How to open a bank account in Dubai?

How to open a bank account in Dubai?
November 30, 2023

Table of Contents

The United Arab Emirates has a prosperous and flourishing economy. So, more and more foreign nationals are aiming for investing money in the UAE market. Both expatriates and non-residents want to open a bank account in Dubai to make this activity seamless in 2024.

It is true, whether they want to setup their companies, or are exploring investment opportunities. As a business hub on a strategic location, UAE possesses superior infrastructure. The endless support of the UAE government is drawing people to invest money to make a fortune.

You can register a bank account in Dubai for personal purposes. Moreover, you need it for your company operating locally and conducting international business. Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) requires a mandatory personal presence for opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents.

Opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents

Banks in the UAE offer great advantages in comparison to international banks outside of the country. Thus, opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents is very beneficial. The advantages include relaxation on provision of documents, excellent quality of service, and a progressive remote account management via e-banking.

It applies to both classifications of bank accounts — personal and corporate/business. All banks in the UAE have to follow the in-person presence criteria for prospective banking clients. In this article we are focusing on the mechanism of opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents.

UAE has over 20 national banks, of which Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreq bank are the most popular. Also, 28 foreign banks are operating in the UAE such as BNP Paribas, CitiBank, Standard Chartered, Barclays Bank, etc. 7 financial institutions also hold licenses from CBUAE, and have special status with UAE Banks Federation.

Opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents
Opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents

What are types of bank accounts in the UAE?

There are two kinds that people opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents can choose from during 2024.

  • Personal bank account
  • Business/corporate account

Now, we take a look on both of these classifications of bank accounts.

Personal bank account

If you are not a resident of UAE, you can open a private/personal bank account. But there are certain limitations on the choice of banks as well as the features they offer. Nevertheless, many popular banks in the UAE offer non-resident bank accounts.

So, this limitation is not really a big concern for the majority of the foreign nationals. As, they don’t have to maintain permanent residency in Dubai. However, most banks allow non-residents to open only savings account, and not a current account.

Non-residents are given a credit card to withdraw money. But they are not eligible to obtain a cheque book. Also, non-residents are bound to keep minimum and/or maximum balance in their bank accounts.

Business/corporate account

If you need a bank account for your business purposes, you need to open a corporate/company account. You have two main options to select from. Either you can form an offshore company in the UAE and create an account for it.

Or you can establish a free zone onshore company in the UAE and create its corporate account. As a foreign investor, you can possess 100% ownership in both types of companies. Let’s have a look at the differences here.

  • UAE offshore company account – It is less costly, but is a little difficult to open. Also, it has higher requirements on minimum account balance. Since, the company account is non-resident, it is subject to strict official compliance regulations.
  • UAE onshore company account – It is more costlier to register but gives you the option to obtain personal UAE residency visa. Accordingly, it gives your account a UAE-resident status along with relevant benefits. For example, simpler regulations, minimum account balance, greater choice of banks, etc.

More information: Make an offshore bank account in Dubai

Which are the benefits of opening a business bank account?

As you open a bank account in Dubai for your business, you get these advantages through 2024.

  • Non-restrictive banking choices
  • Zero taxation on both personal and corporate income
  • Effortless transfer of funds
  • Availability of asset management
  • Mobile and online banking
  • Indulgent international access
  • Flexible investment period
  • Dedicated regional manager
  • High level of secrecy

Requirements for personal bank account for non-residents in UAE

Here are the regulations for opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents for personal use amid 2024.

  • Passport copy with UAE entry page
  • Personal profile of the applicant with CV (Curriculum Vitae) on your professional and business experience)
  • Latest utility bill of the residence on your name in your native country
  • Original bank reference letter of applicant from his/her personal or company bank account in country of origin or anywhere in the world (requirement varies bank to bank)
  • Original latest 6 months personal bank statement from applicant’s country of origin or anywhere in the world
  • If applicant have only corporate account then latest 6 month bank statement (and also provide the legal documents from the company validating his ownership or share in the company)
  • Information on the source of incoming funds
  • Most banks in UAE require a minimum monthly average balance for opening a non-resident personal account
  • The requirement varies from bank to bank.

Requisites for business/corporate account for non-residents in UAE

These are the obligations for opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents for business/corporate purposes within 2024.

  • Standard personal documents on company shareholders
  • Company Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA)
  • Certificate of Incorporation / License – depending on the company type
  • Corporate structure and ownership documents
  • Description on the planned activities of company
  • Information on the business experience of the company owners
  • Information and documents on source of funds which will be invested into company

How to open a corporate bank account in Dubai?

Here is the process to open a bank account in Dubai amidst 2024.

  • Get your trade license
  • Acquire the essential documents
  • Choose the bank
  • Submit the application

Next, we look upon the steps of this procedure.

Get your trade license

A trade name is the identity of your business. It is necessary to obtain a business license in the UAE to start a business in Dubai. Likewise, it is a pre-requisite to open a corporate bank account there. Without a trade license, you can’t open a bank account in Dubai, particularly a business account.

Acquire the essential documents

The next critical step is to ensure that your paperwork is in line with the requirements of the bank. The documents requirement by a bank in Dubai can vary slightly from one bank to another. However, the gist of the documents necessary for opening a corporate bank account is quite similar.

  • Bank account opening form from the bank of your choice
  • Declaration from the board of directors authorizing the opening of corporate bank account, and the signatories approving its opening
  • A copy of a valid business license issued by the DED (Dubai Department of Economic Development)
  • Photocopies of valid passports of all the business partners and shareholders
  • A photocopy of share certificates
  • Photocopies of the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA)

Sometimes, you have to provide a few additional documents. For instance, invoices, utility bills, reference letters, company’s business plan, letters of recommendation from the business partners, etc. This information concerning your business activity helps in highlighting your company’s scope.

Choose the bank

Once your paperwork is complete, find a bank that suits the requirements of your business. Analyze the eligibility criteria and your income while selecting the bank. Some of the banks which give corporate account facility are Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank, Dubai Islamic, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Submit the application

Visit your chosen bank to have a one on one meeting with your banking advisor. Remove all your doubts and queries regarding opening a corporate bank account in the UAE. Once, you file your account opening application, the bank will review your request.

The bank will inform you through an email about the approval or rejection of your application. Upon approval, you are the proud owner of your very own business account in the UAE. In case of application rejection, you can remove the objections and re-submit the application.

KYC regulations of the UAE banks

UAE’s Central Bank regulates all banks in the UAE to meet international standards. CBUAE has set in place a Know Your Customer (KYC) policy as a regular practice to fight anti-money laundering. Also, KYC implementation is vital to fulfill counter terrorism financing protocols of FATF, EU, OFCD, and other financial regulators.

Banks in the UAE ask you certain screening questions. They do so before as well as after opening your personal or corporate account. Furthermore, they comment on your financial transactions for better taxing and reporting compliance. Besides, the UAE does all that to maintain its reputation for ease of doing business.


These regulations have some significant monetary impact. Nonetheless, there is no additional tax imposition because of these changes. Feel free to talk with business consultants to help you in this process.

KWS Middle East provides complete bank account opening services to its clients. This is on top of the assistance for your business setup in Dubai. For more information, contact our business representatives now.

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