Dubai: Let's talk about money
The day you arrive in a country with no local currency can be stressful, especially when a bank account can take time to set up. Visiting a Bureau de Change will get you started. Travelex, for example, has 13 stores in the UAE and you can reserve online with 0% commission.
When you want to set up your bank account there are around 50 local and international banks to choose from in the UAE. Consider how you want to move your money around; local banks may not operate internationally. Well-known names such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays often offer online links to bank accounts in your home country making it easier to get access to your money. However, they have fewer branches than local financial institutions.
To open an account you will need your visa, your passport and often a Non Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer. A NOC is a letter from your sponsor giving you permission. (NOCs are required in other situations. For example, a woman will require an NOC from her husband if she wishes to get a job or driving licence.)
Check whether the bank requires a minimum balance in the account as this might have an impact on your cash flow, especially as Dubai banks don’t offer overdraft facilities. Credit cards, mainly via Visa or Mastercard, are offered by most banks. American Express also has a strong presence in the Middle East. If you use your cheque book remember to check your bank balance as insufficient funds is considered to be a criminal offence.
You will be asked to fill in application after application in order to settle into your new country. Each process requires a long list of necessary paperwork. Always keep several spare copies of your passport, visa and tenancy agreement, along with passport photos.
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Need a break?
There is nothing like a bit of exploring to help you feel settled. If you've just moved to the UAE and Oman you might like to give these trips a go. Just click here:
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