Freelancing

10 Detailed Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Obtaining A Freelance License In Dubai 

4 Mins read

If you’re looking to get into Freelance in the UAE, you may have found that you need to get a freelance license first. This will allow you to register your service legally. 

Here are 10 FAQs about freelance licensing in Dubai. 

1. What is a freelance license and why do you need one?

A freelance license is an official documentation provided by freezone authorities in the UAE. They allow freelancers to register your services with governing authorities. This helps freelancers to reside in Dubai legally while operating as a self-employed agent. You need this license not only for your service trade to be legal but also for it to be recognized by reliable platforms and institutions. 

Several freelancer clients will only employ professionals with a valid license for freelance in the UAE

2. Who is eligible for a freelance license?

The requirements for a freelance license will depend on the Free Zone you obtain it from. 

The Free Zones are spread over Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Abu Dhabi. 

These Free Zone authorities are as follows: 

  • TwoFour54
  • Dubai Media City (DMC) 
  • Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP)
  • Dubai Internet City (DIC) 
  • Dubai Development Authority (DDA) 
  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone Authority (RAKEZ)

You will need to contact your relevant Free Zone Authority to request their specific eligibility requirements. You should note that most Free Zones will require 1-3 years of employment in the professional field selected. 

You will need to be employed in the following sectors to qualify: 

A. Media: 

  • Acting
  • Journalism 
  • Film-directing 
  • Editing
  • Photography 
  • Writing 
  • Animation 
  • Artistry (singing/song-writing) 
  • Audio engineering
  • Media commentary 
  • Composing
  • Design (fashion/interior etc) 
  • Event-Planning
  • Marketing 
  • PR
  • Print media
  • Social media analysis/management 
  • Personal-Styling
  • Web Development 
  • Web design 
  • Social-media influencing/brand promotion

Other professions in this sector will require authority approval. 

B. Technologist

  • Web/Mobile/Software development and design
  • Information Technology
  • Telecommunication networking
  • Data analysis

C. Education: 

  • Tutoring
  • Educational advising
  • E-learning consulting
  • Executive coaching
  • Lifestyle mentoring
  • Research

3. What documents do you require?

  • You will need the following documents to apply for the Freelance permit in Dubai:
  • A freelance license application form, printed, filled out with correct information and signed by the applicant 
  • A copy of your 3 to 5-year business plan
  • A copy of your passport
  • Letters of recommendation from past employers, which must attest to the validity of your qualifications 
  • An updated CV
  • Degree or Training certificates asserting to your qualifications 
  • A NOC letter signed by a sponsor 
  • An application letter to switch your residence permit to a freelance permit. 
  • A good-standing-certificate from your bank establishing your banking history 
  • A portfolio of all your completed work in your chosen freelancing area

4. How much will it cost you? 

The cost of obtaining your license will depend on the authority you have selected. Scroll to “additional facts” for an estimate of total costs. 

5. Will you be allowed to hire other employees? 

No, you will not be allowed to hire other employees as a freelancer in Dubai. This is because your license is entirely dependent on your attestation to operate as a sole trading agent. 

6. How long will it take? 

The application processing period is relatively short. Once all documents have been approved by the free zone authorities, it will require 7 to 14 business days for your freelance permit to be issued. This means you can effectively start operating as a freelancing agent within two weeks of your application. 

Once you have been issued a freelancing permit, you can apply for a visa (which differs from the residence permit). The visa application will require two to three weeks to be processed. 

There exists a variety of agencies in Dubai looking to help you with all your applications. Their assistance can often speed up the entire process. 

Fees for such services will depend on your requested premium. 

7. Will you need to pay for VAT

If you are in the top paid freelance positions in Dubai, you may need to pay taxation. However, this amount will depend on your earnings, which will be audited. 

It is technically not compulsory for freelancers making between AED 185,000 and AED 375,000 a year to register for VAT. Freelancers making over AED 375,000, however, are legally required to register for the taxation. 

8. Will you need to set up a professional bank account?

As a sole trader, you should not have a registered company bank account under the same profession or industry you practice freelance in. 

Operating as a lone agent will be a key requirement of your freelancer registration application. Therefore, you will need all payments to go into your personal bank account. 

9. What are the advantages of going through this process?

Gaining a freelancer permit will allow you to earn more clients than operating independently of one. It will increase your credibility as a professional. 

Platforms such as Bawabba require their freelancers to have freelancer agent permits. This allows the site’s clientele certainty as to the reliability of the services provided. 

10. Can you obtain a valid visa without this license?

You will only be able to obtain a visitor’s visa without a valid freelancing license. This means you will not be legally allowed to work within any of its Free Zones. 

Additional Facts:

  • The entire application process costs about AED 17,000 with the inclusion of additional service charges. This number may be lower in certain Free Zones.
  • Getting a freelance license in Dubai will allow you to apply for discounted flexidesk office space within your free zone
  • As a resident of the UAE, you will be provided with an interim permit as your freelance permit request is processed. This will allow you to continue your operations as usual as you wait for your permit’s deliverance.

A Concluding Note

You will need to contact your relevant Free Zone authority to assert their specific requirements and rates. With official documentation, preparation is the key to a quick issuing of your required papers. Your freelancer license will only be valid for a year. Therefore, it will be your responsibility to frequently renew it. 

Our platform only hires skilled professionals with valid documentation. Not only is our team expertly trained, but they are also registered with the proper authorities. 

Avoid disappointing moments with “false” experts by signing up for our resource of freelancers in Dubai.

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