Requirements to Open a Bank Account as a Non-resident in the UAE

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With its ever-expanding business opportunities, the UAE attracts a large number of expats in search of livelihood. It has a lenient tax system and provides a suitable environment for businesses and jobs to flourish rapidly. However, to have a streamlined operation, you need uninterrupted financial resources and effective management. To back it up, banks in the UAE have evolved extensively, offering world-class banking services to suit the needs of various clients. If you are the one planning to relocate to the UAE, the first thing you require is a bank account for all financial dealings. Before opening a bank account in the UAE, you need to consider various factors for choosing the right bank. Additionally, the banks require your commitment as a non-resident of the UAE such as maintaining a minimum account balance. Opening a bank account as a non-resident might not offer you various account options, but you can enjoy the banking services like a UAE resident. The article below sheds light on the requirements to open a bank account as a non-resident in the UAE and the process you need to follow. 

Can you open a bank account in the UAE as a foreigner?

With expatriates constituting the major chunk of the Emirates population, there are ways for non-residents to open a bank account in the UAE. However, the bank seeks your employment status and residency before offering you a bank account in the UAE. Several banking products are limited only to UAE nationals and residents.  You also need to fulfil additional criteria for opening a bank account as a non-resident in the UAE.

Among other documents, you need to submit your valid passport along with the visa details and a no objection letter from your visa sponsoring person or current employer. In addition, you also need to have residency proof for opening an international bank account in the UAE. 

What are the general requirements for opening a bank account in the UAE?

As mandatory documents for your identification, you need to submit a valid passport and a no-objection letter from your employer. Depending on the bank, you may have to fulfil different criteria and submit additional documents in comparison to the residents. 

In order to open a bank account for expats, you need to mandatorily produce your visa and address details. If you have recently moved to an Emirates in the UAE and applied for an Emirates ID, you will need to submit a copy of the Emirates ID application. 

Along with the above documents, you also require the identification of your employer or sponsor. You can get a document such as a bonafide or salary certificate from your current employer or the person sponsoring you in the Emirates. Additionally, you need to provide your current address in the UAE. For address proof, you can submit a recent utility bill or lease agreement. In some cases, the banks may request a recommendation letter from another bank; you can easily acquire the letter of recommendation from your bank in the country of origin. As a commitment, the bank will require you to maintain a minimum monthly balance, and the amount depends on the bank you open an account with. The minimum amount for UAE nationals/residents is AED 3,000 per month. However, for non-residents, it can go from AED 5,000 to AED 50,000, depending on the account type.

What are the documents required for opening a bank account as a non-resident of the UAE?

Before opening a bank account as a non-resident in the UAE, you need to produce a few documents pertaining to your identity, employment status and residency. Here are a few mandatory documents you need to submit during your bank account application.

  • A copy of your passport with the UAE entry page
  • A valid UAE visa with the mandatory address page
  • An original reference letter from the bank in your home country where you have an individual or business account. A reference letter from a bank in another country is also acceptable
  • Latest bank statements of the last six months from the bank you already have an account with
  • For business accounts, you need to submit relevant documents related to your business along with cash flow statements

Do you need a resident visa for opening a bank account in the UAE?

Most banks in the UAE accept account applications from tourists and non-residents, so if you plan to stay briefly and still hold a UAE bank account, you have several options. Individuals with non-resident visas can open a bank account in the UAE. However, the bank imposes several restrictions such as they can only avail of a savings bank account. And for such account holders, the bank won’t issue chequebooks for fund access. Non-resident individuals receive a debit card to access their funds from CCDMs and ATMs across the country. Apart from that, they will also need to maintain a minimum account balance to avoid any penalties and charges.

Several banks in the UAE accept multiple foreign currencies such as USD, GBP in addition to UAE Dirhams. It can be an attractive option for individuals who prefer not to exchange currencies. 

What are the requirements for opening a corporate bank account in the UAE?

To open a corporate bank account, you need to satisfy a different set of requirements. In addition to submitting documents related to your personal identity, you need to acquire permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs UAE. The documents that you may require include the address proof, company incorporation and license, future projection of your company, and more. Individuals with a non-English official language need to translate all their documents into English. Finally, they need to comply with the Central Bank of UAE norms and regulations for operating the business. Additionally, they need to undertake a Know Your Customer (KYC) verification. The bank representative can track and record the transaction details before and after opening the bank account

Major International banks to Open a Bank Account as a Non-Resident in the UAE

If you already have a bank account with an international bank, the application process becomes convenient in the UAE. By having a prior relationship with the bank, you can directly apply for an overseas bank account in the UAE. Following are the major international banks offering their services in the UAE. 

  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Citibank 
  • HSBC Bank

Major Local Banks to Open an Account as a Non-Resident in the UAE

Numerous local banks also offer banking services to non-residents. With an account at one of the local banks, you can enjoy an extensive network of branches and ATMs, making your fund access easy and quick. Following are the major local banks in the UAE. 

Can you open a bank account in the UAE without visiting there?

To apply for a bank account in the UAE, you need to be physically present at the bank branch. The bank representative needs to confirm your account opening and witness the signing of your documents and application. You can apply for the bank account online from anywhere, but you need to be present during the document verification. 

If it’s confusing to select a bank account that suits your needs, you can also take professional advice by directly contacting the bank or reaching out to the customer support team of policybazaar.ae. The support team will take you through the features and benefits of different accounts and the application process for the same. 

Important Things to Know Before Opening a Bank Account as a Non-Resident in the UAE

Before opening a non-resident bank account in the UAE, you need to get acquainted with the common terms and conditions followed by the banks. The important things you need to know as an expat opening a bank account in the UAE are as follows: 

  • For savings and current accounts, almost all the banks have a minimum balance requirement. A few banks levy account maintenance charges along with minimum balance criteria. While the balance requirements may be high, the account maintenance charges are low. You need to verify the charges and balance requirements before opening an account with a specific bank. 
  • Several banks offer zero balance savings accounts. However, most of these accounts are available only to UAE nationals and residents. If you plan on getting an Emirates ID, a zero balance account can be a suitable choice. 
  • For cash withdrawals from a different bank’s ATM, you may need to pay an additional fee. The fees vary depending on the bank you have an account with, and you need to verify the various transaction charges before applying. 
  • Numerous transactions can only be done at the bank, so it is better to opt for a bank closer to your residence. 

Conclusion

Being a commercial hub in the Gulf region, UAE has a modernised banking system offering world-class services with complete security. If you plan on opening a bank account as a non-resident in the UAE, you have numerous options. However, the bank imposes a few restrictions that you need to verify during the application. Before applying for an account, you need to find the best bank account that suits your needs and offers you the desired services. You can take professional help by approaching the bank and looking closely at the various terms and conditions.