Bank account without iqama


I'm shortly moving to Riyadh for work from the UK. I will be working on a work visit visa and wanted to ask what options I have not to send my salary earnings back home to be heavily taxed.  For example can I keep the money in the UAE or another GCC country to avoid this situation.  What have others in a similar situation done to circumvent being heavily taxed. I wont be in riyadh long enough to avoid paying tax in UK but want to make sure I am maximising on my tax free salary.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.


Well you won't be able to open an account in Saudi without Iqama - that's for sure.

What people generally do is to open accounts in other GCC countries, specifically UAE or Bahrain. Almost all banks in UAE and some in Bahrain allow you to open bank accounts as a non-resident.  These are savings accounts only but you get a debit card and online banking facilities. However, be prepared to take a bank reference letter from your current bank in the UK if you are a non-resident (and non GCC resident).  As well as passport copies, current employment letter etc etc. However, you will have to take at least one physical trip there to set it up.

The problem would be that your company might not transfer to your bank account but instead pay you in cash to avoid regulatory issues.  Which means you needing to lug a large sum of money to the exchange and transferring it into the account every month.

Xtang I appreciate the advice. Will start looking into setting up an account in UAE. No point sending money home to pay the tax man when I could avoid paying tax altohether....alfterall thats the reason I decided to work in Saudi in the first place. Thanks again.

hi Xtang, I was in contact with HSBC in Dubia through my company to assist in getting a bank account with SABB in Saudi without Iqama. It's only a temp account for 90 days according to my visa with NO cards and NO cell phone and internet banking - basically useless. Which banks in UAE or Bahrain would you recommend? HSBC?

Depends where you are based.  If you are in Dammam, it is better to choose a bank in Bahrain.

HSBC is good for linking to existing bank accounts elsewhere in the world and doing instant global transfers.  SABB is not fully HSBC anyway; the systems are not linked together.

@XTang Have you crated an account at Bahrain? If yes.. please provide me some help which bank you have created an account.

I have accounts in Bahrain with HSBC, Citi and SCB but then again, I have a residence visa for Bahrain.

@XTang hi, I'm an existing resident of UAE, most of the time traveling to KSA for client meetings.

Please suggest which bank card i will carry with me for my daily spendings in Rials without any transactions fees or minimum transaction fees currently I'm using Emirates NBD card here in KSA.


I am not familiar with all the bank products out there.  You need to figure this out by talking to different banks.  Or to keep it simple, get a travel card in which you can load for whatever currency you plan to spend in.