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Moving to Dubai? Here is What to Know About Opening a Non-Resident Bank Account

by Mark Berkovich

3 min read

Whether you are planning to move to Dubai for work or a long-term holiday, a bank account will be critical to ensure your access to all financial transactions. UAE non-resident bank accounts tend to attract individuals who have limited banking options in their home country. There are several reasons for that, which we'll figure out in this article. But finally, it all comes down to the fact that it is a safe, stable banking jurisdiction and leading economic center. And compared to the rest of the region, the Dubai banking system is more developed and open to foreigners.

How beneficial it might be?

The benefits of opening a non-resident account for individuals and businesses depend on a number of factors. These factors include citizenship, residency, the type of business you have or where you work at, where your target clients are, etc. However, there are general benefits that apply to most cases:

  • Economic & political diversification
  • Asset protection
  • Increased privacy
  • Safer banking systems (in some cases)
  • Online banking
  • High-interest rates
  • Multicurrency operations
  • Low fees

It is not surprising that in the current economic fluctuations, many businesses and individuals are looking for ways to open bank accounts in Dubai for better economic diversification and asset protection. After all, bankrupt governments, corrupt politicians, and draconian laws are not good for the well-being of citizens. Having a non-resident bank account can protect you.

This advantage is most evident when the economic and political situation worsens and an economic crisis sets in, concerned governments impose exchange controls to prevent capital flight.

So in 2020, Lebanese banks imposed withdrawal restrictions on customers and refused to issue US dollars to customers (even if they had US dollar accounts). Similarly, China limits the number of money citizens can take out of the country. The situation is similar for the civilians of CIS countries this year.

Related article: Benefits of Relocating your Business to UAE in 2022

Opening a bank account for non residents

The Dubai economy and banking systems are well set up to cope with non-residents bank accounts opening. It is worth doing if you have found the previously mentioned benefits suitable for you, your business, and your capital. By opening such a bank account in Dubai, you can be sure that your money is safe and that you will have access to it from the first day. So how to do it right?

Opening an account remotely is quite difficult, as many accounts require a physical presence for signing. As a solution, one can try opening an account remotely by giving the financial advisor legal permission to act on his/hers behalf. However, banks consider such solutions on a case-by-case basis, so it's best to call first to find out.

In the standard application for opening an account as a non-resident, you need to visit the UAE bank of your choice with the following set of personal documents:

  • Copy of your original passport with the UAE entry page;
  • Сopy of a reference letter from your bank;
  • Personal bank statements for the last 6 months;
  • An updated curriculum vitae (CV) with your personal and professional experience.

The bank will take copies of these documents and your signatures on the application forms. Opening an account will take about 1-2 weeks depending on the bank. Once approved, the bank will send you an official email with your account details and online banking instructions.

Note: Citizens of all countries can apply except for some banned in UAE countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, and North Korea.

Popular banks to start with

These are some of the most popular locally incorporated banks in Dubai:

  • Emirates National Bank of Dubai (NBD);
  • Dubai Islamic Bank;
  • Mashreq;
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD).

One can also find branches of popular foreign banks:

  • Barclays;
  • CitiBank;
  • HSBC;
  • Standard Chartered.

Things to keep in mind

There are a total of 20 local banks to choose from if you prefer to go around UAE. There are hundreds of ATMs located throughout the country that are free to use, but you may be charged a fee to use an ATM not associated with your bank. Moreover, one should pay attention to the fees related to minimum balance requirements. The minimum balance for some of the banks requires AED 3,000 (816 USD). If your account dips below this amount, it can result in significant charges, so it's better to get acquainted with your own bank's fee system first.

Finscanner was established with a goal to provide easy access to financial services and chip away the biggest hurdles in the information and communications flows. We are committed to providing informational aid and solving financial inclusion for those affected by crises and anyone in need.

To find out more about available financial services in your region, feel free to go to our marketplace or contact us directly to get a consultation.

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