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What is required to open a business bank account in Dubai?

Opening a business bank account in Dubai can seem daunting, but having one is essential for operating legally and tapping into the Emirate’s thriving business environment. This comprehensive guide outlines everything you need to open an account, from documents to types of accounts.

What is required to open a business bank account in Dubai?

Choosing a Bank in Dubai

When opening a business account in Dubai, you can choose between local or international banks. Popular options include:

  • Emirates NBD: A leading local bank with an extensive branch network. Offers accounts in AED and foreign currencies.
  • Mashreq Bank: Local bank with both conventional and Islamic business accounts available. Fast account opening.
  • HSBC: International bank with a strong presence in Dubai. Supports accounts in multiple currencies.
  • CitiBank: Global bank with straightforward account opening processes for small and mid-size enterprises.

Consider the bank’s fees, account services, and branch/ATM availability when deciding. Having an account manager assigned to your business can also provide helpful support.

Business Structures and Required Documents

The documents you need differ depending on your company structure:

Sole Proprietorship

  • Copy of valid passport
  • Copy of valid UAE residence visa
  • Proof of UAE address
  • Reference letter from a bank or professional third party

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Copy of trade license
  • Copy of Memorandum of Association
  • Board Resolution for opening account
  • Copies of passports/visas for manager, shareholders, and authorized signatories
  • Proof of registered office address

Branch of Foreign Company

  • Parent company board resolution
  • Valid branch trade license copy
  • Passport/visa copies of local branch manager
  • Proof of office address in UAE

Types of Business Accounts in Dubai

Dubai offers several account types to suit different business needs:

Current Accounts

The most common account for daily transactions. Enjoy features like internet banking, unlimited withdrawals, cheque book, and overdraft options.

Savings Accounts

Earn interest on unused balances. Only a limited number of withdrawals/transfers allowed per month.

Fixed or Call Deposit Accounts

Deposit funds for a fixed term to earn higher interest. Useful for parking surplus cash until needed for payments.

Foreign Currency Accounts

Make and receive payments in foreign currencies more conveniently/cost-effectively. Minimize exchange rate fluctuations.

Costs of Opening and Maintaining Accounts

Account opening costs little to nothing, but ongoing account fees apply. These usually include:

  • Monthly account maintenance fees
  • Cash deposit/withdrawal fees
  • Inward and outward remittance charges
  • Inter-account transfer charges
  • Credit card annual fees for business cards

Shop around and negotiate the best deals. Fees can differ substantially between banks.

Key Steps to Open an Account

Opening a bank account in Dubai involves:

  1. Select your bank and preferred branches
  2. Gather all necessary documents
  3. Book an appointment with the relationship manager/account opening officer
  4. Fill in the account opening applications/forms
  5. Submit all complete documentation
  6. Await account approval
  7. Make an initial deposit to activate once approved

The process takes 5-7 working days but can be accelerated through fast-track services for an extra fee.

Maintaining the Account

Once your Dubai business account is open, diligently maintain it to avoid problems:

  • Stay on top of fees and charges – Check monthly statements and clarify any unclear expenses.
  • Update signatory details as needed – Notify the bank of any changes to authorized signatories.
  • Maintain a minimum balance if required – Avoid fees for low average monthly balances.
  • Inform bank before major transactions – Prevent errant transaction blocks.

Following these best practices ensures your accounts operate smoothly so you can focus on business growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing an established local or international bank is best
  • Required documents for account opening differ based on business structure
  • Current, savings, fixed deposit and foreign currency accounts available
  • Account opening is free but ongoing account fees apply
  • Timeframe is 5-7 working days but can be accelerated
  • Carefully maintaining account once open is crucial


Dubai offers tremendous opportunities for global businesses, especially with the upcoming 2020 Expo. While the process of setting up a business bank account may seem daunting as a newcomer, understanding the account types, documents needed and following the step-by-step process outlined above makes it straightforward. Partnering with the right bank also ensures you get expert support for a smooth account opening and maintenance experience. So take advantage of Dubai’s world-class banking and financial environment by opening an account today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the minimum account opening requirements for business accounts in Dubai?
    The minimum requirements are a valid passport, residence visa, proof of business (trade license or parent company documents), proof of address, and reference letter. The exact documents needed differ based on entity type.
  2. How long does it take to open a business account in Dubai?
    It typically takes 5-7 working days for account approval after submission of complete documents. Some banks offer fast-track account opening for an extra fee, which can reduce the waiting times.
  3. What are the main types of Dubai business bank accounts?
    The most common accounts are current accounts, savings accounts, fixed/call deposit accounts and foreign currency accounts. Each serve different purposes.
  4. Can freelancers and consultants open business accounts in Dubai?
    Yes, most banks offer accounts for consultants and freelance professionals in industries like IT, marketing etc. You’ll need your freelance/consulting license and valid residence visa.
  5. Which is better – locally incorporated or foreign owned startup business accounts?
    Both account types have pros and cons. Locally incorporated accounts allow more flexibility in currency conversions while foreign accounts provide international connectivity. Assess your priorities.
  6. Can I switch my personal account to a business account?
    Yes, banks allow upgrading personal accounts to business accounts without needing to close your existing account. You simply submit the new business documents for approval.
  7. How much cash can I deposit or withdraw over the counter?
    Banks have set caps on cash transactions. For some banks it is AED 30,000 for withdrawal and varying limits like AED 3,000-5,000 for cash deposits. Rules differ by bank.
  8. Can I open an Islamic bank account for my Dubai business?
    Yes, leading Islamic banks like Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank offer Sharia-compliant accounts. Simply approach them directly to open accounts.
  9. How long does it take to activate my new business account?
    Once approved, accounts take 2-3 days to fully activate. You’ll have to make the minimum initial deposit and set up internet banking access during the activation period before utilizing all services.
  10. Can banks freeze my company accounts if there is no recent activity?
    Yes, lack of transactions can get accounts frozen by the bank. To avoid this, maintain at least 2-3 small deposits/transfers every month for account activity.
  11. Is account portability available when switching banks in the UAE?
    As of mid-2022, the UAE Central Bank launched new account switching guidelines. These allow easy redirection of all existing payments and auto debits when moving accounts locally.
  12. Can I open a separate account for an E-commerce company in Dubai?
    Yes, leading Dubai banks now offer specialized accounts with extra features tailored to online businesses. These streamline receiving payments from digital marketplaces locally and overseas.
  13. How much do banks typically charge for business account services?
    Account fees differ significantly by bank but most charge 0.2% to 0.6% of account balance monthly, capped based on balance amount. Large firms can negotiate partial fee waivers with relationship managers.
  14. Can I negotiate reduced banking charges as a startup company in Dubai?
    New Dubai startups can negotiate 50% discounts on account charges for the first year. You may get 25% discounts the second year before standard rates apply from year three onwards.
  15. What support does the Dubai SME program offer for opening business bank accounts?
    Dubai SME assists member companies to open accounts faster through its bank partners. It also negotiates subsidies or lower charges. Over 5,600 businesses have benefited from their banking support programs.

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