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How to Open Bank Account in UAE

Know All About Documents Required to Open Bank Account in UAE

One of the first things you need to have in place, upon your arrival to the UAE as a resident, is getting a bank account. Beyond aiding your receipt of salary, it is an essential requirement to ease payments, transfers and is even a basic requirement to sponsor your family.

Within the UAE, you have the option to choose from a wide range of banks, conventional or Shariah compliant, regional or global. Ensure you select a bank which is widely accessible (both in terms of branches and ATMs), well-reputed and has no hidden fees. In case you are new here and overwhelmed with the choice of banks available, it is recommended to open an account with the same bank your employer deals with.

Typically, you have an option to select between a Current and Savings Account. A savings account, as the name suggests, encourages one to save and in doing so incentivizes this habit by paying out an interest on the average balance maintained. However, you might be required to maintain a minimum balance at all times to avoid a penalty. This is not the case for a Current account, which may also be referred to as a zero balance account.

Basic documents, supporting the application form you would be provided with, mandatory for opening the account include,

1. Emirates ID*, in case you already have one (alternately the Application form for the Emirates ID would suffice)

2. Passport copy in the absence of an Emirates ID

3. Valid UAE Visa OR any one of the below:

  • Valid UAE Driving license
  • Online Labor Card Copy – online copies are acceptable
  • UAE Utility Bill issued within last 3 months
  • Valid Free zone Employment Card copy / Employment card copy issued by Local or Federal Government
  • Bank Statement (issued within last 3 months),should you have an account opened with another bank in the UAE
  • Current Tenancy Contract copy / Ejari copy (showing local address) or a title deed (in the name of the applicant)

*The Central Bank of the UAE issued a circular in 2016 instructing banks and finance companies operating in the UAE to approve the Emirates ID card as an official document to open bank accounts and conduct individual bank transactions with no need for a passport.

4. You are also required to submit a Salary Certificate / No Objection Letter (NOC) from your employer. This must state your name, designation, passport number / emirates ID number and monthly salary, duly signed and stamped by your employer.

The account opening generally takes between 2-4 working days. A typical current account would provide you with a personalized cheque book in addition to a debit card. It is important, you,

  • Take note, and maintain safely, your Account number, IBAN, Customer Number and Swift Code. These would be outlined in your welcome letter
  • Understand withdrawal limits on your card
  • Take note of the charges incurred on card usage in an alternate banks ATM
  • Keep handy the customer care number

Based on your requirements, you can always opt for variants of these basic accounts, differing in factors including service levels, personalization, withdrawal limits, amongst others. Some banks even allow you to maintain an account in a currency of your choice. Citibank accounts, both current and savings, are available locally in AED, USD, GBP and other major currencies.

Content exclusive to Citi by Wealth Monitor. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Citibank UAE.