Opening a Bank Account in the UAE for a Company

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Opening a bank account in the UAE for a company entails a complex process: you'll need to prepare a comprehensive set of documents and be prepared to comply with strict KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) procedures, verifying the legality of capital origin, and more. If you conduct your business transparently and can verify the source of funds for opening the business and are ready for full disclosure, such as bank statements for the last 6 months (there's no need to worry about confidentiality – the data won't be shared with third parties), then you can open a company bank account relatively quickly and hassle-free.

UAE Banks: Which One to Choose

In the UAE, banks range from international financial groups to local, Emirati institutions. The latter are divided into conventional and Islamic banks, which adhere to Sharia norms (for example, they prohibit transactions involving interest and the placement of certain types of assets).

Representative offices of foreign banks (such as Crédit Agricole, NP Paribas, Citibank N.A., Royal Bank of Canada, etc.) refuse high-risk nationalities, i.e., clients with citizenship from Russia, Israel, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, and a few other countries. This is due to compliance with sanctions regardless of the jurisdiction of the individual bank within the group.

Local banks (Mashreq Bank, UNION National Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank) focus on working with UAE residents, but an Emirates ID opens doors to practically any credit institution. Russian nationals can open accounts in local banks, albeit facing certain difficulties.

Choosing the right bank is a crucial detail that can affect the success of the procedure. Managers of major banks in Dubai or Abu Dhabi prefer hassle-free clients. If you have a small business or startup, it's better to turn to one of the less popular banks.

Types of Accounts: Resident, Non-Resident, Corporate

Residents can open regular personal debit accounts and deposits in various currencies, including dirhams, dollars, euros, while non-residents can only open deposits. A corporate account is an option available for businesses established by foreign nationals in one of the free zones or on the local territory of the United Arab Emirates. As of now, Russian citizens can only open accounts in UAE dirhams.

Documents Required for Account Opening

For an individual, a visa and the documents on which it is based, Emirates ID, a copy of the passport, a salary certificate, an employment contract, a receipt for payment of water, electricity, and other services, and an Ejari lease contract (this serves as proof of actual residence) are required. Much depends on the bank's requirements – often, other documents are also needed.

To open a bank account in the UAE for a company, you need:

- Basic business information: name, legal address, business activity, list of counterparties, data on the source of statutory capital, business plan;

- All registration documents: articles of association and memorandum of association, license, and other permits required for operation;

- Original passports of the founders, visas, and Emirates IDs, resumes and recommendations, bank statements from other banks;

- Certificate of incumbency for key positions.

How to Open a Bank Account in the UAE for a Company

The process is as follows: you need to first establish a company, obtain visas and Emirates IDs for key employees, and only then proceed with the bank account. To open a corporate bank account in the UAE, you need to prepare documents, choose a financial institution, and personally submit an application, undergo an interview with a manager.

All accounts opened in the UAE undergo a compliance procedure – bank employees check whether the founders are on sanction lists, lists of terrorists and extremists, or involved in money laundering. Also taken into account are:

- Country of origin of capital and beneficiaries (there are no prohibitions for entrepreneurs from Russia, but a Russian passport and the origin of capital are considered high-risk);

- Place of company registration (cheaper free zones are high-risk from the bank's perspective, while local territory poses low risk);

- Type of activity (licenses are ranked by risks, with those involving a wide range of activities being high-risk).

UAE banks take KYC and AML standards seriously. Before submitting an application, it's necessary to check whether the company meets the requirements.

If all checks are successful, the bank will open the account. In the future, businesses need to be prepared for constant checks on counterparties for all payments, restrictions on transfer amounts, etc. To avoid account blocking, local rules must be followed.

Timeframes and Cost of Opening a Corporate Account

Some financial institutions require maintaining a certain balance or impose additional products. In case of violating the condition of

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