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How much money do I need to open a bank account in Dubai?

Dubai is known as an international financial hub and a popular expat destination. When moving to Dubai, one of the first steps is often opening a local bank account to manage your money and enable convenient banking. A common question asked is how much money you need to open a standard bank account in Dubai.

How much money do I need to open a bank account in Dubai?

The short answer is there is no minimum balance requirement for most standard accounts at major Dubai banks, although special accounts may require funds. Keep reading this guide to learn the key details around opening Dubai bank accounts as an expat or visitor.

Choosing a Dubai Bank

When opening a bank account in Dubai, you have options between local banks and international banks with Dubai branches. Some of the most popular options are:

  • Emirates NBD – One of the largest local banks in the UAE. Emirates NBD offers personal and business accounts with Internet and mobile banking.
  • Mashreq Bank – Major local bank providing personal and business banking services across the UAE. Mashreq offers value-added accounts.
  • HSBC Dubai – International bank HSBC operates many branches. It offers feature-rich personal and business accounts.
  • Citibank Dubai – American multinational bank Citibank has a presence in Dubai. It provides accounts tailored for expats moving to the city.

You’ll want to compare options like fees, digital services, card benefits, and more when selecting a Dubai bank. Your employment status or visa type may also dictate what accounts are available.

Requirements to Open a Bank Account

The requirements to open a bank account as an expat or foreigner in Dubai are:

  • Valid passport and UAE visa – To verify your identity, all banks will require your passport and a valid UAE residence visa (expats) or entry visa (visitors/tourists).
  • Emirates ID application – For expats staying over 6 months, applying for an Emirates ID card is required by banks to open an account.
  • Initial deposit – While many standard current or checking accounts don’t require a deposit, special accounts may need an initial deposit up to AED 3,000.
  • Age requirement – You must be at least 21 years old to independently open a personal bank account in Dubai.

So to recap, you’ll mainly need your passport, residence visa or entry visa, and potentially your Emirates ID registration to open a standard Dubai bank account. No minimum balance is required for most basic accounts.

Documents Required for Opening Account

When applying for a bank account in Dubai, make sure to have digital and/or physical copies of these key documents:

  • Valid passport
  • UAE entry visa or residence visa
  • 1 passport-size color photograph
  • Proof of local UAE address (like rental contract or DEWA bill)
  • Emirates ID card (for residents staying over 6 months)
  • Salary certificate or income statements (if applying for credit or loans)

You may need at-tested or officially translated copies of financial statements, employment contracts, marriage certificates, or other documents depending on the type of account. The bank’s account opening requirements will list complete Dubai banking documentation needs.

Account Opening Process

Now let’s walk through the standard steps for opening a bank account in Dubai:

  1. Select a Dubai bank catering to your needs as an expat or foreign visitor
  2. Gather documents like your passport, UAE visa, Emirates ID
  3. Apply in branch at the bank with your form, documents, and initial deposit (if needed)
  4. Await account approval; allow 1-4 weeks depending on bank
  5. Activate your account online or return back to the branch

Overall, opening a standard checking, savings, or current account can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks depending on the Dubai bank.

Approval time also depends on what type of customer you are:

  • Salary transfer expats: Fast approval since the bank confirms regular income
  • Non-salary transfer expats: Slower approval without proved monthly income
  • Visitors/Tourists: Usually quick approval for basic accounts

So make sure you select the right type of bank account in Dubai corresponding to your resident status and financial situation.


While special accounts may require larger deposits, most standard Dubai bank accounts don’t have a minimum balance requirement or opening deposit. Nonetheless, you will need to provide important documents like a valid passport, UAE visa, and for residents the Emirates ID card.

Overall, Dubai makes opening expat bank accounts very straightforward. As more expats call Dubai home and tourism keeps booming, convenient banking is crucial for the city’s future.

Key Takeaways

  • No minimum account balance is required for most basic Dubai bank accounts
  • Key requirements are a valid passport, UAE visa, and Emirates ID (for residents)
  • Allow 1-4 weeks for standard account approval after applying in branch
  • Select bank accounts catering specifically to expats and visitors

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. How much money do I need to open a bank account in Dubai?
    For most standard checking accounts in Dubai, there is no minimum balance required to open the account as an expat or visitor. Some special accounts may require a larger initial deposit between AED 3,000 to 5,000. 
  2. Can tourists open a bank account in Dubai?
    Yes, visitors and tourists can open simple bank accounts, often called Non-Resident Accounts, with a passport and entry visa. Approval is faster without residence visa requirements. 
  3. What is the minimum bank account balance in Dubai?
    There is typically no minimum average balance for basic current and checking accounts from major Dubai banks. More elite credit cards or accounts may require minimum spends or balances between AED 3,000 to 10,000+. 
  4. Can I open a Dubai bank account from overseas?
    Unfortunately you cannot open a Dubai bank account while overseas. You must apply for the account in person by visiting a local bank branch with the proper documents. This also initiated important background checks by the bank. 
  5. What are the types of bank accounts in Dubai?
    Common Dubai bank accounts include standard checking/current accounts, joint accounts, savings accounts, fixed/term deposits, young saver accounts for kids, premium accounts, and more. Banks also offer accounts tailored specifically for expats. 
  6. Can I open a Dubai business bank account as a foreigner?
    Yes, expats have a few options for opening company bank accounts in Dubai. This includes opening a sole establishment business bank account or registering with departments like the DED (Department of Economic Development) to establish your business entity first. 
  7. What is the easiest Dubai bank account to open?
    For expats moving to Dubai, the easiest and quickest bank accounts to open are tailored for new arrivals who don’t have income statements yet. These include resident accounts from Mashreq and Citibank or Expat accounts with Emirates NBD Group. 
  8. Can I open an account in Dubai with only a passport?
    No, a passport alone is not enough. To open any Dubai bank account requires having a valid UAE entry visa or residency visa in your passport first. Some banks may initially open accounts for tourists with just a passport, but will require sending a visa copy later before account activation. 
  9. Which bank account gives most benefits in Dubai?
    For residents, Emirates NBD Liv offers one of the best rewards programs including 20% cashback on utility bills, 10% on dining/groceries, and 1 Skywards Mile per AED 4 retail spend. Mashreq Neo also has great offers like 6% fuel savings and 3% cashback on retail purchases. 
  10. Can I transfer money internationally if I open a Dubai account?
    Yes, most standard Dubai bank accounts support international money transfers (with added fees). Options include using the bank’s online platform, in-branch transfers, using secure SWIFT payments for business, and more. Transfer speeds and limits can vary. 
  11. Is the Emirates ID card mandatory for opening an account?
    For resident expats staying over 6 months, providing a copy of your Emirates ID registration is mandatory when opening a new Dubai bank account. Short-term tourists can open accounts without applying for the Emirates ID card. 
  12. Can multiple foreign shareholders open one company account?
    Yes, it is possible for multiple foreign business partners to jointly open single a company business account in Dubai. All partners must provide due diligence documents outlining company ownership percentages, shareholder agreements, and signatory consent during the account opening process. 
  13. Is online account opening available in Dubai banks?
    A few Dubai banks like Mashreq and Emirates NBD offer online account opening platforms for UAE residents to start the application before visiting the branch. This quickens the overall process. But in most cases, visiting the bank branch is mandatory to complete verification. 
  14. Do banks check existing loans when opening accounts?
    Yes, as part of credit checks and overall due diligence, Dubai banks will assess your existing liabilities and loans when applying for new accounts especially loans or credit cards. This determines factors like your debt-to-income ratio and eligibility for financing. 
  15. Which Dubai bank offers the highest interest rate?
    Interest rates on savings accounts fluctuate regularly but ENBD and Mashreq currently offer around 1.5-3% annual interest rates on standard savings accounts. RAKBank offers between 1-2.25% on savings accounts. Banks also offer term deposits with higher rates up to 3%, but your money is locked for a fixed period. 
  16. Can I open a non-resident company account in Dubai?
    Yes, Dubai allows foreign investors unable to relocate to open non-resident business accounts. You must register your company with the DED (Department of Economic Development), provide due diligence on all owners, and assign a Public Relations Officer or local sponsor to represent you. 
  17. Do banks allow opening an account with a relative’s visa?
    No, Dubai banks have strict regulations against opening accounts on tourist or relative visas. You must switch the bank account name to match the primary visa holder later. Some exceptions exist for Accounts of Minors using guardian ID. But for residents and expats, banks only allow opening accounts based on your own valid UAE residence visa. 
  18. Can freelancers open business accounts in Dubai banks?
    Yes, Dubai banks now offer great account options for freelancers including Mashreq Business Edge and ENBD Business Edge. Freelancers can operate using these corporate accounts and attached cards instead of personal accounts. Proper freelancing licenses/visas are needed which banks assist with. 
  19. Is an opening deposit refundable if my account application is rejected?
    For most Dubai banks, your initial deposit is refundable if your account application gets rejected, minus any fees deducted. Reach out to the bank to submit a deposit refund request, and await their transfer back to your original funding source within a standard period. 
  20. Do Dubai banks allow opening accounts for sanctioned countries?
    Dubai banks follow all Central Bank regulations including assessing customers against global watchlists for sanctioned countries and persons. Typically you cannot open personal or business accounts from countries under UAE sanctions without added scrutiny and approvals from bank compliance teams. There could be extra steps, limitations or rejections. 

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