Opening a bank account in Dubai - useful information

Opening a business bank account in Dubai is not an easy process and is not an option for Dubai business owners. Many entrepreneurs want to take advantage of the favourable corporate tax and personal income tax exemptions, but it is worth preparing in advance for what lies ahead. Therefore, in this article, we would like to give some insight for those who want to open a business bank account in Dubai. If you have any further questions after reading this article, we are at your disposal. 

Opening a business bank account with traditional banks in Dubai 

Traditional banks in the UAE, such as the Emirates NBD, are subject to AML (Anti-Money Laundering Measures) regulations, and the UAE Central Bank is therefore putting pressure on individual banks to carry out appropriate customer due diligence when opening a bank account. Banks are looking for customers with clean, transparent sources and a well-traced work or entrepreneurial history.

It is important that the bank sees that the activities of the UAE company are related to your past work experience and career.

To start opening a business bank account in Dubai, you need to come in person to start the bank account opening process.

You can walk into a bank branch and initiate the bank account opening process, but in this case you will not have a dedicated banker and the bank account opening process can take months, with the chances of rejection depending on how you present the necessary documents.

We recommend that you start the bank account opening process through your bank's trusted personal banker (we will be happy to help you find the right person).

You will usually meet the bank's contact manager at the bank. You will need to sign the bank account opening forms in person in Dubai, in front of the bank manager.

In the UAE, it is not possible to open and activate a bank account remotely at a known major bank without being present in person.

If all the necessary supporting documents are in place, your business bank account can be approved in up to 3-4 weeks.

Why does it take so long to open a bank account in the United Arab Emirates? 

The number of applications to open a corporate bank account has increased significantly in the country, and most banks' Compliance departments are short of specialists.

The Central Bank of the UAE is under pressure from the EU/OECD. Thus, the UAE Central Bank is putting pressure on banks' compliance departments to ensure proper, detailed KYC/customer due diligence processes.

Thus, opening a bank account in UAE banks is not easy and strict customer due diligence is in place. With professional help it can take up to 1 month to open a bank account, walking in off the street without a dedicated contact person can take many months and is more likely to be rejected by the bank.

About bank accounts

By default, a business bank account includes an AED account and a debit card (which is always linked to the AED account). EUR and USD accounts can also be requested (some AED transactions may need to be made before the bank will approve the EUR account).

It is important to know that for companies with more than 1 shareholder, most banks do not provide a debit card. Online banking access is available for all accounts after bank account opening approval. The steps required to activate online banking are usually sent to the account holder via email and the debit card is sent to the account holder via courier service (FedEx, UPS, etc.).

Emirates NBD sends debit cards abroad/outside the UAE, while other banks do not.

We also cannot ignore the fact that if a company has more than one owner, all owners above 25% must have a residence permit and visa.

What documents / information do I need to prepare?

Basic mandatory personal documents:

  • Copy of passport (clean scan, no photo)
  • Last UAE entry stamp
  • UAE resident visa
  • Physical Emirates ID must be present
  • Proof of residence (inside or outside the UAE)
    • If from your home country or another country: you must have a utility bill or bank statement no older than 90 days showing your full name as on your passport + address.
    • If from within the UAE: If you do not have proof of address from your home country, an "EJARI" (a rental contract issued by Dubai Real Estate Authority) or DEWA (Dubai Water and Electricity Supply Account) invoice, no more than 90 days old, must be presented to the bank. If you are not renting an apartment in Dubai, but have a friend living in the UAE who will allow you to stay in his property, a "declaration letter" in which your friend states that you are staying with him is acceptable in most cases (we will provide a template letter for the declaration for your friend to sign, along with his DEWA bill)
  • CV


  • Your CV should be in English, up to date and should show your professional life over the last 5-10 years (what jobs you have done / what companies you have managed)
  • All the information in the CV must be 100% true
  • If you mention in your CV that you were the owner of 'XYZ company', the bank's Compliance department may ask for a company statement for this company. If you cannot show proof, your application may be rejected 
  • If you mention on your CV that you were an employee of 'XYZ company', the bank may ask you to show where your payments were made (if the payments do not appear on your bank statement, the Compliance department may reject your request)

Basic mandatory company documents (for the UAE company for which you want to open an account)

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (part of the documents received when setting up the company)
  • Trade Licence (part of the documents received when setting up the company)
  • Service lease/flexi office rental (part of the documents received when setting up the company)
  • Company stamp in Arabic (we will make a stamp for you, together with your company documents)
  • Business plan for the company

TIPS for Business Plan for opening a business bank account in Dubai

A basic Business Plan should include the following:

  • briefly describe the business model of the company in a few sentences
  • what relevant experience you have in this business
  • which markets you will do business in
  • what type of clients you serve
  • Doing business in the UAE must be part of your business plan, otherwise Compliance may refuse to open the account - You must withdraw the amounts you can transfer to the account immediately after opening the account (must be transferred within 30 days). The higher the amount, the easier it may be to get your account approved.
  • Estimated revenue: you must list the names of at least 3 existing or potential clients from whom you will receive money (you must list the name of the company + the country where these companies are located)
  • Expected expenses: names of at least 3 suppliers or individuals (company name + country) to whom you will send money
  • Estimated annual turnover in your bank account in the UAE (if you have no idea, put an optimistic figure)
  • Create a professional business email address for the application and to open a business bank account, it is an advantage if you have a basic website or even just a landing page.
  • Proof of ownership in any company outside the UAE: If you have an ownership stake in a company outside the UAE, it is an advantage for the Compliance Department to approve it. Please note that you will need to provide proof that you own the company (share, articles of association or similar document, scanned copy accepted). Be prepared that the Bank may request a bank reference letter or bank statement from another company related to you.

What other supporting documents are required for a successful business bank account opening?

It is important that the information provided in the account opening documentation is easy to understand and understandable. Much of this depends on our communication.

6 months bank statement (personal and/or company account):

This is one of the most important documents that the bank examines. Banks are required to your most recent 6 months of bank statements will ask. Online bank downloads are accepted, no originals are required. However, they must be in English. If your bank does not support English, it must be translated by a translation agency registered in the UAE. We can help you with this.

You can either show the last 6 months of your personal bank account statement (from any bank in the world) and/or show the last 6 months of your own company's bank account statement (from any country in the world).

The important thing is that your bank statements show regular, transparent income (e.g. salary, dividends, commission or income from clients, etc.).

A "dormant account" without regular income can be a problem for the bank and lead to a refusal to open a bank account. Even if you have €100 000 in your bank account but no regular income, banks in the UAE are likely to reject such applicants.

The bank will usually take 5-6 incoming and 5-6 outgoing transactions from your bank statement and may ask for information or additional supporting documents such as contracts, invoices, employment contracts, pay cheques, etc.).

This is where a lot of customers get annoyed, but this is how it works in the UAE, it's a standard account opening procedure and unfortunately compliance issues like this cannot be circumvented.

Dubai business bank account packages

Once your bank account has been activated, you must transfer the money to the account you previously committed to within 1 month.

Local banks generally have minimum 'average balance' requirements, which usually range between AED 30 000 and AED 50 000. If the account is opened in a branch without a contact manager, as a walk-in customer. If the account is opened with the help of a bank manager, the minimum balance is AED 500 000. In general, contact managers are not authorised to open smaller accounts.

The minimum balance is an average balance, for example, if you have a balance of AED 0 for 2 weeks in a given month and AED 1 million in the other 2 weeks, the bank will calculate your average bank account balance as AED 500 000 on average.

If your average balance falls below the minimum requirement, banks will usually charge a monthly penalty, usually between AED 250 and AED 750. The minimum balance is determined by the account package you choose and includes any related services.

Tariffs (business accounts) with Emirates NBD

How can I get help to open a business bank account in Dubai?

Opening a company bank account is the most difficult part of the Dubai company formation process. But the good news is that we can help our clients open a bank account.

We have been opening bank accounts in the UAE on a daily basis for the past 10 years. We have strong relationships with bankers and are always up to date with the current conditions.

Contact us to find out more about business bank account options in Dubai.

Summary - Dubai business bank account opening

Opening a business bank account in Dubai is a complex process, and with expert help and carefully prepared documentation, you are much more likely to succeed. We have tried to give you detailed guidance on how to prepare and what to expect for foreign clients who want to set up a Company registered in Dubai wish to open a bank account for.

Knowing the strict conditions, it is unlikely that a simple offshore company will open a bank account, but either a Freezone or a local, mainland llc will have no problem. In this article, we have outlined the habits and expectations of the big traditional banks. In a later article we will also present the various new digital banking solutions.

Important note: 

Approval to open a business bank account in Dubai is at the sole discretion of the bank, there is no such thing as a "100% -fully guaranteed bank account" in the UAE.

Anyone promising you a guaranteed bank account is simply a deceptive, false claim. There are several important factors that influence the approval of bank account applications.

Every case is different, the customer profiles, the sources of wealth, the professional background are different, we cannot apply these specific cases to different situations. It is always necessary to find a realistic solution for each client. We can help you to prepare the process in the most optimal way, in order to ensure that the opening of the bank account is a smooth and successful process.

We do not provide financial advice or any financial services, we only share our experience from the past years and introduce our clients to the bank.

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