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Im going to do a little more searching after posting this, I wanted to get other expats opinions and thoughts on this as well.

To help ease the transition from country to country, can I set up a UAE bank account from the USA before I move there?

Is this something you did, and wished you hadn't or didn't, and wished you had?

Which bank would you recommend? (In the states there are "big" banks which are useful in certain situations and "local"/smaller banks which are usually more customer friendly. Is there similar instances like this in Dubai?


Thank you kindly.
 

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I personally like EmiratesNBD because they have the most branches. You can set up an account the day you arrive before you get your res visa but not before. Online banking is OK and I can transfer between from my UK account online with no problems. Been with them 8 years now and I'm happy.
 

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Well, if you want convenience the American way you can go with Citibank (they have 2 branches and many financial centres). And if you wish to be more comfortable in UK manner you can go with Barclays. (Barclays might be a bit more helpful than others when it comes to sending money to UK for your mortgage payments.
 

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Well, if you want convenience the American way you can go with Citibank (they have 2 branches and many financial centres). And if you wish to be more comfortable in UK manner you can go with Barclays. (Barclays might be a bit more helpful than others when it comes to sending money to UK for your mortgage payments.
You cannot setup an account in the UAE before you arrive here. Personally, I would get an account at a local bank. I have had good experience with ADCB although as mentioned above Emirates NBD seems one of the better also. You will never get service you are used to at home, so don't expect it.

I setup a Citibank account in the USA before I moved here, thinking that because they have a branch here it would make life easier. They do allow you to transfer $3K instantly, but the rate is absolutely terrible. Also the service there was simply awful, the only time I had nice service was the day I closed my account. There are more economic ways to get money back home than from one Citibank account to another.
 

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There are also money exchange shops in every mall which you can use to send money to a UK bank. Similar rates to the banks, convenient and they only charge dhs,45.. and it will hit your home bank acc the next day.
 

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Hi all

I looked into transfers of money between my Barclays account in UK and Dubai. Couldn't be done. Barclays doesn't allow for international transfers so closed that account and opened HSBC one as I understood they could set up an UAE account for 100 pounds or so. Echo others sentiments, getting an account with local bank seems the way to go. Internet banking is supposed to be very good with these banks
 

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I personally like EmiratesNBD because they have the most branches. You can set up an account the day you arrive before you get your res visa but not before. Online banking is OK and I can transfer between from my UK account online with no problems. Been with them 8 years now and I'm happy.
Just to be clear, you can set this account up in Dubai in person, but you do not need a resident VISA to set it up? Will they issue debit cards or credit cards to people without res VISAs?
 

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Mr. TL said:
Just to be clear, you can set this account up in Dubai in person, but you do not need a resident VISA to set it up? Will they issue debit cards or credit cards to people without res VISAs?
You can set up an account without your residents visa but it is the equivalent of a savings account. You will not be issued with cards etc until you have your residents visa & your account will be upgraded accordingly.
 

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Hmm... I was just reading on another thread on this forum that you can indeed get debit and even credit cards without a res visa...maybe it depends on the bank? Unfortunately I already closed the tab for the thread where that was mentioned, so I cannot link to it.
 

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Just to be clear, you can set this account up in Dubai in person, but you do not need a resident VISA to set it up? Will they issue debit cards or credit cards to people without res VISAs?
I'm not in Dubai yet but just my two cents :

i'm looking for options to manage my finances so talked to dubai hr folks ..they said u can set up an account upon arrival ( w/o res visa) if your company works with the bank .. they give a document verifying employment and supposedly it's super common and easy process..u just need to provide a copy of the visa once final..
 

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houstonian2012 said:
I'm not in Dubai yet but just my two cents :

i'm looking for options to manage my finances so talked to dubai hr folks ..they said u can set up an account upon arrival ( w/o res visa) if your company works with the bank .. they give a document verifying employment and supposedly it's super common and easy process..u just need to provide a copy of the visa once final..
That's correct, your company can provide a salary certificate and the bank will open an account and issues debit card without the visa. But they won't provide a cheque book, or credit card far as I know, until the visa is in place (and at least one salary has been credited for a credit card....depending on the card limit they can seek a guarantee against your salary, and you have to provide a blank cheque in the event you stop paying your credit card!!!)
 

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That's correct, your company can provide a salary certificate and the bank will open an account and issues debit card without the visa. But they won't provide a cheque book, or credit card far as I know, until the visa is in place (and at least one salary has been credited for a credit card....depending on the card limit they can seek a guarantee against your salary, and you have to provide a blank cheque in the event you stop paying your credit card!!!)
I got a debit and credit card with HSBC before my visa was issued, just needed a letter from my work and HSBC had a form letter ready for them to copy.
 
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