How to open an NRI account in UAE: Your step-by-step guide

Aman Saxena

Non-Resident Indians based in the United Arab Emirates can explore opening NRI accounts with popular Indian banks. Many banks offer online applications to existing customers and ways to make account openings easier. Read on to learn more about how to open an NRI account and also send money to the UAE from India.

📝 Table of contents

Open NRI account in UAE with Indian Banks

Most Indian banks offer NRI account services for both NRE and NRO accounts. Here is a quick guide to how to open an NRI account with the following popular Indian banks when you are in the UAE.

SBI

State Bank of India offers NRE and NRO banking services to NRIs living outside of India. SBI has a global application portal for NRIs who are bank customers that are applying from abroad, but it is recommended to go to a local SBI branch if you are new to the bank. SBI in Dubai may offer expedited NRI account opening, but contact the local SBI branch before taking steps to apply.

🔖 Read more: Full guide to opening an SBI NRI account in UAE

HDFC Bank

HDFC has NRI bank accounts as well as extensive other services available for NRIs. You can open an account in person at an HDFC bank branch before leaving for the Emirates, or open it online. If you are opening an account as an existing HDFC customer, you will only be required to self-attest documents.

However, new HDFC customers will need to get attestations from a designated authority. NRIs in Dubai can open an NRE account and get a linked international debit card that allows for shopping and travel globally.

ICICI Bank

ICICI is a popular option for NRI services and has a process that can be started online. In most cases, an ICICI representative will follow up with you by your mobile phone number or email to help walk you through the process. ICICI offers a 2-working day account opening procedure for customers in the US. ICICI has a representative office in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but not all transactions may be processed from the office.

DBS

DBS offers DBS Treasures NRI accounts for premium clients. The bank offers a range of NRI premier services, including NRE and NRO accounts. DBS allows for starting an application online, and then to be contacted by a DBS representative to complete the steps. You will be asked to note your preferred DBS branch in India. The DBS Treasures allows for a completely remote account opening service and does not require going to a branch.

Bank of Baroda

Bank of Baroda has bank accounts, investments, and loans for NRIs. To open a bank account, Bank of Baroda has an application form for NRI accounts on their website which is also available at a local branch in India. Bank of Baroda requires that the application and documents have signature and attestation from a designated authority, and will need to be submitted or mailed to a Bank of Baroda branch.

Federal Bank

Federal Bank offers a range of NRI bank accounts depending on your needs. There is the Fed NRI Power account for digital natives, the Premium for premier clients, and Fed NRI Care for lower balance minimums. Accounts can be opened online or mailed to a Federal bank branch. Federal Bank has 2 overseas offices in the UAE with relationship managers; one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi.

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Kotak Mahindra offers NRE and NRO bank accounts that can be opened before or after you leave India. There is an online form that can be completed and Kotak will reach out to you within 2 working days to complete the application. Kotak Mahindra has a document pick-up facility in certain countries; you will need to contact the bank first to see if the UAE qualifies.

Yes Bank

Yes Bank has NRI bank accounts, loans, deposits, and investment options. To open an account you can go to your local Yes Bank branch in India or submit a form online with your contact number for a representative to reach out to you. Yes Bank has its own remittance service called YES Remit to help send money globally.

How to send money to the UAE from India?

Sending money to the UAE from India can be done in two main ways- an outward remittance with a bank, or a money transfer provider. Let’s take a look at each.

SWIFT transfers with banks

With a bank in India, you can send an international outward remittance from India to the UAE either online or at a bank branch. Most banks will allow you to add an international beneficiary through online or mobile banking with your existing bank account. The transfer is completed through the SWIFT global banking system which can take 3-5 business days.

🔖 Read more: Full guide to SWIFT transfers from India

Bank transfers usually have 2 fees: a transaction fee to send the transfer plus a hidden exchange rate fee.

The first fee is the cost of completing the transaction which can differ from bank to bank. The second fee, the hidden exchange rate fee, is tucked away in the exchange rate that the bank gives you. The bank exchange rate tends to be weaker than the real exchange rate on Google, which means the bank takes a cut of every rupee converted in your transfer.

Money transfer Providers

Money transfer providers are a convenient option that can often be cheaper and faster. Providers like Wise, Western Union, and Remitly allow Indian residents to send money from a website or mobile app. You will be required to sign up and register before you start, but typically the registration accounts are free.

Money transfer providers often charge a transaction fee and some may also sneak a fee into the exchange rate you get on the transfer. Compare costs and look for how much you can save when you choose a provider like Wise that gives you the real exchange rate on transfers.

If this is your first time sending money from India, here is the fast way to sign up and send money from India with Wise:

  1. Head to the Wise website or download the mobile app
  2. Sign up within a few minutes using your email address, Google, Facebook, or Apple account.
  3. Verify your identity with a PAN card and passport or driving license
  4. Once you are registered, start a transfer
  5. Fill in the details of where the funds are going
  6. Provide your recipient’s bank account details
  7. Choose the reason for the transfer
  8. Pay for the transfer with a bank transfer
  9. You’re done! The money will be sent the moment the payment goes through

Opening an NRI account in UAE online

Let’s take a look at how to open an NRI account online in the UAE with the popular Indian bank, HDFC.

  1. Head to the HDFC website’s NRI portal
  2. Select the type of NRI account you are looking to open
  3. Choose the account from the different options (NRE, NRO, etc.)
  4. Click on Apply Online
  5. Complete the NR Application Form with your details, email, phone and resident country
  6. Select if you are a New or Existing Customer
  7. Check the boxes to agree to the disclaimer
  8. Enter the Captcha code
  9. Submit the form

HDFC will ask you to submit your information online for the type of account you are looking for and then will follow up with a call, SMS, Whatsapp, or email from a bank representative.

You will then be asked to submit your documents to the bank, either by uploading them, digitally sending them, or mailing the originals. Speak to your HDFC representative on how to provide your documents.

⚠️ While this is an example of how to apply for an NRI account, be sure to contact your bank to make sure you have completed and submitted everything you need for your unique situation.

Documents required to open an NRI account in UAE

You will need to provide documents for an NRI account application to prove your NRI status as well as your Indian citizenship or registration. Here are a few documents you may need, but make sure you read the application closely to get all the documents required.

  1. Application
  2. Passport-sized photos
  3. Relevant pages of Indian passport
  4. PAN card
  5. Evidence of work permit, visa or registration in the UAE
  6. Evidence of current address in the UAE
  7. Evidence of permanent address
  8. Cheque from an active bank account to fund account

You may need to get certain documents attested if you are opening an account at a bank where you don’t have a relationship already, or self-attest for your current bank.

Manage money internationally easily with Wise

Need to send money overseas? Wise makes it fast, easy, and cost effective to send money globally to local bank accounts. Wise uses smart tech to send money securely around the world and to make it cheap to use. Wise always gives you mid-market exchange rate on every transfer, so that means no mark-up. And just one low transfer fee on the transaction.

Over 12 million people use Wise around the world to save money on global money transfers. So next time you need to fund your NRE or NRO account to send money to a local bank, check out Wise for how much you can save.


Sources used for this article:

  1. SBI
  2. HDFC
  3. ICICI
  4. DBS
  5. Bank of Baroda
  6. Federal Bank
  7. Kotak Mahindra
  8. Yes Bank

All sources checked as of 15 June, 2022


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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