How Do I Open a Bank Account in the UAE?

Opening a bank account in Dubai

As an expat who has just moved to Dubai, you would want to open a bank account as soon as you can. Any delay in doing so can create hurdles in your financial activities. To make the process of setting up a bank account quick and easy for you, ServiceMarket and HSBC have put together the following guidelines: Β 

Select the right bank: You should consider the following factors while choosing a bank.

  1. Bank used by your employer: If you pick the bank that your employer uses, your salary will be transferred to your account on the same day and some banks might even have lower minimum balance requirements.
  2. Online banking platform: Many people in the UAE use online banking to pay their bills and top-up their service accounts, as it saves a lot of time and makes everything more manageable. Some banks, such as HSBC, allow customers to pay their bills for free using their online platform. Being able to pay your DEWA, Etisalat and Du bills online will save you a lot of hassle. You are also able to top-up accounts such as your SALIK account and even pay RTA fines online. Choosing a bank with a good online banking platform will simplify your life in the UAE.
  3. Global connectivity: Many expats prefer international banks that also have branches in their home country because it makes it affordable and easy to transfer money. Some international banks even allow expats to transfer money to several countries for free.
  4. Product offering: It’s important to compare the products offered by the various banks. You may want to choose a bank that has USD savings account option, or good loan options if you need to take out a personal loan. This is completely dependent on your requirements. For example, if you wanted to open up a savings account, HSBC has a great eSaver product which offers interest rates while enjoying the flexibility of withdrawing once a month without losing any interest..
  5. ATMs and branches: You should also consider how easy it is to find the bank’s ATMs and branches.

To see the list of banks in Dubai, click here

Bring along the necessary documents: To open a standard bank account (often call a current account) in the UAE, you are usually required to produce the following documents:

  • Original passport with valid residence visa
  • Original Emirates Identification Card
  • Documentary proof that you are a resident of the UAE (rental agreement, title deed, utility bill, or employment letter)
  • Depending on your employment status you would need to provide either a salary letter from your employer, the original trade license if you are self-employed, or your spouse’s original labour card/work ID if you are on their sponsorship Β 

However, getting your residency visa and Emirates ID card can take a number of weeks in the UAE. To allow you to meet your transactional needs in the meantime, proof that your residency visa is under process is also accepted by a lot of banks. Many banks allow people who have recently arrived in the UAE to open a savings account with only their arrival visa and a letter from their employer. This would be converted to a normal Current Account with cheque book once the bank validates your original residency visa and Emirates ID card.

HSBC goes the extra mile to help expats and allows you to set up your account before you land in Dubai. With HSBC’s pre arrival account, you can start the process before you move and it even comes with a bunch of helpful benefits such as a meet and greet service in the airport and a mobile phone sim card!

Choose an account that suits you: The type of bank account you can and should choose depends on your income, your balance with the bank and mode of employment. Since many self-employed expats and businessmen don’t have a fixed monthly income they should base this decision on the minimum balance they would be able to keep in their account. Many banks, such as HSBC, allow you to compare the features of their accounts online.

Most people use current accounts to manage their transactions. HSBC offers three types of current accounts: Premier account, Advance account and Basic account. You can compare their features and requirements online.Β Some bank account types provide additional benefits such as dedicated relationship managers, access to financial planners, and emergency cash advances. You can even open current accounts in GBP and USD where required.

If you have some extra savings that you do not plan to use in the near future, you can even open a savings account on the side and earn some profit. If you want to earn interest on your savings, you should learn more about HSBC’s Savings account and eSaver account.

Planning a move to the UAE? Start your account set up before you leave home. Get the guidance and expert advice from HSBC.Β Terms and Conditions apply.

Find out more

Planning a move to the UAE? Start your account set up before you leave home. Get the guidance and expert advice from HSBC.Β Terms and Conditions apply.

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