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The Process for Opening a Bank Account for Foreign Nationals in the UAE

How To Open A Bank Account

If you’re ready to start your long-term trip or life in the UAE, you’ll need to open a bank account. you’ll be full of questions, but don’t worry – In this article, we’ll explore how easy it is to open a bank account as a foreigner in the UAE.

The UAE has the most diversified economy in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the second-largest economy in the Arab world, after Saudi Arabia. The UAE’s economy is heavily reliant on oil exports but also has a significant service sector and tourism industry.

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates, each with its own ruler. The largest and most populous emirate in Dubai, which is also the capital of the UAE. Abu Dhabi, the second-largest emirate, is the country’s center of political power. Other emirates include Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Whether you need a non-resident bank account or want to get a mortgage as a foreigner in Dubai, the process is relatively simple.

Can I Open an Account From Abroad?

The UAE is quite a unique country, in that its citizens only make up around 12% of the population. This leaves a large number of foreigners living and working in the UAE, which has fueled the growth of the banking sector. It is now possible to open a bank account from your home country before you move to the UAE. However, this isn’t always necessary and may not be the best option for everyone.

If you choose to open an account from abroad, you will need to visit the UAE to complete the process and sign the necessary paperwork. This can be done on a short trip or as part of your longer-term relocation plans. Once you have opened your account, you can use online banking services to manage your money from anywhere in the world.

The main benefit of opening an account from abroad is that it can be easier to get approved for an account and you may have more account options to choose from. However, you will need to visit the UAE to complete the process and there are a few other things to consider.

For example, if you’re opening a bank account with Emirates NBD, they require a minimum deposit of AED 5,000 (around $1,360). This may not be possible or desirable for everyone, so it’s something to keep in mind.

Another option is to wait until you arrive in the UAE to open your account. This has a few advantages, such as not having to worry about making a trip just to open your account and being able to visit different banks to compare their products and services.

Of course, there are also a few disadvantages to waiting to open your account. For example, you may not be able to open an account if you don’t have a job or income in the UAE. You will also need to visit the UAE to complete the process and sign the necessary paperwork.

How to Open a Bank Account in the UAE

If you decide to wait until you arrive in the UAE to open your account, there are a few things you need to do. First, you will need to gather all of the necessary documents. These include your passport, visa, Emirates ID, proof of address, and proof of income.

You will also need to visit the UAE and open an account in person. This can be done at any of the major banks in the UAE, such as Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank or First Gulf Bank.

Once you have all of the necessary documents and have chosen a bank, you will need to make an appointment to open your account. This can usually be done online or by visiting the bank branch in person.

When you visit the bank to open your account, you will need to fill out an application form and provide all of the required documents. The banker will then review your application and, if everything is in order, will open your account.

After your account has been opened, you will need to sign a few documents and may be asked to complete a “know your customer ” (KYC) form. This form is used to verify your identity and to make sure you are who you say you are.

You will also need to choose a method of funding your account. This can be done by making a deposit at the bank or by transferring money from another account. Once your account has been funded, you can start using it right away.

Bank Charges

While many of the ATMs around the country will accept foreign cards, some banks may charge a fee for using them. For example, Emirates NBD charges AED 2.50 ($0.68) per withdrawal and AED 25 ($6.80) per transfer from an ATM outside of the UAE.

When making purchases with your debit card, you may also be charged a foreign transaction fee by your bank. This fee is typically around 3% of the purchase price and is charged by the bank to cover the cost of processing the transaction.

To avoid these fees, you can use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or get a card that is specifically designed for use in the UAE. For example, the ADCB TouchPoints Card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees and also offers some rewards and perks, such as discounts at certain stores and restaurants.


Opening a bank account in the UAE is a relatively simple process, whether you choose to do it from abroad or after you arrive in the country. The most important thing is to make sure you have all of the necessary documents and to visit the UAE to complete the process. Once your account has been opened, you can use online banking services to manage your money from anywhere in the world.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Please consult a professional for advice on your specific situation.

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