The requirements for opening a business bank account in UAE


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When you are starting your new company in the UAE, one of the most important steps you must take is to open the right business bank account. This involves several choices and you should use expert help to make the right ones to comply with the requirements for opening a business bank account in the UAE. Failure to correctly set up the necessary corporate banking accounts in the UAE can result in difficulties later on

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    In this document, we will talk about the basic requirements for opening a business bank account in the UAE and list the steps you need to take, and documentation you must have ready.

    Your eligibility to have a company bank account in the UAE will depend on the choices you have made in the type, location and ownership of your corporation.

    The most important options are:

    • Type of business: Mainland, free zone, or offshore
    • Location: Businesses can be located in any one of the Emirates in the UAE, and can also be established in one of the more than 40 free zones that provide special tax benefits
    • Type of incorporation: A business can be Sole owner, partnership or Limited Liability Company (LLC).
    • Which bank you are applying to: Your company must meet all of the qualifying criteria established by the bank, which vary from bank to bank, such as:
      • Level of initial deposit – all banks will require an up-front deposit before even beginning to assess whether you can proceed to open an account
      • Level of minimum account buffer – banks can require a positive balance to be maintained at all times (the opposite of a credit facility). This will generally vary depending on your company’s creditworthiness and trading history
      • Requirement for both current and savings accounts. Some banks require a commitment of a percentage on deposits to be held in savings accounts where they are inaccessible for a number of days


    How to choose UAE freezone business bank account

    To open a freezone business bank account in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you will typically need to follow the same general process as described above. However, there may be additional requirements or procedures specific to the UAE.

    Here are a few additional things to consider when opening a freezone business bank account in the UAE:

    1. Choose a bank: There are several banks in the UAE that offer freezone business bank accounts, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare the fees, terms, and services offered by each bank.
    2. Determine the type of account you need: The UAE has several types of free zones, each with its own set of rules and regulations. You will need to determine which type of free zone your business falls under and choose a bank account that meets the specific requirements of that free zone.
    3. Gather the necessary documents: In addition to the documents listed above, you may also be required to provide additional documentation, such as a letter of introduction from your company’s sponsor or a power of attorney.
    4. Submit the application: Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you can submit your application to the bank. The bank will review your application and may request additional information or documents. If your application is approved, the bank will issue you with a bank account and provide you with instructions on how to use it.


    It’s worth noting that requirements and procedures for opening a freezone business bank account in the UAE may vary depending on the bank and the specific free zone in which your business is located. It is always a good idea to check with the bank or the free zone authority for specific requirements and procedures.

    It is generally possible to open a bank account for a company that is registered in a free zone in Dubai. However, the process and requirements for opening a bank account can vary depending on the bank and the free zone in which the company is registered.


    In general, you will need to provide the following documents and information to open a bank account for your free zone company:

    1. Company documents: You will typically need to provide copies of your company’s articles of association, memorandum of association, and trade license.
    2. Personal documents: You will typically need to provide copies of your passport, residence visa, and Emirates ID.
    3. Company information: You will need to provide information about your company, including its name, registration number, and contact details.
    4. Banking information: You will need to provide information about the type of bank account you want to open and any other banking services you may need, such as online banking or credit card facilities.


    It is always a good idea to contact the bank directly and ask about their specific requirements and processes for opening a bank account for a free zone company. It is also advisable to compare different banks and consider factors such as fees, interest rates, and customer service before choosing a bank.


    Security assessment process when you are opening a business bank account in the UAE for non-residents

    Banks in the UAE follow the same security practices as financial institutions in Europe when opening a business bank account in the UAE for non-residents, Customers must submit documentation for Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) review. KYC requirements include verifiable proof of each person’s identity and address, which can be a certified copy of a passport, driver’s licence, bank statement or utility bill. Some banks require digital ID cards with chip, biometric or facial verification, and may not accept uncertified documents.


    Both local banks and branches of foreign banks operating in the UAE require the security identification steps discussed above before they will allow your company to open  a business bank account in the UAE for non-residents. Furthermore, a company opening a commercial bank account in the UAE may be required to be physically present in the country. Documentation must be provided proving residence. In the case of a lease, it must include the mandatory Ejari contract.


    How to open a business bank account in the UAE for non residents

    There are two ways a company can apply to open a business account in the UAE for non residents:

    • Online: Several banks have online portals where the company applying for a bank account can fill in the required forms and submit digital documentation
    • Branch: All banks with street-front branches or offices have facilities where you can be interviewed by bank officers and submit the required forms.

    In both cases, it is advisable to use the knowledge and experience of our professional team of banking experts who know all of the ins-and-outs of the UAE banking system and how to open a business bank account in the UAE for non residents. We also have developed great relationships with local banks. With us at your side, the process of opening your account will be smoother and far more likely to succeed.


    What are the requirements for opening a business bank account in a UAE free zone?

    To open a company bank account in a free zone, there are several specific requirements on top of the general steps we described in this article.

    Firstly, the requirements for opening a business bank account in a UAE free zone will depend heavily on which free zone you have chosen as your base. For example, the popular International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) in Dubai is home to some of the largest and most progressive banks in the UAE. Banks like Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), Noor Bank, Emirates National Bank of Dubai (ENBD), Mashreq Bank or Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) are top picks, with all of them providing up-to-date and modern banking and financial services.


    What are the documentary requirements for opening a business bank account in the UAE?

    Here is a basic list of the documents you will need to apply for an account. It is important to note that this list varies depending on the extent of each client’s business and the bank’s criteria as per the type of corporate account you want to open.

    Depending on whether this is a brand new company, and in which free zone it is licenced, the bank can request:

    • Historical bank statement for the past six months for executives, partners and shareholders
    • Utility bills as proof of private address
    • A business model or business plan, financial projections, company profile
    • A list of existing or prospective customer and suppliers
    • Certified examples of the company’s invoices and receipts


    If you are setting up a mainland company, the documentation requirements for the bank account will be more extensive than the requirements for opening a business bank account in a UAE free zone.  Mainland company bankers will require, in addition to the above, the UAE VAT certificate, a list of current tenders or contracts with UAE government bodies or corporations and any other information they deem necessary.


    Offshore companies, which are subsidiaries of foreign corporations, must submit additional information regarding the parent company because they intend to open a business bank account in UAE for non residents. Document such as a certified copy of the company’s UAE trade licence, a certificate of good standing of the parent company, details of the parent’s foreign banks, CVs of all corporate signatories, a list of existing or prospective customers and suppliers and tenders or contracts with UAE government bodies or corporations may be needed.

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