The Freelancer Visa and Freelancer Permit in Dubai are legal authorizations designed for people who want to work as freelancers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These permits allow non-citizens to engage in independent activities in various fields such as media, education and design, meeting the criteria set by the UAE government and specific free zone authorities.
These permits provide considerable flexibility for those looking to set up a business or work as a freelancer in Dubai, in line with the growing popularity of the sharing economy. The initiatives in Dubai have been designed to facilitate easier and more affordable access for self-employed people to live and work in the city. This includes a 5-year residency option for freelancers and freelancers, which uniquely does not require a sponsor or employer in the UAE.
The Freelance license authorizes individuals to operate as independent professionals, while the Permit designates them as independent professionals, allowing them to conduct business under their personal name rather than a brand.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) offers a self-employed permit for 2023, allowing people of all levels to work within the UAE or around the world. This comprehensive approach reflects Dubai’s commitment to supporting flexible working models and adapting to the dynamic needs of the modern workforce.
Types of visas for self-employed people
Starting in 2023, Dubai offers a range of self-employed visas and permits designed to meet the diverse needs of professionals. They allow freelancers to work legally and autonomously within the city. These options, along with their associated costs and specific details, include:
Under the directives of @HamdanMohammed, @dafz_official launches the ‘Talent Pass’ license for freelance work. The new license aims to attract global talents and professionals in the fields of media, education, technology, art, marketing and consulting.
(File photo) pic.twitter.com/64iECTUU5i
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 9, 2022
A collaboration between Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza), Dubai Cultureand The General Directorate of Residence and Immigration (GDRFA) has led to the creation of the Talent Pass.
This is a three-year visa aimed at professionals in media, education, art, technology, marketing and consulting. It also allows for the rental of office space by Dafza and includes business licenses for import, export, re-export, general trade, light manufacturing activities, e-commerce and service licenses.
Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development offers a self-employed visa for accounting and auditing professionals, Shariah review consultants and tax field consultants.
In Dubai, media professionals can obtain a freelancer visa through Dubai Media Citycovering around 45 categories including actors, photographers, editors, journalists and web designers.
In Abu Dhabi, twofour54 provides visas for freelancers in the media, production and entertainment industries for two years.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone also offers freelance permits to media professionals starting at AED 6,100.
Dubai Knowledge Park facilitates self-employed visas for educational consultants, e-learning consultants, executive trainers, researchers and trainers. Requests can be made through gofreelance.aewith one-year visas costing AED2,750 and three-year visas costing Dh5,000, plus additional costs for a self-employed license and establishment card.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone also offers educator permits starting at AED 6,100.
Freelancers in web, mobile, software development, IT and telecommunications networks, data science and analytics can apply for visas through gofreelance.aewith the same cost structure as for educators.
Dubai Design District offers freelance visas for clothing designers, interior designers, fashion stylists and other design professions.
In addition to these, Dubai introduced several new types of permits for freelancers in 2023:
- Independent work permit: A versatile option for various professions, from writers to web developers, without the need to establish a company.
- Investor/self-employed visa: Links self-employed status to an investment in a company in the Dubai Free Zone.
- Media freelancer visa: Specifically for media and creative industry professionals.
- Dubai Virtual Company License: Enables digital operations without physical office space.
- Self-employed permit for women: Designed to support and empower entrepreneurial and self-employed women.
These options demonstrate Dubai’s commitment to supporting a diverse and flexible independent ecosystem.
Source: Dubai Visit Visa Online and Khaleej Times
Green Visa for Self-Employed
In 2023, the UAE expanded the eligibility for the self-employed visa in Dubai, making it accessible not only to UAE nationals but also residents and non-residents. Additionally, self-employed people now have the option to apply for a 5-year green visa. Self-employed persons who wish to apply for a green visa must present:
- A self-employed/self-employed work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization
- Proof of a bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma
- Proof of annual income from self-employment for the previous two years amounting to no less than AED 360,000, or proof of financial solvency during your stay in the UAE.
The cost of issuing and renewing the self-employed permit is around AED 7,500, which must be renewed annually.
The establishment card costs approximately AED 2,000 for both issuance and renewal, with an annual renewal requirement.
- For a 3-year work visa, the cost is 2750 AED
- A 5-year visa costs AED 5,000
These visas must be renewed every 3 or 5 years, respectively.
Cost for non-residents applying for a 3-year visa:
If you are outside the UAE and applying for a 3-year visa, the cost is approx.
- AED 3,330 for normal processing
- 3900 AED for express processing
Cost for residents applying for a residence visa:
For those who apply from inside the country, the cost is
- AED 4,960 for normal processing
- AED 6,340 for express processing
General Annual Expenditure:
It is estimated that the annual expense will be around 11,525 dirhams. This cost does not include medical insurance but covers medical tests, visa stamping and Emirates ID.
In addition to these specific costs, it is also important to note that the freelance license in Dubai costs AED 15,000, which covers the application and the first year’s business license, with annual renewal fees of AED 10,000.
The costs of the self-employed visa and the necessary licenses are subject to change and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant.
Source: dubaibusinessservice.com and Flybiz
Requirements for the self-employed visa in Dubai
To obtain a freelance work permit or license in the UAE, the following basic requirements are generally necessary:
Copy of passport:
A valid copy of your passport.
Educational or professional qualifications:
- Title or certificate of professional qualification.
- The certificate must be duly legalized before a notary.
- Attestation by the competent authority of the country where the certificate was issued.
- Certification from the UAE embassy or consulate in the country of issue of the certificate.
- Certification from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Valid health insurance coverage.
If applicable, establishment card.
Medical aptitude tests:
Completion of required medical aptitude tests.
Payment of Fees:
Appropriate rates as established by the authority issuing the self-employment permit or license.
By meeting these criteria and paying the appropriate fees, professionals can legally work as freelancers within the UAE, taking advantage of the flexibility and opportunities offered by this dynamic and diverse market. As always, it is advisable to stay up to date with the latest regulations and procedures, as they are subject to change, to ensure a smooth and compliant process for obtaining a freelance work permit or visa in the UAE.
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