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How much does a freelance visa cost in Dubai?

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Are you looking to kickstart your career as a freelancer in Dubai? The process is pretty simple as you only have to register as one, obtain a work permit, and get a freelancer visa. But how much does it cost? Here’s a quick guide to how much a freelancer visa costs in Dubai.

Life in the modern world is changing faster than we can imagine. The wake of the digital era came along with lots of changes, especially in the workforce. Today, close to a billion people are shunning the traditional 9 to 5 jobs, as more of them tend to lean towards freelancing. The gig economy has taken the world by storm, and it was even made more popular in the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Before the restrictions that came about because of the pandemic, many people had already taken up freelancing as part-time careers. Many of them registered with popular freelancing sites such as Upwork and Bawabba. As this industry continued to grow, the UAE wasn’t left behind, with more people joining the trade.

The beauty of freelancing is that you can put your skills to practice without even having to leave the comfort of your home. Work-life balance, which was a major issue before, has now been sorted, and that’s why we can see many women in the UAE becoming freelancers too.

However, due to the regulations set forth by the authorities as a measure to maintain the quality of the freelancing business, you are supposed to obtain a freelance license for you to work as one in Dubai. This permit is different from a trade license, as you pay less, and as a sole proprietor, you’re your own boss. The good thing is that you’re able to easily upgrade your freelance permit to a trade license if you want, and this will give you the ability to expand your business by hiring others.

Getting started as a freelancer in Dubai

With all the pitfalls and downturns of 2020, many of us got a taste of what it is like to avoid daily commutes to work and enjoying the flexibility that freelancing offers. As quoted by Forbes, more than 60 million Americans alone freelanced in the previous year, showing a huge increase in the numbers compared to previous years.

It is a no-brainer that freelancing across the Emirates has not been a viable career choice for many years. This is partly because of the strict business licensing within the region, making it difficult for those who wish to run a low-cost business to give up. Furthermore, strict visa regulations were making the entire freelancing industry go down.

Thankfully, the last few years have been a different case, and we can now see a brighter future in the freelancing industry in Dubai. The UAE government has worked out a way to make this a more respectable and legitimate career choice for many. Making freelancing legal in the UAE was the first step to encourage more people to join the trade and easing other restrictions that were earlier in play.

Not only is it now easier for those that wish to start a career to get a freelance visa, but it is also possible to get one if you want to make it a part-time gig.

We have covered how to get a freelance visa in Dubai in our previous post, but today, let’s have a closer look at how much you may need to part with to get one.

The cost of a freelance visa in Dubai

There are two ways you can apply for a freelance visa in Dubai, either by making a standalone application or by getting it via a free zone. The number of permits you may need also determines how much you’ll have to pay, although you are likely to get huge discounts from some free zones when making several applications.

If you’re looking for the cheapest freelance visa in Dubai, it would be helpful to look around and apply via registered companies. When using some of them, like WWFL (Worldwide Formations), you only have to part with about AED 17,500 for both a freelance permit and residency visa costs. Such companies can even take care of the entire process for you, and you can pay the charges in installments of up to three years.

When applying directly, you should consider paying for both a freelance permit and an establishment card. Depending on where you apply, the approximate costs for licenses valid for one year are:

  • Freelance permit – AED 7,500
  • Establishment card – AED 2,000

Some of the places you can get these permits are from: 

  • Dubai Development Authority (DDA) – you can get a freelance permit from DDA if registering for the three freelance visas (Media, Tech, and Education). You’ll receive an email notification once your application gets approved, and you’ll be required to pay the package fee of Dh 7,500. You can check more information on their website here.
  • Ras Al Khaimah – the freelancer visa is under RAKEZ here, and you only have to pay about Dh 6,100. The cost covers access to business centers, a residency visa, and a whole range of other support services.
  •  Ajman – the freelance package from the Ajman Free Zone (AFZA) comes at a fee of Dh 6,000, which includes the visa, basic health insurance, and an Emirates ID.
  • Fujairah – the creative city of Fujairah, offers reasonable pricing for upcoming freelancers in Dubai within the creative industry. With a starting price of only Dh 5,750, you get a quick turnaround time of one day, with online support, a flexi desk, and internet access.

The cost for applying for a freelance employment visa in Dubai are: 

Within the UAE

  • AED 4,960 for Normal application
  • AED 6,340 for Express application

Outside the UAE

  • AED 3,330 for Normal application
  • AED 3,900 for Express application

These costs include charges for visa stamping, medical tests, and an Emirates ID.

Cost of freelance visa in Dubai Frequently Asked Questions

What does a freelance visa mean?

This is a permit required to begin working as a freelancer in Dubai. It can also allow you to get a residency visa which you can also get for your family.

What documents are required when applying for a freelance visa in Dubai?

Here are the documents needed when making an application for a freelance visa in Dubai:

  • Resume/ CV
  • Passport
  • Bank reference letter
  • Sponsor’s NOC (No Objection Certificate)
  • Portfolio or sample of work (media sector)
  • Credentials and certificates (education sector)

How can I start a freelance business in Dubai?

To begin a freelance business in Dubai, you need to choose one of the jurisdictions (either mainland or in the free zones) and apply for a permit, depending on your field.

Conclusion

Freelancing has enabled millions to make a decent living only through their skills and knowledge without having to leave their homes. We hope this article answers your biggest questions on how much a freelance visa costs in Dubai. You too can be a part of the larger pool of some of the best freelancers in Dubai.

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