freelancing in the UAE

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Freelancing in the UAE: What are the legal bases?

Freelancing in the UAE represents a process that can be complicated for some. This is largely due to the legal implications that you need to cover when you are starting with your freelance business.

In this article, we will talk about the legal basics involved in setting up a freelance business in the UAE. Additionally, we will address the circumstances surrounding the establishment and start-up of any freelance venture in legal terms. Let us observe now:

  1. How to start?
  2. What is the licensing process?
  3. Requirements to apply for your visa
  4. How much can the whole process cost?
  5. Why set up legally as a freelancer in the UAE?
  6. How can we help you determine the legal basis you need for your freelance business?

1. How to start?

Most of the time we have the exact idea of the plans we have for our new venture. However, we are not always clear about the legal aspects surrounding this decision.

When you are thinking about freelancing in the UAE you will get ideas related to the approach of your business from a freelance point of view. This is because, when you think about becoming a true freelancer, more importance is usually given to the core aspect of the business, its establishment, its essence, and its purpose. But we tend to forget that every business must be framed in its legal aspect to function.

The idea of working for yourself is charming, but you should pay attention to start doing it legally. Above all, many freelancers in the UAE want to excel in the business, but only those who comply with all the legal aspects involved can achieve a high income.

This is because most of those who meet the legal requirements have already gone through many important parts that essentially identify what it means to be a freelancer. In this sense, as a freelancer, you should already possess your work permit and freelance visa in the UAE. This way you will be considered a true freelancer and you will be ready to enter into the subsequent legal considerations.

To learn more about how to start with the legal bases in freelancing, contact Connect Freelance

2. What is the licensing process?

To work in the area you like, you must obtain a freelance license. Through this, you will be able to establish your legal identity. In this respect, when you are becoming a freelancer, this is the first step you will take. 

All freelancers in the UAE must have their licenses. This can be obtained through the Department of Economic Development (DED) or the free zone.

2.1 Benefits of registering through the DED

When you register through the Department of Economic Development, you can expand the geographic area in which you will operate. In this sense, this aspect is important because you can work in a much wider range and with fewer restrictions.

2.2 Benefits of registering through the free trade zone

When you file your application through the free zone, you will be able to access free zone benefits such as tax exemption or reduction. Likewise, foreign freelancers will be able to have 100% ownership of the business.

In general, freelancers in the UAE can access either of the two options. In this respect, either option has its positive aspects. At the end of the day, it is up to the business structure that the freelancer wishes to establish.

Please note that after you have your permit you must apply for your freelance visa in the UAE. So, at this point of establishing the legal framework of your business, you will only have accomplished the first step in your dreams of freelancing in the UAE.

3. Requirements to apply for your visa

When you wish to live freelancing in the UAE, if you are an expatriate, you will need a work visa from a sponsor. Normally, this requirement is completed by the employer. Likewise, you should consider this when thinking about becoming a freelancer. Also, this legal aspect must be done in one of two ways:

  • Your work visa can be obtained through a licensing agent.
  • Your work visa can be obtained through a sponsor. In this sense, you can obtain it either through the visa of your spouse or through the sponsorship of another employer.

Note that by using the sponsor, you must have the NOC. This is a certificate of no objection and is issued by your sponsor. Using this certificate, you will be able to work under the sponsorship of your sponsor.  At the end of the day, any option you choose is a good start. The most important thing is to get your freelance visa in the UAE, this way you will be able to practice legally and avoid problems in the future.

The moment you get your visa, you can consider yourself on the real road to becoming a freelancer. From now on it will be up to you to grow in this world, and develop as a true professional. Therefore, keep in mind that the path will always be to keep learning and improving to succeed.

3.1 Renting office space

There is one benefit that is not very well named that you can get through the licensing agent, the same is office space. It is known that for many licensing agents freelancers must have an office space. In this sense, such office space must be within the jurisdiction of the licensing agent for whom you are freelancing in the UAE

Such office space can be obtained because it is included in the total cost of licensing through the licensing agents. It is worth noting that not all licensing agents offer this inclusion, but it is a positive addition if you wish to work this way.

After you have considered these issues, you should also consider the option of not working in an office. Freelancing allows you the freedom to work from any space you want, including your home. Therefore, keep in mind that freelancing in the UAE is very much what the word freedom means. In this respect, you are the one who decides about your life, and your decisions are framed by what works best for you as a freelancer.

For more information related to the requirements to apply for your visa, please contact us

4. How much can the whole process cost?

All costs may vary. This will depend a lot on where you choose to apply for the license. In this regard, the full cost can vary and can range from AED 15,000 to AED 20,000.  It is important to note that if you want to do freelancing in Dubai you will always have to consider your initial investment. Therefore, if you have considered the expenses at the beginning of the process, you cannot forget about the subsequent expenses.

Regarding this point, it is worth noting that not everything ends with the payment of the initial formalities. In the same way, as you invest money in the legalization of your work permit, you will also have to invest in the visa. Likewise, you must invest in the identification in the Emirates, as well as the establishment card and the medical expenses.

You will adapt to the way a freelancer works, and you will also have a much easier time keeping track of expenses because as your experience progresses, you will be able to establish order.

At the end of it all, you will realize that what at first seemed like an expense, becomes an investment. In the same way, by paying for your legal aspects, you will be more comfortable at work, and in the long run, you will avoid problems. After all, your emotional stability will also receive the positive aspects of being up to date in the legal part, because you will feel the peace of mind that comes from being in congruence with the requirements of the law.

5. Why set up legally as a freelancer in the UAE?

More and more freelancers are establishing themselves in the UAE. Additionally, it is very noticeable that the freelance job creation plan promoted by the government is gaining momentum.

Everything is pointing to the fact that the economy of the country will notice a significant growth in its capital inflow. This is because of the development of freelance jobs. In the same way, this is the right time to enter this labor market. Since, if you want to do freelancing in the UAE, there have never been more opportunities than now.

There is a very important attraction for all those who wish to work in the emirates. This attraction lies in the possibility of living in a territory where the quality of life abounds and laws are well respected. Keep in mind that if you want to do freelancing in the UAE, one of the most important aspects to take care of is the legal form in which everyone must establish their business.

This, after all, is a very important attraction as it assures all investors that they are working with legally registered companies that they can trust.

5.1 Why is it necessary to comply with all legal requirements before starting as a freelancer?

When you decide to become self-employed, you usually focus on the type of work you are going to do. Think about how you will develop your work, and how long it will take you to become financially stable. However, more time should be spent analyzing the legal terms required for freelancing.

We cannot neglect the legal aspect of any business. Keeping up to date with permits, licenses, and visas allows you to access markets. In addition, you will also be able to access customers who would be willing to pay for it. This is because most people in the emirates want to be fully compliant with the law. In this way, your clients will not be afraid to sign contracts. 

Likewise, when you comply with the legal requirements of sponsorship and licensing, you can access higher payments. Consequently, this will improve your quality of life. Invest and cover yourself legally from any future problems. This way you will be on your way to the inevitable growth of your freelance business.

6. How can we help you determine the legal basis you need for your freelance business?

The digital era has allowed the development of jobs previously unthinkable for the economic income of any country. In the same way, these new forms of employment have helped sustain entire families with an innovative approach. Such is the case of freelancing in the UAE, where it has been possible to take advantage of the positive aspects of technology to perform many activities remotely.

The fact that freelancing can be done from any location does not make it exempt from meeting the commitments of law for the territory of the UAE. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that, to work legally and under the standards required by the government, we must be in congruence with all its requirements.

On Connect Freelance, we provide you with the necessary information and a group of professionals eager to help you in the successful development of your freelance business, respecting and complying with all the legal bases that it requires.

Get started now by registering here. Access a wide range of opportunities in our market hub.

To help you make the most of your career when freelancing in the UAE, contact our team. Additionally, on our website, you will find information related to other legal aspects such as permits, licenses, and freelance visas and the different freelance activities you can perform. Take your time and call us at +971 43 316 688, we will respond instantly. Email us at

This globalized world has more and more job opportunities. To access a variety of job offers, visit and you will see how many employment options you can find. In the same way, you can send your CV to their recruiting team. 

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