UAE Freelance Visa: Ultimate Guide for 2022

If you are a freelancer looking for an opportunity to work in Dubai, you may be wondering, “do I need a visa?”. 

Well, the answer to that is “yes”. 

A freelancer visa is a type of visa that allows foreigners to work in a foreign country as self-employed individuals.

The good news is that there are a few different types of visas available for freelancers, and the one you choose will depend on your specific needs and situation. 

Since 2021, freelancing has grown in popularity, with a record number of professionals preferring to work as a freelancer in Dubai. Given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on remote work, this comes as no surprise.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) felt pressure to provide freelancing visas in 2019 in response to the global proliferation of the so-called “gig economy.” The Freelance Visa in UAE (United Arab Emirates), as the name indicates, is one of the most sought-after visas in the UAE since it allows the bearer to self-sponsorship and the freedom to operate in any of the country’s legally recognized fields.

Companies are increasingly turning to freelancers rather than full-time employees to meet work demands. The same is the case in the UAE. 

To get a freelancing visa in United Arab Emirates, Dubai is the place to go. We hope this will serve as a useful resource for anybody thinking about applying for a freelance visa in UAE or moving to the United Arab Emirates. 

Freelancers in the UAE have the freedom to settle anywhere they choose, regardless of where they originally obtained their visa or permission. For this reason, in this guide, we’ll tell you the differences between a freelance permit and a freelance visa. We’ll also discuss the best free zones to obtain a freelance visa and eligibility criteria.

Let’s get started.

what is UAE Freelance visa

What is UAE Freelance Visa & Freelance Permit?

This section highlights the difference between Freelance Visa in UAE and a Freelance permit.

1. Freelance Permit

Freelancing has been a popular alternative for many Emiratis, and thankfully, Freelance Permits may now be obtained in a range of free zones around the nation. Individuals with specialized talents in the media, technology, and education sectors may get these licenses and offer their services as consultants even if they already have full-time employment. This program has been legalized by Dubai in an attempt to broaden the diversity of talents accessible on the local market.

2. Freelance Visa

Obtaining a freelance visa that permits independent employment may be advantageous in a number of ways. A person with a freelance visa may sponsor their immediate family members. If the individual is already sponsored by family or another person, they do not need to cancel their visa and reapply for one. 

This is especially helpful for women who presently reside in the UAE and are actively seeking employment. To qualify for a freelancing visa in the United Arab Emirates, one must first get a residence visa and then produce evidence of a valid work permit. You must file an application for a work permit if you want to work as a freelancer.

Perks of getting a freelance visa in Dubai

By having a freelance visa, you will have access to the Business Center which will provide you with a number of resources to help you grow your business. 

These resources include:

  • A private office
  • Access to meeting rooms and boardrooms.
  • High-speed internet and Wi-Fi.
  • Printer, scanner, and photocopies.
  • Telephone and fax facilities.
  • Receptionist services.

All of these resources can help you to grow your business and become successful. In addition, the Business Center also offers a number of training courses and workshops that can help you to improve your skills and knowledge. So, if you are a freelancer looking to grow, then a freelance visa is the perfect option for you.

Can anyone become a freelancer in Dubai or UAE?

Becoming a freelance worker in the UAE is not as difficult as one may think. There are different ways to go about it, and the process may vary depending on your nationality.

For starters, let’s take a look at how anyone can obtain a UAE freelance visa:

  • The easiest way to get started as a freelance worker in the UAE is by obtaining a visit visa. This visa does not require you to have a sponsor and can be obtained quite easily from your local embassy or consulate. The visit visa is valid for 60 days and can be extended for another 30 days.
  • If you are already in the UAE on a different type of visa, you may be able to convert your visa to a freelancer visa. The freelancer visa is valid for 3 months and can be renewed for another 3 months. To obtain a freelancer visa, you will need to provide proof of your business activity (e.g. registration documents, company letterhead, etc.), as well as a valid bank statement.
  • If you are not able to obtain a visit visa or freelancer visa, you may be able to get a work permit. The work permit is valid for 2 years and can be renewed an unlimited number of times. To obtain a work permit, you will need to find a sponsor (e.g. employer or company).

In this article, we will explain the benefits of getting a freelance visa in Dubai, how to obtain one, its cost, and eligibility requirements.

Let’s get started…

benefits of getting a freelance visa in dubai

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Freelance Visa in Dubai?

There are many reasons why you should get a freelance visa in Dubai. Perhaps the most obvious one is that it allows you to be your own boss. This means you have complete control over your work schedule and what projects you take on, which can be incredibly empowering.

Here are a few other benefits:

  • Perhaps the biggest benefit is that you can become your own boss and have more control over your work life. You can set your own rates and hours, giving you more financial flexibility.
  • Freelancing can also be a great way to build your portfolio and networking contacts. When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to find work through traditional channels. But by freelancing, you can gain experience and make valuable connections with other professionals in your field.
  • You can live and work in Dubai without having to find a job. With a freelance visa, you also have the flexibility to work from anywhere in Dubai, which can be a great advantage if you want to take advantage of the city’s many opportunities and amenities.
  • A freelance visa can also give you a competitive edge when it comes to finding work in Dubai.
  • Finally, freelancing can be a great way to make money. In some cases, you may be able to earn more as a freelancer than as a permanent employee in any company. This is because you have more control over your rates and working conditions. Plus, you can often charge more for your services if you have a strong track record and a good reputation.

So, if you are interested in starting your own business or working as a freelancer in Dubai, acquiring a freelance visa is definitely the way to go.

best free zones in uae for freelancers

Best Free Zones for Freelance Visa in UAE

The United Arab Emirates is home to a variety of special free zones designed to meet the demands of independently operating enterprises. Freelancers under this system do not have to pay taxes, therefore they get to retain all of their money. This is just one of the numerous benefits of starting out as a freelancer in the UAE.

To those looking to launch their careers as freelancers in the United Arab Emirates, there are a number of free zones from which to choose. 

A professional consulting company can provide you with all the information you need about free zones. One advantage of free zones is that they can be easily compared with one another in terms of a variety of factors, including cost, services, amenities, setting, proximity to key destinations, perks, and laws. 

Following is a list of such Free Zones which complement Freelance Visa:

Top Professions Eligible for Freelance Visa UAE

You are able to work across a broad variety of business activities if you get a freelance license, which is offered to you at prices that are inexpensive. Consultancy, event management, education, film production, new media, and entertainment are some of the sectors that fall under this category.

The following categories are eligible for registering for freelancing permission in Dubai:

1. Talent Pass

The Talent Pass is a three-year visa that allows freelancers to work and rent office space from DAFZA in the fields of education, art, technology, media, marketing, and consulting.

Talent Pass was launched by the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Dubai Culture, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs). 

This includes :

  • Commerce licenses for import and export 
  • A general commerce license 
  • An industrial license for light manufacturing activities
  • An e-commerce license for the trading of online goods and services 

2. Banking and Finance

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development is accepting applications from qualified individuals for the position of freelance consultants in the fields of accounts, and audits, as well as the analysis and evaluation of accounting/auditing systems, Shariah review consultancy for transactions of Islamic financial institutions, and tax consultations. Applicants should have experience in their respective fields.

3. Media

Through Dubai Media City, people working in a variety of sectors that are connected to media are also able to receive a freelance visa in Dubai. There are over 45 different categories for which professionals may submit their applications. Actors, animators, artists, audio/sound engineers, brand consultants, cameramen, choreographers, commentators, composers, content providers, copywriters, directors, editors, event planners, graphic and web designers, market analysts, presenters, traditional print media professionals, web developing professionals, and many more.

4. Educationists

With Dubai Knowledge Park, those who fall under the categories of education consultants, e-learning, coaches of executive degrees, research projects, and trainers are eligible to submit applications for the freelancing visa.

Through the website gofreelance.ae, professionals may submit an application for a 1year visa at a cost of Dh2,750, or either a 3-year visa at a cost of Dh5,000. A freelancing license, an Establishment Card with a fee of Dh2,000, a phone number in the UAE, an ongoing medical insurance policy, a passport, and a photocopy of the passport are the other papers that are necessary.

5. Specialists in information technology (IT)

An application for the freelancing visa may be made by independent contractors who operate in the fields of online and mobile development, software architecture and development, information technology and telecommunications networking, data analytics, and customer assistance.

6. Design

By submitting the necessary paperwork, individuals in the following fields are eligible to receive freelance work from Dubai Design District: clothing designers, concept designers, fashion designers, image consultants, fashion artists, hair/makeup stylists, interior designers, object designers, personal shoppers, textile designers, visual merchandisers, and wedding planners.

how to get uae freelance visa

How to obtain a UAE Freelance Visa?

The process of obtaining a UAE freelance visa can be a little confusing, but with the right information, it can be easy to get your hands on a freelance visa. 

Here is how to get UAE Freelance Visa:

There are several types of freelance visas available, and each one has its own requirements. The most common type of freelance visa is the business visit visa, which is for people who are coming to Dubai to do business. To be eligible for a business visit visa, you must be sponsored by a company or an individual in Dubai.

Other types of freelance visas include residence visas and employment visas. The residence visa is for people who want to stay in Dubai permanently, while the employment visa is for people who want to work in Dubai. Both of these visas require sponsorship from a company in Dubai.

documents required for uae freelance visa

Documents Required to Get Your UAE Freelance Visa

Here are the documents you will need to get a freelance license:

  • An application form that is filled out
  • Passport copy
  • Passport size Photographs
  • An updated curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Academic certificates stamped by the UAE Consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Two references from work (with contact details)
  • Work offer or letter of intent with information about your personal and professional background and work history.
  • Your sponsor has to give you a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) (if required)

Cost of UAE Freelance Visa

The annual fee for a bundle of freelancing licenses begins at AED 7,500, however, the initial fees may vary depending on the free zone where you establish your firm. It is crucial to remember that if the Dubai Development Authority requires a freelance visa, there may be additional costs involved with acquiring authorization to work independently. 

The Dubai Development Authority is a government agency involved in Dubai’s real estate market, urban planning, and economic growth. This permit is valid for three years and may be renewed after that period expires. In addition, it includes an immigration card and insurance protection.

However, below is a simpler breakdown of the cost of a Freelance Visa in UAE. The freelancing permission, establishment card, and freelance visa each have their own fees.

  • Permission to freelance (valid for one year): AED 7,500
  • Card of the establishment (valid for one year): AED 2,000

If you are seeking a visa to work as a freelancer in Dubai (valid for three years) inside the United Arab Emirates:

  • AED 4,960 (Regular)
  • AED 6,340 (Express)

If you are seeking a visa to work as a freelancer in Dubai (valid for three years) from outside the UAE:

  • AED 3,330 (Normal) 
  • AED 3,900 (Express)

Please note that the visa fee shown above includes fees for your medical examination, visa stamping, and Emirates ID.

Overall, the process of obtaining a UAE freelance visa can be complex and expensive. It is important to do your research and understand what is required before applying. If you are not sure where to start, we recommend consulting with an immigration specialist or visa service provider.

freelance business in dubai

How to Setup a Freelancing Business in Dubai?

Setting up a freelancing business in Dubai can seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and resources, it can be a smooth process. Below are some of the steps you need to take in order to set up your freelance business in Dubai:

  • The first step is to register your business with the Department of Economic Development (DED), which is responsible for issuing licenses and permits for businesses operating in Dubai. You can apply for a freelance permit in Dubai through their website.
  • You will also need to register for Value-Added Tax (VAT) if your business is making taxable income. For more information on VAT registration, please visit the Federal Tax Authority website.
  • Once your business is registered, you will need to set up a Business bank account and get an Emirates ID card. These can be done through any of the major banks in Dubai, such as HSBC, Mashreq, or ADIB.
  • Finally, you will need to set up a company website and social media profiles to market your services. This can be done easily with CMS like Wix or WordPress.

For more information, read our extensive guide on starting a business in Dubai, or visit the DED website.

How to protect yourself from illegal UAE Visa scams? 

how to avoid Dubai visa scams

It’s important to be vigilant when looking for work online in Dubai, as there are many scams out there that can steal your money or identity. Here are a few tips to help protect yourself from illegal online visa scams:

1. Be suspicious of any job offers that require you to pay a fee upfront. Legitimate companies will not ask you to pay for anything before you’ve been hired.

2. Do your research! Make sure you’re familiar with the company you’re applying to and check reviews online before handing over any personal information. 

3. Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If an offer seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

4. Keep your personal information safe. Don’t share your bank account details or other sensitive information with anyone you don’t trust.

5. Report any suspicious activity. If you think you’ve been scammed, You can report cybercrimes online through the following sources:

FAQs about UAE Freelance Visa

What Is the cheapest freelance visa in UAE?

There are a few different freelance visas in the UAE, and each one has its own cost and eligibility requirements. The cheapest freelance visa in UAE costs AED 100, which is available to freelancers who are sponsored by an employer or a company registered in the UAE. This visa is valid for six months and can be renewed.

The next cheapest freelance visa costs AED 300, which is valid for one year and can be renewed. This visa is available to freelancers who are sponsored by a company registered in the UAE or by their spouse or parent.

Is a freelance visa illegal in the UAE?

The short answer to this question is no – freelance visas are not illegal in UAE. However, there are certain requirements that need to be met in order for you to be eligible for one.

Is freelance work legal in Dubai?

Freelance work in the UAE is legal. However, you need a license to work as a freelancer. According to UAE’s new law which was announced in November 2020, non-UAE residents can apply for a freelancer license in Dubai and legally live there. 

Does a freelancer need a work permit?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It depends on the country you’re freelancing in and the type of work you’re doing.

Some countries do require work permits for freelancers, while others don’t. And some freelance activities may be exempt from work permit requirements in some countries and not in others. 

So it’s important to check with the local authorities in the country you’re freelancing in to find out what is required. Generally speaking, most freelancers don’t need work permits. And if you’re a member of a recognized professional body, such as the American Bar Association or the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, you may be able to work without a work permit in some countries.

Can I buy my own visa in Dubai?

Yes, you can buy your own visa in Dubai. The residence visa is renewable every three years. There are different types of visas available, so make sure you research your options before applying.

Conclusion

Expats in the United Arab Emirates have access to a variety of employment opportunities, including freelancing, starting a business, and working for other firms (UAE). Recently, a number of initiatives have been made with the objectives of making it simpler to get a visa for freelance work and reducing related costs. Obtaining a freelancer permit in Dubai, one of the fastest-growing economies allows access to many opportunities. 

After acquiring a UAE freelance visa, you will be legally permitted to remain and work in any of the Emirates. You will also be able to migrate your family to Dubai and take advantage of the city’s many prospects for a wealthy and secure life.

If you need help getting a freelance visa or wish to start a business in the UAE, reach out to us at Airzone. Airzone can assist you in acquiring all sorts of permits, visas, and licenses in Dubai.

We can also guide you through the process of launching a business in Dubai thanks to our experience and knowledge in the field. We’ll connect you with the right service providers to aid in the development of your enterprise in the United Arab Emirates.

You can get assistance from our dependable partners in Dubai and obtain the necessary trade licenses. We’ll put you in touch with the appropriate experts to handle anything from visa applications to crucial administrative tasks while you concentrate on growing your business. If you want to learn more about how to set up a business in Dubai, we have a comprehensive guide for you. With a thorough understanding of the UAE’s business scene, you should be well prepared to establish a company in the country. If you need information regarding free zones, we have detailed articles on different free zones in UAE.