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freelance UAE visa requirements

Understanding the Significance of Freelance Visa Requirements in the UAE

The freelance UAE visa requirements are of utmost importance for independent professionals. Especially those who want to work in this prosperous Middle Eastern country. Obtaining a freelance visa in the UAE involves meeting certain criteria. In addition, having to present the corresponding documentation following all the conditions. From work experience to financial solvency, these requirements are the guarantee that freelancers can legally practice in the country. Thus, you can take advantage of the business opportunities available in Dubai and the other emirates.

In this article, we will explore each of the freelance UAE visa requirements. That is, how independent professionals can begin the application process. In addition, we will analyze the benefits of having an independent visa in the country and how you can enjoy exciting projects. If you are a freelancer interested in working in Dubai, read on to understand how this visa can affect your career and lifestyle.

Types of Freelance Visas: Exploring Options Available in the UAE

freelance visa uae requirements

Since 2024, in Dubai, you can find a range of services for freelancers in the UAE. The idea is that they can satisfy your various professional needs.

Each of these visas allows independent workers to work independently and legally in the city. Specifically, for those who meet the freelance UAE visa requirements. Currently, there are a few common categories that you will see below in this list.

  • Freelance Work Permit: The Dubai freelance work permit is a good option for foreigners who want to work independently in the city. The request for this permit is especially for some independent professionals. For example, writers, graphic designers, web developers, and more.
  • Investor/Freelance Visa: If you are an investor/self-employed person who has an interest in Dubai this is the visa for you. Its purpose is to link your status as an independent worker to an investment in a company in the Dubai-free zone. If you establish a business entity in a free zone, you can obtain such a self-employed visa.

Thus, you have the possibility of providing the flexibility to manage your independent work under the shelter of the company.

  • Media freelancer visa: Any media and creative industries professional can apply for the Media freelancer visa. Specifically, journalists, content creators, and photographers. This visa is special to serve people who work to meet the unique needs of these fields. As a result, you can enjoy prosperity in Dubai’s vibrant media landscape.
  • Freelancer license registration in the UAE: The Dubai Virtual Company License is an innovative solution for freelancers who want to establish their online presence. Especially if you do not have the means to enjoy a physical office. This option allows freelancers to interact with clients and partners virtually in Dubai and the world.

Eligibility Criteria: Requirements for Obtaining a Freelance Visa

Before starting your freelance journey in Dubai, there are certain freelance UAE visa requirements that you have to meet. Below, you will see a list of all the eligibility criteria that you have to meet if you want to enjoy the freelance Dubai visa.

  • Unique abilities: The analogy is often made with superheroes who have superpowers. That is, just like them, you need special skills or knowledge in a specific field.
  • Proof of your skills: That is, show evidence of your skills, which can be with certificates, diplomas, or work experience. It is similar to showing your report card but more professional.
  • Valid passport: You must ensure that your passport is ready to travel at least six months before its expiration.
  • Important documents: Finally, you must have all the freelance UAE visa requirements. Especially, you have to have a special plan for your business and proof that you are financially stable.

If you are in Dubai

  • You have the option of applying for an independent work permit if you live on a spouse or parent visa. That is a unique opportunity to start your adventure as an independent.
  • Despite having a full-time job, you can obtain a license to work as a freelancer. But, if that is your situation, your sponsor or employer has to give you a No Objection Certificate (NOC). That is, a way to ask permission to be able to work on your own.

If you do not live in Dubai

  • Initially, you have to apply for a self-employed visa to work and live in Dubai.
  • Finally, you will need a residence visa so you can start your work activities.

Documentation Requirements: Essential Papers for Freelance Visa Application

Initially, you have to apply for the self-employed permit, which is a special permit for independents. To do this, you only need a copy of your self-employed license and a mobile phone number in the UAE.

Subsequently, you have to wait between 8 and 12 business days to have your card and with this, you can apply for your self-employed visa.

If you already have your freelance permit you have to comply with the following freelance UAE visa requirements.

  • Original passport of the independent professional.
  • Establishment card if you have your company in the country.
  • Recent passport-size photo of the independent professional.
  • Medical insurance valid in the territory of the UAE
  • If you have any type of visa in the UAE you have to bring it.
  • No Objection Certificate or NOC from any sponsor.
  • In some circumstances, you may be asked for a bank reference letter.
  • Curriculum vitae

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that if your intention is to belong to the educational sector, you have to present proof of academic qualifications. To be valid, they must be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Consulate of the UAE in your country of origin.

On the other hand, if your intention is to join the media sector you have to send your work sample or portfolio. However, if you are applying in the technology or education sector, you can only choose one activity when applying for a permit.

Financial Requirements: Understanding Financial Criteria for Freelance Visa Approval

In principle, self-employed people have to meet the following financial criteria to apply for a freelance visa in the UAE.

  • Freelance permit from MOHRE or Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.
  • Proof of annual income of AED 360,000 within two years before applying.
  • Proof of financial solvency of the self-employed professional during the period of residence.

On the other hand, it is essential to highlight that when applying for this visa, you have to cover certain costs and that is part of the financial requirements. These prices may depend on a few factors, for example, the specific free zone or continental authority.

Below, you will see a list of all the costs you have to cover if you want to enjoy a freelance visa in UAE.

  • Freelance permit cost: Usually between 7,500 and 20,000 AED. It is important to mention that this price may vary depending on the free zone or continental authority where you want the permit.
  • Freelance visa cost: The truth is that there is no fixed fee for a freelance visa in the UAE. However, the most commonly heard prices are between 4,000 and 7,000 AED, depending on the duration of the visa and other aspects.
  • Other expenses: On the other hand, applicants have to take into account other costs, for example, medical insurance, establishment card, and expenses for medical aptitude tests.
  • Total cost: The total cost, is the sum of the prices of the freelancer permit and the visa, which is why it can vary depending on several aspects. For instance, the specific freelance UAE visa requirements and the authority where you are going to process the application.

Health Insurance: Mandatory Coverage for Freelancers in the UAE

Any freelancer needs health insurance to be able to protect their health against unforeseen events. However, they do not have the same advantages that a salaried individual may have. That is, you have to make sure you look for coverage with enough benefits on your own.

Below you will see a list of all the reasons why health insurance coverage is one of the freelance UAE visa requirements.

  • Absence of employment benefits: It is common knowledge that employees of the public sector or companies have numerous benefits. For instance, health and life insurance coverage, provident funds, and more.

However, freelancers are self-employed therefore they have to make their own money investments. As a result, a term insurance plan is essential to survive.

  • Single premium life insurance: If you want to avail a term insurance plan for a duration of 30 years, you have to pay a single premium. That is, you will have protection in case of unfortunate events without having to belong to a company or the public sector.
  • Financial support in case of terminal illnesses or disabilities: Long-term insurance plans have different coverages depending on the interests of freelancers. Among the additional benefits, it is worth mentioning critical and terminal illnesses, disability coverage, and others.

Since your family and income depend directly on you, any eventuality can be devastating. This is why you need to have health insurance to have ample security against threats to you, your business, or your family.

No Objection Certificate (NOC): Importance and Issuance Process

Another of the freelance UAE visa requirements is the No Objection Certificate or NOC. An NOC is a legal document from the relevant authorities that affirms the absence of objections or obstacles to obtaining a freelance visa. Specifically, to affirm that your sponsor has no legal problem with your plans.

The No Objection Certificate can also be requested for other legal procedures. For instance, if you want to buy a property you have to apply for an NOC to affirm that the property is free of encumbrances or legal disputes.

If you want to have a freelance visa you have to have an NOC and to obtain it you just have to follow the following simple steps:

  • Identify the issuing authority: In principle, you have to determine the corresponding authority to issue the NOC. It will probably be your sponsor who does all the corresponding paperwork.
  • Complete the application form: It is time to obtain and complete the application form to have the No Objection Certificate. Generally, this form requires information about the sponsoring applicant and any supporting documentation.
  • Submit the application and pay the corresponding fees: You have to submit the completely filled application form along with the corresponding fees. To find out what the corresponding rates are, you just have to go to the authority where you do the procedure.
  • Wait for processing of the application: After submitting the application the issuing authority has to process it. Processing time will depend on the complexity of the case and the number of requests at the time.
  • Collect the NOC: At the end of the process, the applicant will be able to collect the NOC from the corresponding issuing authority.

Free Zone Selection: Choosing the Right Free Zone for Freelance Activities

In the UAE, many free zones issue licenses for self-employed workers. In this way, if you comply with all freelance Visa Requirements you will be able to work as a freelancer in one of the following free zones:

  • Dubai Internet City: It is a technology park that was created to promote innovation in the IT sector. Additionally, it serves as a regional headquarters for many global technology companies.
  • Dubai Media City: Was established to boost the media footprint of the UAE. Additionally, it is home to regional and global media companies. It is a thriving space for the production of advertising, media, communication, and media services.
  • Ajman Free Zone: Offers cost-effective installation solutions and a wide range of facilities for companies in all sectors, including services, trade, and industry.
  • Dubai Knowledge Park: This is dedicated to human resource management, educational excellence, and professional learning. In this way, it is a center for academic institutions, human resources companies, and training centers.
  • Fujairah Creative City Free Zone: Targets the creative industries and provides a platform for events, media, communications, education, consulting, and marketing professionals to thrive.
  • Dubai Design District: It is known as D3 and is dedicated to the fashion and design industry. Additionally, it is a creative ecosystem that fosters emerging local talent and gives international design, luxury, and fashion brands a home.
  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone: This is tasked with providing profitable trade solutions and serves a wide range of sectors. These include the commercial, industrial, and service sectors.

Application Process: Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Freelance Visa

If you want to obtain a freelance visa, it is important that you know the application process for a freelance visa. In this way, you will be able to know what the Freelance Visa Requirements in UAE are and the steps to follow shown below:

  • Choose the field: You need to decide in which field you are going to work as a freelancer. This way you can find fields such as media, technology, design, or education.
  • Apply for a Freelance Permit: You will need to apply for a self-employed permit in your chosen field. This permit will act as a license to operate as a freelancer in the UAE.
  • Gather the necessary documents: Freelance Visa Requirements include documents such as a copy of passport, CV, academic certificates endorsed by the UAE consulate, professional references, NOC of the resident’s sponsor, etc.
  • Submit your application through the official website of the UAE government.
  • Receive your freelancer permit: When your application is approved you will be able to receive your self-employed permit which will allow you to work legally in the UAE as a freelancer.
  • Apply for your freelancer visa: Having your permit you will be able to apply for a self-employed visa. In this way, you will be able to reside in the UAE while working as a self-employed person.
  • Generally, the application requires a freelancer permit/license, health insurance, passport, UAE telephone number, and passport-size photographs.
  • Undergo medical testing: You must undergo a medical fitness test as part of your visa application process. Additionally, you must obtain health insurance.
  • Visa Issuance: When your application is approved and you pay all fees, your self-employed visa will be issued. This way, you will be able to live and work in the UAE legally.

Renewal and Cancellation: Procedures for Managing Freelance Visas

You already know about the freelance Visa Requirements in UAE and the application process. Therefore, it is important that you know that the self-employed visa has an expiration date. In this way, you must renew it from time to time.

Renewal of the freelancer visa: If you want to renew your UAE self-employed visa you must take this into account:

  • Duration: A self-employed visa can last between 1 and 3 years.
  • Renewal: You must ensure you renew it before your visa expires. This way, you can avoid any type of problem.
  • Stay alert: Always keep in mind the date your self-employed visa expires and start the renewal process early. This way, you will avoid sanctions or any legal problems.

Below, you can see a step-by-step guide to renewing your self-employed visa:

Gather the documents:

  • Medical fitness test certificate.
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date.
  • Renew your establishment card.
  • Apply for your self-employed visa.
  • Pay all fees.
  • The wait may take between 2 to 3 weeks to renew your visa.
  • In the end, you need to make sure that all the details of your visa are correct. If you have an error, you should contact the authority in charge and solve the problem as soon as possible.

Cancellation of freelancer visa: To cancel your visa you must take this into account,

  • How to do it: If you do not want to work as a freelancer in the UAE you must correctly cancel your visa,
  • Stay informed: You need to communicate with the right people or your sponsor. This way, you can start the process of canceling your visa and obtain all the information necessary for this process.

Rights and Responsibilities: Legal Obligations for Freelancers in the UAE

Knowing about the UAE visa rules and the legal responsibilities of freelancers is important. In this way, a freelancer from the UAE must comply with specific regulations so that they can operate within the legal framework of the country.

  • Residency considerations: They can work in the UAE as residents or non-residents. Residents need a valid residence visa and a sponsor. On the other hand, non-residents must apply for a self-employed visa.
  • Business License: A freelancer person must obtain a self-employed license or permit. This way, you can operate under your own name. Additionally, this permit allows you to offer your services in specific sectors.
  • Compliance with UAE regulations: All freelancers have to comply with the laws and regulations of the UAE. Additionally, you must pay taxes, if applicable, and track your expenses and income.

Freelance Visa Requirements in UAE FAQs

freelance visa uae requirements

Is a freelance permit the same as a freelance license?

They are essentially the same since both refer to the authorization necessary to work legally as a self-employed person in specific sectors.

Furthermore, this license/permit is required before you apply for a self-employed visa to work and live in the UAE.

Do I need a freelance permit to get my freelance visa in the UAE?

The self-employed permit is necessary if you want to obtain a self-employed visa in the UAE. In this way, the permit acts as an official authorization for you to operate as a freelancer in your chosen field.

Once you have obtained the self-employed permit, you can apply for a self-employed visa to work and live legally in the UAE. Therefore, the permit is the first step to establishing yourself as self-employed.

How long does the freelance visa process take in Dubai?

The time for a self-employed visa to be processed can vary. However, this usually takes between 20 and 30 days once you have submitted all the necessary documents to obtain your freelancer visa.

Can I work for any Company in Dubai with a freelance visa, or are there restrictions?

The freelancer visa will allow you to work legally as a freelancer professional in the UAE. However, you should keep in mind that your work must be aligned with the activities specified in your self-employed permit.

Therefore, you can offer your services to different companies, but these must be within the scope of your freelance activities.

Additionally, freelancers are generally expected to work independently rather than like full-time employees who work for a single company.

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