The real estate industry is blowing up in the United Arab Emirates; its size is currently around $9.5 billion. Furthermore, real estate activities account for 5.5% of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP). So, many people are rushing to get a piece of this industry.

However, buying a property in the UAE requires a bank account; you’ll need this for all important transactions with the relevant parties in the country. Sadly, UAE local banks aren’t popular worldwide. In fact, many people only know the local branches of international banks like HSBC and CitiBank.

Therefore, opening a business bank account in the UAE may be challenging for non-residents. It doesn’t have to be this challenging, though. So, this article explains all the vital details of opening a bank account in the UAE. Keep reading.

Types of Banks in the UAE

Before learning how to open a bank account in the UAE, it’s best to understand the different banks in the country. The UAE currently has four major types of banks. They include:

  • Investment Banks,
  • Industrial Banks,
  • Islamic Banks, and
  • Commercial Banks

Notably, the Central Bank of the UAE controls and regulates all these banks. In addition, UAE banks offer their services in Arabic and English language. Language barriers thus wouldn’t affect your bank account creation process. Finally, UAE banks provide services at international standards.

Types of Bank Accounts in the UAE

All countries and banks offer different banking products. The UAE isn’t different in this respect. Therefore, you can open different types of bank accounts in the UAE. They are:

  • Savings account,
  • Current account,
  • Investment account, and
  • Islamic account
Savings Account

A savings account is great for personal use. If you have money for which you have no current use, you can open a savings account in the UAE. UAE banks offer pretty high interest rates on savings accounts.

So, you can earn significant interest while your money lies in the bank. However, there may be conditions to collecting the interest. For example, you may have to comply with minimum deposits and fixed tenure rules.

Current Account

Do you plan on conducting high daily transactions in the UAE? Do you also need a checkbook for your business? Then, a current account is your best option.

There are two types of current bank accounts in the UAE. They are:

  • Current account with salary transfer, and
  • Current account without salary transfer

So, suppose you’ll be drawing salaries in the UAE. Then, getting a current account with salary transfer will be best. Furthermore, using the same bank with your employer is vital for faster transfers.

Sadly, current accounts offer little or no interest on your money. But, of course, this depends on the particular bank.

Investment Account

Investment accounts are for investing your funds in a term deposit. Banks render different investment services, and you can sign up for one. All you have to do is enter an investment agreement with the UAE bank.

Then, the bank invests your money in its investment options. Notably, an investment account may have minimum deposit requirements. You can also earn a definite interest on the investment.

What’s more? These investments often run for defined periods. For instance, the investment timeline could be 12 months or several years. Whatever the case, the investment contract must specify these details.

Islamic Account

Islamic accounts comply with Islamic principles of finance. Therefore, the account will be run on a profit-and-loss sharing basis. In addition, interests will not apply to the bank account. This is because Islamic principles prohibit interest and usury.

Therefore, suppose you’re a Muslim seeking to open an account in the UAE. Then, you can open an Islamic account. Notably, international and non-Islamic banks offer Islamic banking services in the UAE.

Top UAE Banks

Like most sectors of the UAE economy, banking is thriving too. Therefore, you have several options for opening a UAE bank account. Since there are multiple banks, you can choose the ones with the best services.

Banks you can use in the UAE include:

  • Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank
  • Emirates National Bank of Dubai
  • First Gulf Bank
  • Mashreq
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi
  • Noor Bank
  • Rakbank
  • Union National Bank
  • Shariah Islamic Bank

There are also several international bank branches in the UAE. Some of them are:

  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Citibank
  • HSBC
  • Royal Bank of Canada

You can get good deals and services from any of these banks. But you must check their products to see if they align with your plans in the UAE.



Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

There are two broad classifications of people who can open accounts in the UAE:

  • Residents and nationals
  • Non-residents of the UAE

How to Open a Resident Bank Account in the UAE

Like all countries, it’s pretty easy for residents and nationals of the UAE to open a bank account. So, residents can open accounts in a few days, two or three. People residing in the UAE also have wider banking options.

They can get savings or other types of accounts. Notably, you must submit all vital documents to the bank. Some of such documents are:

  • Copy of a valid passport
  • Copy of your visa (for non-nationals)
  • A document confirming your residence, such as a utility bill
  • Letter of recommendation from your bank

How to Open a Non-Resident Bank Account in the UAE

A non-resident is anyone who doesn’t have a residence visa. If you fall into this class, you can open an account at a local bank branch. Conversely, you can open an account online. However, suppose you choose the online option. You’ll still have to be in UAE to open a bank account.

Non-residents can only open savings accounts in the UAE. Therefore, you may not get a checkbook; the bank will only give you a debit card. You can use this card for all your transactions pending your residence visa.

Banks often impose minimum and maximum account balances on non-resident accounts. These balances are usually high, and defaulting is severely detrimental. In addition, the bank may wish to conduct extensive background checks on you. All these processes can extend the period for opening your account.

Documents for Opening Non-Resident Bank Accounts in the UAE

Notably, different banks have unique requirements for opening a non-resident account. However, the general documents include:

  • Original and photocopy of your passport with UAE entry stamp
  • Passport photograph
  • Duly completed application form
  • Letter of No Objection from your employer or sponsor
  • Letter of recommendation from your previous bank (where applicable)
  • Evidence that you’re processing your residence visa or Emirates ID card
  • Certificate showing your salary details
  • Six months bank statement from your previous bank accounts
  • Signature of the applicant

An agent like our company can help you gather the relevant documents. Moreover, our experience ensures that you wouldn’t exclude any vital requirements.

Opening a Business Bank Account in the UAE

Suppose you’re in the UAE for commercial purposes. Then, you’ll have to open a business or corporate bank account. You cannot transact business with a personal or savings account.

This business account is a current account. Therefore, you can conduct high-value transactions through the account. Notably, you’ll require extra documents when opening a business account in the UAE.

The extra documents are:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Company trade license
  • Memorandum and articles of association
  • Board resolution permitting the opening of the business account
  • Passports of the authorized signatories or representatives
  • Copies of the visa of the signatories or representatives
  • Disclosure of source of funds
  • Details of the nature of transactions you intend to perform with the account
  • Business plan
  • Copy of Emirates ID card of the signatories and representatives

The company director must physically appear in the UAE to open a business account. Alternatively, a major shareholder can represent the director. These procedures confirm the authenticity of the proposed use of the account.

How Long Will It Take to Open a UAE Bank Account?

How long it’ll take to open a bank account in the UAE depends on different factors. For example, the type of bank account is vital. Suppose you want to open a resident bank account. Then, you can complete the process in a few days.

However, opening a business bank account is more complicated. So, the process could take weeks. Many agencies promise unsuspecting people that they can get a business account in the UAE in days.

Sadly, these are false claims to entrap you. It’ll be best to work with a reputable organization like ours. We’ll provide excellent help and support. In addition, we’ll manage your expectations with honest timelines.

Finally, the account requirements can also slow you down. No bank will attend to you without presenting the essential documents. So, it’ll help to ensure you gather all the requirements before commencing the process.

Can You Open a UAE Bank Account in Foreign Currency?

Yes, your bank account in the UAE mustn’t be Dirham-denominated. Instead, you can open and run your account in foreign currencies. Acceptable currencies include dollars, pounds, and Euros. But, you may need to investigate a bank’s special provisions on this option.

Advantages of Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

The UAE is the financial hub of the Middle East. So, there are several advantages of exploiting its banking sector. We explain some of them below.

Online Banking

You can open and manage UAE bank accounts online. Notably, this applies to resident and non-resident accounts. Essentially, you have a portal and dashboard. Once you input your credentials into the portal, you can conduct financial transactions easily. Therefore, you don’t always have to visit bank branches for simple transactions.

Electronic Statements

UAE banks have a significant online presence. So, they also send e-statements to customers. Thus, you can track your income and expenditure without going to a bank branch. All you need is on your phone.

Standing Instructions

You can set up standing instructions for non-resident UAE bank accounts. This means inputting orders that the bank can carry out on your behalf. You can use this feature for recurrent expenses and activities. So, you don’t have to worry about forgetting your financial responsibilities.

Customer Help and Support

Finally, all the explanations in the world will not prevent you from encountering momentary hitches. But when they occur, you can rely on the customer support center of your bank. UAE banks often run full-time customer support services.

Resident and non-resident account holders can exploit this feature. In addition, you may be able to contact your bank through several means. This includes calls, text messages, and email contact.

What Is the Cost for Maintaining UAE Bank Accounts?

Most UAE banks charge fees on financial transactions. This is standard international practice. Therefore, it’s best to understand how much you’ll spend on maintaining your account annually.

Notably, banking fees in the UAE are uniform. This is to ensure that banks don’t overcharge their customers. We illustrate the information in the table below.


The UAE is open for business to people from all over the world. However, you need a UAE bank account to conduct your business. Notably, an account can serve you within and outside the UAE.

However, opening a UAE bank account can be challenging, especially for non-residents. That’s why we’re open to helping you open a UAE bank account. We’ve been in the real estate business for several years.

In the process, we’ve helped several of our clients open UAE bank accounts. Our firm has also learned the different issues you may encounter in this process. Hence, our help and experience will be invaluable in opening your UAE bank account. So, reach out to us today.

Compare listings

+971 54 4908888 WhatsApp