freelance license in Dubai

Freelance license in Dubai – A beginner’s guide

Ever wanted to venture off in your own business journey? The path of freelancing is just what you need. The UAE provides individuals with numerous opportunities to take up freelance work and succeed. Freelance licenses in Dubai are undeniably growing more popular each day.

Initially, there were not many freelancers based in the UAE because it was rarely possible for residents to get a permit and freelance legally. However, with the fairly new provision for the issuance of freelance permits in the UAE, the tables have turned.

The increase in the number of freelancers is also because UAE has recently started providing residency visas for freelancers and enables them to sponsor their family members. As a result, this has encouraged more individuals to venture into the world of freelancing.

The UAE has also become a hub for individuals from all over the world seeking employment opportunities, given its exquisite standard of living, precautions taken for the safety and security of the residents, and much more.

The UAE is also one of the leading countries from around the globe to have handled the pandemic’s aftermath very well and bounced back in the economic world quickly and conveniently. Therefore, boosting opportunities for individuals looking for work, especially with Expo 2020 around the corner.

What is a freelance permit?

A freelance permit Dubai, also often referred to as a freelance license is a work permit. It enables individuals to be self-employed as a freelancer or work without being tied to one particular company for a long term.

Freelance permits in the UAE are usually issued for specific industries including:

  • Media
  • Education
  • IT Services

The issuance of the permits primarily depends on the authorities of the free zone that you opt for and the level of your professional experience. For instance, Shams free zone offers a freelance license for 13 media-related activities as well as e-commerce. Applicants will also need to have similar experience and degree/ diploma in the same field.

When it comes to freelance permits, legally it is only permissible for an individual account to be opened in the bank and no other types such as joint accounts. Freelance permits do not enable partnerships, nor allow licensees to hire employees.

The validity of the UAE residency visa is the same as the validity of the permit. For instance, if the individual’s permit is valid for one year, so will the residency of applicants and dependents.

Benefits of obtaining a freelance permit in the UAE:

Transitioning into a freelance professional in the UAE undeniably gives you the opportunity to work on your own terms but it also comes with various other benefits including:

  • Freelance license fee is waived off for two years in Dubai (number of years vary depending on the emirate)
  • Residency visa valid for three years in Dubai (number of years vary depending on the emirate)
  • Minimal costs 
  • Flexible timings and schedule
  • Access to world-class media and entertainment companies
  • Training programmes and talent programmes
  • Ability to sponsor dependents
  • Independence in the economic world
  • Ability to work in the UAE without having to be physically present

Another upside of becoming a freelancer is that you can obtain your freelance permit in the UAE even if you are already employed by a company. You will be required to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from your employer to conduct freelance work. However, upon receiving the NOC, the rest of the procedures are simple and quick.

The Essentials to get a UAE freelancer license or freelance work permits in Dubai

Choice of Jurisdiction:

Entrepreneurs could start a company as a freelancer from a given jurisdiction that permits a number of activities. The jurisdiction that offers freelancer permits to acquire a freelance license in UAE is Abu Dhabi Two Four 54, Dubai Production City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Design District, Dubai International Academic City, Fujairah Creative City and Umm Al Quwain FTZ. It is essential for a freelancer to choose a jurisdiction and beforehand check whether the attained activity is fitting to get a license.

Freelancer License Application:

An application form must be collected from the concerned jurisdictional authority. The application must be submitted along with a business plan, passport copy with residence visa, recommendation and reference letters by employers, resume, portfolio and original qualification certificates and credentials. Also, a good standing certificate from the referred bank certifying that the individual holds a satisfactory account and an NOC in case of a Dubai resident is essential.

Visa Requirements:

It is mandatory for expatriates working in the UAE to have a visa issued by the sponsor. Usually, an employer fulfills all the requirements of visa and sponsorship, but being a freelancer – one could acquire an employment visa through the licensing agent, or in case a freelancer is already sponsored by spouse visa or another employer a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required.

Office on Rent:

To acquire a UAE freelancer license it is also necessary to rent an office space in the applied jurisdiction. However, being a sole entity of the company there are several convenient options such as Flexi-desk, smart office, etc. Jurisdictions also provide packages for the license that include all these costs.

Business Setup Company:

Several professionals conform to the fact that rather than doing the process themselves, having a business setup company at assistance is an ideal method. A business setup company takes care of all the requirements – from recommending you in the right jurisdiction for your business activity to renting an office space; to guiding you through the paperwork and more! And to find the best UAE freelance license assistance, contact Shuraa Business Setup.

What are the Legal Activities Permissible for a Freelancer in Dubai?

Regardless of your business model, when becoming a freelancer and obtaining a legal freelance permit, you are allowed to: 

  • Provide services to private individuals
  • Provide services to companies
  • Raise invoices and receive payments
  • Work with government agencies

Free zones offering freelance permit in the UAE

There are several free zones in the UAE that offer freelance permits and each comes with its own benefits and focuses on a specific industry. Some of these free zones in the UAE include:

  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (Rakez): Rakez is one of the largest free zones in the UAE. This jurisdiction enables freelancers and startups all the way to SMEs and industrialists to thrive in over 50 industries.
  • Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media (Tecom): Tecom has established itself as a leading technological and educational hub in Dubai. The free zone consists of several clusters, including Dubai Media City, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Internet City. Tecom business clusters are home to over 6,000 companies ranging from startups to international corporations.
  • Sharjah Media City (Shams): Shams free zone offers a wide range of activities to choose from especially for creative and media businesses. They also have an exclusive offer for freelance permits starting as low as AED 5,750.
  • Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development: In Abu Dhabi, this department provides 48 freelance activities. Any foreigner can obtain a freelance UAE license and a visa.  If you hold a work visa in Abu Dhabi, you will need to furnish your employer with a No Objection Letter in order to obtain a freelance permission.
  • Twofour54: Twofour54 is an Abu Dhabi creative hub that houses a number of media, leisure, and production enterprises. If you want to receive your freelance permission in this free zone, keep in mind that you must associate with one of the local businesses. That business will need to send you a letter of intent declaring that it intends to collaborate with you on specific projects.
  • UAQ Free Trade Zone: one of the simplest and most affordable freelance choices in the UAE is the UAQ free trade zone. For single enterprises, it provides the best value for money. The most reasonable charges are setup, freelance visa fees, and annual renewal. There are possibilities for every profession in the world of business. This freelance license in the UAE does not require any external permits or educational credentials.
  • Ajman: The Ajman Free Zone offers one of the most affordable freelance visas in the UAE. Aside from the cost, there is another advantage to this solution: one license can sponsor two resident visas. If you require a freelancing visa in the UAE, split the cost of the license with a friend and get three years of coverage! Business operations are reasonable, and it is simple to conduct them.

How to obtain a freelance license in Dubai and other emirates

The process of obtaining your freelance license in Dubai and other emirates is seamless. If you are currently employed, you will have to complete one additional step. That is, obtaining an NOC from your current employer, the rest of the procedure is the same for all individuals. These include:

  1. Obtaining an NOC from the current employer (only for already employed individuals)
  2. Submission of documents including:
  • Passport Copy
  • Visa Copy
  • Emirates ID (only if applicable)
  • Photograph
  • Experience Letter
  • Degree / Diploma
  1. Submission of application letterOnce your application is approved you will need to make the payment and receive your freelance permit. The duration of the process of obtaining your freelance license takes approximately five to seven days.

Get your freelance license now with Shuraa 

Obtain your freelance license now with Shuraa Business Setup – One of the leading providers of company formation solutions and beyond.

When applying for a freelance license in Dubai, and doing so legally, you need expert assistance. For more information on freelance permits and how to obtain them, contact Shuraa Business Setup.

Shuraa’s free zone specialists will guide you through the entire process and ensure you acquire your freelance permit in the UAE.

Get your freelance permit within a week. Contact us on +971 44081900 or drop a WhatsApp message on +971 507775554. You can also email your query to [email protected].