If you want to know how to open a bank account in the UAE for non-residents, you must first be in the country. UAE law dictates that account holders must physically present themselves at the bank in order to confirm their identity and sign documents. The only way to open account and not be physically present is by banking with a large international institution that operates in the UAE, such as HSBC or CitiBank, and visiting your local branch. Dubai also allows the hiring of financial officers to be present in your behalf, but this is not accepted at every bank.
There are 4 types of banks in UAE:
Once you are in the UAE, opening a bank account as a non-resident is simple. There are few documents required and the process is straightforward. The most important document is your residence visa, which can take several weeks to obtain. Until you receive your residence visa, however, you can open a savings account.
The UAE allows expats without residence visas to open only a savings account. It is uncommon to receive a check book with this account. Instead, most banks will issue an ATM card so that users can withdraw money while they wait for their residency visa.
Requirements to open a bank account as a non-resident vary from bank to bank, but in general these are the documents you will need to provide:
As a non-resident, you may be subject to a minimum or maximum balance. Be extra aware of this as the amount is often high and the penalties for dipping below the balance are stiff.
The process of opening a savings account will take longer than opening a bank account with a residency visa. Do not expect to have access to your savings account right away.
Once you have your residency visa, you can open a personal bank account or a business bank account. A personal bank account is also called a current account. Like with the savings account, requirements vary from bank to bank, but the standard required documents to open a bank account are:
In addition to these documents, banks also require you to deposit a certain amount to open an account. On average, banks in the UAE will require between 3,000–5,000 AED (820–1,360 USD).
Setting up a UAE bank account is quick and easy. You should have access to the account within a few hours. If you do not want to leave your home, it is common for banks to provide financial representatives to make house calls in Dubai. Check with your intended bank if this is a service that interests you.
You can also open a business bank account in the UAE. This is required if you plan to open an onshore or offshore company. Be aware that some banks may require a high minimum balance and the account will be treated as ‘non-resident,’ and therefore have certain limitations. A bank account opened for a local company or a company from a free zone provides you all the benefits and can be opened in any UAE bank.
To open a business bank account in the UAE you must provide the following required documents:
The director of the company or a major shareholder must be physically present when opening the business bank account. It is possible for a lawyer to do this on their client’s behalf, but not always.
Although opening a UAE bank account online as a non-resident is not possible because of the need to physically go into the bank, these are the best UAE online banking options and apps:
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