Here’s what you need to know about freelance visas in Dubai
Anyone moving to Dubai will find great flexibility when it comes to establishing their own business or working as a freelancer. With the rising popularity of the gig economy, many initiatives have been introduced to make it easier and cheaper for freelancers to live and work in Dubai. Different work-related strategies give residents and individuals who wish to come to the city a chance to obtain a freelance visa in Dubai or a permit.
TYPES OF FREELANCE VISAS IN DUBAI
There are different types of freelance visas in Dubai, as per the latest updates announced by the government.
FREELANCE VISA AND WORK PERMIT IN DUBAI FOR RESIDENTS
Thanks to their parent’s or spouses’ visas, individuals already residing in Dubai can get a freelancer work permit. You can apply for a permit even if you are employed full-time. In such situations, however, an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from your employer/sponsor is needed.
FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI FOR NON-RESIDENTS
If you are not a UAE resident, you must apply for a freelancer visa to acquire a residency permit. This permit allows individuals to reside and work in Dubai as a freelancer. Also, you will have to apply for a residence visa.
THE DUBAI TALENT PASS
The Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Dubai Culture and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) launched the Dubai Talent Pass. The purpose of this initiative was to attract global talent.
This allows freelancers from the field of technology, marketing, art, media, education, marketing, culture and consultancy industries to live and work in the emirate.
The freelance visas in Dubai cost when applying via the Dubai Talent Pass is AED 9,500. You can renew the visa every year. The renewal fees vary according to your work area.
To apply for the pass, visit the official DAFZA website. Go to Talent Pass and click on Sign up and Get Started. Fill in the form to put your name in the hat.
With the GoFreelance programme, you can become a freelancer at Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park & Dubai Design District. One can bid on projects and expand their network through the Marketplace – a dedicated platform to support freelancers. The business activities that are selected for this type of visa includes education, media, tech and design.
To apply, visit the official GoFreelance website, click on Apply and complete three steps along with the payment to submit your application. The cost of the permit is AED 7,500 and it has to be renewed annually. Permit holders can also apply for family and dependent visas.
GREEN RESIDENCE FOR FREELANCING AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT
The UAE Green Visa for freelancers and self-employed individuals is a 5-year residency visa. You can apply for this visa without being employed at a company or a sponsor.
You need to match the following requirements to be eligible.
- Attain self-employment or freelance permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- Education level: Minimum bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma.
- A minimum annual income of AED 360,000 via self-employment over the past two years, or the applicant has to prove financial solvency through their stay.
To apply visit the official GDRFA website, log in with UAE Pass, fill in the form and pay the fees.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI
There are several benefits of having a freelance permit and visa in Dubai.
First, it gives 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.
Second, 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.
Third, having a freelance visa and permit in Dubai means you can work as an independent contractor for companies across the UAE and have access to the free zone’s business centre.
Fourth, with the freelance visa in Dubai, you can also sponsor family members to come and live with you. For further details, check out the guide about family visa. However, remember that you cannot sponsor employees with your freelance permit and visa.
One can find numerous jobs and assignments to kick start your freelance career via the official marketplace website. You can connect with companies and individuals looking for freelancers with specific skill sets.
FREELANCE VISA ACCORDING TO PROFESSION
Different free zones and emirates in the UAE prioritise certain professions as per the needs identified by the government.
BANKING AND FINANCE PROFESSIONALS
Banking and finance professionals can apply for a freelance visa UAE via Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development. This includes professionals from the field of auditing, accounting, analyzing auditing and accounting systems, consultants in tax-related areas and Shariah review consultancy for the transactions of Islamic financial institutions.
Have you been searching for how to get Dubai freelance visa? Well, if you have experience in the media industry, there are plenty of options.
Professionals belonging to the following fields can apply for freelancer visa Dubai through Dubai Media City:
- Aerial shoot photographer
- Audio/sound engineer
- Brand consultant
- Content provider
- Events planner
- Graphic and furniture designers
- Market analyst
- Print media specialists
- Web designers
- Web developers
An alternate to freelance permit Dubai could be via the twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. Media professionals can apply for freelance visas which are valid for two years.
Similarly, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone offers a good alternative if you are unable to obtain a cheap freelance visa in Dubai. Their freelance permit starts from AED 6,100.
For those looking for the cheapest freelance visa in Dubai, this might be the right category given they meet the criteria. Freelance employment visa Dubai cost 2024 for this category is AED 2,750 for one year and AED 5,000 for year two. Additional charges include AED 2,000 for the Establishment Card.
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone also offers freelance permits to educationists, starting from Dh6,100.
You can meet the freelance visa Dubai requirements for an IT professional if you work in the field of mobile, web, software development and architecture, data science, analytics, customer service and IT and telecommunication networking.
Another category of freelancer visa Dubai is for those employed in the couture industry. The list includes:
- Apparel designers
- Concept designers
- Fashion stylists
- Image consultants
- Fashion artists
- Interior designers
- Object designers
- Personal shoppers
- Textile designers
- Visual merchandisers
- Wedding planners
This freelance visa Dubai cost is relatively cheaper. One year fee is AED 2,750 and for a three-year visa it is AED 5,000. Plus an additional fee of AED 2,000 is levied on issuance of the Establishment Card.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A FREELANCER VISA IN DUBAI AND PERMIT
Applying for the a GoFreelance permit and freelance visa in Dubai is now a simple process that requires only a few steps. A free zone in Dubai issues a freelance permit.
To get freelance visas in Dubai, you will initially need to apply for a freelance permit or licence to be registered as a freelancer in the emirate.
1. APPLY ONLINE FOR THE PERMIT
You can apply for a freelance permit in the UAE through the GoFreelance website. Select the option Go Apply, fill out the application form and submit the required documents.
DOCUMENTS FOR FREELANCER PERMIT IN DUBAI
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 (if applicable)
Please note that if you are applying to the education sector, you must submit proof of academic qualifications certified 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 must 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 a 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 to renew 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 10-20 days. After this, you must visit the business centre in Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Media City or Dubai Internet City, where you must sign the documents and pay the fees personally. 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, AXS, launched in partnership with the Dubai Development Authority (DDA), which allows you to avail many government or corporate services. Through this platform, you can first apply for the establishment card, which will bear an additional cost. After receiving your establishment card, you can apply for a freelance employment visa under the Dubai Development Authority (DDA). Here’s a look at the freelance visa in Dubai requirements.
4. COMPLETE THE RESIDENCY VISA PROCEDURES
Once you submit your freelance visa application in Dubai, you will receive an entry permit within five to seven working days. You will receive the entry permit (valid for 60 days from the date of issue). As the next step, you must complete certain residency visa procedures in Dubai, such as your medical test. When these procedures are complete, your residency visa will be stamped that remain valid for three years from the date of issue.
FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI PRICE
There are separate costs involved when applying for freelance visas in Dubai.
- Freelance permit (valid for 1 year): AED 7,500
- Establishment card (valid for 1 year): AED 2,000
- Employment visa (valid for 3 years): AED 2,750
- Employment visa (valid for 5 years): AED 5,000
If you are applying for a residence visa in Dubai (valid for three years) outside the UAE, the costs are:
- AED 3,330 (Normal)
- AED 3,900 (Express)
For those applying from within the UAE, the costs are:
- AED 4,960 (Normal)
- AED 6,340 (Express)
Please note that the above freelance employment visa costs include medical test charges, visa stamping charges and the Emirates ID fee. Here is how you can check DHA Medical Report Online.
Please note that Freelance visa Dubai cost 2024 may differ depending on your field and other cost.
FAQS ABOUT FREELANCE VISA DUBAI
HOW CAN I BECOME A FREELANCER IN DUBAI?
As discussed, there are different freelance visa options. You need to select the one which fits your qualifications the best and apply via official government websites.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL WAY TO LEGALLY OBTAIN A FREELANCE VISA IN DUBAI?
Follow the information available above and only apply via the official government websites. The processes are simple and you can get it done on your own.
I HAVE A QUERY ABOUT FREELANCE VISAS IN DUBAI. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?
If you have more questions about the freelance permit and visa in Dubai, get in touch with the relevant free zones in Dubai using these contact numbers:
- Dubai Media City: +971-4-391-4555
- Dubai Internet City: +971-4-391-1111
- Dubai Knowledge Park: +971-4-390-1111
- Dubai Design District: +971-4-433-3000
WHAT IS THE DUBAI FREELANCE VISA FEE?
As discussed, Dubai freelance visa fee depends on the type of visa, your profession and other such factors.
WHAT ARE THE FREELANCE VISA REQUIREMENTS?
Freelance visa requirements as discussed above depend on type of visa.
WHAT IS FREELANCE VISA DUBAI COST?
Freelance visa Dubai cost depends upon the visa you apply for. Refer to the fee breakdown discussed above.
HOW LONG IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR FREELANCE VISA DUBAI?
Generally, the visa process can take between 10 to 30 days. However, this can exceed depending on the requirements of your case.
WHAT IS THE PROCESSING TIME FOR FREELANCE PERMIT DUBAI?
As discussed, the processing time is usually between 10 to 30 days.
CAN FREELANCE VISA HOLDERS APPLY FOR FAMILY MEMBERS VISAS?
Generally, yes freelance visa holders can apply for family members residence visas.
WHAT IS THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF DUBAI FREELANCE VISA?
Dubai Freelance Visas are generally valid for a year and have to be renewed each other.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR DUBAI FREELANCE VISA FOR INDIANS?
The process for applying Dubai Freelance Visa for Indians is the same as for any other nationality. Similarly, Dubai Freelance Visa for Pakistanis is no different either. Given the historical ties, cultural similarities and relatively short distance, both population of Dubai has a large number of expats from these two South Asian countries.
WHERE CAN I READ MORE ABOUT DUBAI VISAS?
WHERE CAN I LEARN ABOUT ABU DHABI FREELANCE VISAS?
Visit the Abu Dhabi residents office website to find out detail and to apply for Abu Dhabi Freelance visa website.
And that’s MyBayut’s guide to getting a freelance 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. Likely, you may initially have to spend a few months networking and developing a portfolio.
So if you’re up for it, apply for the freelance visa in Dubai today, or look at other 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!