Opening a Bank Account in the UAE – Legal Information
Opening a bank account in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is an essential step toward starting and doing business there. In Dubai and the UAE there are dozens of banks, some foreign and some local. What is the best way to choose a bank in which to open an account? What is the required procedure for opening a bank account in the Emirates? And what else is it important to be aware of? These questions are discussed below by one of our lawyers, who specializes in the subject.
We are an Israeli law firm that specializes in immigration law and corporate law. Lawyers from our firm assist Israeli and international clients in setting up businesses in Dubai and in obtaining all the necessary permits. This includes opening a company in the UAE, opening a bank account, obtaining a visa and obtaining a business license.
Banking in the UAE
When the peace agreement was signed this summer with the UAE, the possibility opened up for Israelis to do business there. Conversely, citizens and residents of the Emirates could now enter the Israeli market. For all parties, this means operating in an unfamiliar environment, which they need to learn and get to know more deeply. It is important to note that, in Dubai and the UAE, there is an advanced and very competitive banking system, since the Dubai economy is advanced and encourages entrepreneurship and business ownership. There are over 40 banks in which it is possible to open a new account. About half of those banks are locally owned and the other half are foreign-owned.
There are 4 main types of banks in the UAE: commercial banks, which operate similarly to those existing in Israel; Industrial banks, offering loans to individuals and businesses for business development purposes; Investment banks, which sell shares; and Islamic banks, which operate under Sharia law. Naturally, accounts are usually opened in commercial banks, so it is very important to understand the differences between the banks.
In which cases is it necessary to open a bank account in the UAE?
As mentioned above, many Israelis have become interested in doing business in the UAE and in traveling to Dubai and the other Emirates for a long-term stay. For those interested in doing so, this is essential. Whether to run a business or to transfer salaries to Israelis who have immigrated to Dubai for work, as well as for other needs of a long-term stay – opening a bank account is a basic essential step.
How do you open a bank account in the UAE?
In general, the process of opening an account is quick and takes a few hours at most. However, it does involve a number of preliminary actions. First, take into account that, as a general rule, opening a bank account in the UAE requires physical presence there. Therefore, it is important to obtain a visa to the UAE and go there to perform the procedures required for opening an account. A visitor visa will only allow you to open a savings account; so, if you are interested in opening a business account, you will need a resident visa.
It is also important to know where to open your bank account. Each of the commercial banks offers different interest rates, different conditions for withdrawing funds, different fees, etc. After choosing the bank in which you are interested in opening an account, out of the many banks located in the UAE, you are ready to start the process.
The list of documents and certificates that you will need to have with you when opening a business account includes a passport, an application form for opening a new account, a confirmation that you hold a resident visa, and a business license. Banks usually require an initial deposit, as a condition for opening an account, of amounts ranging from about $ 800 to $ 1,400. Among the services offered by our firm, we offer guidance in the process of opening an account and provide legal advice to ensure that the law in the Emirates is followed correctly by our client, as well as the law in Israel.
What else is it important to know?
The Bank of Israel has recently issued guidelines for Israeli commercial banks regarding business conduct in the UAE. In light of the fact that in Dubai and the UAE there are many businessmen who come from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, there may be cases in which the banks in Israel will consider certain transactions as risky. This is stated in the Money Laundering Order. Of course, this does not prevent doing business in the UAE. However, it is important to ensure that the transactions comply with the rules of Israeli law with regard to international transactions and international taxation.
Contact a lawyer who specializes in commercial law to aid you in opening a bank account in Dubai
If you need assistance or advice in opening a bank account in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, or if you have further questions on this subject and regarding business and visas in the Emirates, you can contact our law firm. A lawyer specializing in immigration and commercial law from the firm will be happy to assist you. You can contact us using the phone numbers or email address listed below.