Getting a UAE Bank Account
Opening a UAE bank account is not only easy but also necessary for those living and working in the country. Requirements for opening an account usually vary from bank to bank and certain procedures must be followed and several qualifications met before successfully getting a functional account. Ok, so it is certainly not as easy as it would be in the West but if you have all of your paperwork in place you should be able to avoid many hours sat or standing in line.
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Types of Account
In general, most banks in the UAE offer three major types of accounts including the current account, savings and term deposit accounts. The current account is meant for day-to-day banking. The savings account normally offers better interest rates than a current account and allows the customer to choose the currency of the account, plus several additional features. It enables the customer to save, as well as access the money instantly from their UAE bank account.
The term deposit account offers higher interest rates than both the current and savings accounts, but there is no benefit of instant access to the money deposited in the account. In order to open a current account in the UAE you must be a resident, non-UAE residents are normally allowed to open savings accounts, which are also the most popular. Accounts may be personal or company accounts of course.
Owing to the large number of expatriates in the UAE, it is necessary to have copies of your original documents when applying for a UAE Bank account. The required documents also vary from bank to bank, however some of them are standard among most banks and they include:
• An original passport with a valid residence visa
• Letter or certificate of no objection from your employer/ sponsor
• Additional identity such as a labor card or driving license
• A valid passport
• Residency visa both original and copy.
• Tenancy agreement
The above must be submitted along with a duly filled and signed account opening form, some banks will also request for additional documents as deemed necessary. A few banks may also allow you to open an account even though your residence visa is pending so long as you provide a letter from your company stating your guaranteed employment status. You may find in some instances you are caught in a catch 22 situation where you need a UAE bank account to pay for the documents you need but you cant get one until you have those documents! Take enough cash with you to ensure you can survive the first few weeks before you get your UAE bank account up and running.
The procedure for opening a UAE bank account in the UAE is similar to most countries and the first step involves proving your legal residence by presenting your residence visa to the bank representative. Some of the banks will even require you to present proof of tenancy as additional evidence of residence.
Then you will need to provide your letter of no objection from your employer, for the bank to know how much money you will be depositing in the account on a regular basis. The bank will then make a copy of your passport and any other identification documents required.
Deposit money into the account either by direct deposits from your company or using personal funds. The UAE banks normally accept most currencies, but the most common are the euro, sterling pound, US dollars and the Emirates Dirham.
Also keep in mind that each account has a minimum balance requirement that must be maintained and if the account balance falls below this limit, a fee will be charged to your account. Most banks offer savings accounts with very low or no minimum balance requirements. Also ensure you check out the minimum salary requirements for each bank so that you select one that best suits you. Problems with your bank? Complaints can be directed to The UAE central bank www.centralbank.ae or to the Dubai Financial Services Authority.