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Ok, so you’ve got your company license, your visa is in order, and now’s the time to generate some revenue. For that you’ll need a bank account.

Banking in the UAE works pretty much like international banking elsewhere, but there are some things that are worth noting:

  • For business accounts, a minimum average balance is required to avoid fines. At the time of writing, no banks have less than a 25 000 AED minimum balance. The calculation is simple: 25 000 on average over a 30 day period. In other words, 50 000 on the first 15 days and 0 in the rest is fine, as long as the average is kept.
  • Some SME business account require an insurance that might cost around 3-4000 AED.
  • A debit card is usually included without cost, but might require a separate application. Don’t forget to remind your account manager.

Documents needed to open account

Apart from the application forms (which vary from bank to bank), you’ll need the following:

  • Trade license (up to date)
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Share certificate

Also, you’ll need identification documents:

  • Emirates ID
  • Passport

Additional information needed

Depending on the bank you choose and the type of business you are in, you may be required to provide additional information:

  • A detailed description of your business model
  • Expected annual turnover
  • List of some suppliers
  • List of some customers
  • Detailed personal background
  • Company P.O. Box
  • Office address
  • Resident address
  • Mobile number
  • Home country address

Feels extensive? Keep in mind that the UAE is making strong efforts to stop terrorist funding, money laundering, corruption and other criminal activities, which explains their strict vetting process.


The process

Getting in touch with an account manager, you can usually mail over a copy of the documents. Then, you’ll schedule a meeting in person. Bring all your original documents, Emirates ID and passport to this meeting. You will go over and sign the required documents there, which starts the process. Your contact person will usually follow up with some questions at a later point, that can be answered over the phone or by email.

Depending on your type of business, opening the account can take up to 4 weeks.

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