Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
How To Open An Offshore Bank Account In The UAE
Do you need to visit the United Arab Emirates or live there to open an account? The short answer is yes, and the long answer is no with a but. It is far easier to set up an account if you live there or are visiting, but getting an appointment may be tricky, so book before you visit the country and ask them what you will need to qualify for an account. It is also easier to set up an account without visiting if you are using an international bank and you already have an account with them.
What Information Will You Need?
If you live in another country and you are looking for an account in the United Arab Emirates, then you will need to verify your personal information. This means you need your passport or driver’s license. You will need confirmation of your living address, which is usually things such as your utility bill, renter’s agreement, and a letter from your bank. You may be able to prove your current address using your credit rating, and if you get a letter of recommendation from your bank, then they may include your current address too.
If you are sending copies of your documents, you will need to have them notarized to help guarantee their authenticity. You may need to visit a government office to get an authorized stamp that the UAE bank will accept.
If you are from the US, you will also need to prove your income and any of the wealth you wish to deposit into the UAE account. For example, if you have sold a house or a business, you will need to prove it. If you claim to have a high income, you will need to prove your money is made legitimately. Even if you have a low income, they will treat you with suspicion and even close your account if you start placing large sums in your account.
If the UAE bank doesn’t ask for a recommendation from your bank, they may ask for 12 months worth of bank statements. They are checking to see how much you hold on average in your accounts and how much you have going in and out. They are looking to verify the things you say in your interviews and the things you write on your applications
They Will Ask About The Nature Of Your Transactions
UAE banks are very intrusive, especially when it comes to US citizens. They are going to ask questions that are a little more personal than you may expect. They ask them both because it is company policy, and because part of the examiner’s job is to “Judge” how much of a risk you are.
Questions about your spouse, kids, work associates and work habits are normal, as are questions about how much you drink, which drugs you take, and the people you are friends with. They will want proof that you are making money legitimately and that what you are saying on your forms is correct. If what you write doesn’t match your financial goals, then they will reject you. For example, if you claim you are setting up a car business in UEA, but you want an account that deals exclusively in Canadian dollars, then they may reject your application without good reason.
What To Do If You Want Credit
You will need to work in the country or run a business in the country to qualify for credit at an early stage. The only other way is to have your bank account or investors account for a few years so they can learn to trust you. Not paying your debts in the UAE may land you in jail, but they find it tricky to prosecute people that live thousands of miles away, which is why they are not keen on giving credit to foreigners that are not living in the country.
Which Banks Should You Try?
The simple answer is “All of them,” but to get you started, here is a list of banks you may like to approach first if you are looking to open an account in the UAE without becoming a citizen of the UAE.
- www.nbad.com (National Bank of Abu Dhabi)
- www.barclays.ae (Barclays – UAE)
- https://www.hsbc.ae/1/2/ (HSBC – UAE)
- www.dubaibank.ae (Dubai Bank)
- www.emiratesbank.ae (Emirates Bank)
- https://international.lloydsbank.com/products-and-services/investments/request-appointment/ (Lloyds Bank international)
- www.fgb.ae (First Gulf Bank)
- www.alislami.ae (Dubai Islamic Bank)
- www.expat.barclays.com/dubai-bank-account/ (UAE Bank account for Expats)
If You Are A Citizen In The UAE And Want An Account Elsewhere
If you live in the United Arab Emirates, you are probably going to have a hard time opening an offshore account in another country, though probably not as tough as if you lived in other Middle Eastern countries. Here is a little information if you are a UAE citizen and are looking outside your own country for a bank account.
If You Are A Citizen In The UAE – Try Mainstream Banks
Your best bet is to try mainstream banks that are commonly known for having an international presence such as Barclays, Lloyds Bank and HSBC. They are more likely to open a low-risk bank account for you if you are simply looking to travel, move to another country, or work in another country. They may be tempted to open a savings account for you if you can prove your income and if you have a good standing with your local bank.
If You Are A Citizen In The UAE – You Do Have Options
Once you have figured out which banks will give you an account, consider their various fees. Some have very high transfer fees, which may be expensive if you are transferring money from your current bank to your new account.
Consider your minimum balance requirements because some banks demand a large minimum balance if you are looking to invest. The bank you choose and your current circumstances may mean you have to keep amounts as much as $25,000 in your account at any time to avoid account maintenance fees.