How to open a business bank account in the UAE

How to open a business bank account in the UAE

- Jamie Harvey

UAE Banking Industry

When setting up a company in the UAE, a business bank account is a requirement for the company to be able to carry out its activities and in some cases is a necessary part of the incorporation process. It is, therefore, an important consideration for any new business owner.

There are two types of commercial banks in the UAE: locally incorporated banks and branches of foreign banks. Some of the most popular ones are:

Locally incorporated banks

  • Emirates NBD
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank
  • Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Mashreq Bank
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai
  • ADCB

Branches of foreign banks

  • HSBC
  • Citibank
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Credit Suisse AG

In total there are 23 locally incorporated banks and 28 branches of foreign banks operating in the UAE, many of which can be found in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), an independent free zone and recognised hub for financial activity in the Middle East.

Which is the right corporate bank account for my business?

The first step towards opening a business account is researching the available options and deciding which bank would be the best fit for your business.

Most banks will require that you maintain a minimum monthly balance and will charge a fee for non-maintenance of this balance. However, some banks will have options for accounts with no minimum balance requirement, such as Mashreq Neo-Biz, RAK Bank’s Starter Account, ADCB’s e-Business account or Commercial Bank of Dubai’s Starter Account.

Some will charge an annual fee for the account while others waive this fee. Another feature of some accounts is a multi-currency option which allows you to receive, pay and hold multiple currencies through your account. This negates the need to open several accounts to manage international transactions and reduces waiting times and transaction fees.

The best way to decide on the right account for you is to establish a list of priorities based on your business needs and find the account that best meets these.

What documents do I need to open a corporate bank account?

The required documents will vary based on the bank and the type of company. But generally, you will be expected to have:

  1. Passport copies for all shareholders and authorised signatories
  2. Trade Licence
  3. Share Certificate(s)
  4. Company Memorandum and Articles of Association
  5. Utility Bill
  6. Board resolution empowering a member of the company to open the account

Some banks may also request other documents such as a business plan, invoices and further information on your business activities. Additionally, all company documents will need to be notarised and attested in the UAE and also in their country of origin, if applicable.

How to open the account

Once the bank and account type has been chosen and all necessary documents have been prepared, the company signatory will need to visit the bank in person to submit all the necessary documents and sign all relevant documents.

The process will generally take from 2 to 4 weeks for LLCs or free zone companies but will depend on the bank’s compliance and approval procedures.

How can PRO Partner Group help?

PRO Partner Group (PPG) has working relationships with most commercial banks in the UAE and has in depth knowledge of bank documentation requirement, government regulations and business standards in the UAE and throughout the Middle East. We can advise you on the best account to meet your business requirements, help you obtain the necessary documentation to open your business bank account and guide you through the application process.

If you need assistance with any issues pertaining to business banking in the UAE or for any other related company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, Qatar or Saudi Arabia, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@propartnergroup.com or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you. 

Get in touch with Jamie Harvey

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