Opening a bank account in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is necessary for those who live and work in the country. Checking, savings and deposit accounts can all be obtained in the UAE by expatriates, but savings accounts are the most popular. Most establishments in the UAE do not accept checks for payment because the funds are not guaranteed. To open an account at a UAE bank, certain procedures must be followed and several qualifications must be met.
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Present your residence visa to the bank representative. To open a bank account in the UAE, you must prove you are a legal resident. Some banks will require you to present proof of tenancy as additional proof of residency in the UAE. A current account cannot be opened in the UAE without a resident visa.
Show your letter of no objection or "no objection certificate" (NOC) to the bank. This will identify your employer, work address, position at the company and salary. A bank will request this information because it wants to know how much money will be deposited in the account on a regular basis. Some banks require a minimum deposit, but this will vary from one bank to another and depend on the type of account.
Furnish your passport as part of the identification process. The bank will make a copy of your passport and include it in your bank file. You might also be required to bring other photo identification, such as a driver's license or work badge.
Deposit money into the account either by direct deposit from your company or by using personal funds. Most currencies are accepted at UAE banks, but the most popular are the Arab Emirates dirham (AED), U.S. dollar, euro and pound sterling (GBP).
Keep in mind the account balance requirements. Most banks in the UAE have a minimum balance requirement of 1,000 to10,000 dirhams. If the account falls below this limit, a fee of 50 to 100 dirhams will be assessed. Savings accounts have lower or no minimum balance requirements. A minimum salary may also be required, depending on the bank. For banks that require it, the minimum salary is AED 10,000 to 20,000 a month.
Tips and warnings
- A debit card is essential because most retailers do not accept checks as payment.
- It is easier to open an account at the bank where your employer banks.
- Shop around for the best fees when opening a bank account.
- Bouncing a check is a severe criminal offence in the UAE.
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