Over a million British tourists visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) each year on holiday, enjoying wall-to-wall sunshine, fabulous pristine beaches and first class hotels, restaurants and nightspots. And that’s on top of the more than 100,000 expats who’ve chosen to live and work in the small Gulf state.
The UAE is a modern success story no matter how you decide to view the country. It’s actually a federation of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain – each of which is headed by a hereditary emir, a title in the Arab world usually reserved for a prince, chieftain, or governor. The emirs choose one of their own to become the UAE’s president.
The country has a transparent and highly regulated banking sector which is well-used by both tourists and expatriates alike. Famous multinational banks like HSBC, for example, are thoroughly established in the country, offering Brits and other foreigners the same sorts of products and services they’d find in their banks back home. From home loans and credit cards to payments and cash management and other useful services for business, the UAE’s modern and innovative banking sector is highly respected throughout the region.
It almost goes without saying relocation overseas is an exciting prospect. But it also brings with it a great number of worries, especially if the rest of the family is coming along with you, too. You’ll need to find suitable schools for the children and find out where the best places are to shop for food and to buy clothes. Adequate healthcare will also be a top priority.
Any worries over finance will certainly not help the blood pressure either. Talk to your bank about setting up some kind of additional offshore or international account before you set off. That way you’ll have instant access to cash from the moment you arrive in your new home. Don’t close your regular account with the bank either especially if you need to take care of mortgage and other debt repayments back home.
Later on, when you’ve settled into your new life in the UAE, you can maybe think about opening a new current or savings account, one that perhaps better reflects the needs of your changed circumstances. Or you may want to take advantage of a better and cheaper credit card deal, or a personal loan, or maybe you’d like to look at investment opportunities.
Thankfully, no matter what you decide you do, it’ll usually be a fairly straightforward and painless process, especially if HSBC has anything to do with it. However, opening a bank account generally in the UAE requires official documentation – a passport, work visa and residence certificate.
You might also have to produce a tenancy agreement, to show proof of an address, and maybe even a letter from your home bank. Your new bank might also require a letter from your employer stating how much of a salary will be paid into the account each month. Because differing banks will usually ask for more, or less, documentation, it’s always best to check prior to any visit. A quick telephone call is all it’ll take. Or you can check online.
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