How to open a bank account in the UAE?

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The UAE banking system is highly reliable and the dirham exchange rate is pegged to the US dollar (1 USD = 3.67 AED). UAE banks open accounts for Russian citizens and companies with Russian founders. However, each month, the procedure is becoming more complicated and the timeframe is increasing due to sanctions pressure. Nevertheless, if you prepare well and provide a large package of documents, there is a high probability of a bank approving the account opening.
As in Russia, banks open:
Personal accounts
Savings account — no credit available, but if funded by 350,000 AED is allowed to non-residents (not in all banks).

Current account — can be opened only for residents (if resident visa is issued), issued debit card, credit card and cheque book.
Corporate accounts
Open to UAE companies (Mainland, Free zone, Offshore).
Which banks can I open an account with?
Currently, there is no official abolition of bank accounts for companies with Russian beneficiaries. Nevertheless, lately Russian nationals are an additional risk for banks in general. Therefore, a number of banks refuse in principle to open accounts for Russians or companies with Russian beneficiaries.

The following is a list of banks that open accounts despite having Russian citizenship:
Account Opening Requirements
To open personal and corporate accounts, the applicant generally needs to be present in person (for corporate accounts, the director or investor), but some banks may allow corporate accounts to be opened by Power of Attorney (POA letter), which can be done remotely using a video link with a local notary.
Document package
All documents must be in English as paper and electronic copies.
For personal accounts:
  • Original passport.
  • Resident visa in passport or electronically.
  • Original Emirates ID.
  • Proof of residency (rental agreement (Ejari).
  • Six Months Bank statement in home country (not sanctioned).
  • Trade License (of the company in which the investor is the applicant).
  • Partner List / Share Certificate (of the company in which the investor is an applicant).
For corporate accounts:
  • Original passport.
  • Resident visa in passport or electronically.
  • Original Emirates ID.
  • Facility Lease agreement (Ejari. Title deed) — Company office lease agreement or certificate of ownership.
  • Six Months Bank statement in home country (not sanctioned).
  • 6 invoices (3 from suppliers, 3 for customers). The invoices must match the transactions shown on the statement.
  • Trade License and other corporate documents (Memorandum and Articles of Association, Certificate of Formation).
  • Partner List / Share Certificate (document confirming each founder’s ownership).
  • Company seal.
Additional documents
The documents listed above are usually not enough to open an account. Detailed information about the company and the beneficiaries must be provided in order to increase the chances of success. Consultants are usually assisted with this by preparers:

  • A company presentation; or
  • Applicant’s CV for the personal account, from which you can see the financial successes, projects implemented, and plans for further development.
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