Ultimate Guide: Freelance Visa & Work Permit in Dubai, UAE
Freelance visa requirements are simple in the UAE. We will walk you through the basic information to get you started.
Is freelancing legally prohibited in the UAE?
Freelancing is absolutely legal as long as you fulfill all the legal prerequisites to obtain a freelance visa in UAE.
What do you need to work as a freelancer in the UAE?
In order to work in the UAE, whether as a freelancer or otherwise, you need both a residence visa and a work permit.
How to become a freelancer in the UAE?
One of the easiest ways to become a freelancer in Dubai is to apply for a freelance work permit along with a residence visa if you are not sponsored by your spouse or father. The work permit and the visa can be obtained from the following free zones.
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Studio City
- Dubai Production City
- Dubai Knowledge Park
- Dubai Design District
- Abu Dhabi twofour54
- Fujairah Creative City
- Ajman Free Zone
Which services can freelancers offer in UAE?
There are specific activities allowed for freelancers in UAE. You can apply for a freelance license for the following sectors:
- Media (Includes work permit for freelance Photographers, Makeup artists, and Social Media Marketers in Dubai, UAE etc.)
- IT (Includes work permit for web developers in Dubai, UAE)
For a detailed list of permitted activity for a freelance visa from RAKEZ, click here:
Required Documents for Freelance Visa and Work Permit in Dubai
If you are on spouse or parent visa, here is what you need:
- Business plan
- Updated Resume
- Degree Certificates, attested from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well
- Application form
- Passport copy
- NOC from the sponsor (husband/parent)
- Bank references & a good standing certificate issued by your bank certifying that the individual holds a satisfactory account.
- 2 Professional Reference letters from current or previous employers recommending your capability to perform relevant tasks.
- Work portfolio
Residents on employment visa can also get a freelance visa in Dubai provided they have the no objection certificate from their current employer.
The complete procedure of getting a freelance work permit in Dubai
Step 1 When fully equipped submit your online application for provisional approval. The application form can be downloaded directly from the free zone websites. You must also submit the business plan, passport copy and reference letter along with your application through email in most cases.
Step 2 Wait for the approval notification email. Once all your documents have been scanned by the free zone team and if you meet the requirements, you will receive a confirmation email.
Step 3 Visit the nearest free zone office to sign and submit the remaining documents.
Step 4 Make the required payments:
- Freelance permit fee,
- Employee visa sponsorship fee,
- The first installment for rent or office, (if applicable)
- Plus deposit (if applicable);
The cost of freelance work permit excluding the freelance visa cost and the office space starts from AED 7,500.
Step 5 Sign the free zone sponsorship agreement
Step 6 Freelance permit and residence visa are granted
Step 7 You will then have access to a ‘hot desk’ and business facilities (including a PO Box address) within the free zone that sponsored you; this is basically a single desk in an office environment that can be shared with others.
Step 8 Check your inbox for your freelance work permit that gives you the license to kickstart your career in Dubai.
Step 9 UAE Freelance Visa Application Cost: Once the permit is obtained, you may apply for eligible visas online or in person. To proceed with your visa application, you will need to register for the E-Channel online system mandated by the UAE government. The registration and renewal charges of E-channel are AED 2,200 and AED 1,200 respectively. As per RAK Immigration, there is a separate fee of AED 250 for Immigration pre-approval.
Step 10 Medical Test & Emirates ID cost in UAE: You will be required to go for the medical test including the blood test and X-ray to obtain a valid UAE visa. The good news is that the refundable deposit of AED 2,000 previously required by the immigration department was waived off in 2018. However, service charges for processing Medical test and Emirates ID would be an additional cost of AED 2,400.
How to find the cheapest freelance visa in UAE?
Freelance visa UAE cost typically varies between AED 7500 – AED 20,000 based on the selected free zone. The important thing to remember is that the Visa renewal cost is incurred annually.
There is good news for residents of Abu Dhabi. Freelance Visa Abu Dhabi allows you to establish yourself as the sole proprietor under your birth name and practice specific business activities outlined in the license. Abu Dhabi residents can obtain a freelance visa in Dubai free zone areas as well. The UAE Freelance visa will give you a head start to your future business success with a healthy work-life balance.
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