There are multiple ways in which non-residents can open a bank account in the UAE. However, for that to happen, the applicant needs to be physically present in the country. The only way by which an applicant can open a bank account without being there in the UAE, is to contact the local branch of their multinational financial institution like CitiBank, HSBC etc.
Before professionals get familiar with the procedure of opening a bank account in the UAE, it is important to understand the types of banks that exist in the UAE-
International financial corporations that offer commercial services to its clients have established branches in the UAE. Their services include- lending money for commercial ventures, sanctioning loans, and managing key accounts of individuals and enterprises.
Banks that exclusively provide services and loans to industries and large scale businesses specifically for infrastructure and development projects.
Banks that specialize in managing portfolios for organizations, individuals fall under this category. Also these are financial institutions that partake in buying and selling of stocks.
For many outsiders, this is a completely foreign concept as most of the countries around the world don’t have banks that comply with a particular religion and work according to its practices. However, in Islamic countries like the UAE, these are banks that adhere to Sharia laws and practices.
Requirements to open a bank account in the UAE as an expat/non-resident
Non-residents in the UAE are only allowed to open a savings account. Expats will not receive a cheque book, rather the banks will issue ATM cards so that the client can withdraw money while they wait for their Residence Visa.
These are the list of documents required for non-residents to open a savings account in the UAE (please note that this list is not definitive and the bank may ask for additional documents)-
● Passport with UAE entry stamp (Original and Photocopy)
● Passport photo
● Duly signed and filled application form
● Proof of under-process application for Residence Visa or Emirates ID
● Document with employer’s name and salary details
● No objection certificate from your sponsor or employer
● Letter of recommendation from the previous bank
Please note that Expats or non-residents might be told to comply with a limit of a minimum or a maximum balance in their Savings bank account. Knowing this limit is important as non-compliance might lead to a significant penalty.
Requirements to open a Business Account
If you plan to start an onshore or offshore company, you can open a Business Account in the UAE. An account that is established for a local setup or a company from a Free Zone gives all the advantages and can be operated from any bank in the UAE.
You need the following documents to open a Business Account in the UAE-
● Passport along with the Residency Visa for the company representative
● Copy of the Emirates ID of the company representative
● Copy of the Passport of the Company Director
● Listing of the source of funds
● Detailing of the activities conducted by the business through that account
● Existing Contracts
● Reference Letters from Business Partners
● Current Business Plan
● full set of certified company incorporation documents:
- memorandum and articles
- certificate of incorporation
- shareholders registry
- company extract (from the official company’s registry)
- certificate of good standing