What is a freelance visa? You may be asking this question if you’re looking to work abroad as a freelancer. It’s not too difficult to start as independent worker. As you know, one of the perks of being an AEC is that you can work for someone from overseas and earn more money than you would at home! But in order to take advantage of a freelance visa, there are a few things that you should know. If you have less than 12 months on your visa and your employer will not sponsor your new visa, then you need to fill out Form EOI (Employer Obligation) each year.
If you’re going to ease into uae freelance visa, you must understand that obtaining a Visa of any sort involves a certain level of formality and structure. If you are fresh off the boat of your tourist visa, the first few jobs may not be the best way to go at it. If they go well, they will be wonderful. If they don’t go well, they can mean your time in the country is over. We will base our discussion today on – AA. But, other resources which you can find on our website include some frequently asked questions such as: cheapest freelance visa uae and freelance visa dubai installment
How Much Freelance Visa In Uae
For the freelancer visa in UAE, you must have the following requirements: The applicant should have a minimum of three years’ experience in marketing, architecture or design services. The applicant should be able to provide a certificate issued by a professional body that he or she is registered with and holds a current practising certificate.UAE has taken a lot of steps to support entrepreneurs and small businesses with the launch of different regulations and initiatives like Freelance Visa in UAE, which helps expats contribute their part to the local economy. Emirates 24/7 spoke to several people who were benefitted by this scheme, and learnt key things expats must know before applying for it.
Residents moving to Dubai will find that there is great flexibility when it comes to working in the emirate, whether it’s establishing their own business or working as a freelancer. With the rising popularity of the ‘gig economy’, there have been initiatives introduced to make it easier and cheaper for freelancers to operate in Dubai. One such initiative is the GoFreelance package, by the TECOM Group in partnership with the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority, which allows freelancers in the media, technology and education sector to easily apply for a permit and visa! Today, MyBayut discusses how you can apply for a freelance visa in Dubai if you’re planning to work in the media or education sector.
WHAT IS THE FREELANCE PERMIT AND FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI?
The freelance permit in Dubai is a licence issued under the TECOM Group that allows you to work as an independent contractor and is renewable each year. The freelancer permit is ideal for those who are on their spouse’s or parent’s visa and only require a licence to operate as a freelancer.
However, for those who aren’t sponsored by their parents or spouse, they can also apply for a freelance visa in Dubai, which is a residency permit that allows the individual to live and work in the emirate and is renewable every three years.
WHO SHOULD APPLY FOR THE FREELANCE PERMIT AND/OR VISA IN DUBAI?
There are various sectors for which you can obtain freelancer eligibility in Dubai:
If you are pursuing professions such as acting, screenwriting, journalism, advertising, training, education advisor, customer service or web development, you are eligible to apply for the freelance visa in Dubai. You can find a complete list of freelance activities that you are permitted to carry out with this visa on the GoFreelance website.
Please note that the Dubai Internet City will issue your freelance permit if you are working in the Tech sector, Dubai Media City for the media sector and Dubai Knowledge Park for the education sector.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI
There are several benefits of having a freelance permit and visa in Dubai. Firstly, it allows you the flexibility to work for multiple companies. If you plan to work in any of the sectors mentioned above and don’t want a 9-to-5 job, becoming a freelancer in Dubai could be your best career move.
Additionally, the affordability of having a freelance visa in Dubai means you can offer your services at much lower prices. With the GoFreelance package, the setup costs are much lower and no office space is required, allowing more freelancers to enter the market.
Having a freelance visa and permit in Dubai also allows you to work as an independent contractor for companies across the UAE and allows you access to the free zone’s business centre, as well.
With the freelance visa in Dubai, you can also sponsor family members to come and live with you in an apartment or villa for rent in Dubai. However, bear in mind that you cannot sponsor employees with your freelance permit and visa.
HOW TO APPLY FOR FREELANCER PERMIT AND VISA IN DUBAI
Applying for the GoFreelance’s permit and freelance visa in Dubai is now a simple process that requires only a few steps. To get the freelance visa in Dubai, you will initially need to apply for the freelance permit or licence to be registered as a freelancer in the emirate.
1. APPLY ONLINE FOR THE PERMIT
You can apply for the freelance permit in the UAE through the GoFreelance website. Select the option Go Apply and fill out the application form and submit the required documents.
DOCUMENTS FOR FREELANCER PERMIT IN DUBAI
Some of the documents needed to apply for the freelance permit in Dubai include:
- Recent photograph
- Passport and visa copy (valid for at least 8 months)
- Bank reference letter
- NOC from your UAE sponsor
Please note that if you are applying to the education sector, you will have to submit proof of academic qualifications, which must be certified either by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the UAE Consulate in your country of origin. Likewise, if you are applying in the media sector, you will have to submit a portfolio or sample of your work.
If you are applying in the education or tech sector, you can only choose one activity when applying for the permit.
NO OBJECTION LETTER FROM SPONSOR/ EMPLOYER
If you are on your spouse’s or parent’s visa, you will need a No-Objection Certificate from them before applying for the permit. Likewise, if you are employed full-time in Dubai and your company sponsors your visa, you will need an NOC from your employer. Remember, that you don’t require the NOC for the renewal of your Dubai freelance work permit.
2. FOLLOW UP ON THE APPLICATION
After you have submitted your application online, you will be notified by email when it has been approved, which can take up to 10-15 days. After this, you will need to visit the business centre in Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Media City or Dubai Internet City, where you will need to personally sign the documents and pay the fees. Afterwards, you will receive your freelance permit in Dubai via email.
3. APPLY FOR THE FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI
Once you have received your freelance permit, you will also receive access to TECOM’s business service platform known as AXS, launched in partnership with Dubai Development Authority (DDA), which allows you to avail a number of government or corporate services. Through this platform, you can first apply for the establishment card, which will bear an additional cost. After you have received your establishment card, you can then apply for a freelance employment visa under the Dubai Development Authority (DDA), which is valid for three years.
4. COMPLETE THE RESIDENCY VISA PROCEDURES
Once you have submitted your application for the freelance visa in Dubai, you will receive an entry permit within 5 to 7 working days. Once you receive the entry permit (valid for 60 days from the date of issue), you will be required to complete certain residency visa procedures in Dubai, such as your medical test. When these procedures are complete, your residency visa will be stamped and valid for three years from the date of issue.
FREELANCE VISA DUBAI COST
There are separate costs for the freelance permit, establishment card and freelance visa.
- Freelance permit (valid for 1 year): AED 7,500
- Establishment card (valid for 1 year): AED 2,000
If you are applying for the freelance employment visa in Dubai (valid for three years) within the UAE:
- AED 4,960 (Normal)
- AED 6,340 (Express)
If you are applying for the freelance employment visa in Dubai (valid for three years) outside the UAE:
- AED 3,330 (Normal)
- AED 3,900 (Express)
Please note that the above cost for the freelance employment visa includes charges for your medical test, visa stamping and Emirates ID.
GOFREELANCE CONTACT NUMBER
If you have more questions about the freelance permit and visa in Dubai, you can get in touch with the relevant free zones in Dubai at the following contact numbers:
- Dubai Media City: +971-4-391-4555
- Dubai Internet City: +971-4-391-1111
- Dubai Knowledge Park: +971-4-390-1111
And that’s MyBayut’s guide to getting a freelance permit and visa in Dubai! However, along with the technical aspects, you also need to have a certain aptitude for the freelance lifestyle. This includes being comfortable working alone, self-motivation and being ruthless in networking and chasing bills.
While it is affordable to apply for a freelance permit and visa in Dubai, you need to have some sort of financial backup. It is likely that you may initially have to spend a few months to a year, networking and developing a portfolio.
So if you’re up for it, apply for the freelance visa Dubai today, or take a look at other types of residency visas, such as the business or investor visa in Dubai.
Once you have received your freelance visa in Dubai, you can keep track of the expiry date by checking the UAE visa status online. For those planning to sponsor a family member, do check up on the new family visa rules in the UAE.
And subscribe to MyBayut for more articles on working in Dubai!
Freelance Visa in Dubai
Since 2019 freelancers have been legalized in the UAE. Tutors, sport coaches, musicians, artists, designers, media professionals can now obtain a permit and provide services legally anywhere in the UAE. They can get a Dubai freelance visa and live permanently in the UAE.
Freelancer visa can be provided by multiple authorities. The choice is big. Check how to pick the right Dubai freelance visa for your personal business.
WHAT IS A FREELANCE VISA AND LICENSE IN DUBAI?
What is a freelance visa in UAE
Freelance visa is a UAE residency visa, which allows living in this country. It’s kind of a self visa in UAE – meaning that there is no company or sponsor behind you.
The visa is issued based on a freelance permit – a work permit for a freelancer. Such a work permit in the UAE can be granted by a few licensing authorities – mainly free zones. Almost every Emirate has a free zone which can issue a freelance license and a visa.
Your freelancervisa will look like a normal UAE residency visa – a pink stamp in the passport, valid for 2 or 3 years.
Freelance license UAE
Freelance license in Dubai and UAE is a permit issued to a freelancing individual, that allows to work legally anywhere in the country. If you are a freelancer, you may not need a resident visa (if your visa is under your spouse or a company), but you need a freelance permit.
In other words, a freelance visa is optional, but a freelance permit is mandatory for anyone who wants to practice publicly and charge a fee for it.
Who can be a freelancer in Dubai and UAE
The short answer is – anyone! If you want to be independent and start working for yourself, you have a great chance to try!
Thanks to a huge list of approved professions, nearly any person can find a suitable option for freelance work in the UAE.
Educational certificates or degrees are not required in most cases. Previous freelance experience is not mandatory.
Benefits of being a freelancer in UAE
Without doubt, freelancing has lots of advantages:
- Self time management
- Ability to control own workload
- Doing what you like
- Having longer holidays
- Being your own boss
- Ability to travel and live in any place
- Getting UAE residence visa
- Sponsoring a family
Being one of the safest countries in the world, UAE is a great place to start off your freelancing journey. According to research, over 60% of UAE residents would like to become freelancers if they get a possibility.
What can a freelancer in Dubai legally do
Regardless of your profession, when becoming a freelancer and obtaining an official freelance permit, you are allowed to:
- Provide services to private individuals
- Provide services to businesses
- Raise Invoices and receive payments
- Work with government agencies
Requirements to become a freelancer
As mentioned above, there are no strict requirements in terms of professional background for the majority of freelancers. You just need to collect certain documentation and apply.
Generally, the required documents would be:
- Passport copy
- Visa and Emirates ID copy (if you are a UAE resident)
- No objection letter from current sponsor (if you are a UAE resident)
- Recent photo
- Portfolio of works (if applicable)
A freelance visa is a residence visa that allows you to live in the country. You will also need a work permit or freelance license to start legally freelancing in the UAE, along with a freelance visa.
Where to get UAE freelance permit and visa
UAE has dozens of business registration authorities. You have multiple options: freelance visa in Dubai or another Emirate.
Regardless of the place where your permit and visa is issued, you have the same rights to work all over the UAE. The difference between various licensing authorities is in the business activities which they provide for freelancers, and the costs.
FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI
Freelancer visa in Dubai can be done by getting a freelance permit in the following authorities:
DWC / Dubai South Free Zone (currently on hold)
If you are looking for a cheap freelance visa in Dubai, Dubai South will be the best option.
GoFreelance under Dubai Development Authority
Gofreelance offers the biggest range of freelancing activities. They are divided into 4 groups: design, education, media and technology. Each group has a number of activities where you can definitely find a good match for your work permit in UAE.
Be aware that some companies licensed for manpower supply sell work permits and visas under their sponsorship naming it freelance permits. In reality they just provide visas and labour cards in their company without an actual government permit for you to conduct freelance activities.
FREELANCE VISA ABU DHABI
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi also has 2 options for freelancers.
Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development freelance permit
It offers 48 activities for freelance in Abu Dhabi. The license and visa can be granted to any foreigner. Abu Dhabi freelance license cost can be checked here.
If you have an employment visa in Abu Dhabi, you will need to provide a No Objection Letter from your employer to get the freelance permit.
Twofour54 is a creative hub in Abu Dhabi, which hosts a number of companies in the media, entertainment and production sector.
If you want to get your freelance permit under this free zone, note that it is mandatory to partner with one of the companies located there. That company will need to provide a letter of intent to you, stating that it is planning to work with you for particular projects. This letter is required by twofour54 for the approval of your freelance permit there.
Shortly, freelance in Abu Dhabi through twofour54 is possible only within this free zone and its partner companies.
UAE FREELANCE VISA
Nearly every northern emirate provides options of getting a freelancervisa. Some free zones issue freelance licenses, others issue normal licenses calling them “freelance permits” due to low cost and special conditions.
Freelance visa Umm Al Quwain
UAQ free trade zone is one of the easiest and cheapest options for freelance in UAE. It offers the best value for money for single entrepreneurs. Setup costs, freelance visa fees and annual renewal are the most affordable.
Business activities are vast – there are options for any profession. External approvals or educational degrees are not required to set up this freelance license in UAE.
Freelance visa Ajman
Ajman free zone promotes one of the cheapest freelance visas in UAE. Apart from the cost, this solution has one more benefit – one license can sponsor 2 resident visas.
If you need a UAE freelance visa, share the costs of the license with a friend, and get yourselves covered for 3 years!
Business activities are reasonable, it is easily possible to find a good match that fits your experience.
Freelance visa Sharjah
Another cheapest freelance visa in the UAE can be arranged through SHAMS free zone.
The free zone offers a package for media professionals, where a single shareholder is eligible for 1 resident visa. Number of shareholders or visas cannot be changed.
In fact, this solution is a standard business license, but it’s promoted as a freelance license due to a single shareholder condition and affordable cost.
A similar solution is offered by the Hamriyah free zone too. It is a cheap business license with one shareholder and provision to apply for 1 UAE residency visa.
Freelance visa Ras Al Khaimah
RAKEZ freelance visa is another way to get your work permit in the UAE. Majority of activities can be given only based on your attested educational certificate.
If you live or work in Ras Al Khaimah, this option could be suitable for you.
Freelance visa Fujairah
Creative City is a free zone in Fujairah which has packages for cheap freelance visas valid in the UAE. It does not have freelancer visa options as such, but some low-cost packages can substitute it.
Don’t confuse their so-called package “Freelancer company” with a freelance license. That package is a normal commercial company solution, but its name can easily be taken for a freelance permit in Dubai or UAE.
BENEFITS OF UAE FREELANCE PERMIT
- Getting UAE residency
- Doing your professional activity legally
- Getting UAE bank account easily
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CHEAPEST FREELANCE VISAS IN UAE – COST
|UAQ License – Freelance package
|AED 14,959 $4,100
|SHAMS License – Freelance package
|AED 17,479 $4,800
|TECOM License – Freelance package
|AED 20,320 $5,560
|AFZA License – Freelance package
|AED 18,700 $5,150
TOP 10 QUESTIONS ABOUT UAE FREELANCE
- How much is the cheapest Dubai freelance visa?The price of the freelance visa in Dubai is made up of the freelance permit cost + the actual visa fees. The cheapest cost of a freelance permit is 7,500 AED. Freelance visa under this permit is 2,000 AED for Establishment card, and 5,000 AED for the resident visa.
- How can I work from home in Dubai?If your professional activity can be done from home, follow this step-by-step guide:
- Open a freelance permit or license
- Get your freelance visa done (if you need it)
- Open a bank account
- Advertise your services online and in community groups
- Conduct your services via Internet
- Sell your products using social media
- Renew your freelance permit annually
- Can I sponsor my family under a freelance visa?Yes, you can. Once your visa is stamped in the passport, you can sponsor your dependents. Don’t forget that you will need an attested tenancy contract and legalized marriage/birth certificates to open family visas.
- Can I trade under a Dubai freelance license?Normally freelancing means providing your professional services. If you want to trade, it’s better to get a trade license. The activity of the license should be trading of products.
- Can I be a freelancer without a visa?If you want to live and work in the UAE permanently, you need to have a UAE residency visa. It can be opened under a freelance permit.
- How long is a freelance visa valid?Typically, freelance visas in the UAE are valid for 2-3 years.
- Can I be sponsored by a friend in Dubai?No, a friend cannot sponsor you under his visa. A cheap solution to get visas together with a friend could be to open a freelance company in the Ajman free zone. It is one of the cheapest options in the UAE. It will be eligible for 2 resident visas.
- How to get a freelance visa in Dubai?Here is your step-by-step guide:
- Decide what freelance job you can do
- Apply for freelance permit
- Get the freelance permit issued
- Get establishment card issued
- Apply for entry visa
- Do status change (if you are in UAE as a tourist)
- Go for Medical check
- Apply for Emirates ID
- Get the visa stamped in the passport
- Receive your Emirates ID
- Can I open a corporate bank account with my freelance permit?Generally, a freelance permit allows you to operate as an individual and have a personal account only. However, some freelance setups look like a traditional commercial free zone licenses. For example, having a freelance license in Ajman Free Zone you are eligible for a business bank account instead of a personal one.
- Do I have to pay VAT as a freelancer?If your turnover reaches 375,000 AED, you need to add 5% VAT to all your invoices, register with Federal tax authority and pay VAT quarterly.