Meeting the requirements for a bank account in the UAE is a difficult and can be lengthy process if unprepared.

In this publication we list all what should be prepared and the regular steps in opening a bank account in the UAE.

Why is it difficult to open a bank account in the UAE?

Opening a bank account in the UAE can be difficult because of the following reasons:

  • Strict Regulations: The UAE has robust regulatory frameworks, including anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations. Banks must comply with these regulations to prevent financial crimes, which may result in thorough due diligence processes for account openings.
  • Documents’ Filings: Banks often require a significant amount of documentation to verify the identity of account holders and ensure the legitimacy of business activities. Gathering and providing these documents can be time-consuming and may require coordination with multiple stakeholders.
  • Complex structures: Some businesses in the UAE may have complex ownership structures involving multiple shareholders, directors, and beneficial owners. Verifying the identities and roles of all individuals involved can add complexity to the account opening process.
  • Risk Assessment: Banks conduct risk assessments on potential customers to evaluate the level of risk associated with providing banking services. Factors such as the nature of the business, the country of origin, and the source of funds are considered in this assessment. Businesses perceived as high-risk may face additional scrutiny or difficulties in opening accounts.
  • Limited Banking Options for Certain Business Activities: Certain types of businesses, such as those operating in specific industries like cryptocurrency, may face challenges in finding banks willing to provide services due to regulatory concerns or risk aversion.
  • Geopolitical Reasons: Geopolitical factors and international regulations may also influence banks’ willingness to onboard certain customers, particularly those from high-risk jurisdictions or involved in activities subject.
  • Established Relationships: Banks in the UAE often prioritize existing customers and may offer more streamlined account opening processes to clients with whom they have an existing relationship or who have been referred by trusted sources.

Despite the above, most businesses are able to succesfully set up a bank account opening if meeting the information required by the bank and compliance is content with the information and their investigation due diligence prior to the onboarding.

What are the Requirements for a Bank Account in the UAE?

  1. Passport of signatories
  2. Emirates ID of Signatories
  3. Visa of Signatories
  4. CV / Resume of Signatories
  5. Latest Six months personal bank statement of Signatories.
  6. Utility bill issued to signatories in the latest Three months confirming their name and address.
  7. If applicant is Business Owner abroad or in the UAE – In that case Six months Business Bank statement of that company, Trade License, Shareholding details.
  8. Rental Agreement of new Company OR company for which bank account is being opened.
  9. All New company OR company for which bank account is being opened – documents which includes Trade License, Share Detail and MOA (Memorandum of Association).
  10. Brief Profile New Business – OR company for which bank account is being opened / Business Plan.
  11. If customer is a Salaried Employee, abroad or in UAE – In that case Proof of Employment and monthly salary should reflect in bank statements provided.
  12. In case business bank statements are provided then supporting documents like invoices along with business contracts and Bill of Lading wherever applicable. for 5 (Five) Supplier – Debit High Value Transactions and 5 (Five) Client – Credit High – Value Transactions on the bank statement provided.

What is the regular process when opening a corporate bank account?

  1. Choosing the Bank: this step may determine the success of the process. Not all banks look for the same profile of clients in terms of requirements (some will be happy if the manager of the company lives in the UAE and works from the house; others will not entertain applications unless the Company has a lockable office. Some banks will require minimum deposits to be made, others will not or charge for the monthly usage. Some will work purely online until the account is pre-approved at which point a face to face meeting will be required. Others’ applications start by signing the applications at the bank then is followed with the preparation and submission of required information.
  2. Submit Application: as above physically at the Bank or electronically. If physically is important to be aware that not all banking premises have business banking.
  3. Compliance & Review: after submitting the application along with all the required documentation the bank shall review and revert with approval or requesting additional information. Some times the bank requests additional information or clarification on data that they may have retrieved in their systems.
  4. Upon approval you will need to transfer the minimum deposit for the account applied for.
  5. Upon approval and activation, online banking will be operative and banking facilities can be requested such as debit/credit cards.
  6. Compliance and Regulations: once the bank account is opened businesses will need to ensure that they comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer regulations.
  7. Follow Up: stay in touch with bank representatives to address queries or additional requirements that may be requested to furnished out of specific transactions or bank’s inspections of the accounts.


Pursuant to the above publication on requirements for bank account in UAE, we can conclude that opening a bank account in the UAE is harder than expected but possible if companies are able to furnish the required documentation and run their operations in line with the required regulations in terms of AML and KYC. We strongly recommend being prepared in advance to avoid the always unwelcome framework required to prepare all of the above and sometimes having to legalise (documents coming from abroad) and translate if not in the English language.

Preparation is key!


We hope this publication will help you understand the process and complexity in opening a bank account in the UAE and remain available for any questions regarding this post of general application.

For more information published in English you can visit all our publications at this link as well as the videos in English of our Partner Maria Rubert.

*The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice. This article is intended to provide an initial introduction to opening bank accounts in the UAE.