Opening a non-resident bank account in Dubai


Having emerged as a truly global city and one that is at the heart of the business hub in the Middle East, Dubai – the biggest city in the United Arab Emirates – is becoming increasingly popular as a business destination for residents and non-residents.

With the UAE playing host to so many foreigners, opening a bank account as a new resident or even a visitor is a straightforward process, and there are ample advantages to opening one in Dubai as it has a secure government and many financial resources.

So, how do you go about opening a bank account in Dubai, what documents will you need to submit and what services can you expect from it?

What accounts can a non-resident open in the Emirates?

While the documentation requirements can alter with each bank, to open a current account, you must be a resident. However, if you’re a non-UAE resident, some banks will permit you to open a savings account. So, while you won’t be able to request a cheque book, you will be given a debit card that allows you to withdraw cash. There is a chance that you may be subjected to a minimum or maximum (or both) balance total, and depending on the bank, they may opt to run a background check before you’re allowed to open the account with them.

What documentation is required to open a savings account as a non-resident?

You will certainly need to show your original passport and hand over a copy, too. While this will be the basic document requirement for all banks, some may ask for others as well.

What services will your account offer you?

When opening a savings account, you’ll usually get the following:

  • An account in UAE dirhams Interest rate

  • Access to your money 24-hours from an ATM – over the phone or online Free international ATM/debit card

  • You’ll be able to access branch, ATM and bill payment facilities

What will be the charges for your savings account?

Restrictions and standard fees that all banks in the UAE are able to charge their customers, were issued by the UAE Central Bank back in February of 2011, giving peace of mind for bank users.

Which bank to choose:

Perhaps understandably so, many non-residents of the UAE believe that it’s safer and more convenient to get an account with one of the larger banks that they may already be familiar with from back home, such as HSBC or Citibank, to name but a few. However, these larger banks with global reach have forced local banks to be more competitive, and some are now offering great currency exchange rates for expats and residents.

So, as you can see, opening a savings account as a non-resident of the UAE is straightforward enough, but be sure to consider all your options carefully before approaching a bank, to ensure that you’re getting the best rates for your hard-earned money or foreign currency that you bring in.

Daniel Diosi