Debunking "Setting Up a Bank Account in the UAE is Difficult"

types of bank account in uaeHave you ever heard people say that setting up a bank account in the UAE is difficult? While it’s true that changes in the regulatory environment may lead people to believe it, we’re here to debunk this myth through the parametres to keep in mind as you seek to open up your account. What does this involve? We have all the details.


Types of bank account options in the UAE 

Like in most countries, you can open a standard current account, savings accounts and investment accounts at banks in the UAE. There’s also an option to open an offshore bank account, especially in Dubai. There are some restrictions regarding the types of accounts you can open in the UAE depending on your residency status (which we’ll detail further below). Still, the key is to know what banks are most open to your business and how to apply successfully. 

When it comes to banks in the UAE, you can classify the country’s financial institutions into four categories. There are commercial banks (those that manage accounts for enterprises and individuals), industrial banks that distribute funds for development purposes, Islamic banks that adhere to the principles of Sharia law and merchant/investment banks that engage in buying and selling stocks. 


Debunking the myth that “opening a bank account in the UAE is difficult”

We recently discussed how the tightened regulatory framework to align with global financial reporting standards and the Economic Substance Requirements have made it appear that it’s challenging to bank in the UAE. In our view, it’s a matter of knowing how to make a compelling case to the institution that will take you on as a client. We also left a set of recommendations for those interested in opening a corporate bank account in the Emirates to demonstrate their commitment to the country. 

One of the intricacies of the banking system is that non-residents cannot open a bank account online in the UAE because you must physically go into the bank. Fortunately, we have what you need to get all your documents in order and can aid you in the process of choosing the right bank for you.


How to open a bank account in the UAE as a non-resident

Non-residents generally only have access to savings accounts and are often subject to high minimum deposit requirements. If you can meet the criteria that the banks set up, you would need the following documents

  • A copy of your passport with the entry page from the UAE

  • An updated CV

  • An original copy of your personal bank statements from the last six months from a bank in your home country or anywhere in the world

  • An original copy of a reference letter from your bank where you have a personal or corporate account


Requirements to open a bank account with a residency visa

If you have a residency visa, things become much easier when it comes to bank account opening offers in the UAE. More banks are willing to work with you, and there are more accounts at your disposal besides savings accounts. What documents must you present at a bank to open your account? They are:

  • The original and a copy of your passport with your UAE residency visa

  • Your Emirates ID card (and a copy)

  • Depending on how you’re living in the UAE, one of the following:

    • A salary letter from your employer 

    • Your spouse’s labour card/work ID (the original and copy) if you’re a spouse on the visa

    • An original trade licence if you are self-employed 

  • A document proving your residency in the UAE (it can be a utility bill, lease agreement or letter verifying your employment)

Along with these documents, the banks will require you to deposit opening, with the amount averaging between 3,000-5,000 AED (roughly £624.05-£1,040.08). 


What’s the best bank account for your personal finance or business in the UAE?

Suppose you’re interested in opening a corporate bank account or curious about what are the best banks in the UAE to open a savings account. In that case, our bank account opening and introduction services will guide you through the available financial institutions as you prepare your application. Our relationships with some of the most reputable local and global institutions will give you an edge as you find the right fit for your money. Are you ready to start the process of opening a bank account in the UAE? Don’t hesitate to schedule your initial consultation today.


Written by
Adrian Oton
Adrian Oton
CEO, Europe Emirates Group

Banking and Financial Services
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