Establishing a financial presence in Dubai: setting up a bank account
Dubai's position as a foremost global financial centre renders it an appealing destination for international investors and professionals alike. Its business-friendly regulations, paired with the United Arab Emirates' economic stability and growth, present unique opportunities to effectively manage one's financial assets.

To fully capitalise on Dubai's financially developed, liquid, and well-regulated banking sector, setting up a local bank account constitutes an essential first step. As the most economically thriving emirate nationwide, Dubai hosts an array of international bank subsidiaries offering corporate and personal banking services tailored to meet diverse needs. This article outlines key prerequisites for opening a standard individual or business account. You can contact our specialists with any questions about opening an account in Dubai.

An overview of regulations and account options in Dubai

For international investors and non-residents looking to open an account in Dubai, an awareness of the regulatory landscape and available account types constitutes a critical first step.

In the UAE, all retail and commercial banks operate under the purview of the nation’s Central Bank, bound by strict supervisory and compliance controls. Alongside governance by the Central Bank, the emirate currently hosts over 50 local and international banking groups — a factor underpinned by proactive economic policies conducive to financial sector innovation.

Here, banks typically fall into one of four categories:

  • Commercial Banks with Full or Restricted Licences
  • Investment Banks
  • Islamic Banks
  • International Bank Subsidiaries

Notable recent trends include the prominent emergence of Islamic banking services, now representing close to 20% of the market share. Dubai also contains a dense presence of global bank branches tailored towards non-residents and foreign firms.

Standard account facilities on offer to international clients include:

  • Current Accounts for everyday transactions
  • Savings Accounts featuring higher interest rates
  • Time Deposit Accounts with lock-in investment tenors
  • Feature-rich International Banking Accounts

Common advantages also encompass security, advanced digital banking platforms, globally valid debit/credit card issuance, and widespread ATM availability.

We help you closely examine the range of products and options at your preferred bank. Please reach out for any further queries.

Opening a personal bank account in Dubai as a non-resident

Foreign nationals seeking to establish UAE-based relations for private banking purposes must open designated savings accounts, as residency permits are required for current accounts.

While specific documentation requirements vary, applicants generally need to furnish principal banks with:

  1. Valid passport with an active Dubai visitor visa
  2. Completed account opening form
  3. Recent utility bill verifying overseas residential address
  4. Letter of reference from an existing bank
  5. Professional profile, summarising qualifications and employment history
  6. Personal bank statements from the previous 6 months
  7. Proof of steady income streams funding the account

Additionally, most institutions mandate maintaining a minimum average balance, typically set at AED 100,000 monthly. In-person submission of documents is also obligatory for non-resident account opening procedures, which may entail more rigorous customer due diligence.

Opening a corporate bank account in the UAE

Establishing a business account constitutes a key step when registering an enterprise in the UAE. While minimum balance stipulations and constraints on non-resident accounts vary across institutions, applicants must generally provide the following company identification documentation:

  1. Shareholder representative's passport (with valid UAE residence permit)
  2. Copy of the shareholder representative’s Emirates ID
  3. Managing director's passport photocopy
  4. Proof of company address
  5. Summary of planned operations, contracts, accounts, etc.
  6. Short and medium-term business plans with financial projections
  7. Information verifying the funds’ source
  8. Letter authorizing a senior executive to open the account
  9. Business partners’ recommendation letters
  10. Full set of certified incorporation papers
  11. Share certificates copies
Note that additional information may be requested for evaluating particular transactions or agreements.

The managing director or a majority stakeholder must be physically present when submitting the account opening application, although in some instances the process can be completed remotely. All materials should be in Arabic or English. Certified translations are mandatory. As part of stringent KYC identification procedures implemented industry-wide, bank officers can also elect to review account activity before or after client onboarding.

When criteria are fulfilled, corporate accounts in Dubai offer expansive servicing capabilities to firms and investors alike. Time frames for business account openings typically span approximately two weeks.

Remote account opening in Dubai

While most banks necessitate in-person document submission and account activation, under certain conditions, applicants unable to travel to Dubai may designate a legally empowered representative to initiate the account opening process on their behalf.

This option requires providing a trusted individual, typically a financial or legal advisor, with adequately notarized power of attorney documentation and the requisite identity papers. The authorized representative can then liaise with the bank to submit the records, furnish any clarification, and complete signatures and procedures where necessary.

However, we emphasize that availability and eligibility requirements for remote account opening in Dubai vary considerably across institutions. Several banks mandate the principal account holder's physical presence for certain activities regardless of a power of attorney arrangement.

It is therefore strongly advised to directly consult your preferred bank to clarify policies and explore alternatives if travel is challenging. We would be pleased to offer suitable pathways aligned with your needs. Please reach out for any other queries.

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Leading banking institutions for business needs in Dubai

Dubai's emergence as a pre-eminent global financial hub has attracted many of the world’s largest banking groups alongside well-established local players. Identifying an optimal corporate banking partner constitutes a strategic imperative when expanding into new jurisdictions.

Banks have individual stipulations concerning account minimums, fees structures and product suites. We outline popular picks for business below:

Emirates NBD
As the UAE’s largest lender with a formidable regional footprint, Emirates NBD offers extensive capabilities for firms seeking a full-service banking relationship. Account opening may confer advantages like tailored wealth solutions, cash management tools and one of the country's most extensive proprietary ATM networks.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)
DIB enjoys market leadership in Shariah-compliant banking, pioneering customized Islamic finance options. Its industry prominence could benefit businesses preferring to operate under Islamic banking principles.
Mashreq Neo
Mashreq Neo operates as the UAE’s first purely digital bank, with an emphasis on user-friendly interfaces and unique value propositions like free worldwide money transfers. The platform’s security infrastructure received industry accolades in 2020.
International Banks
Alongside the above domestic institutions, Dubai also hosts many global bank subsidiaries like Standard Chartered, Citibank, HSBC, and the Royal Bank of Canada. These offer familiarity for multinational corporates.

Support for corporate account opening in Dubai

We would like to underscore select merits of establishing UAE-based banking relations for international businesses:

  • A stable, reliably regulated banking system
  • Relatively favourable servicing costs
  • Extensive range of available products, inclusive of digital channels
  • High degree of customer-centricity

With proven expertise assisting foreign enterprises to activate accounts with Emirati financial institutions, our advisors can provide end-to-end support:

I. Preliminary assessment

First, we help evaluate operational scale, expected account funding and turnover to determine the optimal bank alignment as per your commercial requirements.

II. Ongoing liaising

Our team can liaise with shortlisted banks to address any queries, furnish additional details and generally accelerate the application process.

III. Document preparation

We offer guidance on preparing and certifying key materials needed for submission, encompassing:

  • Certified company incorporation documents
  • Business profile
  • Valid passports, CVs, and latest bank statements of directors/shareholders
  • Emirates ID copy alongside residence visa for the authorized signatory


The UAE continues to actively cultivate business-friendly conditions and robust legislative guardrails designed to spur economic growth — with the banking sphere being no exception.

Today, establishing banking ties in leading Emirati finance hubs constitutes a strategic play for enterprises and investors seeking to capitalize on the jurisdiction's stability. As the MENA region's foremost financial services hub, Dubai presents a particularly compelling value proposition across both business and personal banking products.

Navigating the country’s regulatory nuances and due diligence obligations necessitates expert guidance. Our seasoned advisors possess the localized knowledge and banking relationships to advise on optimal account opening pathways aligned with your commercial objectives. We take care of all procedural intricacies — allowing you to focus on leveraging Dubai’s financial opportunities.

Please reach out to discover how our end-to-end support can effectively facilitate your UAE banking requirements.

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