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Getting a Freelance Permit and Visa in Dubai: Everything You Need to know

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The modern world is growing at a lightning pace. After the increasing popularity of business setup in Dubai and business setup in Dubai Mainland as well as UAE Free Zones, Freelancing’s breadth and potential have also expanded dramatically in recent years. Flexibility, ability and convenience in managing one’s own work, time and space, independence in decision making, and the temporary work opportunity have attracted a number of talented people from all over the globe.

Given Dubai’s reputation and potential as a city with good business development prospects, aspiring and ambitious foreign nationals frequently lead to the realization that they should obtain a license along with a freelancer visa and relocate to UAE to seek working opportunities.

Due to the growing popularity of the “gig economy,” attempts have been made to make it simpler and easier for freelancers to work in Dubai. The GoFreelance package, developed by the TECOM Group in collaboration with the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority, makes it simple for freelancers in the field of technology, media, and education to obtain permission and visa!

So today, we are going to discuss freelance permit and visa in Dubai.

Understanding Freelance Permit (License) And Visa

The freelancing license can be understood as a permit authorizing independent contractors to operate as freelancers. As per the rules, every year, this permission needs to be renewed.

As per the UAE’s announcement made in November 2020, UAE nationals, residents, as well as non-residents can now apply for a freelancing license in the emirate. The primary reason behind granting such a license is to increase job prospects and diversify the country’s commercial sector. In addition, a freelance license benefits UAE’s business organizations since it reduces the requirement to hire people of all specialties for periodical or contract work.

Due to the new announcement, freelancers can now legally come, stay and work in the nation, as well as bring their spouse, family, and dependents. However, you can only sponsor a daughter if she hasn’t married yet and a boy under twenty-five years of age.

Residents Need A Freelancer Permit

If you’re currently residing in Dubai on the visa of your spouse or parent, the only requirement that needs to be fulfilled for you to start working is a freelancer permit. By receiving a permit, professionals currently working on a full-time basis in the UAE can work as freelancers.

Non-Residents Have To Apply For Freelancer Visa

If you are a non-resident, you will need to submit an application for a freelancer visa which will be valid for three years. This sort of visa allows a foreigner to reside and operate as a freelancer in the nation. The freelancing visa permits you to work with any company throughout the nation, including UAE Free Zones.

Things You Need To Know In Advance

  • Easy Application And Quick Setup

In Dubai, there are basically two ways to apply for a freelancer visa: 

  • Directly through the Department of Economic Development (DED), or 
  • Through one of the several free zones of the nation.

While neither path is very onerous, the free zone option is likely to be simpler. It offers additional benefits such as zero corporate as well as personal tax and 100% profit repatriation. 

Even the application procedure is straightforward. Your business name is basically your own name, and your license is often granted within seven to ten days.

  • Wide Range Of Options Available

Amongst the most appealing aspects of freelancing in the UAE is a broad choice of fields to work in. Freelance licenses are provided for practically all the business activities listed by DED. But, if you are applying for a freelance permit in a free zone, the field of work you are interested in must be relevant to the UAE Free Zone’s focus area.

  • No Office Space Required

Freelancing allows you complete flexibility, so you don’t have to be tied to a mainland or UAE Free Zone location. There is no need for you to work in an office. If you want, you can work from home or lease an office facility or a desk from one of the free zones.

  • Sponsoring Dependents

While freelancing isn’t always a stable career, it doesn’t suggest you cannot bring your family along. You can sponsor your family (or workers if you’re starting a business) after you have secured your own visa, if you match the income criteria. In general, however, a male can easily sponsor dependents in comparison to a woman, provided she works in specifically recognized professions (such as medicine) and meets the necessary salary requirements.

  • No Requirement For Bookkeeping Or Subject To Auditing

Nobody likes lengthy paperwork, particularly if they are doing it all by themselves. Thankfully, in the United Arab Emirates, freelancers are not necessarily obliged to produce statutory accounts or be audited, which is a piece of great news for a busy entrepreneur.

  • Upgrading to a full-fledged Business

Some people just don’t want to give up working as a freelancer and only pick up that much work that they can conveniently handle. However, others regard freelancing as the initial step toward growing their business and establishing a company. The best part here is that converting your freelancing permit to a company license is simple. Among several other benefits of upgrading your license is the ability to apply for multiple visas. In addition, several UAE Free Zones allow you to business setup in Dubai without having to invest any capital upfront.

Procedure To Obtain A Freelance License And Visa In Dubai

The entire process basically includes the following:

  • Obtaining a Freelance License,
  • Acquiring the Establishment Card,
  • Seeking a Freelance Visa, and
  • Getting a Resident Visa.

Obtaining a Freelance License

A UAE Free Zone can provide you with a Freelance License. The TECOM Group and the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority have collaborated to establish the GoFreelance project, which allows people to showcase their skills to the world to be considered for unique work possibilities. 

Documents You’ll Require

  • Your updated Resume/CV
  • Latest photograph
  • A copy of your passport and visa
  • NOC from your UAE sponsor (if required)
  • Bank reference letter
  • Freelancers applying in the education sector must provide confirmation of academic qualifications, which must be validated by the UAE Consulate in their home country or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Those freelancers who are applying in the media sector will require samples of their work or portfolio.

Process to follow:

  • The GoFreelance website is the right place to apply for a freelancing permit.
  • Visit the website and click on the Go Apply button.
  • Complete the application form there, along with submitting the relevant documents.
  • Once you have submitted the application, you have to wait for the approval email, which may take up to ten to fifteen days.
  • On the approval of your request, you’ll be notified through an email.
  • After you get the approval, you’ll have to visit the business centre in Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park, or Dubai Internet City for the purpose of signing the documents and paying the fees.
  • Once the freelance permit has been issued, you’ll receive the authorization through email.

Acquiring the Establishment Card

On receiving the freelance permit, you’ll also be granted access to the business service platform of TECOM, which is also known as AXS. This platform was built in collaboration with Dubai Development Authority (DDA). It enables you to access numerous government as well as corporate services. By paying some additional costs, you’ll be able to apply for an establishment card using this platform. 

Note: To apply for the establishment card, you’ll need the freelancing license and a UAE mobile number.

Seeking a Freelance Visa

The documentation requirement for a freelance employment visa are:

  • Establishment card
  • Original passport
  • Passport size photo
  • Valid medical insurance
  • Your visa (if applicable)

The application must be submitted to Dubai Development Authority (DDA), and you’ll need to renew this visa every three years.

Getting a Resident Visa

On completing the submission of a freelance visa application, you’ll get an entry permit within a duration of five to seven days. On receiving it, you’ll have to put up with the specific resident visa formalities, which also include the medical test. Note that the permit is valid for a time period of sixty days from the date of issue.

Your resident visa will be stamped once you have completed the full procedure and accompanying criteria. From the date of issue, this visa will be valid for three years.

Wrapping Up

Obtaining a freelance visa facilitates access to several prospects in a growing economy like Dubai. You must, however, have a certain propensity for an independent lifestyle in addition to technical skills. This involves being prepared to operate alone, being self-motivated, and being smart when it comes to networking and chasing down bills.

So, if you’re up for it, work with a trustworthy and reliable business like Make My Firm to get the proper and valid freelance visa in the UAE. As prominent Dubai company formation specialists, we provide a spectrum of immigration options and business setup and support services to freelancers. Our specialists will assist you in acquiring the most appropriate freelance visa as per your requirement and will manage the whole procedure for you.

Author Bio:

I am a content writer and editor at Make my firm. At Make my firm being a business setup consultancy our proposed profit models are always proved to be the cutting edge. We serve and put across the solutions to all possibilities from business rescue plan to Business Setup in Dubai, UAE. It is a certified business setup consultant in Dubai, UAE and Specialise in UAE Company Setup and Business Formation in Dubai.


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