Open a bank account in the UAE
The UAE has a very-well developed banking system that caters to the needs of every type of business, and individuals from all over the world open bank accounts in Dubai. Every business in Dubai needs to have a local bank account, so as to make and receive payments in Dirhams (AED), which is the local currency in the UAE. The Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar (exchange rate – 1 US$ = 3.67 AED).
Many companies and individuals also open bank accounts in other currencies. This is due to the fact that over 85% of the population in the UAE is expatriate, and businesses in Dubai deal with customers and businesses from all over the world. The most common foreign currency bank accounts in Dubai are US Dollar, Great Britain Pound, Euro and Swiss Franc accounts.
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Types of UAE Bank Accounts
There are over 40 banking institutions in the UAE, ranging from local giants such as Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and MashreqBank, to global banks such as Citi and HSBC.
What are the types of bank accounts that can be opened in Dubai?
There are three main types of bank accounts that you can open in the UAE.
Resident Bank Account
This is the most common type of bank account. Most businesses apply for a resident corporate bank account once their licenses are obtained. In some cases, such as during company setup in Dubai Internet City, a bank account is required as part of the licensing process. However, in most cases, companies open their bank accounts once the authorised signatory has a residence visa in the UAE. This is a bank requirement, for issuance of checkbooks.
Individuals can open personal current and savings resident bank accounts once they have a UAE residence visa.
- Cheque book facility available
- Online banking
- Debit and credit cards
- Dedicated Account Manager (in some cases)
Non-Resident Bank Account
These bank accounts are available in cases where the authorised signatories do not have a UAE residency. Such bank accounts are quite restrictive, require extensive KYC and take a long time to open.
- Mostly online-banking only
- No chequebook facilities
- Long time to open
- No credit/debit card facilities
Offshore Bank Accounts
Offshore bank accounts are not based in the UAE and are instead held in a foreign offshore bank.
Offshore bank accounts are legal and help to diversify the holder’s jurisdictional risks.
There are many benefits to opening an offshore bank account. One reason may be if you travel frequently or work abroad, and want to be able to manage your money in different currencies. It can also be advantageous in cases where you have businesses in different jurisdictions.
The low interest rates in the UAE often result in your savings not even keeping up with the real rate of inflation. Offshore banking can help you enjoy significantly higher interest rates than what you would obtain in the UAE.
- High levels of privacy
- Allow 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- Can be opened quickly
- No UAE Residence Visa requirement
- No currency or funds transfer restrictions
- Online banking facilities
- No chequebook, debit or credit card facility
How we can help in opening your corporate or personal bank accounts in Dubai
10 Zone has been working with our banking partners since 2004.
We have extensive experience in opening corporate bank accounts in all major banks in the region.
Our parent company works closely with private banks in the DIFC and ADGM, and through them, we are able to open private bank accounts for high net worth individuals as well.
- Introductions to local banks
- Scheduling banker meetings in our offices
- Assistance in preparation of the application kit, including business summaries and other related information
- Assistance in completing the application formalities
- Provision of all corporate documents required for bank account opening
- Timely followup with the banks to ensure prompt account opening
Why to choose local banks in the UAE?
The implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) has posed some problems to investors in the region. Under CRS, all your financial data and transactions may be reported to the country where you hold tax residence (if that particular country also participates in CRS).
Local banks in the UAE are well capitalised and well-regarded in international circles, and investors find comfort in setting up corporate and personal bank accounts in these banks. Also, the interest earned on deposits in local bank accounts is non-taxable in the UAE.
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Recommended UAE Banks
These are some of the banks that we work with on a regular basis. However, we are able to assist with opening your bank account in any bank in the UAE. The details below indicative and to the best of our knowledge and can be changed at any time by the bank, without prior intimation to us. The bank representatives will be able to give you a more current status on the features and benefits.
The banks reserve the right to open the accounts, based on factors including but not limited to client KYC, the jurisdiction of the company, the licensed activity and office space availed by the company.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many banking institutions are there in the UAE?
There are 46 commercial banks, and over 65 representative offices of foreign banks in Dubai.
Is it safe to have a bank account in the UAE?
The UAE has been constantly ranked as a safe place to live and do business. Dubai is the centre of doing business in the MENA region, with over 180 nationalities living and working in the country. In short, it is safe to have a bank account here.
What is the difference between a Current Bank Account and Call Account in UAE?
A current bank account in a UAE bank is only opened where the authorised signatory is a UAE resident. In case the authorised signatory does not have a UAE residence visa, a call account is opened. The call account does not have a chequebook facility.
Do UAE banks provide multicurrency accounts?
Yes, UAE banks provide multicurrency accounts. Besides Dirham accounts, you can open US dollar, Euro, GBP and CHF-denominated accounts as well. Usually, banks calculate average balances across all currencies, and hence the company does not require to maintain separate average balances in each currency.
Can foreigners open Personal Bank Accounts in Dubai?
Yes, foreigners can open a Personal Bank Account in Dubai. Usual monthly average balances are in the range of US$ 27,000, for non-resident personal bank accounts in Dubai.
How long does it take to open bank accounts in Dubai?
Resident bank accounts usually take upto 14 working days. Non-resident bank accounts can take double the time. This varies on a case-to-case basis, and depends on the strength of the application and associated KYC documentation.
What are the required documents to open the Resident Personal Bank Account in Dubai?
The following minimum documents will be required:
- Passport Copy
- Emirates ID
- Valid UAE Residence Visa
- Utility Bill (not more than two months old) for your UAE residential premises, rented or owned.
- Salary Certificate from employer or contract with the employer. For business owners/partners, proof of ownership would have to be furnished (list of partners, Certificate of Incumbency etc.)
What are the required documents for opening a Non-Resident Personal Account in Dubai?
- Passport Copy, with UAE entry stamp
- Utility Bill (not more than two months old)
- 6 months bank statement from home country
- Bank reference letter
Normally, you would have to either a)invest in a banking product (bonds, insurance etc.) or b) maintain a high monthly average balance (around US$ 50,000).
Can I have multiple bank accounts with different banks in Dubai?
Yes. There is no restriction on having multiple corporate or personal bank accounts. You would have to maintain the minimum monthly average balances in all separately, so that you do not incur additional service charges.
Does the shareholder have to come to the UAE in order to open the bank account? Is remote bank account opening possible?
The authorised signatory will have to be present in the UAE. The bank officials would verify the credentials of the authorised signatories in original, in his/her presence.
Is there any initial deposit required in order to open the Bank Account in Dubai?
While the bank does not require an initial deposit in order to open the account, you would have to give them an indication of the size of the account. Also, you would need to fund the account once it is opened, so as to not incur additional charges for non-maintenance of the minimum balance.