HomeBlogA Guide to Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

A Guide to Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

March 22, 2024

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    The UAE's banking system is quite unique. But just like anywhere else in the world, opening a bank account here requires meeting certain requirements. Unfortunately, there's a lot of contradictory or outdated information online, which can be confusing if you've been researching the process from various sources.

    In this article, we'll clearly explain the requirements for opening both personal and corporate bank accounts in the UAE. We'll also walk you through the step-by-step process to help you properly prepare.

    Opening a Personal Bank Account in the UAE

    Let's start by going over what you need to open a personal bank account in the UAE. At the most basic level, there are two main requirements to be eligible for a personal account in the UAE:

    UAE Residency: First, you'll need UAE residency. While it's possible to open an account without a resident visa and Emirates ID, the process is longer, more expensive, and significantly more difficult. Therefore, obtaining residency should be your first step.

    Proof of Income: UAE banks will open an account for you if you have an official monthly salary of AED 4,000 or more from a UAE-based company. Alternatively, you can deposit a minimum lump sum amount specified by the bank.

    Process of Opening a Personal Account

    First, you'll need to submit the required documents to your chosen bank. These typically include:

    • Your passport
    • A copy of your UAE resident visa and Emirates ID
    • Proof of residential address (utility bill, Ejari, rental agreement, hotel reservation for at least 3 months)
    • Employment contract or salary certificate. If self-employed, you'll need proof such as a trade license, client agreements, and bank statements.
    • Your local UAE mobile number (mandatory)

    Most banks allow you to apply online initially. However, you'll usually need to visit a branch in person to complete the process and verify your original documents.

    After your account is approved and opened, the bank will courier your documents to the provided address. Upon receiving them, you'll need to present your original Emirates ID. You'll then get your welcome package containing your debit card and checkbook. You will also have access to online banking, where you can remotely manage funds in your account via website or smartphone.

    We should also mention that to open a personal bank account  you must be over 18 or 21 years old. This restriction changes per bank or product.

    Opening a Corporate Bank Account in the UAE

    Opening a corporate account in the UAE is quite a bit more complex than opening a personal account. Let's go over the basic eligibility criteria:

    Business license in the UAE: To open a corporate account, you'll need to provide a number of documents, including your company's statutory documents, confirmation of office and residential addresses, economic zone certificates, a list of potential clients and suppliers, invoices and agreements with clients (if any), a business plan, and other related documents.

    It's important to note that UAE banks may refuse to open an account if your business activity is considered high-risk or if your license is registered offshore or outside the UAE.

    Personal documents of the founder: Similar to opening a personal account, you must provide a complete set of documents  for the company founder(s). Documents should be in English. The list includes:

    • Personal bank statements for the last six months, with a recommended significant balance of at least AED 50,000.
    • Resumes of the founder(s).
    • Founder(s) passports.

    Note, that founders must be present in person when submitting documents.

    Process of Opening a Corporate Account

    First, you'll need to submit an application to your chosen bank, often requiring the founder or authorized representatives to be present in person (this could be a director or beneficiary who will be a signatory at the bank).

    After applying, the bank will conduct a Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance check on the company and its directors. This may involve reviewing documents, your business plan, and the source of funds. Depending on the bank, they may also need to verify your company's physical office location.

    Once your application is approved, you'll need to make an initial deposit. The amount required depends on the bank's policies and account type. After all checks are successfully completed and the deposit is made, your account will be activated and ready for your company's use.

    Note that during the compliance review process, the bank may ask for supplementary documents or further clarifications. This could then impact the timeline for setting up your corporate account.

    As a final step, similar to personal accounts, the bank will courier your account documents to the provided address. You'll need to present the original Emirates IDs upon receiving them.

    Wrapping up

    Although it's possible to navigate the process independently, utilizing a specialized service is highly recommended, as it ensures you have comprehensive support every step of the way, increases your chances of opening an account, and saves valuable time.

    Here you can choose a company registration service, which also includes assistance with opening a bank account in the UAE. You will get all the necessary instructions and access to experts who can address any questions or concerns you might have along the way.

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