There’s a long list of requirements for opening a bank account in the UAE. Not the least of which is showing up in person to open an account.
Of course, if you want to open an account remotely, there are ways to make it happen. And, if you want to unlock expat wealth management services, you will need to know which banks to approach. But, you’ll also need to know the ins and outs of UAE banking to successfully open a bank account here.
- Requirements can vary between banks in the UAE
- Opening an international account in the UAE can be challenging without the right information
- Not all banks in the UAE accept non-resident clients
- Not all banks offer the same banking products and services
- Remote opening is possible in the UAE with the right information
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Banking in the UAE
- Challenges of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
- Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
- Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
- Ready to Explore Your Options?
Banking in the UAE
The requirements to open bank accounts in the UAE can be difficult to overcome. But, it is possible for non-residents to open a bank account. That said, not all UAE banks accept non-resident clients. So, you need to know which banks and bankers accept your client profile before applying.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start applying for bank accounts in the UAE.
Of course, we’ll also cover the benefits you can unlock by opening an account in the UAE and outline the challenges you’ll need to overcome.
Plus, if you’re ready to start applying for a bank account today, we’ll share how you can find the best bank (and bank account) for your client profile and banking needs.
But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open (and keep open) international bank accounts in top banking hubs around the world.
Challenges of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
Banking in the UAE as a non-resident doesn’t come easy. In fact, with an intense due diligence process, opening an account in the UAE can be impossible for some client profiles. This is especially true if you don’t have the right information.
That said, it can be done.
But, you’ll have to navigate the challenges and show up in person in order to meet the requirements for opening international bank accounts in the UAE successfully.
Of course, if you’re a UAE resident and looking to open a bank account, the process is much easier. Though if you are a resident and the purpose of the bank account is to support investing, you may choose to open a bank account overseas instead. This is common for expat individuals living in the UAE on temporary relocation. In fact, many UAE resident expats will either open a bank account with Interactive Brokers or with a platform in a country of their choosing, such as an online broker in Luxembourg.
Let’s take a closer look at the challenges you’ll face when opening an account here.
Challenges of Opening Bank Accounts in the UAE:
- Strict opening procedure
- Intense due diligence process
- Limitations on types of bank accounts, products & services
- Opening an account remotely is not always an option
- High minimum deposit amounts
- Not all banks accept non-resident clients
- Not all banks offer the same banking products and services
- Monthly account fees may apply
- Limitations on the number of monthly account withdrawals
- Severe penalties for breaking financial commitments (debt & credit card payments)
In addition to these challenges, there are numerous restrictions and limitations non-residents need to be aware of when opening an account here.
For instance, due to the UAE central bank restricting non-residents from holding checkbooks, non-resident clients are unable to open checking accounts. Instead, they are allowed to open savings accounts in AED and other international currencies.
And, in terms of opening an account remotely in the UAE, unless you have a previous relationship with an experienced banker, the chances of you opening an account remotely are very slim.
So, prior to opening an account, it’s important to understand the bank’s onboarding process, the documents you’ll need to submit, the unique traits of the bank you choose to open with, and the services the bank has to offer your client profile. This will not only prepare you for opening a bank account in the UAE, but it will save you time and money during the opening process.
With that said, let’s take a look at the documents you’ll need to provide in order to successfully open an international bank account in the UAE.
Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
As mentioned, to successfully open a bank account in the UAE you need to know how to navigate the challenges. But most importantly, you’ll need to know what is required to successfully open an international account here.
Now, before we dive into the specific details, you should know that not all UAE banks accept foreign non-residents. But, for the ones that do, the time to open a bank account can vary from 3 to 6 weeks. That said, how long it takes to open an account can depend on whether or not you’re looking to open a personal or corporate bank account. Not to mention, the type of services and products you are after.
Of course, the required documents for opening a UAE bank account can also vary from bank to bank. So, if you want to open a bank account, it’s important you understand which documents you’ll need to submit, which banking services and products are available to your client profile, and what is required to successfully bank in the UAE as a non-resident.
Documents & Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
- Completed bank-specific application form
- Copy of a valid passport
- Proof of residence (in your country of tax residence)
- Proof of income and source of wealth
- Personal bank statements for the past 3-6 months
- Bank reference letter
- Letter from employer
- Reason for the account
- Emirates ID card (if you are a UAE resident)
- Opening deposit (3000 AED)
- Minimum account balance (500,000 AED)
- Additional bank-specific documents
Since an in-person visit will most likely be required, it’s important to bring copies of these documents with you. In fact, the more supporting documents you present, the better your chances are of opening an account in the UAE.
For instance, multiple forms of identification, 6 months of bank statements, and utility or telephone bills with proof of residence can all be beneficial to have on hand when meeting with the bank in person.
Not to mention, some banks in the UAE may request certain documents to be stamped. So, before you book your plane ticket, make sure you know exactly what documents the bank requires and which documents need to be stamped by local authorities in your country of residence.
Minimum Deposits for Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
Additionally, banks in the UAE have strict minimums in place for bank account balances. For example, if you’re interested in opening a savings account in the UAE, you’ll need to hold a minimum balance of 500,000 AED. Or, the equivalent of 500,000 AED if you’re using another currency.
Like elsewhere, you don’t need to make initial deposits of 500,000 AED immediately. Instead, once your savings account has been approved, banks in the UAE will give you a couple of months to transfer this amount into your bank account.
However, this can vary from bank to bank. So, ensure you understand the bank-specific requirements and deadlines before applying for a savings account so you don’t risk getting turned away.
With that said, if you can meet these requirements for opening a savings account in the UAE, you’ll be able to access the following products and services:
- Online banking
- Multi-currency bank accounts
Now, as we’ve outlined above, documents, products, and services can vary depending on the bank you open with. But, with the right information and knowing what is required to apply, you can successfully open an international bank account as a non-resident in the UAE. Not to mention, unlock many benefits.
Note: UAE banking isn’t for everyone. In fact, depending on your client profile and banking needs, there might be more suitable options elsewhere. For example, if you are looking for lower deposit amounts, you might want to consider offshore banking in the UK.
That said, if the UAE is the best fit for you, it’s important to understand the benefits you could unlock before applying. This way, you can ensure you’re choosing a bank that offers the products and services you’re after.
Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE
It’s important to understand your banking needs and why you’re interested in opening an international bank account in the UAE before you start applying. This will help you determine which bank to open with and what benefits you can access.
That said, here’s a look at the benefits of opening a UAE bank account as a non-resident:
- Access to AED & other major currencies
- Access to reliable banking systems
- Savings account in UAE dirhams
- Remote opening is possible (with some help)
- Access to online banking
Whether or not you can unlock these benefits will depend not only on the bank you decide to open a bank account with but also on your client profile.
And, it’s important to remember that banking in the UAE isn’t for everyone.
But, if you can meet the UAE banking requirements and are looking to start opening international accounts today, we can help…
Ready To Explore Your Options?
Whether you’re ready to open a bank account in the UAE today or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening bank accounts.
When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks – home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.
And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports. These include proven opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.
Plus, you unlock our opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.
To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you.