An account held in a foreign offshore bank, is often described as an offshore account. Typically, an individual or company will maintain an offshore account for the financial and legal advantages it provides, including:
- Greater privacy
- Little or no taxation (i.e., tax havens)
- Easy access to deposits (at least in terms of regulation).
- Protection against local, political, or financial instability.
Legally, offshore banking does not prevent assets from being subject to personal income tax on interest.
Offshore banks can sometimes provide access to politically and economically stable jurisdictions. This will be an advantage for residents of areas where there is a risk of political turmoil, who fear their assets may be frozen, seized or disappear.
Offshore banking is often linked to other structures, such as offshore companies, trusts or foundations, which may have specific tax advantages and first security bank solutions incorporated in particular jurisdictions.
Offshore banking Dubai: Typical banks in different jurisdictions
(The information given below may change as per the policy changes of the UAE Central Bank or of the individual banks)
||Type of usage||Minimum Average balance||Currencies|
|Noor Bank||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 120,000 or equivalent||AED, USD, EURO, others|
|Emirates Islamic Bank||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 200,000 or equivalent||AED, USD, EURO (multi-currency account allowed)|
|Emirates NBD||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 200,000 or equivalent||AED, USD, EURO (multi-currency account allowed)|
|Commercial Bank International (CBI)||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 50,000 or equivalent||AED, USD, EURO (multi-currency account allowed)|
|RAK Bank||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 200,000 but success rate of opening is low||AED, USD, EURO, others|
|Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)||Corporate account with internet banking||Regular trading, accumulation, asset holding, investment
||USD 150,000||AED, USD, EURO, others|
Offshore Bank Accounts Dubai
Dubai has introduced DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) and this business scheme particularly allows free trade in Dubai, which aims at the exponential business growth of the city.
Prongs to keep notice of, about offshore business in UAE are;
- You need to hold a valid residence visa to proceed with offshore banking in Dubai.
- An offshore account holder can freely import and export funds from the UAE, without making currency declarations.
- Offshore banks are experts in international bank transfers which has made it a money-spinning venture for UAE.
- Major leading offshore banks of the world like HSBC offshore, Abbey National Offshore, ABN Amro, Dresdner and Barclays have marked their eminence in UAE. Keeping this in instance there are greater chances of more offshore accounts in the UAE.
- Though, all the banking activities of the emirate are under the regulation of the UAE Central Bank you will not find any difficulty transferring or depositing money in different currency denominations if you have an offshore account.
- Offshore banking in Dubai is increasingly secure, reliable and stable.
- Opening an Offshore bank account in Dubai is very easy and it takes only about one week after incorporating your company.
- Investors who have undertaken Dubai offshore banking can easily track all their worldwide transactions through Internet banking. This facility is available with almost every offshore bank account in Dubai.
- Dubai offshore bank accounts do not have facilities of ATM, credit and debit cards.
Offshore company jurisdictions in UAE
In UAE there are three offshore jurisdictions – Dubai (Jebel Ali Offshore Company) Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman. They offer similar services but serve different strategic goals of offshore company registration.
The Jebel Ali Offshore Company is an International Business Crown/holds the only offshore vehicle that is permitted to own / hold real estate in the Emirate of Dubai. JAFZA Offshore operated under JAFZA Free zone.
The RAK Offshore and the RAK International Company (RAKICC) are international business companies. They provide a flexible and credible option for foreign investors to register an offshore company in UAE without the need to establish a physical presence in the UAE.
RAKICC is also allowed to hold the freehold property in Dubai.
Documents required to open an offshore account in UAE
- Shareholder’s passport copy with the stamp of entry in the United Arab Emirates.
2. Copy of main pages of MD passport, in case he/she is not a shareholder.
3. Company License
Some banks may also require additional documents such as CV of a shareholder, existing contracts, reference letter from business partners, business plan, Memorandum and Articles, the disclosure of the source of funds, Company structure tree diagram on Company Letterhead, Certificate of good standing etc.
If the account is to be opened in a Shareholder’s Company name, then the shareholding company’s documents notarized by court and MOFA are also required.
For offshore accounts, you will need to share a whole lot of information about your business like your primary business area, a total number of deposits, revenues, main suppliers, customers etc.
Banks adhere to strict and international rules and regulations to identify money of criminal origin. But if you have a correctly filled application form and provided all the documents that were required by the bank your offshore account is safe and guaranteed.
The process of opening an account may take from few days to three weeks usually but for offshore accounts, it may take more time due to bank’s financial compliance and management approval.
The fees will be competitive and interest rates will be high. Bank account holders have the option to utilize online banking. This is beneficial for those who cannot go to the bank for every single transaction.
Off shore Banking services in Dubai and UAE
Offshore banking provides a range of business products like;
- Wire and electronic funds transfers
- Foreign exchange
- Letters of credit and trade finance
- Investment management and investment
- Fund management
- Trustee services and corporate administration.
Services may vary depending on the bank you choose.
Benefits of offshore accounts in Dubai
The major benefits can be classified to seven, which are as follows:
By using an offshore bank, in a highly regulated and transparent jurisdiction in UAE , you can feel secure that your money is safe.
Offshore bank accounts in UAE usually provide a highly personalized service, giving you round-the-clock access to your money through online and telephone banking, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.
A relationship manager may also be assigned to your account, so you will always have a personal point of contact.
The best banks offer the highest service levels, which can be appealing for expats who have international financial obligations and opportunities.
As an expatriate, being able to keep your bank account in one place, no matter how many times you move countries, is a major benefit. In fact, this reason alone is enough for you to open an offshore bank account in UAE.
Tax benefits can range from keeping your money outside of the tax jurisdiction of your home country, to protecting it from taxes in the country in which you are currently living.
A good offshore bank will provide you with a wide choice of funds and investments.
Investing through an offshore bank is straightforward, and there may be advice or tools on hand to help you create an investment portfolio appropriate to your risk profile and the outcomes you want to achieve.
6) Foreign exchange services
With multi-currency accounts usually coming as standard, transferring money between accounts will be fast and free.
And, if you need to transfer money between currencies, some offshore banks provide a competitive foreign exchange rate, compared to a regular banking service.
This is one of the biggest advantages of offshore banking facilities for expats with international financial obligations.
7) Lending and credit
Depending on the bank you choose, some offshore accounts are basically a private banking service – a benefit of which is that lending and credit facilities are often much more flexible and tailored to your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
An offshore bank account is a bank account outside of your own home country. This is often used for asset protection, tax optimization and international transactions.
Dubai is an attractive hub for investors as it provides zero-tax jurisdictions;offers tax advantages and enables access to international market.
Yes legally you can open a bank account in Dubai but it depends on the bank you choose as only a few banks offer non-residents the opening of bank accounts, usually only for investment customers.
This too depends on the bank you choose, the respective business model and background of the customer. Normally, a bank account can be opened within a week. For corporate bank accounts, the opening process can take up to 4 – 8 weeks.
Opening a corporate bank account costs $ 950.
Yes you may start an offshore account online but you will have to sent the original documents to the bank by post or courier.
To open an offshore bank account, a passport, proof of residence (e.g. utility bill) and a bank reference letter are usually required. The bank must also be informed of the source of funds.
The period to open an offshore account largely depends on the bank you choose .It ranges from 24 hours to 7 working days, if the required documents are correctly compiled.