Commercial Banks in the UAE are divided into two major categories – Locally Incorporated Banks and Branches of Foreign Banks. There are 23 Locally Incorporated Banks and 28 Branches of Foreign Banks that operate in the UAE (as at 2016). All banks are regulated by the Central Bank of United Arab Emirates, which is tasked with ensuring the financial soundness of these institutions.

Opening a company bank account in Dubai/UAE:

A company – be it onshore or offshore – will require a bank account to undertake any kind of business. Opening a corporate bank account in the UAE is a relatively straightforward procedure for UAE Mainland Companies. However, customer identification requirements may vary depending upon the size and activity of the business.

The financial Institution will request information detailing the legal existence of the entity. Companies that are owned by corporate entities will need to provide a full set of corporate documents in order to identify the management and ultimate beneficial ownership of the structure. In most cases, these documents will need to be notarised/legalised in their country of origin and again in the UAE.

Global initiatives against tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing in the past decade have obliged the Central Bank to impose enhanced customer due diligence procedures on financial institutions that open accounts for Offshore Companies. As a result, banks have had to adopt a risk-based approach to account opening. The financial institution must further understand the customer’s primary business areas, the anticipated volume of currency and total deposits, the level of revenues and its main customers and suppliers.

How can Sovereign assist?

Sovereign Corporate Services Dubai can guide you through the process and help you prepare all necessary documentation to facilitate an account application. Our fees for attending to the account opening procedures start from US$1,500. This would not include the costs of preparing any additional notarised documentation that a particular bank may require.

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Documents required to open a corporate bank account in the UAE

Company Trade Licence;
Certificate of Registration;
Share Certificate(s);
Company Memorandum & Articles of Association;
Board Resolution empowering a Company Officer to open the account;
Passport copies for shareholders and authorised signatories.

*Required documents will vary depending on the bank and the corporate structure of the company. Companies with corporate shareholders that are outside the UAE will be required to notarise and attest all parent company documents in the country of origin and again in the UAE.

UAE Banking Services – FAQs

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