The procedure is quite simple
Almost all UAE banks offer both individual and business accounts for non-residents. Opening one is a necessity for those who spend a significant amount of time in the UAE or often get paid in dirhams.
The main challenge for an applicant is that it’s impossible to open an account online. The UAE law dictates that account holders must be physically present at the bank in order to confirm their identity and sign some documents. In theory, you can open an account remotely by giving a financial advisor legal permission to act on your behalf. However, not all banks will accept this solution, so you’d better contact the chosen institution first.
Moreover, there are certain restrictions. Current accounts or loan services are only available to residents. As a non-resident, you can only open a savings account and receive a debit card. In the case you open an account with a UAE residence visa, you may be also able to apply for a bank loan after some time. Please, mind that many Emirati banks will require non-residents to hold a monthly average balance of $USD 100,000.
The documents you’ll require include:
- Original passport
- A copy of your visit visa and entry stamp page or e-gate card
- Proof of address – a utility bill or a confirmation of your address by a city council or municipality
- Personal bank statements for the past 3-6 months
- Reference letter from your employer
- Reference letter from the bank you have account with
- CV with your personal and professional background
As for a corporate bank account, the additional documents you’ll need are:
- overview of your corporate structure,
- identity documents,
- certificate of incorporation/company licence,
- share certificates,
- company memorandum,
- articles of association,
- passport copies of shareholders and shareholders’ signatures,
- projections of future profits and transactions for your business.
If you are from a country where the official language is not English, it’s best to get all of your documents translated.
The bank employees will take copies of the documents you attach to the application forms. Account opening usually takes about 1-2 weeks, depending on the bank.
Upon application approval, you will receive a formal email with your account details and online banking instructions.
When choosing a bank to open an account at, you may consider branches of the well-known international institutions:
- Standard Chartered
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Or else, stick to the large local banks:
- Emirates NBD (National Bank of Dubai)
- First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
- ADCB (Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank)
- Dubai Islamic Bank
Emirates NBD has the largest network of branches and ATMs in the country. The bank also has a few non-resident account packages, including special account offers tailored for nationals of Lebanon and India.
FAB savings accounts are available in multiple currencies, provide complimentary airport lounge access with no prior booking, and earn some interest.
ADCB additionally requires a letter of introduction from an existing ADCB customer with a relationship of more than a year, in order for non-residents to open an account.
Besides non-resident accounts, Dubai Islamic Bank offers non-resident home-finances programs, with loans of up to 80% of the property value.
RakBank offers both residents and non-residents the high interest-bearing savings account called RAKsave. Interest is calculated on the daily balance as per a tiered interest rate structure.
Mashreq caters three types of savings accounts: Basic Savings Account, Easy Saver, and Daily Bonus Account. Easy Saver is a rare UAE savings account which doesn’t oblige you to maintain a minimum monthly average balance. In addition to this, there is no monthly fee.