The banking sector in Dubai falls under the regulations of Federal Law no. 10 of 1980 and Federal Law no. 6 of 1985 dedicated to the Islamic banking sector. The Central Bank of the UAE is the supervisory body of financial institutions in Dubai and in the other emirates. One of the particularities of the UAE currency is that it depends very much on the US dollar. All commercial banks in Dubai must obtain a license with the Central Bank that requires International Accounting Standards (IAS) to be employed by all financial institutions. The banking services sector is a successful one, which is why many international banks have opened branches in Dubai.
Below, our company formation specialists in Dubai explain the main steps for opening various types of bank accounts in Dubai and other emirates in UAE. You can rely on us if you want to open a corporate account for your company in Dubai.
What to consider when opening a Dubai bank account
In a world where most transactions are completed online, the need of having a bank account becomes mandatory. This is also the case of the UAE, where both local and foreign citizens and companies need to have accounts they can use for various purposes.
It is easy to open a bank account, no matter the type of operations and transactions, one plans to complete in Dubai, however, one must pay attention to the selection of the banking institution to work with. Among the aspects to consider upon the opening of a Dubai bank account are:
- whether the bank is a local one or a branch of a foreign financial institution;
- the services linked to the type of bank account chosen (each type of account comes with one more service);
- the opening and administration fees, as well as other amounts of money to be paid related to various operations and transactions;
- the possibility of completing operations in other currencies, especially when it comes to companies with foreign shareholders.
Even if it is easy to create the account, the choice of the financial institution to open it with can be difficult because of the variety of banks operating in Dubai.
How to open a bank account in Dubai – UAE?
The first step for opening a bank account in Dubai is to obtain the residence visa, as one must submit proof of his or her right to be in the city and then select the bank for setting up the account. The documents required when setting up a bank account in Dubai are:
- for employees of Dubai companies – a no objection letter or a no objection certificate,
- the original passport and a copy,
- a copy of the Dubai residence visa,
- a salary certificate.
Certain banks may also require possible clients to submit proof of the residential address, such as a rental contract of a property in Dubai. When opening bank accounts in Dubai, individuals will also receive a debit card, a credit card or a checkbook, depending on the type of account.
What are the types of bank accounts that can be opened in Dubai?
The most employed type of bank account in Dubai is the current account. This can be used for day-to-day operations, for paying utility bills and for purchases. Another type of Dubai bank account is the deposit or savings bank account. One can open deposit accounts with any retail bank in Dubai. Individuals opting for a savings account may also receive a passbook that will keep records on all transactions. Many Dubai banks allow clients to set up bank accounts in foreign currencies.
Our local advisors can offer guidance on how to choose the Dubai bank to open an account with. Here is an infographic with extra details:
How to open a bank account in Dubai as a non-resident
Non-residents can open savings and current accounts with banks in Dubai without too many requirements or conditions to comply with. They will need, however, to deposit a minimum amount of money once the account becomes operational. It is also important to note that in terms of documents, one must only prepare a valid passport and a copy of it if the person does not live in Dubai. However, depending on the bank, additional information could be required. This also depends on the nationality of the client.
In the case of foreign citizens who live in Dubai for a temporary period, the following documents can be requested:
- a recent utility bill indicating the Dubai address of the applicant;
- a personal profile or resume as proof of the professional background of the client;
- a bank reference from another bank the applicant has an active account with;
- information on the origin of the funds.
In some cases, a monthly balance is required to be deposited in the account to keep it active, however, the amount varies from bank to bank.
Our local agents can assist with the opening of bank accounts for non-residents in Dubai and other emirates in UAE.
Types of corporate bank accounts in Dubai – UAE
There are various types of accounts Dubai companies can link to their financial operations here. Among these are:
- the onshore account;
- the offshore account;
- the merchant account.
The most employed ones are the onshore and the merchant account. While the first one gives the options of obtaining a residence permit to a foreign shareholder in a Dubai company, the merchant account is usually linked to e-commerce companies providing their customers with the possibility of making online payments.
The offshore bank account is available for offshore companies in Dubai, however, it is subject to more stringent requirements.
You can rely on our Dubai company formation representatives for advice on how to choose the type of bank account you can link to your business.
The banking industry in Dubai
Dubai is one of the most important financial centers in the Middle East and this is also reflected in its banking sector. According to the National Bank of the UAE:
- there were 22 UAE-registered banks in the Emirates at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019;
- these banks operated through 733 branches at the beginning of 2019;
- in the same period, there were 6 banks and 4 branches from Gulf Cooperation Council states operating in the UAE;
- there were also 21 foreign banks with 75 branches operating in the Emirates at the beginning of 2019.
The network of ATMs across the country increased to more than 5,000 in 2019, however, many banks now allow clients to complete numerous transactions online, thus no longer imposing clients to go to banks in persons for various services.
Bank account opening procedures in Dubai
Opening a bank account in Dubai is very easy, even though requirements differ from bank to bank. In order to respect the important steps in opening a corporate bank account, you should take into consideration that our Dubai attorneys will offer you proper guidance and information.
Here are the main procedures for opening a bank account for corporate use in Dubai:
- validating personal and corporate documents.
- completing the bank forms which will be forwarded to you for signing with related guidelines.
- directing the entire package to the bank for final authorization.
- checking the account opening course until account distribution and banking package is established.
Other important documentation needed for opening a corporate account in Dubai
A complete corporate bank account application must be sustained with details on the business’s activities, proof of business, such as invoices or contracts, as well as information regarding the management team and financial plans.
The Dubai government demands local banks to implement and apply strict “know your client” actions as part of their corporate banking and commercial account policy.
There is a big number of both local and foreign banks in Dubai that offer many services. From simple banking services to particular bank special favors, you can get whatever you want, in order to satisfy your necessities.