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International Banks in Dubai: How to Choose Bank for your Business?

Even though it might seem like redundant information, you must register a bank account to start a business in the United Arab Emirates. In terms of overall early-stage entrepreneurial activity and the expected rate of job creation, the UAE performs significantly better than the worldwide average. As a result, any entrepreneur may find it appealing to setup a business in Dubai, regardless of where they are from.

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to open a bank account in Dubai as a foreigner including access to local currency, the ability to make transactions and pay bills quickly, and the potential for higher interest rates on savings accounts. 

The decision to open a bank account in Dubai as a foreigner should be based on your circumstances and financial needs. So let’s find out everything related to international banks in Dubai!

Why do you Need an International Bank Account in Dubai?

You must have a United Arab Emirates bank account to apply for a business visa in Dubai. Therefore, it is vital to properly register your business in the UAE, even if it is optional for the visa application procedure itself.

The steps in the registration process for a corporation to conduct business in Dubai are as follows:

Choosing the legal organization that will represent your Dubai business

  • Choose a trade name
  • Requesting a commercial license
  • Office space for rent or purchase
  • Getting permission in advance
  • Registering your company

No, no procedure directs you to open an account as a non-resident in Dubai. However, it is part of the procedure because you must handle the money for your UAE business someplace.

Does this imply that you must bank with a bank in the UAE? No, actually. You are free to create an account with foreign financial institutions. This also entails starting a bank whose country of origin is one of the several island governments that provide tax benefits.

Benefits of International Bank Accounts 

An international bank account offers several benefits, including:

Multi-currency capabilities: International bank accounts can allow you to hold and manage multiple currencies, which can be helpful for individuals or businesses that conduct transactions in different countries.

Access to global financial services: International bank accounts can provide access to a broader range of financial services, such as online banking, credit cards, and loans.

  • Flexibility: An international bank account allows you to manage your finances and make transactions from anywhere in the world, which can be especially useful for people who frequently travel or conduct business internationally.
  • Tax optimization: Having an international bank account in a country with favorable tax regulations can help you optimize your tax situation, which can benefit individuals and businesses.
  • Investment opportunities: Having an international bank account can open doors for investment opportunities in different countries and markets, which can help diversify your portfolio.
  • Better exchange rates: International bank accounts can help you take advantage of more favorable exchange rates when transferring funds between countries, saving you money.

It’s important to note that opening and maintaining an international bank account may require compliance with specific regulations and may also have certain fees.

International Banks in Dubai

How to Choose the Best International Bank in Dubai for Your Business?

Dubai is considered one of the prime locations to set up your business, even though you have plenty of other options. When starting your business in the UAE, Dubai offers a suitable ambiance with helpful services, including international banks that assist you in opening a corporate account in UAE

These offshore banks offer several services that can assist you in managing your personal and corporate finances. 

To select the best international bank in Dubai for your business, you will need to locate the offshore banks opening in the exact location of your business. 

For example, if you have an office in a free zone, such as Dubai Knowledge Park Free ZoneDubai Techno Park Free Zone, or Dubai Flower Center Free Zone you will need to select the bank with its branch office nearby so you can open a corporate bank account in the free zone

Then you will need to search for a suitable bank based on its offshore financial center (OFC) sector. You will also need to compare the cost of money transfer internationally to find the most financially smart option. 

Furthermore, you should also focus on the additional services an offshore bank account can offer, including mobile banking, trade financing, and asset management. 

best International Banks in Dubai

8 Best International Banks in Dubai

There are several offshore banks in Dubai. These banks offer various services, such as personal loans, credit cards, debit cards, and top-notch banking facilities, in addition to investment banking services.

Additionally, they provide a range of professional advantages, including minimal taxes, no currency limits, and simple access to international markets. These promote commercial potential in several emirates, including Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

Here is a list of the top banks in Dubai for expats and international businesspeople, including offshore banks.

1. Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank has a presence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The bank offers a range of financial products and services, including corporate and institutional banking, commercial banking, personal banking, and private banking. 

It has multiple branches and ATMs throughout the city to serve its customers. Standard Chartered also offers online and mobile banking services for added convenience.

2. HSBC Middle East

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (HBME) is a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.

In Dubai, HSBC has several branches and ATMs throughout the city, offering a range of personal and business banking services. These include retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, and global banking and markets.

They also provide online and mobile banking services to their clients. The bank also has several premiers and private banking centers in the emirate to cater to the high net worth individuals.

3. Habib Bank AG

Habib Bank AG Zurich (HBZ) is a Swiss-based bank that is part of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) group of companies, one of the largest banks in Pakistan.

HBZ has a presence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where it operates as a branch of the parent bank. The bank provides various financial products and services like corporate banking, trade finance, remittances, and personal banking. 

They also have online banking services for customers. The bank’s primary focus is providing services to the Pakistani community living in the UAE and the Middle East.

4. Citibank

Citibank has a presence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The bank offers a range of financial products and services, including personal banking, corporate, and business banking. 

The bank provides a wide range of personal banking services such as savings, current and time deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages. 

For businesses, they offer services such as commercial loans, trade finance, and cash management services. For corporate clients, they offer services such as cash management, trade finance, and investment banking services. 

They also provide online and mobile banking services for added convenience. In addition, Citi has multiple branches and ATMs throughout the city to serve its customers.

5. Emirates NBD

Emirates NBD is a leading bank in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East regarding assets and is listed on the Dubai Financial Market. 

The bank offers various financial products and services, including personal, business, and corporate banking. For businesses, they offer services such as commercial loans, trade finance, and cash management services. 

6. Noor Bank

Noor Bank is a Dubai-based Islamic bank that provides a wide range of banking and financial services to customers in the United Arab Emirates. 

The bank offers personal banking, business banking, and corporate banking services. The personal banking services offered by Noor Bank include savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages.

 For businesses, they offer services such as commercial loans, trade finance, and cash management services. Noor Bank fully complies with Islamic banking and finance principles, prohibiting the collection and payment of interest on loans and other transactions.

7. Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada, which has branches in almost all major cities worldwide, is another trustworthy bank choice in Dubai. 

One of the top foreign banks in Dubai is The Royal Bank of Canada, which offers a full range of financial services to people and companies throughout the UAE.

This financial organization provides commercial banking, wealth management, and personal and business banking services. The Global ATM Alliance, of which Royal Bank of Canada is a member, gives its clients access to more than 50,000 ATMs in more than 30 nations.

8. Dubai Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank has been a forerunner among UAE financial institutions since 1975.

The largest Islamic bank in the Middle East, Dubai Islamic Bank, is known for its individualized Islamic business banking services. 

A local bank servicing the region and its traditions, it specializes in financial practices that adhere to Shariah.

How to open an International Bank Account in Dubai?

How to open an International Bank Account in Dubai?

Opening an international bank account in Dubai typically requires the following steps:

  • Gather necessary documents: You will need to provide proof of identification (passport or ID card), proof of address (utility bill or bank statement), and proof of income (pay slips or tax returns). You may also be required to provide a business plan or financial statements if you are opening an account for a business.
  • Choose a bank: Research the different banks in Dubai and compare the services they offer to determine which one best fits your needs.
  • Visit the bank: Go to the bank in person to submit your application and required documents. It is advisable to schedule an appointment with the bank in advance to avoid long wait times.
  • Provide proof of funds: You may be required to provide evidence of funds, such as a statement from your current bank showing that you have sufficient funds to cover the initial deposit and any ongoing account maintenance fees.
  • Wait for bank approval: The bank will review your application and documents and let you know if your account has been approved. This process may take a few days to a week.
  • Complete account setup: Once your account is approved, you must complete any remaining paperwork and set up any online or mobile banking services.

Please note that the specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on the bank you choose, and it’s always best to check with the bank directly for the most up-to-date information.

FAQs About International Banks in Dubai

What is an offshore bank account in the UAE?

An offshore bank account is situated somewhere other than the client’s country of residence. Therefore, practically any place outside of the UAE, including the expat’s country of origin, is regarded as offshore by foreigners who reside in or work in Dubai.

Is Dubai good for offshore banking?

Dubai is considered a popular destination for offshore banking due to its relatively low taxes, strong economy, and stable political environment. In addition, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a relatively low tax rate of around 5-7% for companies, making it an attractive location for businesses looking to minimize their tax liabilities.

What is the best offshore bank account in the UAE?

The First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), CitiBank (CITI), HSBC, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) offer some of the best offshore bank accounts in the UAE.


In conclusion, Dubai is a hub for international banking and finance, offering a wide range of services for personal and business banking. The city’s strategic location, favorable tax laws, and strong economic growth make it an attractive destination for offshore banks so you have multiple options to select any of the international banks in Dubai. 

With various options available, it’s essential to do your research and choose a bank that best meets your needs. Whether you’re looking to open a personal account, start a business, or invest in real estate, Dubai’s international banks can help you achieve your financial goals.