The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its flourishing economy and high standard of living, attracting many expats from around the world. For expats moving to the UAE, setting up a bank account is an important task that needs to be taken care of. In this article, we will cover the main local banks in the UAE, as well as the presence of UK and USA banks in the country, accounts and services specifically aimed at expats, typical bank opening hours, any specific areas of concern regarding the banking system, and how to open a bank account in the UAE as an expat.
Main local banks in the UAE
The UAE has several local banks that offer a wide range of services to customers. Some of the main local banks in the UAE are:
- Emirates NBD: Website: https://www.emiratesnbd.com/ae/; Phone: 600 540000
- Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB): Website: https://www.adcb.com/; Phone: 800 2030
- Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB): Website: https://www.dib.ae/; Phone: 600 54 0000
- First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB): Website: https://www.bankfab.ae/; Phone: 600 52 5500
- Mashreq Bank: Website: https://www.mashreqbank.com/; Phone: +971 4 424 4444
Presence of UK and USA banks in the UAE
The UAE is a major financial hub, attracting many international banks to set up operations in the country. Some of the major UK and USA banks present in the UAE are:
- HSBC: Website: https://www.hsbc.ae/; Phone: 600 55 4722
- Standard Chartered Bank: Website: https://www.sc.com/ae/; Phone: 600 522288
- Citibank: Website: https://www.citibank.ae/uae/homepage/english/; Phone: 800 2484
- JPMorgan Chase Bank: Website: https://www.jpmorgan.com/; Phone: +971 4 374 0300
Accounts and services for expats
Many banks in the UAE offer accounts and services specifically aimed at expats. These include:
- Non-resident bank accounts: Expats who do not hold a residence visa in the UAE can still open a bank account.
- Currency exchange: Many banks in the UAE offer currency exchange services for expats who need to transfer money to their home country or make international payments.
- Credit cards: Banks in the UAE offer a range of credit cards specifically designed for expats with different benefits and rewards.
- Personal loans: Expats can avail personal loans from banks in the UAE to meet their financial needs.
Typical bank opening hours
Banking hours in the UAE vary depending on the bank and the branch. Generally, banks are open from Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. However, some banks may have longer operating hours or may be open on Saturdays.
Areas of concern
One area of concern for expats in the UAE is the high fees associated with banking services, such as ATM withdrawals and account maintenance. Additionally, the banking system in the UAE is highly regulated, and expats should be aware of the rules and regulations when opening and operating a bank account.
Opening a bank account
Expats can open a bank account in the UAE by following these steps:
Step 1: Choose a bank
Choose a bank that offers services that meet your needs and visit the nearest branch.
Step 2: Provide required documents
In order to open a bank account in the UAE, expats will need to provide certain documents and information. These may include:
- Valid passport with a residence visa or Emirates ID card
- Proof of address, such as a tenancy contract or utility bill
- Proof of income or employment, such as a salary certificate or employment contract
- In some cases, a letter of introduction from the expat’s employer may be required
It’s important to note that the specific documents and requirements may vary depending on the bank and the type of account being opened. It’s best to check with the bank directly for their specific requirements.
Step 3: Complete the account opening process
Once all the necessary documents and information have been provided, the account opening process can begin. This may involve filling out an application form, signing a contract, and providing any additional information or documentation as requested by the bank.
After the account is opened, the expat will typically receive a debit card and/or cheque book, as well as online banking access and other account information.
Opening a bank account as an expat in the UAE can be a relatively straightforward process, as long as the necessary documents and information are provided. With a wide range of banks and account options available, expats can choose the one that best meets their needs and preferences. By following the steps outlined above, expats can navigate the process with ease and start enjoying the benefits of a local bank account in the UAE.