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Working as a self-employed person, freelancer, or digital nomad is now possible from anywhere in the world. Compared to other countries, the UAE has created the legal framework for those who can work remotely back in 2019. Dubai now offers freelance visas to certain categories of people. The freelance visa in Dubai addresses independent contractors only and can have a longer validity period unlike the digital nomad visa.
Below, we invite you to discover more about the freelance visa in Dubai and its requirements. You can reach out to our law firm in Dubai for support in applying for it.
Types of freelancers addressed
- banking and IT professionals,
- education specialists,
- media persons
Availability for foreign professionals (YES/NO)
Yes, foreign citizens can apply
- event management,
- design, etc.
Eligibility conditions for applicants
- academic qualifications,
- recognized prizes, etc.
Special requirements for foreigners (YES/NO)
Residence permit requisites for foreigners (YES/NO)
Yes, residence permits must be obtained
Dubai free zones available
- Dubai Media City,
- Dubai Knowledge Park,
- Dubai Airport Free Zone,
- Dubai Design District,
- Dubai Internet City
Availability in other emirates (YES/NO)
Yes: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaim
Possibility to relocate with family (YES/NO)
Sponsorship requirements (YES/NO)
Only if sponsored by an employer or family member living in UAE
Application fee (approx.)
1 or 3 years
Timeframe to obtain a freelance visa (approx.)
Approx. 2 weeks, depending on the free zone to move to
Advantages of freelance visa
- easy to obtain,
- cheap alternative to an investment visa,
- no personal income tax,
- access to a large business market
Freelance visa application services (YES/NO)
The freelance visa for sale in Dubai
Here are the main categories of independent contractors that can apply for a freelance visa for Dubai:
people working in the education sector;
sportsmen and artists;
people working in the media sector;
Also, another difference between a freelance and a digital nomad visa is that freelancers can generate income in Dubai. Moreover, the freelance visa in Dubai has a low cost.
Foreign citizens who want to apply for freelance visas must prepare a set of documents and file them with the Dubai Development Authority.
Another important aspect of this type of visa is that it can be used in various free zones in Dubai. The authorities of these free zones impose specific conditions for the issuance of the respective passes, including when it comes to costs. This means one ca choose a cheap freelance visa in Dubai, depending on where he/she wants to apply for immigration to Dubai.
There are 4 types of freelance visas that can be obtained by those who want to relocate to Dubai. These are:
the Talent Pass that is issued for the Dubai Airport Free Zone;
the media freelance visa issued for the Dubai Media City;
the educational freelance visa issued in Dubai Knowledge Park;
the designers visa issued in Dubai Design District.
The freelance visa for sale in Dubai is also available for IT professionals.
There are also other free zones that issue such visas, and among them are Dubai Internet City, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City. Abu Dhabi twofour 54 free zone, Um Al Quwain Free Zone, and Fujairah Creative City also issue such permits for UAE citizens and foreigners who must first obtain residence permits. Feel free to address your questions in thise sense to our immigration lawyers in Dubai.
Documents required to apply for a freelance license in Dubai
When applying for a freelance permit in Dubai, you will need to file the following documents:
a recent picture;
a copy of the passport and the visa;
a reference letter from a bank;
a sponsorship letter issued from an UAE employer or another sponsor, where required.
An important aspect to consider is that the minimum validity of the passport when applying for such a visa is 8 months compared to the 6 months usually required for other types of visas.
Also, when seeking to work in education, proof of qualifications acknowledged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country is required.
If you decide to apply for a freelance visa, our immigration lawyers in Dubai can offer all the information you need to file your application correctly.
The sponsorship letter for a freelance visa
Sponsorship or a No Objection Certificate is required for those who come to Dubai to join their spouses or partners, or who come here based on full-time employment. For entrepreneurs it is possible to obtain the certificate from one’s own company.
The renewal of the freelance permit in Dubai is no longer subject to this certificate. The procedure of obtaining the visa depends on the free zone you decide on, however, it usually takes 10 to 15 days to obtain it.
If you need more information on specific conditions associated with obtaining a freelance license for Dubai, do not hesitate to enquire with our law office.
You may also bring your spouse and children with you if you hold an investment visa in Dubai. Additionally, if you have decided to open a company in Dubai, you can also add at least one executive member of your staff on this visa. Feel free to address our local lawyers for in-depth information on the sponsorship requirements that apply when you bring employees here.
What are the differences between the various types of freelance visas?
As you can read above, you can apply for a freelance permit and choose to work from various free zones. These visas are usually granted based on your experience and the type of activity you want to undertake. However, there are also other differences between them, such as the application fee and the documents required to prove one’s qualifications. The validity of the visa can also be shorter or longer.
The Talent Pass, for example, is issued for independent work by the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza), Dubai Culture, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The free zone issues the freelance permit for professionals in the media, education, art, technology, marketing, and consulting fields.
for industrial and light manufacturing operations;
for e-commerce, packaging, and assembly of goods.
Should you want to apply for a freelance license in Dubai or one of its free zones, our lawyers can guide you.
Obtaining a residence card in Dubai
After entering the UAE in order to apply for freelance permit in Dubai, you will first be issued a residence card that will be valid for 60 days until your license is released. During these 2 months, you should verify all the requirements you need to meet to settle here, such as medical exams.
Digital nomad visa vs. freelance visa in Dubai
The Dubai freelance permit is the equivalent of a digital nomad visa issued in other countries around the world. However, there are some important differences between the two types of temporary residency options. For example, a digital nomad visa covers only activities conducted by the remote worker for an overseas employer, while the freelance license enables one to work for an employer in Dubai.
A digital nomad visa is also subject to specific income requirements depending on the duration of stay and whether one moves with the family or not. By comparison, the Dubai freelance visa is subject to an application fee.
Thefreelance visa in Dubai and its cost
Foreign professionals who want to move and apply for freelance visas in Dubai must first get acquainted with its requirements. The total cost of such a visa ranges between AED 7,500 and AED 20,000 depending on the chosen free zone and other requisites to meet. Also, another fee may apply. This is the AED 10 “Knowledge Dirham” for innovation.
The freelance visa in Dubai comes with many advantages. Should you need more information on the freelance visa for Dubai and the cost, feel free to address our immigration specialists. You can also watch the video below:
Why apply for a freelance visa for Dubai
The first benefit that comes to mind is that it is cheap to obtain a freelance visa in Dubai. However, there are also advantages one can obtain:
it has a validity of 1 or 3 years, depending on how long you intend to stay;
it gives one access to more than 6 free zones in Dubai only;
the cheapest freelance visa starts at AED 2,750 for a one-year validity period.
If you are interested in immigration to Dubai by applying for a freelance visa for sale for Dubai, feel free to enquire about its requirements. Contact us for support in obtaining you visa in order to move here as soon as possible!
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