How to Open a Bank Account in Dubai 2021

Opening an offshore bank account in Dubai is not a hassle anymore. You only need to know the necessary documents to submit, and the procedure to follow. The growing economic boom and financial stability in Dubai’s banking sector make it favourable to open both private and company accounts. Banking activities are highly regulated, and customer safety prioritised. The advantages of opening an offshore account in UAE are endless, from absolute privacy to complete tax exemption.

📌 [1.] Why Are European Banks Hesitant on Receiving Money Sent from Dubai?

Many European banks are hesitant in authorising or receiving transactions from the UAE. The reluctance behaviour of European banks is justifiable. Dubai has strong business and financial ties with Iran. Given that the USA imposed trade and financial sanctions on Iran, many Europeans banks are cautious not to get involved in such businesses. Also, UAE has growing business relationships with India and Africa, which have been used as reroute gates for fraudulent financial activities in the past. Therefore, it’s imperative to have all the documents that evidence the legitimacy of your offshore investment. This will allow you to transfer your funds from UAE to Europe without having to answer any questions.

That shouldn’t ward you off! According to Dubai demographics, 2020, foreigners form up to 85% of the total population. Surprisingly, almost all of the foreigners have bank accounts in Dubai, whether as visitors, tourists, investors, or non-residents. Keep reading to find out how to open a bank account in Dubai.

📌 [2.] What Documents Do I Need to Open Bank Account in Dubai?

The type of documents needed varies depending on whether you want to open a private/personal account or a company/corporate account. They also differ from bank to bank due to specific bank requirements.
To start, you must avail several documents together with a few extra copies to the banker.

2.1 Depending on the bank one chooses, general documents and requirements may include:

  1. A copy of your visa
  2. A document from your employer showing his/her name and your salary amount
  3. A Curriculum Vitae indicating your business experience and professionalism
  4. An Emirates ID card or a copy of the application form you submitted to get an ID
  5. A recommendation letter from your current bank or local bank
  6. A utility bill receipt or a bank statement, less than six months old to confirm your address
  7. Documented evidence on the source of incoming funds
  8. Physical presence is mandatory

2.2 What Are the Requirements to Open a Business/ Corporate Account in Dubai?

There are two options if you decide to open a business account UAE. You can either create a UAE offshore company and open its account or create a UAE onshore company and open its business account. Basic requirements when opening a business account include:

  1. A copy of AOA and MOA
  2. A copy of trade license
  3. A certificate of Incorporation
  4. A shares certificate
  5. Copy of your passport stamped by UAE
  6. Copy/Copies of Emirates ID of shareholders, if any
  7. Copy/Copies of shareholders visa, if they are residents
  8. Bank statements of shareholders, not less than six months
  9. A utility bill of the shareholders to confirm shareholders’ address
  10. A copy of the ownership and corporate structure of the company

You might or might not need all of the documents listed above depending on whether you are a resident or non-resident and the type of account you are opening.

📌 [3.] Can Foreigners Open Bank Account in Dubai?

Yes, and almost effortlessly. However, most of the banks in Dubai restrict foreigners to Savings Account only. It’s impossible to open Current/Checking Account in Dubai. Also, foreigners are issued with debit card only and not cheque book to withdraw their funds. They are also subject to minimum and/or maximum balance, which is usually AED 3,000 monthly.

📌 [4.] Can I Open A Bank Account Without Emirates ID?

Lack of Emirates ID card means you will be treated as a foreigner. Therefore, the requirements are similar to those of foreigners seeking to open a bank account, as discussed above.

With our express service, we help foreigners to open bank accounts easily by expediting the application process.

📌 [5.] Can I Open a Bank Account in Dubai on Visit Visa?

Yes, but only a current account. Both tourists and visitors can open a basic savings account. You will be required to present your visit visa along with your valid passport. Generally, most banks offer visitors and tourists with a simple current account without credit card, borrowing services, and no cheque book.

📌 [6.] Can I Open a Dubai Bank Account from My Country?

The banking regulations of Dubai require non-residents to avail themselves physically when opening bank accounts. However, you can open an account from your local bank if it has operations in Dubai. Some of the international banks in Dubai include Citibank, Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Canada.

Also, in some cases, you can select a financial advisor to represent you in Dubai when opening a bank account.

📌 [7.] Can I Open A Dubai Bank Account Online?

Whether you choose an international bank or a UAE-based bank, your presence is mandatory. Most, if not all, banks require physical verification of the applicant’s identity.

However, some major online banks such as Bank of Internet USA and Charles Schwab Bank, allow one to open an account online on the basis that the person wishes to remain a citizen of his/her home country. The downside of opening an online account with web-based financial institutions is that your account will be based locally with no access to on-site customer service and tellers. Your transactions, such as cheques might take longer to get approved. However, you will enjoy some privileges such as flat currency conversion rates and free ATM withdrawals.

The same applies to most major international banks operating in Dubai. For example, Citibank allows you to open an account online in Dubai provided you have a residency and an address in the U.S. With HSBC, you can also apply either from the UK or the UAE. Both HSBC and Citibank offer waivered ATM fees and access to on-site bank tellers in Dubai for online accounts.

📌 [8.] Which is the Best Bank for Expats in Dubai?

The banking system in the UAE is composed of both local and foreign financial institutions. The banking sector is strictly regulated by the Central Bank, thus ensuring that every bank meets the banking requirements sufficiently. However, many business owners and expats alike, tend to choose a bank that they are relatively familiar with. The most preferred international banks in UAE include Citibank, HSBC, Habib Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, and Standard Chartered Bank.

The expansion of international banks has triggered great competitions in banking services. Local banks have lowered their banking rates and revised their customer services to offer competitive and personalised banking packages. For example, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and National Bank of Dubai (NBD) provide better banking services than some foreign competitors.

8.1 What to Consider When Choosing a Bank in Dubai?

  1. Your employer’s bank- using the same bank as your employer may facilitate seamless and streamlined transactions.
  2. The proximity of bank branch and ATMs- choosing a bank that is closer to your home or office is time-saving and efficient.
  3. Availability of mobile banking- choose a bank that has convenient mobile apps and online banking
  4. Lowest minimum balance requirements- avoid the minimum balance trap used by some banks that impose unreasonable minimum limits and high charges to worm your funds out.

8.2 Below is a table of National Banks, Private Banks, and major International Banks in Dubai.

National Banks

National Bank of Dubai (Emirates NBD)

  • Free AED ATM/Debit card
  • Savings Account with different foreign currencies
  • NBD Savings Account

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Currently Known as FAB

  • Fee-less withdrawals at any NBAD ATMs
  • MasterCard Platinum Debit Card

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

  • Savings Account UAE in multiple currencies
  • Free teller deposits and withdrawals
  • Free ATM/Debit Card

First Gulf Bank (FGB), merged to form FAB

  • 3,000 AED minimum balance
  • Free Debit/ATM card for AED accounts

Dubai Islamic Bank

  • Highly personalised services
  • 3,000 AED account opening deposit
  • Free teller and ATM withdrawals
  • 25 AED monthly maintenance fee

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

  • Round the clock banking services
  • User-friendly mobile banking app
  • Free teller and ATM withdrawals

Major International Banks in Dubai

HSBC

  • Free International Visa Debit & ATM card
  • 3,000 AED minimum balance
  • Visa Cashback Credit Card
  • 6 free AED on-site teller transactions each month
  • 10 branches and 67 ATM locations

Standard Chartered Bank

  • Supports multiple currency accounts
  • Free Debit and ATM card
  • 5 branches and 14 ATMs

Citibank

  • Choice between multiple currencies
  • Free Citibank ATM transactions worldwide
  • Free international ATM and Debit card
  • 2 branches and 48 ATMs

Which are the Best Private Banks in Dubai?

Some of the banks listed on the top national banks double as the top private banks as well. They include:

  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
  • Dubai Islamic Bank PSJ
  • Scotia bank
  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  • Barclays Bank PLC
  • United Bank Limited
  • Emirates Investment Banks
  • Noor Capital

📌 [9.] How Can I Open an Offshore Bank Account in Dubai?

The procedure of opening a bank account in UAE is simple, provided you meet all the requirements and documents. UAE residents will have their accounts set up and running in a few hours. However, non –residents will have to wait a little longer to have their documents verified and processed. Banks can also send agents to come and verify your documents and identity if you are residing in Dubai.

It’s essential to go through the terms and conditions and the documents presented to you before signing the application form.

📌 [10.] Are Dubai Banks Safe?

The UAE banking system is a true reflection of innovative and progressive bank policies. Dubai, in particular, enjoys a stable banking system that is time-tested and backed by steady economic indicators. This means your assets and investments are safe and secure with most UAE banks, especially the ones listed here. Dubai banks are safe and reliable, whether you are considering opening an account as an investor, employee, tourist, or a student.

📌 [11.] How to Transfer Money to Dubai Bank Account?

Transferring money from Europe and the USA to Dubai is simple. Once you have your account set up and verified, you can start sending money back and forth without any limitations. If you are sending large amounts of funds, some banks might ask you to document the source of funds a detailed scope of your business activities in UAE.

Can Someone Set Up an Offshore Investments Company or an Account in Dubai for Me?

We provide a full company set up, including bank account opening services for companies and private individuals. We also offer assistance in acquiring permanent residence permit for the company owners in Dubai. Every 6 months, the company owner must be in Dubai for one day to maintain the permanent residence permit validity. We offer express services for company set-up, bank accounts, and permanent residence permit within 10 Days.

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