Bank Accounts


One of the first jobs most expats will want to do when they arrive in a country is to set up a bank account. Keeping things simple is the order of the day. UAE has many banks, international, regional and local. The easiest way to set up bank accounts is to open an account with the local version of your existing bank. Your existing bank will make an introduction to the local representative office.

Paperwork to Open A Bank Account

To set up a bank account you will need to supply the bank with proof of your identity. This is your passport and Emirates ID and proof of your physical residential address. Usually, a copy of your visa is also usually required for current accounts.

As a new arrival, you may not have these documents. This is a common occurrence and you should consult your bank to determine how they manage this situation.

For non-working spouses, it is often difficult to prove a physical residential address. This is because no utilities are in their name. A further complication is the lack of postal delivery service. As a consequence. P O Boxes are used, which cannot be used to verify a physical residential address.

Often an employer or sponsor may be asked to provide some form of confirmation of salary. Other common requests are for proof of residential address. Most banks have standard forms for this and your employer will be familiar with these requests.

If you retain your bank accounts with one financial institution often there are benefits. For example faster international transfers, preferential exchange rates and a ‘global’ view of your cash with that bank in one place online.

Home Country Bank Account

Whilst you may not use your home country bank account as much, you should keep it running. This is to pay bills which remain in your home country. Regulation in financial services is becoming more restrictive. As a result, it is becoming harder to open bank accounts in many jurisdictions. The other reason is that it will assist you in maintaining your credit rating in your home country. This can help with anything from accessing utilities to buying a house when you return home.

Off-Shore Bank Accounts

Having an offshore bank account is sensible for most expatriates. This is where the emergency fund should be kept. The 3 to 6 months expenses which will provide for your family in the event of an unexpected relocation or job loss.

For expatriates living in UAE, joint accounts are frozen in the event of the death of one of the parties to the account. Therefore those who need the money will not be able to get it, potentially for months. Joint accounts held in off-shore European jurisdictions like Isle of Man and the Channel Islands operate differently. Here the survivor automatically inherits the balance in full with no delay or need for probate.

What Should I Do Next?

Please contact us for more information on bank accounts.

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