The way of doing business in the United Arab Emirates has changed radically in recent years, especially with the implementation of the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Job losses and digital transformation have created a whole new business world characterized by remote negotiations and online transactions. The UAE has been a benchmark for this type of business, for this reason, they have created the freelance visa.
In this article, you will learn about what a freelance visa is, who to apply for one, how you can acquire this visa, and also how we can help you with this process.
- What is a UAE freelance visa?
- Who can apply for this visa?
- How can you obtain a Dubai freelance visa?
- Cost of the freelance visa
- Benefits of getting a freelance visa in Dubai
- Why should you become a freelancer?
- How can we help you with the application for your Freelance Visa in Dubai?
1. What is a UAE freelance visa?
The UAE freelance visa is a document delivered by the authorities of the Emirate where you decide to settle. This document allows entrepreneurs to live and work independently in the UAE and must be renewed every three years.
Since 2019, those entrepreneurs interested in working under the freelance modality can do so legally. Professions such as designers, artists, musicians, photographers, tutors, sports coaches, media professionals, among others, can obtain a permit and offer their services throughout the country.
In addition to acquiring the freelance visa to be able to operate in the national territory, you need to obtain a freelance permit. This permit is a work license for freelancers and you must apply for it at one of the licensing authorities in the Emirate.
This visa is quite similar to a UAE residence visa, you will have a pink stamp on your passport and it will be valid for two to three years.
2. Who can apply for this visa?
There are several sectors in which you can apply for this visa, some are the following:
Those professionals who work in sectors related to Media can obtain this visa. In Dubai, for example, this process is done through Dubai Media City. There are about forty five categories in this sector and professionals can choose any of them.
These categories include the following professions:
- Content provider
- Brand consultant
- Web designer
- Sound engineer
- Web developers, among others
In Abu Dhabi, there are different initiatives to obtain this type of visa and they are valid for two years. However, at our agency, we count with the best professionals who can attend this process for you.
On the other hand, in Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, these types of licenses are also delivered and have an initial cost of AED 6,100.
In this sector, trainers, executive coaches, education advisors, researchers, e-learning advisors, among other professions, can apply for one of these visas. In the case of Dubai, this process will be carried out through the Dubai Knowledge Park.
Professionals in this sector can apply for their visa through our website. We will take care of each step and make sure that the process is carried out successfully.
For a one-year visa, the price will be AED 2,750 and for a three-year visa, the cost will be AED 5,000. On the other hand, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone also offers freelance permits for educationists, starting at AED 6,100.
2.3 IT professionals
In essence, those freelancers who work in the area of mobile, web, and software development, architecture, analytics and data science, customer service, telecommunication, and IT networking can apply for this type of visa.
2.4 Finance/Banking professionals
Generally, those individuals who specialized in the area of auditing and accounting, consultations in the field of tax, and the consultancy of financial institutions, can obtain their visa with the Department of Economic Development of the respective Emirate.
2.5 Talent Pass
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in conjunction with the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) has launched what is known as a “Talent Pass”. This visa is valid for three years and includes the rental of an office space. It is aimed at those individuals specialized in art, technology, business consultancy, education, marketing, media, etc.
This visa includes commerce licenses for the export and import of products; an industrial license for packaging and light manufacturing activities; a general commerce license and an e-commerce license for online trading of services and products. Also, this visa offers a license in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development, which allows companies registered in DAFZA to apply for a Department’s license without the need to have an office outside the free zone.
3. How can you obtain a Dubai freelance visa?
The local government has taken the trouble to facilitate the visa application process. For this reason, acquiring this visa is a matter of following a few steps and paying the corresponding fees.
Firstly, before starting your visa application, you must apply for a freelance work permit and the steps to do so are the following:
3.1 Apply for the permit
Some of the documents that you must submit to receive the Freelance permit are the following:
- Recent photography
- Visa and passport copy
- No objection certificate from the UAE sponsor
- Bank reference letter
Note that if you intend to apply to the educational sector, you must submit a certificate of your qualifications endorsed by the UAE Consulate of your country of origin or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates. Likewise, if you intend to apply to the media sector, you must submit a sample of your work.
If, on the other hand, you decide to apply to the tech sector or the education sector, you will only be able to choose one activity when applying for the permit.
3.2 No objection letter (NOC)
If you are on the visa of your spouse or your parent, you will need a no objection certificate from them before applying for the permit. Likewise, if you are a full-time worker in the United Arab Emirates, you will need a NOC from your employers.
It must be remembered that you will not need to submit a NOC at the time of renewing your work permit.
3.3 Continue with the application
Once you have submitted the application form, you will receive an email notifying you that your work permit has been approved. This mail can take between ten and fifteen days to arrive. After this, you must go to the Department of Economic Development of the chosen Emirate to sign all the documents and pay the fees. Then, you will receive your freelance permit via email.
3.4 Apply for the visa
Once you have received your work permit, you must apply for an establishment card. Only after you receive your establishment card you can continue with the process of your Dubai freelance visa.
3.5 Complete the visa procedure
Once you have submitted the application for your visa, you will receive an entry permit within five to seven business days. This entry permit is valid for sixty days from the date of issue.
When you already have the entry permit, you must carry out certain residency visa procedures, for example, a medical test. When all the processes are done, your visa will be stamped and will be valid for three years from the date of issue.
4. Cost of the freelance visa
There are different prices between the establishment card, freelance visa, and freelance permit:
- Establishment card: AED 2,000 (valid for a year)
- Freelance permit: AED 7,500 (valid for a year)
If you are applying for a visa within the UAE:
- Regular: AED4,960
- Express: AED6,340
If you are applying for a visa outside the UAE:
- Normal: AED 3,330
- Express: AED 3,900
It must be remembered that the above costs include charges for medical tests, Emirates ID, and visa stamping.
5. Benefits of getting a freelance visa in Dubai
5.1 Sponsorship of dependants
Working under the freelance modality can be unstable in certain situations. However, you can still have your family with you. Once you have your visa ready and meet the salary requirements, you will be able to sponsor your family members (or employees if you are starting a company).
5.2 No book-keeping or auditing
An advantage of freelancers is that they do not need to go through all the paperwork involved in the auditing or bookkeeping of the company, which makes this business model the ideal setup for a new entrepreneur.
5.3 Corporate bank accounts
As shown above, the process to apply for a work permit or a visa is quite simple. Well, the process to open a corporate bank account is just as easy. The United Arab Emirates is home to large and respectable financial institutions (global and local banks) more than ready to welcome freelancers.
Furthermore, if you establish your company in a free zone, you will likely have frequent contact with the most relevant banks in the area, since they will be in charge to attend your needs.
5.4 Wide variety
One of the most attractive aspects for entrepreneurs is the variety of activities that you can focus on in the United Arab Emirates as a freelancer. Freelance permits cover almost all business activities listed in the Department of Economic Development. However, if you want to obtain a work permit in a free zone, your business activity must be closely related to the free zone’s area of focus.
For example, if you want to establish yourself in the Dubai Media City Free Zone, you must work in the media or a related industry.
5.5 No need for office space
Working as a freelancer gives you the freedom to work where you want and when you want. Without the need to settle permanently either on the Mainland or in a Free Zone. With this type of work, you can work from home or rent an office or a desk in one of the free zones.
6. Why should you become a freelancer?
Working under the freelance modality allows you to have the freedom that many conventional jobs cannot allow you. Being a freelancer means setting your schedule, choosing your clients, and working from wherever you want.
With the ever-changing work environment in the UAE, more and more people are drawn to be their own bosses and apply for this visa, as it has become more affordable and accessible for entrepreneurs.
According to studies, the majority of freelancers in the United Arab Emirates work in the field of graphic design, websites, architecture, social media, health and fitness, and software development. Women make up 38% of the UAE’s freelance workforce, while men make up the remaining 62%. And most of them are between twenty-one and thirty years old.
Some of the aspects of being a freelancer are the following:
- You are free to select the projects you want to work on.
- The opportunity to explore as many income opportunities as you can.
- You can enjoy a better work flexibility.
7. How can we help you with the application for your freelance visa in Dubai?
The United Arab Emirates has been characterized, over the years, for being the most important business center in the region. Here, hundreds of entrepreneurs have found the opportunity to establish their companies and achieve all the proposed goals. However, to be a successful entrepreneur in the UAE, you need to comply with a series of regulations related to your legal status in the country. Our job is to make this process easy for you.
At Connect Zone, we will take care of all the paperwork related to your freelance visa application, we can help you get your emirates ID and corporate bank account, and we can also help you choose a workspace in one of the best business centers in the country.
Are you interested in learning more about the freelance visa application process in the UAE? You can contact us at the following number +97143316688 or you can send us an email at email@example.com. Where one of our advisors will answer all the questions you have.
If you are interested in working with us you can send us your CV through thetalentpoint.com or to the following email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that your privacy comes first for us, we will not share or save your information.