A Guide to Student Banking in the UAE

A Guide to Student Banking in the UAE


For international students in the United Arab Emirates, the study journey is like no other. Not only will they experience the spellbound beauty of the country, but they’ll also experience its world-class education.

Despite not being as famous as other study destinations, the UAE boasts many offerings to foreign students. And to enjoy these wonderful advantages, students need enough funds to get by.

The best way to manage your funds is to open a bank in the UAE. Don’t fret though—it’s not a complicated process for international students.

Here’s a guide to student banking in the UAE:

Who Needs a Bank Account in the UAE?

Every international student can open a bank account in the UAE. But it all depends on the duration of your studies and your purposes for opening a bank account.

For example, if you’re only taking a short-term course in the UAE, a mobile bank will do. This is already a great option to send and receive money while you study. You can also use this to pay for your purchases or send bill payments.

A traditional bank in the UAE is perfect if you’re taking an academic degree. This means you’ll be studying in the UAE for at least two years. For that duration, traditional banks are better to store your tuition and expenses for the year.

Common Requirements To Open a Bank Account

If you’re opening a mobile bank account, you’ll usually only need your Emirates ID. You’ll get this ID once you get your residency student visa. 

Depending on your choice of mobile bank, you’ll have to provide basic information and scan your ID. Once your account is done, you can now enjoy using your mobile bank account.

For traditional banks, the requirements vary, but you’ll also need your Emirates ID and Proof of Residency. Most banks also offer special accounts for international students or students in general. 

For these accounts, there are usually no minimum balance requirements and you’ll also get a debit card for free. Some banks also offer extra perks like movie ticket discounts.

Best Bank Options for International Students

For mobile banking, there’s the Mashreq Neo by Mashreq Bank. You can also try Liv by Emirates NBD. 

Both mobile banks offer the standard features that every online bank has. At some point after regular use, you can become eligible for a free debit card. You can have it processed, and it will be delivered right to your doorstep.

For traditional bank accounts, there are many UAE banks you can choose from. In general, it’s best to choose a bank that offers favorable packages and perks to international students.

Here are some of the best traditional banks in the UAE that you can look into:

  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD)
  • HSBC
  • Citibank
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
  • Noor Bank

Student banking in the UAE is essential for international students. If you want to learn more about living in the UAE, take a look at our articles on Emirati etiquette for international students here at MSM Unify.


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