How to Buy US Stocks from UAE?

To buy US Stocks from UAE, you will require to open a brokerage account. I personally use the following two brokerages to buy US stocks while I live in Dubai, UAE:

Many of my friends have asked me this question in the past few months: How can I invest in US Stock Market from UAE or How Do I buy the US Stocks?

I know why!! The US stock markets have peaked in the recent times.

In this post you will learn ‘how to buy US Stocks from UAE or Middle East.’

You will definitely know who Jeff Bezos is! He is the richest man on earth as of today.

And do you know how he is the richest man? Yes, he partly owns Amazon, the biggest e-commerce company. Jeff Bezos is the richest man because Amazon is listed on the US stock market and the total market capitalisation of Amazon as of writing this article is around US$ 1.55 Trillion!! Jeff Bezos owns roughly 16% of the US stock market and hence that makes him the richest man on the earth.

He is the richest man because Amazon is listed on the stock market and almost his entire net worth is tied to the stock value of Amazon stock.

10 year back Amazon shares were at 150$ per share. And today they are 3095$ per share. If you had invested 10000$ in September 2010, today that money would be 206000$; more than 20X your money.

Amazon is just one example! Companies like Google, Apple, and many other companies have given higher or similar returns.

I am not trying to persuade you to buy shares. I am trying to tell you the possibilities of enhancing your net worth over long periods of time.

The US Stock market is one of the best stock markets for return on investment. Many of the wealthy people I know in Dubai and UAE have some or the other connection with US stock markets by investing in companies such as Apple, Alphabet (Google), Tesla, Amazon and so on.

If you had just invested in S&P (Standard and Poors) Index, you would have the following returns:

That’s amazing returns for just parking your funds in the Index.

Well, now that you know what are the possibilities, I will teach you how to buy US Stocks.

But before that you may have doubts whether you as a foreigner can buyer US Stocks??

The answer is YES, you can.

Procedure for buying US Stocks:

To get started with investing in US stocks from UAE, you will require TWO things ready:

  1. A Brokerage Account (to buy and sell your stocks)
  2. Funds to buy shares

Top Brokerage Firms I use:

I spoke to few of my friends in US before I opened account. They mentioned they were using apps like Robinhood and Webull to trade and buy stocks. Unfortunately, these apps are not available if you live in UAE.

I instead found other online brokers where you could open accounts:

How to buy shares through Interactive Brokers?

My preferred way to buyer US shares is through Interactive Brokers. They are one of the cheapest and advanced stock brokers available and are completely online. At least 15 of my friends have opened account with them and have been able to buy and sell shares.

I do not trade in stocks. My style is to hold stocks for the long term. I thoroughly study the stock fundamentally and keep the long term perspective on company operations. When I am convinced that a stock can give me the kind of returns I am looking for in 10 years, I get into investing.

Why Interactive Brokers?

Read for yourself.

How to open account with Interactive Brokers?

Step 1: Visit Interactive Brokers site and click on Open Account link:

Step 2: Start Application:

Step 3: Continue with Application as you would normally do with any other account opening form:

When you have done with the process, you will require your Passport copy, Your visa, Your Emirates ID and DEWA (utility bill) for address proof.

Confirm your email which Interactive Brokers will send you:

Once you have completed these steps, it will take approximately 4-5 days for your account to be approved. Once your account is approved, you will be able to access your account and login.

The process is transparent.

Step 4: Log in to Your Interactive Brokers account:

Since I have enabled 2 Factor Authentication, an SMS or App is necessary to login to the system.

When you login, you will be presented with the following screen, which will list your available balance, returns on stocks etc:

How to US Buy Stocks on Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers allows you to buy stocks from many markets including US, Canada, China, Europe, Japan etc.

When you have logged in, click on Trade button on the top right:

A separate, window will open to the right:

If you know the stock symbol you want to buy, enter in the ‘Enter a Symbol’ area. You can find the stock symbol from Google by simply searching for the company name + symbol.

In my example, I would like to buy Tesla. The symbol is TSLA.

There is a difference between all options like Limit Order, Market Order, and so on. Read what it is in the Interactive Brokers site.

I usually go for Limit Order or Market. Simply put, Limit Order means the price at which you are willing to buy or sell. Market order is the one where you are giving instructions to the system to buy or sell at current market prices.

When you are satisfied with your price, click Submit Buy Order. If the price matches under Limit order, it will be executed and you own the shares.

It’s that simple to buy your shares.

Method 2 to Buy US Stocks in UAE:

Another way for you to buy US Stocks is through a broker called: Firstrade

Step 1: Account Opening with Firstrade

Head over to Firstrade.com and click on Open Account:

Step 2: Click on For Non Citizen or non Resident of the US

I presume that you are a Non-US Citizen or non-resident of the US. Click on the Open International Account:

Step 3: Enter Your Details

In the following pages, please go as per the instructions and verify your phone. I tried receiving SMS but did not get. I opted for Phone Call and received instantly.

When you have done that, it will take at least 2-3 days for Firstrade to open your brokerage account.

Documents required to open US Stock Brokerage Account

The documentation required is quite minimal. You will/may require to submit the following information:

  • Passport copy with valid residence visa page
  • Utility bill or Bank statement to verify your address

Potential Questions that may be asked to you:

Since I am a resident of UAE and citizen of India, following questions were asked.

  1. Missing FTIN; Please provide the tax identification number issued by your country of residence.
  2. Please verify your citizenship. Please provide an explanation for residing outside of your country of citizenship.
  3. Please provide a proof of residential address, such as a copy of recent utility bill or bank account statement. You may upload the required documents on Firstrade website. (Customer Service > Form Center > Upload Form)

My responses to Firstrade queries:

  1. UAE (United Arab Emirates) does not have Personal Income Tax and we are not assigned any tax id here.
  2. My citizenship is India. I am an expatriate working in Dubai, UAE. Hence, I have to reside here.
  3. Please find attached the utility bill. (Attach or upload your utility bill to prove residence)

Once you have been approved, you will received following email:

Once your account is approved you will need to fund your account and start trading.


Congratulations!

You have successfully opened your trading account. I wish you all the best. Investing can be a rewarding journey for you and your family.

I have also started a newsletter aimed at Investors where I write and speak about, investment fundamentals and particular stocks that I like. Please subscribe on Substack.


Disclosure: I am not a financial advisor. This post is not an advice to invest in stock market or any other financial instrument/s. This post is purely for educational purposes only. Links may contain affiliate links.

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    Deepak is a writer and risk management professional. He is also a bitcoin enthusiast. He is passionate about helping others create lasting wealth!

  • Hi Deepak,
    Very nice article, highly informative. Thank you.

    This is not to seek financial advice, but could you please share your thoughts on WHAT the tax implications are FOR such investments (both in the us and in india)?

    • If you are Indian resident and file taxes in India, you will have to declare any Capital Gains (short term + Long term). Same rules apply for US. It will depend on your country of residence.

      • But if you have linked your UAE account for transactions, then there won’t be any tax implications as UAe is tax-free, right?

          • Hi Deepak, Can you please list what are the tax implications for nri from uae investing in us stocks.

          • Hi Imran, I am not a tax advisor. But from experts who I have spoken, there is no tax implications for NRI from owning US stocks. If you are resident Indian national, then you have to pay taxes on worldwide capital gains. Please consult a tax consultant for more clarity.

  • Does the Interactive broker account directly link to you uae bank account, and can we buy and sell the next day or is there a minimum holding period. Lastly whats the commission or transaction fee cost on IB i.e. do they charge per transaction or then on every profit/loss. Thanka again for the post above – quite handy and easy to follow. Planning to start investing hence the interest. Regards, ut

    • No, you do not need to link and I am not sure whether this is possible.
      You will have to transfer the funds online like how you remit /money transfer to your home account (if you are an expatriate).
      There is no minimum holding period.
      On IBKR Pro, there is no commission. They charge you a flat fee on your fund transfer, which is roughly around 20$.
      All the best with your investments.

      • Thanks so much deepak. Yes am an expat and probably will explore this whne i get on the opening bit. Really helpful and hopefully Manage to start an account soon. Appreciate the advise Cheers,

      • Thank you , deepak.
        with regards to the uae bank transfer, another query i have is , once we sell a stock, how the money is returned to our account ?

  • Hi there, When buying shares through the websited mentioned in the article we buy the real stock and not cfds. Am i right?

  • Thanks so much deepak. very detailed and informative. thanks again.
    in india i used to deal with mY bank’s sister concern or stocks broker so the money (traded or profited )would automatically come to my bank account.
    In the case, of Interactive brokers where does the money get parked, can we give in our bank account number so that the profits come to my bank ACCOUNT here in uae.
    ALSO CAN i TRADE WITH LITTLE MONEY ? IS THERE A BARE MINIMUM AMT THAT CAN BE TRADED OR DO THEY WANT HUGE FUNDS

    • In short, NO. When you sell your stocks, the money lies in your account in Interactive Brokers. You will need to manually withdraw it to your bank account.
      Yes, you could trade with little money. It’s not too clear for me what is minimum and huge for you. But there is no real requirement for large sums above 1 thousand dollars for example. You can start with few hundred dollars.

  • Amazing info, Deepak. How do you see NASDAQ Dubai, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market(DFM)?

    Is It still better to open an account with IBKR/Firstrade Brokers or ADX/DFM/NASDAQ Dubai

    Or ADX/DFM/NASDAQ Dubai are just exchanges like how we have NSE in India?

    Thanks

    • Hi Sandesh, thank you for the good words.
      The last time I approached a broker in UAE, there was a minimum requirement and some higher fees.
      I believe Nasdaq Dubai will be good, never explored them and volumes are too low.
      With local exchanges like DFM, ADX, you will not be able to buyer US shares, which is my main target.

      • Thanks for the prompt reply, I think having ac in IBKR/Firstrade Brokers makes sense as you mentioned the volumes are too low and the fees are high. Which one do you use? IBKR or FIRSTRADE?
        I am thinking of going with ibkr

          • Hi Deepak,

            I transferred funds from my Emirates NBD ac to IBKR ac and noticed that 25USD was charged as transfer fees by the correspondent bank, is it normal, do we have to pay these charges every time to transfer funds or is there any other way to save these charges?

          • Yes, there are transfer charges.
            Sorry, I think I have not covered this in the post which I wrote.
            Since there are no brokerage fees, I don’t mind these charges.
            Also, consider transferring larger amounts, so percentage-wise, the impact is not so much.

          • how is your experience with firstrade with respect to fees and trading

  • hey Deepak nice work thanks for your valuable information , whats your taKe on Current BITCOIN (Crypto COins)

    • Thanks Vikas.
      I have been bullish bitcoin since 2014. I am not into other cryptos, there may be good opportunities.
      I am regularly in the local media for my thoughts on bitcoin. (please google, ‘deepak machado bitcoin’)

  • Hi Deepak

    Very well written, clear and crisp.

    Can you please tell me your experience on how long they are taking to transfer the booked profit through requisition.

    Thanks
    Dinesh

    • Hi Dinesh, thank you for your kind words.
      It took 3 days for me to receive the funds after booking profits.
      I do not usually do this often; I remain invested for long time.

  • HI DEEPAK,
    THANKS FOR SHARING THE DETAILS. WILL THERE BE ANY TRANSFER CHARGES IF ITS DONE FROM A $ ACCOUNT WITH A DUBAI BANK?
    ALSO, CAN SOMEONE ON A DEPENDENT VISA (SPOUSE) IN UAE OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH IBKR? I HEARD THAT AS PER THEIR DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS, PROOF OF INCOME IS REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED. IS THAT CORRECT?

    • Yes. There are transfer charges when you do funds transfer (25$) for each transaction. There is no brokerage fees.
      I advise you to transfer a good amount in order to reduce the % burden of transfer fees.

  • Hi Deepak, firstly Nice and clear article, thanks
    I have below query,
    Any of the UAE banks provide trading platforms to buy US stocks?
    What’s the credibility of these brokerage firms? If in case if they close down what will happen to our stocks ?
    Can we migrate our stocks from one broker to another?
    Appreciate your efforts in replying. Thanks

    • Thank you.
      # Not sure which UAE banks provide service to buy US stocks
      # Interactive Brokers (dirhamtalk.com/ib – FREE stock) is a listed company. First Trade is one of the oldest brokers (Selecting broker is your decision)
      # I have not tried migrating stocks. But it should be possible.

  • Hi Deepak,
    I’m not able to find UAE in the list of countries of Frirstrade. Was there any change recently?

    Thanks in advance

  • Hi deepak.

    Ive read that Interactive broker charges a monthly inactivity fee. It seems too much if I just plan to but ETF and let it sit there.

    Can you confirm if IBKR does charge inactivity fee?

    Does first trade charge inactivity fees too?

    Thanks mate

  • Hello Deepak
    Very useful Info
    If you can share a link for tax implication of NRA ( Non Resident Alien ) specific to Indian NRI living in UAE. This topic is not covered by anybody and I know you are not tax experts, but I am sure you can ask some of your friends who can help you in this regards

  • Hi Deepak

    I have been reading many article on same subject but must appreciate that you gave most clear and crisp information.

    Thanks for sharing this Article
    Regards
    Nehal sharma

  • Hi Deepak.

    Great article here. I am trying to get into the world of stocks and ETFs and would like your opinion about the pricing plans of interactive brokers. I believe IBKR lite is not available for UAE residents if I understand correctly. Within IBKR Pro would you recommend the fixed or the tiered pricing plan? Since I am new to this, I would like to start with investing USD 1,000 and will perhaps add more funds later in the future.

    Looking forward to your feedback.

    Thanks,

    Massy

    • Hi Massy,

      I have a free trading account. As long as your portfolio balance is 100K$, there is no fee.
      Yes, you should always start small and get more information.
      All the best with your investment journey.

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