of the Director of the Company
  • Shareholder’s Registry
  • Details about the Activities that will be Carried Out on the Account
  • Details about the Source of Funds
  • Existing Contracts (if any) of the Company
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • Reference Letters Written and Signed by Business Partners
  • Details about the Business Plan
  • Company Extract
Important Information

It is mandatory for the company’s director or a major shareholder to be physically present at the time of opening this account.

Account Processing and Opening

Once you have fulfilled the requirements, your account will be under processing and will be operable after the bank has verified every detail. The time it will take to open the account depends on the type of bank account you have selected.

There you have it! This is the complete process for opening a bank account in the UAE. If you have any confusion, you can ask the bank’s representative to assist you. 

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