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.
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