Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Dubai

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Many successful investors consider it prudent to open an account in the UAE and use it for storing and growing their savings. While there are countries that allow non-residents to avail themselves of products offered by local financial institutions, in the UAE, one may encounter difficulties. Due to strict legislation, financial institutions are wary of falling under anti-money laundering laws, and thus, they impose stringent requirements on clients who wish to open accounts in the UAE.

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Dubai

Accounts for Residents and Non-Residents: Differences

Tax residents in the UAE are considered to be foreigners whose financial and personal interests are centered in the UAE – investors, property owners, employees, or business owners. If you meet the listed requirements, you need to submit an application to the Federal Tax Authority to obtain a tax residency certificate. This is especially important for those who work as employees or conduct business in the country and want to avoid double taxation.

Banks in the UAE provide current accounts and deposits. Foreigners with a resident visa can open a bank account in Dubai for current transactions. Deposits are also available to non-residents. The terms depend on the bank and the selected product.

Foreign citizens with a resident visa can open accounts online – it's quick and convenient. Non-residents need to visit a branch in person and prepare a large package of documents. Additionally, non-residents often face restrictions. Clients may either be immediately refused, fearing falling under the money laundering law, or special rules may be imposed: a higher minimum balance or the ability to deposit money only for a long term.

How Non-Residents Can Open a Bank Account in Dubai

Opening an account in Dubai is quite difficult due to the strict requirements for clients. In addition to the standard age restrictions (from 18–21 years old, depending on the bank and financial product), there are income level requirements. The security service carefully checks the reputation of potential depositors, has the right to request additional documents, up to a written justification of the purpose of opening the account.

To open an account in Dubai, you need to take the following steps:

  • Choose a bank. It will be difficult to find out over the phone whether you can open an account in the UAE, what documents are needed, how to open an account in Dubai online, and discuss other nuances. Most likely, the manager will say that each case is very individual and invite you to a consultation. It's better to allocate time to visit several banks in person.
  • Prepare the documents. The list is standard, but be prepared for the bank to request additional documents. After the completion of the verification, the manager will invite you to the branch to sign the contract.
  • Sign a banking services agreement. The account opening service is free, but you need to immediately replenish it with the minimum amount – from 3,000 dirhams.

Bank employees in the UAE speak English. If your proficiency in a foreign language is not sufficient for fluent communication and understanding of how to open an account in Dubai, make sure to find a translator in advance.

Which Banks in Dubai Are Easier for Non-Residents to Open a Bank Account?

Non-residents can open accounts in Dubai at branches of international banks: the American Citibank, the largest in Canada and one of the largest financial institutions in North America, the Royal Bank of Canada; British Standard Chartered, which is among the top 5 banks by market capitalization in the world, and HSBC. In addition, you can open an account in a bank in the UAE at local Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank.

Documents for Non-Residents

To open a bank account in Dubai for a non-resident, you need to provide:

  • Application form (you will fill out the form on-site);
  • Passport for foreign travel, valid for at least six months, and a visa with copies;
  • Document confirming the source of income: employment contract with salary details, a certificate from the accounting department at work, etc.;
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC);
  • Proof of residence in the UAE: lease agreement, certificate of ownership, etc.;
  • Several personal photos sized 3 x 4 cm;
  • CV – resume with applicant's personal details;
  • Bank statements for the last six months from the credit institution where the applicant is serviced in their country of residence.

To open an account in Dubai, additional documents such as a certificate of no criminal record, marriage certificate, etc., may be required. This depends on the rules of the specific credit institution.

To open a business account, you need to prepare:

  • Passport and resident visa in the name of the company owner, ID of all members of the board of directors, and director with signing authority;
  • Detailed resume of the owner and other persons with signing authority (experience must correspond to the main profile of the company's activities);
  • Statutory documents;
  • Proof of company address;
  • Proof of right to conclude a banking services agreement: power of attorney, resolution of the founders' meeting on the appointment of a director;
  • Bank statement for six months (if the business is recently registered, statements from the founders' accounts will be required).

Some documents for opening an account in a UAE bank need to be legalized in Russia and the UAE. They need to be translated into Arabic (the translation must be done by an authorized translator), certified by a notary, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, in the consular department of the UAE Embassy in Russia. The fee for legalizing private documents is about $50, for commercial documents – $550. The procedure takes about three weeks.

Which Banks Operate in the UAE

There are four types of banks operating in the United Arab Emirates:

  • Commercial banks – local or branches of foreign companies offering banking services to corporate clients and individuals.
  • Industrial banks, providing credit facilities for the development of business to individuals and businesses.
  • Investment banks, specializing in stock operations.
  • Islamic banks, adhering to Sharia practices.

Both residents and non-residents find it easier to open a bank account in the UAE at a branch of one of the international banks. To avoid the question of whether a non-resident can open an account in Dubai and how to do it with minimal effort and time, and instead get ready answers and comprehensive support, contact The Level Consulting. Our specialists are aware of all the peculiarities of working with banks in the UAE.

Verification Procedure and Reasons for Rejection

Financial institutions in the UAE carefully check the reputation and sources of income of potential depositors. Managers of banks even visit some potential depositors at home – as reported by Bloomberg. However, it is not specified which banks are referred to.

Citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, and other "high-risk countries," to which financial institutions are particularly wary, such as Iran and Israel, often face more thorough checks of all information about their identity and company.

Citizenship of a country on the sanction list is not a reason for refusal to open a bank account in the UAE, but the security service will thoroughly study personal documents, business information, bank statements, and ask more clarifying questions at the personal meeting. Therefore, the procedure for opening an account in the United Arab Emirates may be prolonged.

Possible reasons for refusal to open an account in the UAE include:

  • Failure to provide additional documents upon request.
  • Blocking of the potential depositor's accounts by another financial institution.
  • Repeated violations in the turnover of corporate accounts or failure to comply with personal balance limits.
  • Inability to confirm the source of income.

Citizens of the Russian Federation who wish to keep their savings in one of the international or local banks in the UAE are advised to seek assistance from the lawyers of The Level Consulting. Our specialists will advise on the required documents, what needs special attention, and even how to behave correctly in a meeting with a bank representative – this also matters.

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