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How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

  • Publish date: Wednesday، 25 October 2023
How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

If you're considering living or establishing a business in Saudi Arabia, a fundamental initial step is to set up a bank account. Here's a detailed guide on how to do just that.

New expats should be aware that opening a bank account in Saudi Arabia can be a long process. So budget enough cash for the first few weeks after arriving there. 

Steps for setting up a bank account in Saudi Arabia:

Choose the Right Bank for Your Needs

As home to more than 30 local and international banks, expats have a wide range of options to choose from when opening a bank account in Saudi Arabia.

Local Banks: National Commercial Bank (NCB), Al Rajhi Bank, Samba Bank, and Riyadh Bank.

International Banks: Popular names such as Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China also have a significant presence. If you're seeking global services or have business interests outside Saudi Arabia, these might be more suitable.

How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

Understand the Prerequisites

Typically, to open a bank account in Saudi Arabia, you will need these legal documents:

  • A valid passport
  • 2-6 passport-sized photographs
  • A copy of your iqama or visa page proving you are a legal resident of Saudi Arabia
  • Address proof
  • A letter of no-objection from your employer or sponsor (it will need to stipulate your salary in Saudi Arabia)
  • A filled-out and signed bank account application form

Pro-tip: Ensure your documents are up-to-date. Any lapse in visa validity can delay the account-opening process.

How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

Choose the Type of Account

Whether you're in need of a savings account, a current account, or something else, it's crucial to understand the features of each.

Savings Account: Suitable for individuals who want to accumulate money with a margin of profit on the money deposited in the account. Often comes with an ATM card, and a limited checkbook.

Current Account: Ideal for daily transactions, paying bills, and managing expenses. Comes with a checkbook but typically doesn't accrue interest.

Time Deposit Account: This is designed for people who want to make the most of their money, and are able to put away substantial amounts for a period of time. It often has a certain fixed deposit amount and a set time period, and frequently offers higher returns than savings accounts.

Ladies and Children Accounts: These are special bank accounts for ladies and children that can be opened in Saudi Arabia. 

Visit the Bank in Person

While many banks offer online facilities, it's common for first-time account openers to visit the branch in person. An appointment isn't always necessary, but it might save time during peak hours.

Pro-tip: Early mornings, especially just after opening, are often the best times to avoid long queues.

How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

Complete the Application

The bank's representative will guide you through the application process, ensuring you fill in all required details accurately. Make sure to understand the terms and conditions, particularly about fees and service charges.

How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

Deposit Funds

Depending on your bank's rules, you may be required to make an initial deposit into your new account.

How to Open a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia

Account Activation

Upon successful verification, your account will be activated. You'll receive your account details, ATM card, and checkbook, if applicable. Keep this data safe and secure.

Pro-tip: Before leaving the bank, ensure you've set up your online banking access. It will facilitate bill payments, transfers, and monitoring of your account on the go.