Dubai is known around the world as a global hub of big business. But the large enterprises are just one part of this bustling metropolis. For every Google or Microsoft, there is a solo entrepreneur making their mark in this incredible emirate.
And if you’re looking to follow suit, you’ll find a welcoming and supportive business environment awaits you. Getting started as a freelancer in the UAE is easy with the right support. You’ll even have the option to convert your freelance permit to a full business should you wish to expand your enterprise.
As the holder of a freelance permit, you can also apply for a freelance visa which allows you to live and work in the UAE. Interested? Keep reading to find out how it works.
What is a freelancer licence or permit?
A UAE freelance license, also known as a UAE freelance permit, enables you to operate as a business in the UAE. Essentially, the business is in your name. Permits are usually issued to those in the education, creative, and media-related industries.
It is an incredibly flexible and affordable way to set up to trade out here in Dubai. Unlike many other trade licenses, there is no requirement for a No Objection Certificate from your employer or sponsor. So, in most cases, you can set up a side project without impacting your full-time job.
You are also not obliged to take on office space when starting up as a freelancer. So, you’ll never be tied to a lengthy or expensive lease. You can work from wherever you like — home, coffee shop, coworking space. Or anywhere else that you so wish.
Freelance permits can be renewed, so you’re able to continue freelancing for as long as you want. Alternatively, you could transfer your permit to a full business license once you have generated enough ongoing trade.
Is freelance legal in the UAE?
When correctly licensed, operating as a freelancer is absolutely legal. To ensure you are on the right side of the law, it is always worth working with a reputable company formation agent.
Unfortunately, there remain some unscrupulous setup agents in the UAE that will take your payment without ensuring you are adequately licensed to work. This could lead to a host of potential issues, from fines to visa revocation.
How to spot illegal freelancer visa solutions providers
It is not always easy to spot a scammer, but there are few things to look out for that may reduce your chances of being stung.
Firstly, if a freelance permit provider promises that they can help you find work and get you a visa in return for cash, they are unlikely to be a legitimate company. If they advise you to lie or exaggerate on your application, that is another warning sign.
Finally, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re unsure whether you’re dealing with a legitimate provider, enter their company details into the National Economic Register to cross-check.
How to get a freelance visa in UAE
When you work with a company formation expert like Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ), it’s simple to set up as a freelancer and apply for a visa in the UAE.
The first step is to apply for your freelance permit. To do this, you can either apply directly to the Department of Economic Development or Municipality in the Emirate you are setting up in or apply to a free zone. Many free zones, including Fujairah Creative City, allow you to apply online.
You will need to submit a few details about you and your intended business activities in either case. This usually includes an application form, passport copies, and proof of your experience or qualifications in your chosen field.
Once your application is approved, you can apply for your freelance visa in Dubai. Again, with the right guidance, this is a simple process, if a little more involved.
As part of the application, you will be required to submit biometric scans and undergo a medical, blood test and chest x-ray. You may also be able to sponsor others for their visas, be they employees or dependents such as your spouse, parent or child.
Freelance Visa Dubai Costs
If you’re looking for the cheapest freelance visa in Dubai, it’s a good idea to apply for a free zone license. Not only does this tend to be a more affordable option, but you’ll also benefit from zero currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate your capital and profits.
Prices will vary depending on where you choose to set up. And they can range considerably, anywhere from AED 2,500 to AED 20,000.
Get your freelance visa with BIZ
If you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up as a freelancer in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone when establishing a new company in the UAE.
We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.
As well as handling your license application, BIZ can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.
We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits, and visas applications required to trade in the UAE.
In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.