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Can Offshore Company Open Bank Account in Dubai?

A reliable bank account for private clients, travelers, investors, and offshore companies remains a primary objective when it comes to business planning and everyday life. Opening a foreign account has always been a challenging task, and for a company registered in an offshore zone, it’s even more complex.

Corporate account for an offshore company in the UAE

Despite the efforts of regulators from different countries and the European Union to make the banking industry transparent and offshore banking more restricted, it remains an impossibility due to the demand for international business and tax incentives. However, difficulties will inevitably arise when opening an account for an offshore company, within an offshore jurisdiction, and for the protection of personal assets.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to be an attractive jurisdiction for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who seek a country with low or zero taxes and wish to legitimize their offshore business while gaining access to prestigious banks. Let’s delve into which offshore company can open an account in Dubai and other emirates in 2023-2024, as well as the factors to consider when making such a choice.

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Opening a bank account for an offshore company in Dubai

Many foreign companies are seeking straightforward and legitimate ways to open an offshore bank account in the UAE (Dubai), which offers several advantages for international business:

  • stable dirham-to-US dollar exchange rate
  • online banking and remote services for foreign clients
  • no restrictions on the repatriation of funds, and so on.

However, there are several conditions to keep in mind when opening an offshore corporate account in the UAE, including the company’s jurisdiction of incorporation. For instance, founders and individuals from high-risk countries or those on a sanctions list often face service denials from the UAE banks.

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Companies registered in the UAE (local and offshore enterprises), as well as branches and subsidiaries of offshore companies, are permitted to freely open accounts in banks of Dubai and other emirates. If you are interested in such an option, explore opportunities for business relocation to the UAE.

Can a foreign offshore company open a bank account in Dubai, UAE?

The answer is negative, with a probability of 99.9%. Here’s why we do not recommend foreign international companies incorporated in classic offshore zones or other jurisdictions, to open offshore accounts in the UAE (Dubai):

  • Foreign businesses undergo rigorous scrutiny, and in nearly 100% of cases, such companies will be denied banking services. UAE banks consider bank accounts for offshore companies formed in other jurisdictions as a high-risk category.
  • To open an offshore account for a foreign entity in Dubai, it would be necessary to legalize all the founding documents of the foreign company at the UAE embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Not only is this an expensive process, but it can also be a futile waste of money and time due to the reason stated in the previous point.
  • Many offshore jurisdictions, as well as countries such as Malta, Cyprus, and others, are included in sanction lists or considered high-risk states in the UAE. In addition, each bank can modify its regulations based on current legislative norms, political situation, and external pressures (e.g., from US IRS). These changes will undoubtedly work against offshore companies.

The success rate of opening a bank account in the UAE for a foreign offshore company is extremely meager. To mitigate risks, UAE banks prefer local entities, free zone companies, and offshore businesses registered within the UAE.

However, servicing branches and subsidiaries of offshore companies with their headquarters abroad in the UAE is not prohibited. This can serve as a viable option for foreign entrepreneurs seeking access to banking in the Emirates.

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If you are looking to open a reliable business account with a high success rate, we recommend paying attention to world-class payment systems that cater to foreign offshore companies, private investors, and high-risk businesses.

How to open an offshore bank account in Dubai

The best way to open an offshore bank account in the UAE is by registering a company in the country. This can be done through:

  • registering a local company in the UAE to conduct business with Emirati clients
  • registering an offshore company in one of the free zones, which allows for conducting business on favorable terms, exempt from taxes on global profits, and enables opening accounts with local banks in the UAE
  • registering an international company in the UAE, which is a suitable option for remote trading and conducting business in accordance with UAE laws from another country
  • establishing a branch or subsidiary of an offshore company in the UAE, providing an opportunity to expand and scale entrepreneurial activities and gain all advantages of UAE banking services.

For more information, read our article on the top 5 ways to open a company in the UAE.

In each of these cases, opening a bank account for a company in the UAE is not a challenging task if you understand and are familiar with all the specificities of the forthcoming procedure. Therefore, the ideal option would be to seek help from our experts who have extensive experience in opening bank accounts in the UAE. One of the requirements that need to be fulfilled is the personal presence of the beneficial owner at the final signing of the banking documents. This applies to both personal and corporate accounts in the UAE.

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Establish your company in the UAE with the assistance of our experienced specialists and gain access to the finest banks in the Emirates. We invite you to explore the current offerings and avail yourself of a personal consultation completely free of charge!

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Bank account in the UAE for an offshore company – summary

There are several essential aspects to consider when it comes to opening an offshore bank account for foreign and local companies in the UAE:

  • Offshore companies registered abroad without a presence in the UAE may encounter insurmountable issues and face rejection when attempting to open an account in Dubai banks.
  • The most straightforward route to accessing the UAE banking sector is registering a company in Dubai or another emirate, with free zones remaining a priority due to their tax advantages.
  • Founders from high-risk countries, as well as businesses (parent companies) from such states, are scrutinized with particular care by UAE regulators.

To avoid mistakes and ensure a guaranteed account opening in the UAE, it is advisable to seek comprehensive assistance from professionals who can help:

  • select the appropriate bank for your needs
  • register a company in the UAE
  • establish a representative office or branch
  • open an account for business or personal purposes in the UAE.
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