• March 14, 2022

Opening a bank account in the UAE is quick and efficient. There are certain requirements that need to be followed and can be opened both online as well as offline.

In general, the process can take anywhere from a day or two to a couple of weeks, depending on the type of account chosen, i.e., personal or corporate account.

What documents do residents require when opening a personal bank account?

Expats can open bank accounts in the UAE within a couple of working days. It is, however, important to note that different accounts require different documents.

As a resident, the common documents required for opening a personal savings or a current account include the following:

> Your original passport along with a photocopy

> A copy of your visa page proving you are a resident of the UAE

> A salary certificate (you can get one from your company’s HR department)

Certain banks may ask for your Emirates ID card; but, if you have not yet received it, you can either submit it later on or the bank may ask for a copy of your Emirates ID registration form.

Can non-residents open a bank account in the UAE?

Tourists and non-residents can only open a savings bank account in the UAE. Although you will not receive a chequebook, you will receive a debit card to withdraw money. 

Non-resident accounts will be subject to a minimum and/or maximum balance. Moreover, a bank can also decide to run a background check before allowing a non-resident to open a bank account.

What documents do non-residents require when opening a personal bank account?

Non-residents may be asked for the following documents when opening a bank account:

> Latest utility bill

> An original reference letter from another bank where the applicant has an account

> The most recent six-monthly personal bank statement from the applicant’s country of origin or anywhere in the world

> Information on the source of incoming funds 

Opening a corporate bank account in the UAE

If you require a bank account for commercial reasons, the first step is to establish a company in accordance with the laws of the land and then proceed to open a bank account.

According to UAE regulations, you will not be able to conduct a business activity through your personal account. In general, your corporate account will need to be a current account to facilitate a high volume of transactions.

How long does it take to open a corporate bank account?

The process of opening a corporate bank account for your business can take anywhere from two to four weeks.

What documents are required for opening a corporate bank account?

Expats will require an additional set of documents when opening a corporate bank account. It is, however, important to note that the document list may vary according to the bank and company type. The documents may include the following:

> Company trade license

> Certificate of registration

> Lease agreement

> Company stamp

> Source of wealth from Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs)

> Share certificates

> Company Memorandum and Articles of Association

> Board resolution empowering a company officer to open the account

> Passport and visa copies for shareholders and authorised signatories

When can a bank reject an account opening application?

Each bank has its own regulations regarding a customer’s profile and their activities and minimum transactions. Consequently, customers are subject to specific requirements at nearly every bank.

While it is extremely unlikely that a bank will refuse a bank account for a legal resident expat, they are still within their rights if the applicant could be considered a risk.

A bank may reject an account opening application for the following reasons:

> Documents confirming your identity, employment status and nature of the job are not provided

> If another bank has blocked the account because of suspicious activity

> A source of funds that cannot be confirmed

> The minimum balance or, in the case of corporate accounts, a minimum account turnover is not met

> If you are on a list of restricted persons

Security measures in place

All banks in the UAE are regulated by the UAE Central Bank. In order to meet international standards and requirements, the Central Bank has placed a KYC (Know Your Customer) policy. And, as a regular practice, UAE banks will ask you certain questions on your account transactions before as well as after opening your personal or corporate account.

Popular banks in the UAE

Here are some of the popular banks in the UAE where you can open a bank account:

> Mashreq Bank

> Emirates NBD

> Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

> Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

> Dubai Islamic Bank

> Commercial Bank of Dubai

> Emirates Islamic Bank

> First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)


Ascent Partners are here to guide you throughout the entire process of opening a bank account. Get in touch with us today!