How to open a bank account for a non-resident in the UAE in 2019
The question often arises whether it is possible to open a bank account in the Arab Emirates without having a UAE resident visa. In this article, we will consider peculiarities of opening a bank account in the UAE for non-residents.
Types of personal bank accounts in the Arab Emirates
First, we should remind that there are two main types of bank accounts in the UAE, the “Current Account” and the “Savings Account”. The peculiarity of the “Current Account” is that a cheque book can be issued with it. A cheque book is only issued for a bank account opened in dirham.
The bank account “Current Account” is only opened for residents of the UAE; for non-residents only the “Savings Account” may be opened. Correspondingly, non-residents may not obtain a cheque book. Such an account may be opened in different currencies – dirham, US dollar, euro, etc.
Usually, a free debit card is issued with an account.
Minimum average monthly balance when opening a bank account in the Arab Emirates
Nearly all banks in the UAE require that a certain average monthly balance was kept on an account. In breach of this term, a monthly fee is charged.
Regarding this issue, requirements for residents and non-residents may vary significantly. For example, a bank may require from residents to sustain an average monthly balance of 3,000 dirham (818 dollars), and if balance falls below this level, charge a customer with 25 dirham (7 dollars) per month.
A bank defines much stricter requirements for non-residents. As a rule, banks require from non-residents to maintain at least 100 thousand dollars on an account. In some way, the reason is that a bank considers that a client – non-resident cannot be checked completely.
Opening a bank account in the UAE for non-residents
It is quite complicated to open a bank account in the UAE for a non-resident.
To open a bank account in the Arab Emirates, a non-resident must substantiate the need to open a bank account particularly in the UAE. A customer must prove that he/she has certain relations with the UAE.
For example, a reason to open a bank account can be an available apartment in the Arab Emirates, which an applicant lets for rent. Lease in the UAE is usually paid in cheques; therefore opening an account will seem logical for a bank, as a customer may use an account to lodge cheques on it.
Another reason to open an account in the Arab Emirates is the case when an applicant plans to make some deal in the UAE, which requires an account.
In any case, a reason for opening an account must be verified by documents.
Opening an account in the UAE is much simpler if you become a UAE resident first
If an applicant has no definite reason for opening an account in the Arab Emirates, or if he does not want to maintain a high average monthly balance on an account, then it might be easier to just become a UAE resident.
Obtaining a resident visa in the UAE is quite easy and fast. Such visa is issued for 3 years, after what it can be prolonged for a similar period any number of times.
The easiest way to obtain a UAE resident visa is to register a company. A company owner obtains the right to execute an investor UAE resident visa. Moreover, visas can also be issued for his/her relatives.
The cheapest way to register a company is in any of the free trade zones. There are several dozens of free trade zones in the Arab Emirates. Registration of a company also allows issuing visas for employees of a company; meanwhile, the number of possible visas will depend on the type of company license and the area of premises. Considering the office area, you may also save money by choosing the option where you rent not a physical office but a “shared desk”. Besides, a company may not perform real business, but can be only used to issue visas through it. A company in a free trade zone lets its owner have 100% of company shares. We should note that companies registered in the UAE outside free zones may not be completely owned by non-residents, because at least 51% of shares must be owned by UAE citizens, or companies owned by UAE citizens.
How can a non-resident open a bank account in the Arab Emirates?
If you do not have a resident visa and you still want to open a bank account in the UAE, then you will have to arrive to the UAE. You will need to provide the following documents: passport, mark on entry in the UAE, CV, and statement of the already existing bank account for past 6 months translated into English or Arabic language.
You should also provide documents that stipulate the need of opening a bank account. For example, “Title Deed” to verify the right of ownership for an apartment.
A wish to open an account in the UAE should not look for a bank as if a customer just decided to open an account with a purpose, e.g. to hide assets from tax bodies of his/her country.
The bank will also check the applicant through various databases, and if finding him/her in any database marked as “Money laundering” or similar, the bank will deny in opening an account.
Which bank is good for a non-resident when opening an account in the UAE?
It is relatively simple to open an account in such banks as “Emirates NBD”, “RAK Bank”, and “Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank”.
Meanwhile, it is relatively hard to open an account in the bank “Mashreq Bank”.
You may try to open an account in branches of international banks “Citibank”, “HSBC” and ”Standard Chartered”, although international banks define much stricter requirements, and it will be very hard to open an account here for a non-resident.
Therefore, a non-resident should try to open an account in one of local banks.
Term of opening an account in the UAE for a non-resident
Opening an account in the UAE for a non-resident takes 1-2 weeks.
The term depends on the following:
- Presence of an applicant in black lists of the bank (e.g., in the international system “World-Check”).
- Information on an applicant online, in search engines. A good variant is the available profile in “LinkedIn”, which should completely coincide with CV submitted to the bank.
- Source of origin of the assets. Verification of assets.
- Working of an applicant in a company that is under sanctions.
- Quality of preparation of documents certifying the need of opening an account in the UAE.
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Tags #Bank account in the UAE #Company in UAE