Opening a bank account in Dubai

Having an account in a local bank in the UAE provides a certain freedom, allowing you to pay for rent, utility bills, top-up provider balances, reload your Nol card for transportation, and use the banking services. Below, we explain the requirements and documents needed to open a bank account in Dubai.

07.08.2023
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Dubai Banking System

Why do I need a local bank account?

All bank account holders are provided with debit cards, which can be used to withdraw funds through ATMs and terminals. The specific terms of use depends on the internal rules of the banking institution.

All banks offer full-featured online banking systems - after opening an account in the UAE, you will have full access to your account and full control over your assets.

Cheque books are also included with the account. This is a popular payment method in the Emirates, especially for property rentals and utility payments. The cheque book can be filled out in Arabic or English - both languages are accepted by banks.

How to Open a Bank Account in Dubai

Once you have submitted the documents for an Emirates ID and a residence visa, you will have the opportunity to open a personal bank account with maximum functionality.
To open a bank account, you will need to:

  1. Prepare the documents for submitting an account opening application. The list of documents may vary depending on the bank - we recommend contacting a bank manager beforehand to clarify.
  2. Go to the bank and submit an account opening application.
  3. Wait for several days while the verification process takes place. Sometimes the process can take up to 2-3 weeks.
  4. After the application is verified and approved, you will gain access to your bank account.
  5. Some banks require a minimum deposit, in which you will need to deposit a specified amount into your account after your candidacy is approved. The deposit amount and conditions for depositing depend on the bank. You will receive all the necessary information from a designated bank employee.
  6. A bank representative will confirm the conditions for your account type once again. Within the next 7-10 days, you will receive your bank card.

To open a personal account, you need to personally visit the bank and provide the following documents:

  1. Passport. The bank employee will make copies of the necessary pages of the document.
  2. UAE residency visa.
  3. Emirates ID or an application for its issuance.
  4. Bank statement or a recommendation letter from another bank where you have an account. Sometimes UAE institutions require both.
  5. If you have obtained residency as an employee of a company for the duration of the contract, a statement-certificate from your employer will be required. This document confirms that your employer has no objections to you opening an account, this is called an NOC.
  6. A document confirming your place of residence in the emirate: DEWA bill, rental agreement, or others.
  7. Additional documents - these often confirm the sources of funds. The bank employee may additionally request documents within the Know Your Client (KYC) system.
Important! In UAE banks, the Know Your Client (KYC) system is implemented. This system implies that the bank obtains all the information about the client that it deems necessary for opening and maintaining an account. Bank employees conduct an interview with the client, asks various questions that depend on the situation, and may request documents that are not included in the main list.

The package of documents required for opening an account varies from bank to bank. The main list can be supplemented upon the employee's request. During the initial consultation and submission of documents, the employee may have clarifying questions and provide an additional list or ask questions regarding the existing ones. If any of the requirements are ignored, the bank may refuse to open the account. In the future, this may affect the account application process at another bank.

Important! Some banks may require a minimum deposit when opening an account. Before choosing a financial institution, it is important to carefully study its terms and rates.

When opening an account in a UAE bank, it is important to understand the characteristics of the local market - you will not have to pay for account maintenance, but many additional services are chargeable.

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In what cases can a bank refuse to open an account?

If the client:

  • has not provided all the requested documents
  • is not willing to provide proof of the source of funds
  • has had situations in the past where accounts were blocked in other banks due to rule violations
  • has violated the account balance limit rule
  • has concealed information that bank employees discovered through the internet and deemed suspicious
  • has knowingly provided false information

In principle, the process of opening an account is not that different from the usual conditions in banks of the CIS countries. The only difference is that the banking system in the UAE is focused on maximum transparency of financial flows, so the requirements for candidates are higher. This especially applies to foreigners. Therefore, it is important to carefully prepare during the document collection stage. To do this, you can first consult with a bank representative to anticipate a number of questions regarding your financial activities.

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