BANKS TO CONSIDER – There are both local banks and international banks. The 10 biggest local banks are:

1. Emirates NBD  The largest banking group in the Middle East.

2. National Bank of Abu Dhabi – Established in 1968. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi and present in 19 countries across the world.

3. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank – Established in 1985. The national bank of Abu Dhabi is the largest lender among banks in the UAE.

4. First Gulf Bank – Established 1979. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi and present in 19 countries.

5. Dubai Islamic Bank – Established in 1975 and based in Dubai.

6. Mashreq Bank – Founded in 1967. One of the oldest banks in UAE, and headquartered in Dubai.

7. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank – Established in 1997 and headquartered in Dubai.

8. Union National Bank – Founded in 1982. Head office in Abu Dhabi and a network of 76 branches around the world.

9. Commercial Bank of Dubai – Founded in 1969. One of the most important commercial banks in the UAE.

10. RAK Bank – Established in 1976 and headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah - serving around 700,000 customers.

Banks in Dubai

The most popular and more well-known international banks in the UAE:

1. HSBC – Head office in Dubai
2. Barclays Bank – In Dubai
3. CitiBank – Headquartered in Dubai
4. Standard Chartered Bank – Headquartered in Dubai

Now you’ve decided on which bank you want to open an account with, let’s look at the process and documents required. It’s easier than you would imagine to set it all up and usually within a day you will have an account, but you will probably need to deposit a minimum amount (usually starting from around AED 3,000).

Dubai bank account opening requirements

Requirements vary between banks but if you have the following you should be fine to open up a bank account:

•   Documents to prove you are actually residing in the UAE. A rental contract registered with Ejari will suffice.
•  Your passport with your UAE residency visa
•  Emirates ID
•  A letter from your employee
•  Your spouse’s work documents if you are on their sponsorship


Dubai bank account for non-residents

Some banks will allow you to open a saving account as a non-resident. If you are an overseas investor it is important to have the function, so you can take and pay rental payments into your local UAE account in the local currency. As a non-resident you will need the following:

•   Be able to submit at least 6 months original personal bank statements from home country of origin. 
•   An original bank reference letter, profile, recent utility bill and a passport copy
•   You must be physically present in the UAE to sign documents
•   Usually USD 10,000 monthly average balance is required (can vary from bank to bank)

Just a quick note, we’ve gone over the process of setting up an account here. If you leave the UAE most banks will allow customers to keep an account after they are no longer a resident, but the status will be changed to a non-resident account. No credit will be permitted and most banks wouldn’t provide a cheque book, but you would still have access to online banking and an ATM card.


James Perry

For more details on opening a bank account in Dubai please contact us so we may help directly, or connect you with one of our partners.