Which documents are needed to open a UAE bank account?

Opening a bank account is one of the first things expats do after moving to the UAE. It is only after setting up a bank account that you can begin to pay rent, receive a salary through an electronic transfer, apply for a credit card and conduct business. In theory, opening up a bank account is a standard process when settling into a new place; however, many people quickly find out that the procedures and guidelines in the UAE are quite different from those of their home countries.

Once you decide to proceed with the account opening, it’s important that you know the requirements for opening an account; note that these will vary from bank to bank.

Get your documents in order

For a personal account, a residency visa and Emirates ID card are important documents you need to get this process started. However, you can also present the registration form as proof that your documentation is under process as most banks may accept this in lieu of the finalized documents.

Other items that should be on your application checklist for opening a personal bank account include an original passport (with UAE entry stamp) and a passport photo.

For a business account, the required documents include a valid trade license, certificate of incorporation or registration, share certificates, company memorandum, articles of association and passport copies of shareholders and shareholders’ signatures. Business owners may be asked for additional documents depending on the bank, type of business activity industry and legal structure of the company.

Weigh your options

While some banks may require you to maintain a minimum balance of up to AED 3,000 in an account, many waive this requirement if a monthly salary is transferred. Banks in the UAE typically offer three types of current accounts: a basic account requiring a low minimum balance requirement and offering basic services such as an ATM card; a salary account to which your salary gets transferred electronically each month; and a premium account that offer extra perks and benefits such as higher withdrawal limits, fixed or flexible deposits and foreign currency accounts.

Now that you understand the process of opening a bank account in the UAE and the various documents required, you can avoid many of the common mistakes people make after moving to the country. Better yet, you can help make the transition period for other newcomers a lot smoother by sharing this article.

**Please note that this is all based on each bank as each bank may request more/ less documents. The purpose of this article is just to help you understand which documents might be needed for opening an account.

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Joumana Saad is an American freelance journalist and media personality based in Dubai. She writes about financial, media and technology news and topics.

This article is intended to provide general information about finance and investments and does not replace or should be taken as professional financial advice. The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article except information on Citibank N.A. – UAE products referenced herein.
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