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How to Open Bank Account in the UAE – A Guide for Expats

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The banking sector in the UAE is vouched for its stability, privacy policy, and diversification, making it the preferred country to work and generate wealth. As an expatriate with a UAE residence visa, you can open a personal or bank account, whereas non-residents can easily open a savings account. A local bank account will help you manage your finances smartly, as you can keep track of your monthly income.

However, there are some requirements that you need to know about opening a bank account in the UAE. The following sections provide insights into the documents required to open different types of bank accounts in the UAE and more relevant details.

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Overview of Banking Services in the UAE

Most banks in the UAE provide services like money remittance to banks abroad, which makes it convenient for expatriates to send money to their homes. As an ex-pat, you can access your local bank account from anywhere and at any time. 

Different banks have different procedures and requirements for ex-pats to open bank accounts in the UAE. As an expatriate, you can also avail of the benefits of Islamic banking services that are handled by the Shariah law.

One of the noteworthy features of most bank accounts in the UAE is that you can exchange foreign currency and remit money at your convenience. There are several currency exchange agencies in all the emirates that make it easy for you to send money to your home country.

You can open any of the following accounts in the UAE – 

  • Current Account 
  • Savings Account
  • Investment Account
  • Salary Account
  • Non-resident Account

Tips for Choosing a Bank Account in the UAE

With a massive population of expatriates in the UAE, you will find several banking services designed to meet your requirements. Several expatriates notably prefer to open a current account in the UAE, as they can obtain a credit card and a chequebook along with the complementary debit card on their account. Note that cheques are one of the most-used methods to make payments in the UAE. 

However, some ex-pats can also open accounts based on the purpose of their stay in the country. For instance, if an individual is there to set up a business, they would need to open a corporate bank account. Thus, ex-pats must first consider what bank and type of account would work best for them as per their requirements.

When choosing a bank and the type of bank account you want to set up, you need to consider certain factors such as – 

  • Minimum balance required
  • Additional fees and when it needs to be paid
  • The proximity of the bank’s branch from your place of dwelling
  • Need for local and international transfers
  • Number of withdrawals allowed per month
  • Do you need to transfer money abroad?
  • Does your employer have an account in the same bank?

Documents Required to Open a Current Bank Account 

As stated before, the procedure and the paperwork required to set up a bank account in the UAE may vary as per different banks’ policies. The general documents that you may be asked to provide to open a bank account in the UAE are as follows – 

  • Original and a copy of passport with UAE entry stamp
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Residency visa or proof that your Emirates ID is under process
  • Documents stating your employment status and your salary details
  • Letter of recommendation from the previous bank
  • A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the sponsor or the employer
  • A filled-in application form

You should maintain a minimum balance to avoid paying a monthly charge of AED 50 or AED 100 on your current account. The minimum balance could be from AED 1,000 to AED 5,000 depending on the bank and your account type. However, your employer can request the bank to allow you to maintain a minimum balance below the range, given that your account is credited with your salary every month.

How to Open a Savings Account in the UAE?

If you are not a UAE resident, you can only open a savings account in the UAE. With a savings account, you can apply for a debit card to withdraw money from your account easily. However, you would need to maintain a minimum and maximum bank balance. 

To open a savings account, you may require the following additional documents besides the ones mentioned in the previous section – 

  • Recent utility bill
  • Recent bank statement from your home country
  • Documents describing your source of funds

How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in the UAE?

You need to open a commercial or corporate bank account if you want to set up a business in the UAE, as you cannot manage business operations using a personal bank account. To open a corporate bank account, you need to submit the following documents – 

  • Trade licence and registration certificate
  • Share certificates and Memorandum of Association
  • A board resolution that permits the company to open a bank account
  • Identity proof of all the shareholders and authorised signatories

How to Open Bank Account in the UAE?

As an expatriate, you can open your bank account via phone banking, in-person branch visitation, or any of the available online modes. When it comes to opening a bank account online, you can visit a third-party aggregator’s (TPA) website to check for bank account options from the leading financial institutions in the UAE. 

Policybazaar UAE is one of the top TPAs in the country. You can explore our easy-to-navigate portal and choose from a plethora of bank account options for ex-pats from the top banks in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ex-pats open a bank account in the UAE?

Expatriates can open a bank account in the UAE once they start working in the country. Please note that the account opening process can take either a day or two or a couple of weeks, based on the kind of account you need to open. 

When can a bank refuse you to open an account?

The following are the conditions under which a bank can reject your application to open an account with them –

  • If another bank has blocked your account due to some suspicious activity
  • You could not verify the source of income
  • You could not maintain a minimum balance or in the case of a corporate account, a minimum account turnover. 
  • If you are on the list of restricted people 
How can you manage your bank account in the UAE?

You can manage your account either by visiting the branch regularly or opting for online or mobile banking. 

Can UAE non-residents open bank accounts?

Non-residents can only open savings accounts in the UAE. As per the Central Bank of UAE, only GCC nationals who are non-residents in the UAE can open a current account.

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