Dubai and freelancing are synonymous regarding independence, passion, and making your name. Therefore, if you are an independent worker, getting a freelance visa in Dubai is your next step in reaching out to the global market.
Since employment authorization in the UAE empowers you to serve your clients legally, it is a perfect opportunity for individuals seeking unlimited opportunities.
Moreover, getting a professional permit is affordable and a straightforward affair.
However, there are certain requirements, like having a UAE residency document, and you can work in consultancy, education, film production, news media, and event management. In addition, you also need a license from the concerned free zone authority.
We will guide you comprehensively about the Dubai freelance visa, so stay with us!
Benefits of Freelance Visa
UAE self-employed status has several benefits for individuals seeking a name in the freelancing industry and expanding their reach. Here are the key benefits of having an independent travel permit for the city.
- Since the city has become the center stage of business activities, thus relocating to the town through self-employment will be your best career move. It will open a global market with numerous serving opportunities.
- Getting work permission is easy. If you have championed the art of freelancing in your parent country, you can apply through an online platform and get your green card.
- The bigger market means higher returns simultaneously, offering access to over 600 world-class media companies.
- A DU independent contractor license enables you to serve as an independent contractor for companies throughout the UAE.
- It supports holders in accessing the free zone’s business center.
- With a job permit in the United Arab Emirates, you can also sponsor your family to live with you.
- Waiver on consulting fees for 2 years
- Residency status becomes valid for 2 years
- Training and development programs
- Dedicated team to support independent contractors with your government and logistics needs
In short, a freelancing document can kick-start your ambitions of excelling in the freelance arena by exploring and working in this city.
Types of Dubai Freelance Visa
Although the government is coming up with new ideas to accommodate people from all walks of life, currently, there are several types of independent status in UAE.
- Freelance visa in Dubai for residents
- Working visa in Dubai for non-residents
- The Dubai talent pass
- Green residence for freelancing and self-employment
Let us have a closer look at each one of these.
Freelance Visa for Residents
If you reside in the city with your spouse or parents, you can apply for an independent document through this category. Moreover, you can still apply for a freelancing passport by getting an NOC from your employer or sponsor if you are currently employed.
Freelance Visa for Non-residents
If you do not reside in DU, you need a residency license before applying for an employment visa. The permit will allow you to live and work in the region as self-employed. Likewise, you will also apply for residence authorization and your residency card.
The Dubai Talent Pass
To attract global talent to the Gold Coast and Dubai Culture, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) recently launched the Dubai Talent Pass.
Hence, it supports individuals working in tech, art, media, marketing, culture, and education to live and operate in the city. Moreover, you can visit the DAFZA website to apply for the Dubai Talent Pass by paying a fee of AED 9,500.
GoFreelance promotes self-employed workers by giving them a permit costing AED 7,500. Therefore, individuals with this credential can work at Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Design District, and Dubai Knowledge Park to provide education, design, media, and tech services.
You can also sponsor your family if you hold an official permit.
Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment
If you have an annual salary or self-employment income of AED 360,000 and a bachelor’s degree, apply for Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-employment through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Freelancing Profession Visas
Different free zones in the UAE and DU have other priorities, and thus, they issue travel documents accordingly.
- Banking and Finance
- Information Technology
- Couture Designers
Let us have a detailed look at entrepreneur immigration according to profession.
Banking and Finance Professionals
All those providing consultancy services in auditing, accounting, auditing accounting systems, tax consultants, and Shariah-review consultants can apply for accreditation through Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development.
Media persons seeking work authorizations and getting their freelance visa Dubai through Media City. The following categories are covered under the media freelancing definition.
- Aerial shoot photographers
- Audio/sound engineers
- Music composers
- Market analysts
- Print media specialists
- Web designers
- Web developers
- Brand consultants
- Event planners
However, if you are still looking for a media-based freelancing document, there is an alternative option. You can get a Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone permit for AED 6,100.
One of the best price-effective ways is to apply through the educationists’ category. Educationists can get this visa by paying a fee of AED 2,750 for one year or AED 5,000 for two years. However, there are additional AED 2,000 charges for issuance of an Establishment Card.
All IT professionals working in mobile, web, software development, customer service, telecommunication networking, analytics, and data science can get their freelancing credentials by applying through Dubai Digital Authority.
You can get a couture designer visa by paying AED 2,750 for one year or AED 5,000 for two years. Additional charges of AED 2,000 are applicable for the issuance of an Establishment Card.
The following fields cover the couture designer’s category.
- Apparel designers
- Textile designers
- Wedding planners
- Visual merchandisers
- Hair Stylists
- Fashion stylists
- Image consultants
- Personal shoppers
- Object designers
- Concept designers
- Fashion artists
- Interior designers
How to Apply for a Freelance Dubai Visa
One of the key parts of the freelancing journey is to learn to apply for a freelance visa in Dubai. We will walk you through the process in simple steps.
However, one crucial point to remember before applying for one is first applying for a permit for part-time work. Because this document will register you as a self-employed person in the city, you can apply for authorization.
So, let us first discuss the procedure to apply for an independent residency permit.
Step 1: Applying for Permit
You can easily apply for a freelance contract in the region through the GoFreelance website.
Step 2: Documents Required for Freelance Visa Dubai
You only need to complete a form enquiring basic details and upload documents to get your license.
- Recent photograph
- Passport and visa copy (minimum validity of 8 months)
- Bank reference letter
- NOC from your UAE sponsor (if applicable)
- Academic certifications certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the UAE Consulate in your country (if applying for the educationists category)
- Portfolio or sample of work (if applying for the media sector)
Moreover, you need a NOC from your sponsor or spouse if you are on their immigration document. Likewise, if you are employed in the UAE, you must submit an NOC from your existing employer. However, you do not need this NOC while renewing your document.
Step 2: Getting the Permit
Once you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation in the email you provided.
Note: The approval process takes 10-12 days; you will get a confirmation email again.
However, more than an approval confirmation email is required to start your freelancing application process. Therefore, you must visit Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Media City, or Dubai Internet City to pay the fee and sign the documents. Once you have met these requirements, you will get your permission through email.
You are now all set to move on to apply for a passport for self-employed professionals.
Step 3: Applying for an Establishment Card
Along with your self-employment permit, you will also get access to TECOM’s business service portal, AXS, which will help you get complete details about government and corporate services.
You will apply for an Establishment Card with additional charges through this portal. Once you have completed the formalities of your Establishment Card, you can apply for your work license.
Step 4: Applying for Visa
After getting your establishment card, you can apply for your self-employment document. You can visit and apply for the license by visiting the GoFreelance website. It is a simple form requiring the below details.
- Family Name
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Business Sector
Once you submit your application, you will get an entry permit within 5 to 7 days. The entry certificate is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
Further, you must complete residency requirements like undergoing medical and fitness tests to obtain health insurance.
Step 5: Visa Issuance
Once your application is approved after payment is cleared, you will get your job permit, enabling you to stay and work in Abu Dhabi independently.
Step 6: Visa Renewal
Contractor boarding passes need periodic renewals; therefore, stay alert for timely renewals to avoid fines.
Note: The fee and authority depend on your work area.
After submitting your visa application you can Check UAE Visa Status online.
UAE Free Zones
Free zones are the best places for lone workers to work, as these allow tax exemptions and create a community of professionals. Moreover, you can check the mentioned free zones and select the one to start your own business depending on your preferred scope of interest.
Dubai Internet City
The technology park deals with the IT sector and working in the headquarters of global tech companies. Thus, it is heaven for IT-related professionals.
Dubai Media City
It is ideal for self-employed individuals seeking to improve their media footprint. Additionally, it houses world-leading media companies, making it a great place to experience production, communication, and media services.
Dubai Knowledge Park
It is dedicated to human resource management, educational excellence, and professional development, making it the ideal place for individuals seeking freelance educational opportunities.
Dubai Design District
Commonly known as D3, the zone is dedicated to the fashion and design industry. Furthermore, It is an ecosystem fostering international design and fashion for local and international companies. Hence, it is a perfect space for fashion-related independents.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone
Individuals aiming to make a name in the industrial, trading, and services sectors can visit this free zone.
Ajman Free Zone
This free zone is famous for its cost-effective setup solutions, so contractors can easily manage their setups and start delivering their services.
Fujairah Creative City Free Zone
Another free zone is ideal for entrepreneurs seeking to build their brands in consultation, events, communication, and marketing.
Dubai Freelance Visa Cost
The fee for applying for remote work depends on several factors, including free zone or mainland authority, type of activity, and administrative authority. However, here is a general overview of the charges of getting permission for independence in this city.
Freelance Permit Cost
A freelance permit costs range from AED 7,500 to AED 20,000. The difference depends on the selected free zone or mainland authority.
Freelance Visa Cost
The average cost of a professional document varies between AED 4,000 to AED 7,000. In general, it mainly depends on its duration and the nature of the activity. In addition, you will also pay medical tests, Emirates ID, and stamp fees.
Other Associated Cost
In addition to the previously mentioned costs, other costs like health insurance, establishment card fees, and medical fitness will also become part of the final cost. These charges vary from authority to authority and requirements.
However, it is tough to establish the exact cost of setting up a business in DU as it significantly varies from category to category. However, the total annual expense for a business setup in the city is estimated to be at least AED 11,500 (excluding health insurance).
Tips to Avoid Freelancing Visa Scams
The internet is full of freelancing advertisement scams. Many individuals fell prey to them and pay them without confirming their authenticity. These scammers offer full packages covering visa and other costs but trick you into looting your money.
Therefore, it is essential to understand and know the authenticity of such agents and companies before paying them money. Here are a few tips to avoid such scams.
- Visit the National Economic Register (NEC) website to check the authenticity of the job offer. You can search for the company name on this website if you can confidently apply for the job. Otherwise, make further inquiries.
- If you enter into a freelancing agreement, add valid information, business details, and terms of service to satisfy your interests.
- If you confront a scammer, immediately cut off and report the scam to the State Audit Institution. You can report incidents through their website.
What are the advantages of pursuing a freelance visa Dubai?
Freelancers can get the following benefits by getting their permits in the UAE.
- Applying is easy
- It is cost-effective
- Allows you to support family members
- Wide range of work activities
- Exposure to the global freelancing market
- Tax exemptions
Is a freelance permit and license the same?
Technically, the words permit and license are the same as they refer to authorization of working as a self-employed person in Deira. Moreover, registration or license is mandatory before applying for operating authorization in DU.
How long does it take to process a self-employed document in Dubai?
The processing time varies depending on the nature of the category; however, on average, it will take around 20-30 days after you have submitted all documents.
Can I work in any company after getting my freelance visa?
No! Your line of work must comply with approved activities as outlined in your permit by the relevant authorities. Additionally, you can independently contract with several clients in your domain of approved jobs; however, you cannot get full-time employment with a single company.
What is the cost of a freelance visa in Dubai?
The cost depends on the nature of the activity and the concerned authority, but here are general prices.
- Freelance Permit (1 year) – AED 7,500
- Establishment Card (1 year) – AED 2,000
- Employment Visa (3 years) – AED 2,750
- Employment Visa (5 years) – AED 5,000
A freelance visa in Dubai is one of the best ways to boost your freelancing journey, as the city is taking attractive steps to bring top minds to the UAE by offering tax-free zones and a global market to explore.
You can get your entrepreneur’s authorization by having a license and a permit to work independently in the UAE. Moreover, you can sponsor your family through this document. However, you must submit an NOC from your employer and sponsor if you are currently in the Middle East and seeking a labor permit.
Moreover, depending on the nature of the services, you can select a free zone area in the Emirate to improve your chances of success. Likewise, you can also become a contract worker in mainland Dubai, but it will cost more.