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Open a bank account (private or corporate) in UAE today and avail the following advantages:
  • Accounts in any currency
  • Great terms of banking services
  • User-friendly online banking
  • Debit card with worldwide usage
  • Safety, reliability and comfort

Dubai Taxes opens your account in no time, provided all required documents are in place, which are:

  • Passport copy
  • Personal bank statement
  • Proof of residential address
  • Company documents (for corporate accounts)

Contact us to open your private or company account in UAE.

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Bank account in the UAE. Solutions for business and individuals

Both businesses and individuals need a convenient and functional financial instrument to solve any kind of problem for making money transfers – for this purpose they need a bank account. The chosen bank must be reliable, it must be located in a stable and secure country, this financial institution must offer a sufficient range of services, and the cost of these services must be acceptable. At the same time, you need an account abroad both for business and for private purposes. Thus, on the one hand, there are, for example, Swiss banks with an impressive history – institutions enjoying great confidence. But they have very strict demands on clients, including a significant history, and high requirements for minimum account balances. Besides, the cost of banking services in these institutions is very high. On the other hand, there are banks in classic offshore international jurisdictions, where anyone can open an account without any problems, and the service cost is acceptable. But in this case, one may face significant problems with operations to transfer funds to EU, USA and other countries since FATF (anti-money laundering organization) has introduced several restrictions for banks in offshore countries. Therefore, the main task of any client is to choose the optimal balance between available options, cost of service, range of services, and reliability. And as practice shows that banks in the UAE offer such a balance.

Indeed, numerous international requirements and FATF restrictions have also certainly affected the UAE banking sector and the requirements for depositors have become considerably tougher in recent years, but at the same time, they still remain reasonable and feasible. Opening a business account, as well as a private account in Dubai, is a reliable and very useful solution in any case. Here we will take a closer look at the process of bank account opening in the UAE and the opportunities this solution provides for businesses and individuals, as well as provide answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Few words about the banking system of the UAE

The UAE banking system is represented by various financial institutions, both local banks, and branches of large international groups, and all of them offer their services for opening accounts, both for citizens and foreigners-residents and non-residents of the UAE. The Central Bank of the UAE carries out financial regulation in the country.

Moody's rating agency classifies the UAE banking system as stable due to the stable level of banks' capital and liquidity reserves. There are four types of banks in the country:

  • Commercial banks;
  • Investment banks;
  • Industrial banks;
  • Islamic banks.

Local banks apply international operating standards, including International Accounting Standards, International Financial Reporting Standards and capital adequacy rules following Basel III.

There are 22 local and 30 foreign banks on the UAE financial market, and all of them offer their account opening services both for companies and individuals. Large institutions with local capital: FAB, Emirates NBD, ADCB, First Gulf and Dubai Islamic bank dominate the local market. All of them can be divided into 3 large groups: local, international and banks in the Dubai International Financial Center DIFC (DIFC is a free zone in the UAE that specializes in the financial market).

Here is a complete list of local banks in the UAE:

Table 1 – Local banks in the UAE

Name

Headquarter location

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Al Hilal Bank, Al Maryah Community Bank, Al Masraf Arab Bank for Investment & Foreign Trade, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Abu Dhabi

Dubai Bank, Mashreq, Dubai Finance Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB ), Emirates Investment Bank, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD)

Dubai

Commercial Bank International, National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PJSC (RAKBANK)

Ras Al-Khaimah

Ajman Bank

Ajman

Bank of Sharjah, Invest Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, United Arab Bank

Sharjah

National Bank of Fujairah

Fujairah

National Bank of Umm Al-Quwain

Umm Al-Quwain

Here is a list of foreign banks represented in the local market.

Table 2 – Foreign banks in the UAE and their country of origin

Bank name

Country of origin 

National Bank of Bahrain

Bahrain

Rafidain Bank

Iraq

Arab Bank

Jordan

Banque Misr, Arab African International Bank

Egypt

National Bank of Oman

Oman

Credit Agricloe, BNP Paribas, Banque Banorient France

France

Bank of Baroda

India

Janata Bank Limited

Bangladesh

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, NatWest Markets Plc, Barclays Bank PLC

UK

Al Khaliji, Doha Bank

Qatar

Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, National Bank of Kuwait

Kuwait

Habib Bank Ltd., United Bank Ltd., MCB Bank Limited, Bank Al Falah Limited

Pakistan

Habib Bank A.G Zurich

Switzerland

CitiBank N. A.

USA

Bank Saderat Iran, Bank Melli Iran

Iran

Saudi National Bank

Saudi Arabia

BOK International Bank

Судан

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China Limited, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.

China

Deutsche Bank AG

Germany

KEB Hana Bank

South Korea

Gulf International Bank

Bahrain

Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A

Italy

International banks registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre are the third category of banks.

The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is a free economic zone specializing in the financial markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) countries. Local financial institutions provide capital market opportunities, asset management tools, investment banking and other services. Local banks differ significantly from financial institutions on the main UAE territory, and their major difference is as follows: they only serve accounts for large companies with international interests. These banks do not work with clients whose activities are limited to the UAE or who are exclusively interested in corporate banking. DIFC banks offer corporate banking, but only in combination with investment or private banking. Representative offices of major international banks are located in DIFC: Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UBS, etc.

Solutions from local banks are most often used for the majority of typical tasks. International banks are better suited for specific tasks or large international clients.

Banks in Dubai strictly adhere to the rules of anonymity, confidentiality and protection of the interests of their customers. In general, it is worth noting that in terms of customer protection, Emirati financial institutions are far ahead of banks in the vast majority of countries.

All local and international financial institutions offer their Internet banking services, allowing their clients to manage their accounts from anywhere around the world. There are no restrictions on capital flows in and out of the country, which provides significant advantages in various cross-border financial transactions. Banks also provide bank letters of credit and other financial solutions.

Benefits of opening a bank account in Dubai, UAE

Before addressing the question "how to open an account in Dubai?", let's first take a closer look at why it is worth choosing a bank in the Emirates. So, what are the factors influencing the choice of the optimal jurisdiction for opening a bank account abroad?

  • The reputation of the country and the reliability of its banking system;
  • Outlooks for the development of the banking system in the chosen jurisdiction (are there any sanctions or restrictions, perhaps they are planned to be introduced, or vice versa, canceled);
  • Opportunities the account holder gets in the bank of the chosen jurisdiction;
  • Capitalization of banks (one must assess the stability of the selected bank in case of possible shocks);
  • Amount and quality of banking services offered;
  • Are there any restrictions on the deposit and withdrawal of funds for foreign citizens, and if there are some, what are they;
  • How much will it cost to maintain the account (tariffs, fees and cost of services);
  • Are there any taxes on dividends or other taxes for the account holder;
  • How stringent and extensive are the bank's requirements in terms of customer due diligence and transaction documentation?

As for all of the above factors, banks in the UAE are rated as excellent. They offer all the necessary range of services, and the country's local financial system is reliable and has a well-developed and stable legal framework. At the same time, there are no taxes on capital gains, and there are no restrictions on the withdrawal of funds (repatriation of capital).

The UAE has never been blacklisted by an international anti-money laundering organization such as the FATF, which means you don't have to worry about your transaction, they will never be blocked or rejected by banks in other countries.

Besides, the information about the ultimate beneficiaries of accounts in the UAE is not available to third parties, and the entire process of currency regulation is minimized (there is no currency control). In terms of customer service, the UAE banking system meets the highest international standards, and in many ways resembles banks in leading European countries.

The local banks have won clear respect and recognition in the international market. In the UAE, the economy is growing steadily from year to year, there are no revolutions, wars or other social upheavals. Money loves silence, as you know. And the United Arab Emirates is the “Switzerland of the Persian Gulf”.

Local banks are regularly audited, and as a result, they confirm their reliability and stability with real indicators of balances and liabilities. Based on this assessment, one can judge how stress-resistant the selected bank is. All the financial institutions undergo stress testing in the UAE. Special government commissions evaluate their capital adequacy ratios (CAR), that is, they compare the total amount of capital and all the risks that this institution has. This indicator gives the vision of the financial stability of the chosen bank. Stress testing tests the resilience of an organization under extreme conditions.

Considering all the above-listed reasons, we can say that opening a bank account in the UAE is a profitable solution in terms of a balance of cost, reliability, opportunities, protection and scope of services.

But there are certain features when opening a bank account in the UAE, and for everything to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, some preparation is required in terms of collecting and preparing documents. So let's see how to open a bank account in Dubai, UAE.

Requirements for those wishing to open a corporate and personal bank account in Dubai, UAE

As for the requirements for those wishing to open an account in one of the banks in the UAE, a lot depends on the internal policy of a particular financial institution and the type of account to be opened. But, despite this, there is a certain common standard set of requirements that is applied to everyone. This is the basic list of documents required to open a bank account for a company in the UAE*:

  • Company incorporation documents;
  • Copies of shareholder’s passport and a resident visa, and a resident card (Emirates ID);
  • An extract from the previous bank account from the institution in which a client was served earlier – the company's account and private account;
  • CVs of shareholders with information about education and professional experience;
  • Utility bill (proof of actual residence of shareholders).

*The requirements for opening an account for a legal entity of a particular bank may differ slightly from those presented above, depending on the bank itself and the nature of the business.

And here is a list of requirements for those wishing to open a private bank account in the UAE. In this case, the following standard set of documents is required:

  • Passport and residence visa copies, as well as a resident card (Emirates ID);
  • An extract from the bank account where the client was served earlier (from a private account);
  • Utility bill (as proof of actual place of residence);

Anyone wishing to open an account in the UAE undergoes a verification procedure – this is how banks apply the generally accepted KYC (know your customer) procedure. So what does the bank check when opening an account? First of all, they are interested in the previous banking and business history of their potential client – what this person did before, for how long, and the documents confirming these previous activities. Next, banks request data on the current client status – a professional and financial component. And finally, the third component – a bank is interested in what a client will do and how this person will use this new account. If they get answers on all three points, confirmed by documents, they will open an account without problems.

A resident visa is a necessary condition for opening an account in the UAE

Almost all local banks in the UAE require the account signatories to have UAE resident visas to open a company account and a private account. In practice, this requirement is very easy to fulfill – entrepreneurs and property owners, upon passing the necessary formalities, receive a residence permit and resident status in the UAE. In most cases, a residence visa is also required to open private accounts. The only exception for private accounts is in case a private account is opened with a higher minimum balance of USD 300,000 or more. The process of obtaining a resident visa in the UAE is not difficult, especially with the full support of our company's professional consultants at all stages – from registering a company and obtaining a residence permit to opening a bank account and activating online banking.

Opportunities offered by a foreign bank account

According to the UAE legislation, both foreigners and residents can open accounts in the country. Moreover, as we mentioned above, in most cases, a UAE resident visa is required. When opening an account, a personal presence in the country is necessary, since documents signing for opening an account must take place in the presence of a banker. If you apply for our account opening support services, you will receive a preliminary consultation and our assistance in choosing the best option, as well as assistance in preparing all the documents required to open a corporate or private account in the UAE.

All banks offer fully functional online banking systems as well as chequebooks. Note that chequebooks in the Emirates are quite popular, they are used both by individuals and entrepreneurs, and the main condition for having a cheque book is the resident status in the UAE.

Everyone is provided with debit bank cards, a standard financial instrument for working with ATMs and terminals. Such a card is issued by default to everyone who opens an account in the UAE. Specific terms of use depend on the internal rules of the banking institution.

Any bank in the country (both local and branches of international institutions) provides a wide range of online services, which is very convenient for foreigners who do not live in the UAE. Immediately after opening an account in the UAE, you get full access to your account and full control over your assets.

Types of bank accounts in the UAE

Banks in the UAE offer their customers the following types of accounts:

  • Current account. Current accounts are an excellent solution for everyday transactions and transfers. Typically, banks in the UAE offer two types of current accounts, with and without salary transfer.
  • Savings account. If you want money to make a profit, a savings account is for you. In this case, interest rates are higher than on current accounts, but access to funds is limited.
  • Investment account. When concluding an investment agreement with a bank, you can open an investment account. Such agreements cover the management of your funds with a minimum guaranteed return.
  • Within the above account types, banks offer specific products with original features and benefits for customers.

Within the above types of accounts, banks offer specific products with original features and benefits for customers.

Bank account opening process

Opening any bank account, regardless of who it is opened for, consists of the following steps:

  • Initial advisory with our specialist and selection of the optimal solution based on the data provided by the client;
  • Preparation of documents for opening an account. At this stage, the client works together with the consultant;
  • Meeting with a bank representative and signing documents for opening an account;
  • Passing the compliance procedure. At this stage, the bank representative may ask additional questions and request additional documents. Our task is to prepare everything necessary as quickly as possible;
  • The technical part of the bank account opening procedure;
  • Gaining access to online banking and its activation;
  • Obtaining bank cards and their activation.

If you do everything correct and on time, you get a guaranteed solution in the shortest possible time. We will provide you with the professional assistance in opening an account in the UAE.

The cost of banking services in the UAE is regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE. For this reason, the tariffs of banks are approximately within the same price range.

Below we present you the approximate cost of bank services for a private account with tariffs, fees and commissions for various positions:

Type of service

Price

Minimum average monthly balance

AED 0 to 500 

Monthly maintenance fee

AED 0 to 200 

Account closing fee during the first year

AED 0 to 500 

Transaction fee

AED 0 to 10 per transaction

Cash withdrawal fee

0 to 1%

Account balance check fee

free

money transfers fee

free

Penalty for non-compliance with the requirements for the minimum balance on the balance sheet

AED 0 to 1000 dirhams

Issuing a chequebook:

free

Account statement

free (once a month), then up to 10 AED on request

Plastic debit card

free

International transfer fee

AED 10 - 30 + bank fee 

Minimum payment The cost of changing the client package

Up to 100 dirhams

Fee for replenishment of the account with foreign currency

AED 0 to 575000 dirhams

Fee for account replenishment with foreign currency in cash

free

Fee for accepting local currency from a local bank

Approximately 1% of the amount

Cancellation of an outgoing money transfer

free

Fee for incoming/outgoing SWIFT request

20-50 dirhams

Deposit checks with a late maturity date

20-50 dirhams

Up to 50 dirhams

Regular payment:

- internal;

- external


Free

Up to AED 50

Fee for making changes to details

AED 20-30 

Processing fees for general investigations to find translations

Up to AED 50 

Letters of recommendation (date of account opening, referral letter with signature)

Up to AED 300 

Fee for cash withdrawals from ATMs of other banks

Up to AED 10

By opening an account with a UAE bank, you choose a reliable financial partner, stability and predictability, and at the same time you get a wide range of opportunities to solve any problems, and you can also count on our support in opening an account in this country.

FAQ:

Is a personal visit required to open an account in Dubai, UAE or can it be opened remotely?

A personal visit is required for all types of accounts since the document must be signed in the presence of a banker. In case you come to the UAE to apply for a resident visa, as soon as your visa is ready, we will arrange your meeting with a bank representative on the next day.

How long does it take to open an account in the UAE?

In general, this period depends on the type of account and the selected bank. Thus, for example, a private account can be opened in 5-10 business days, and in some cases even faster. It takes more time to open a company account – from 3 to 5 weeks. In complex cases, it may take more time.

Do UAE banks have minimum account balance requirements?

For individuals: Some banks in the UAE require a minimum account balance of AED 50,000, while others do not require such a requirement at all.

For a company: most banks require a minimum balance for the first 6 months of AED 200.000, or AED 300.000.

Are there any specifics when opening and using an account?

The type of account you have chosen plays a special role in the UAE. There are standard and premium offers for both corporate and private accounts. For example, in most banks, if you choose a package with a minimum balance of AED 500,000, for both corporate and private accounts, you will have a special package with a personal manager, better exchange rates, reduced payment costs, etc.

Is there private banking in the UAE?

Definitely. Starting from AED 1.000.000, i.e. around USD 272.000, you can, for example, open a Diamond account with a significant package of privileges and high-quality private banking. Compared to other countries where private banking starts from USD 1.000.0000, this offer looks more than attractive.

Can I use my private account in the UAE for business purposes?

No. Private accounts may only be used for private purposes. If you use a private account for business, sooner or later the bank will notice this and most likely close your account.

What is the language of banking services in the UAE? Arabic?

All banks, as well as other government agencies, use either the local official language – Arabic, or the second official language – English. Therefore, all documents from the package of documents must be translated into one of these languages.

In which banks can I open an account?

Our company works with almost all banks in the UAE. The main banks we work with are Emirates NBD, Masreq, ADCB, ADIB, FAB, Citybank, DIB, RAK Bank, CBD, etc. When choosing the most suitable bank for our clients, we are guided by a whole range of factors – for what clients do a bank open accounts, what are the minimum required balances, what are the requirements of the bank for the client to have a real office in the UAE, etc. When choosing a bank, you need to make the right choice at the very beginning, otherwise, it may turn out that all the efforts and time spent on opening an account were wasted.

Is the IBAN system used in the United Arab Emirates?

ONLY the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is used for all electronic payments and receipts in the UAE starting from 2012. Each account has a unique IBAN.

What is a cheque book and why is it needed

Chequebooks are very popular in the UAE. This is a small document, a booklet, with pre-printed sheets, on which its owner can easily and quickly issue an invoice for payment for goods or services. A check from a cheque book is used as a bill of exchange. Any person who has opened an account with a UAE bank can apply and receive their cheque book. IMPORTANT: To receive a cheque book, the account holder must have a UAE resident visa.

What is the assistance of a professional consultant when opening an account in the UAE?

It is very important to understand the whole process and features of opening an account in the UAE. Sometimes the situation turns absurd. A client applies to the bank on his own, and after 3-4 weeks of communication with the representatives of the bank and the transfer of a huge number of documents, he gets a refusal. Turning to us for professional help, the same client as a result receives an account opened with the same bank the very next day. We do not guarantee that we can resolve every situation for every customer. But in most cases, we find appropriate solutions and solve the task of opening an account.

Why do I need an account abroad?

Here are the main reasons why people open accounts abroad:

  • Currency diversification to minimize risks;
  • Protection of assets from potential illegal actions of third parties is also relevant for countries with unstable economies and banking systems;
  • Purchase of real estate abroad;
  • Opportunities for investment in the chosen jurisdiction;
  • Convenient tool for making international payments.

An account in a foreign bank will allow you to solve a whole range of tasks.

What should I do if I no longer need a UAE bank account?

The best solution would be to close the account in due course. Otherwise, if you just leave it as it is, you may continue to be charged for account maintenance, and your balance may go below zero and this could potentially cause problems in the future.

What is an offshore account?

Offshore banking in the UAE includes a range of services, including asset protection, opening private bank accounts, wealth management, portfolio management, tax advice, inheritance planning and company formation. Some of the major banks that offer offshore account opening services to their clients are HSBC Offshore, Abbey National Offshore, ABN Amro, Dresdner and Barclays.

What should I do if a bank refuses / rejects to open an account?

Can banks in the UAE refuse to open an account? Surely. While the requirements for opening local bank accounts are quite reasonable, you may still face a situation where your account opening will be denied. Here are the most common failure scenarios:

  • A client does not meet the requirements of the UAE banking system;
  • No required documents;
  • Incorrectly prepared documents;
  • The wrong bank was selected.

So, you received a refusal from the bank to open an account in Dubai. What to do?

In any case, the situation can be fixed. Our consultants will help you to collect the entire list of necessary documents, and choose the right bank. We will also arrange a meeting with a bank representative and provide full support in the process of opening an account. Turning to us, you will understand exactly what you will get as a result.

What is the average fee for maintaining a bank account in the UAE?

This greatly depends on the type of account and the nature of its use: for whom the account is opened, when, how and how much funds were transferred, how much was received, etc. An example of the cost of banking services – see the table above in this publication.