Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular around the world. One out of every three workers in the US is self-employed, while 14% of the European working-age population is self-employed as well. In this way, in the UAE, we are witnessing a similar rise in the number of freelancers. A recently released survey revealed that one in ten UAE residents is already self-employed or considering to become a freelancer. Therefore, you must be well-informed on what steps are necessary to obtain your UAE freelance permit and develop your career successfully.
In this article, we are going to talk about how you can get your UAE freelance permit in 5 simple steps. Additionally, we will talk about what it means to become a freelancer in the UAE, and the related costs of obtaining a freelance visa. Let us observe now:
- What are the attractive aspects of freelancing?
- What are the 5 steps to set up in Dubai with a freelance permit?
- Visa costs for freelancers in Dubai
- Expatriates and students requesting visas
- How can we help you to obtain your UAE freelance permit?
1. What are the attractive aspects of freelancing?
The disruption of geographic barriers has had a huge impact on businesses today. In addition, it is the reason why the growth of freelance jobs is three times greater than the growth of the workforce. In this way, not only does this global availability exponentially increase the network of potential clients; it means that openings are no longer limited to certain areas. Companies that favor telecommuting are open to selecting talent from a much broader pool.
Yet, it is easy to see what attracts people to becoming a freelancer. Just as the name suggests, greater freedom is one of the main advantages. Also, there is the ability to earn a higher income, the ability to follow your passion, and build a better work-life balance.
That is not to say that self-employment is an easy ride. It requires focus, hard work, and determination. At first, the hours may be long and the payroll checks infrequent. However, if successful, freelancing can be amazingly rewarding.
To access the benefits of a freelance job, you must start with the basics, and that is the processing of your UAE freelance permit. In this regard, we offer you a list of 5 basic steps to establish yourself in Dubai as a feelancer.
The advantages of freelancing in the UAE are numerous, and the possibility of being able to do this job from any location is a bonus that many people consider. This is empowered by the fact that today access to new technologies is a fact for almost everybody in this country. If you would like to learn more about the attractive aspects of freelance life, we invite you to visit Connect Freelance. Visit our website to find information about the inspiring world of freelance work.
2. What are the 5 steps to set up in Dubai with a freelance permit?
2.1 Step 1: Select the right business activity
Being a freelancer, while possible in Dubai, is different than in many other places around the world. For one thing, all freelancers must obtain a freelance license in the UAE, no matter what activities they intend to carry out. Those activities must belong to a category that is permitted and must be listed on their business UAE freelance license.
A few of the fields in which freelancers are allowed to work are:
- Media: Actors, composers, translators, reporters, writers, web designers, and more.
- Technology: Including web development, data science, analytics, among other careers.
- Education: Tutors, trainers, consultants, and researchers.
It is important that when applying, you list all the activities you intend to perform. Not doing so can lead to fines and even revocation of your freelance license in the UAE.
There is a lot to choose from, so regardless of your sector or the type of business you engage in, you can be sure you will find a freelance activity that fits your needs.
2.2 Step 2: Choosing a free zone
There are many free zones in Dubai and the UAE that will issue licenses or permits for freelancers, including free zones that also provide office facilities, co-working spaces, and visa applicability as part of the licensing package.
Establishing in a free zone is probably the most cost-effective way to do commerce in Dubai. In addition to affordable UAE freelance license and service fees – along with the 0% UAE tax rate – you will also benefit from the ability to repatriate all profits back to your home country.
2.3 Step 3: Requesting the freelance license
The next important step is to apply for a freelance visa in the UAE, also known as a UAE freelance permit.
To obtain a freelance permit in the UAE, you have to submit a few documents along with the completed application form. Additionally, this generally will include a copy of your residence visa and passport and your residence (if you have one already), a few examples of your work, and a bank reference letter.
In total, you may be asked to submit the following:
- Copy of visa
- Examples of work
- Curriculum Vitae
- Credentials and qualifications (if applicable)
- Copy of passport
- Reference letter from your bank
You may also be asked for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your sponsor or current employer, although this is not required in all free zones.
After your application is approved, which can take up to 14 days, then you will receive your UAE freelance permit.
2.4 Step 4: Submitting your freelance visa application
With your freelance permit in hand, you can now make your visa application.
If you have an existing residency visa through your employer, you must provide evidence of this when requesting your UAE freelance permit. Additionally, in some cases, you may need to apply for a NOC from your actual employer.
Also, you can apply for a visa in your name as part of your application for a UAE freelance permit. At this point, the application process follows the same steps: from entry permits to visa stamping. You will also need an Emirates Identity Card and will have to undergo a medical examination. If the results of these tests prove that you are in good health, they will -most likely- approve your visa without any problems.
Visa applications usually take from 14 to 21 working days. In addition, as a UAE residency visa holder, you can also sponsor your dependants to obtain their visas. This may include a child or parent, your spouse, or household staff such as a family housekeeper or a driver.
2.5 Step 5: Request the opening of your bank account
In this phase, you can also apply for your bank account opening. This is not necessarily easy in the UAE, so it is best to work with a local expert who will be able to put you in touch with the right bank for your personal needs.
Benefits of applying for your bank account for freelancers:
- Cost and time-efficiency: Especially for those who prefer to use a nominee set up or have a complicated organizational structure.
- Submit from home: Present the supporting documents depending on the requirements of the selected bank.
- High-quality support: Dedicated bank support team will review, advise and assist you with the paperwork.
- Speed: Your bank account will likely be ready within 10 working days, according to the chosen bank.
Feel free to contact our specialized team to learn more about what you should know when starting a freelance business in Dubai. Take the time to contact us and we will answer any queries you may have concerning the freelance labor pool.
3. Visa costs for freelancers in Dubai
Cost is often a factor to consider when starting a new business, especially if you are setting it up on your own. The good news is that if you are looking for the cheapest freelance visa in the UAE, or perhaps the cheapest UAE freelance permit, there are many cost-effective options available.
The total cost of your setup will depend on the specific nature of your business and your level of operating overheads. However, the cost of a UAE freelance permit can be around AED 7,500. Additionally, you need to add the cost of the freelance visa application and immigration card.
This is far below the cost of setting up here with a full business license, giving you the flexibility to start with a small capital and then upgrade to a full UAE freelance license at a later date if you wish.
4. Expatriates and students requesting visas
4.1 Work visa for expatriates
To legally work in the United Arab Emirates you must have a work visa, as it is an essential requirement.
The standard of security offered by the authorities is very high, and the low numbers related to criminal incidents reflect this. Therefore, it is not surprising that the authorities are careful in prosecuting and deporting those who are working without a valid visa.
Therefore, staying within the legal parameters is mandatory. In the end, having the right documentation will open many doors and make your dreams of freelancing in the UAE a reality.
4.2 Student work visa
According to the conditions of your student visa, you will be able to work in internal positions. In this regard, this is the single exception to the rule. For this reason, you should get legal advice before making any risky decisions.
Also, it is possible that some women who are in the UAE under the sponsorship of their male relatives can also be exceptions. Note that this is highly regulated, but by carefully following the steps, you will not have any problems.
You may have several questions when deciding to become a freelancer in the UAE. These are some of the most common ones:
5.1 Is the process simple?
The work permit and visa application process are simple. This is because of the high number of expatriates being hosted and welcomed. It is, therefore, important that you understand all the requirements to prevent the possibility of deportation or arrest. As a new entrepreneur, you need to ensure that you get the right type of visa.
Joining this market without a proper visa will limit your stay and the freelance activities you can perform.
5.2 If my employer takes care of my visa application, who should cover the cost of the paperwork?
In the majority of cases, it is the employer who pays for the costs related to the legal procedures of their employee.
All these expenses are related to the visa application, payment of fees, and administrative fees. In this respect, the employer can also apply for the work-related entry permit under special conditions that offer certain benefits.
5.3 Do I have to show my bank details or an annual audit report at the time of renewal?
You do not require to do an annual audit of your freelance financial accounts. Again, it is advisable to keep accurate accounts if this status changes at a later date.
5.4 NOC, what does that mean?
When you are an employee with a sponsorship from a different company, and you decide to leave the company to obtain freelance status; the company will have to issue a letter of no objection (NOC) so that you can apply for freelance status. Note that if you already canceled your visa, a NOC will not be necessary.
If your spouse or parents are your sponsors in the UAE, you only need a NOC from them. There is no need to modify your visa status.
5.5 Is there any employee I can sponsor?
No, you cannot hire or mentor any employees through your UAE freelance permit.
5.6 Can I change my normal freelance permit for the Gofreelance permit?
Yes, you can, when you renew your current regular freelance packet.
5.7 Can I switch from my current visa to a Gofreelance visa?
Generally yes, depending on where the visa was issued.
5.8 For how long is the self-employed permit valid?
The permit is renewable annually.
6. How can we help you to obtain your freelance permit?
Working in the Emirates as a freelancer will give you access to many benefits. However, you must have a UAE freelance permit to be able to practice legally and increase the range of opportunities you can access. As a result, your income will be better and you will enjoy all the benefits the country has to offer.
We extend our invitation to you to access Connect Freelance. Once you register on our website, you will find a wide variety of activities in which you can develop. Additionally, we have a team of consultants and legal experts ready to answer your questions and help you obtain the necessary permits, work visas, and connect you instantly with other freelancers around the world with our Market Hub.
Also, take a minute to check out our summer sale! If you register now, you will be saving up to AED 1,500!
Take this opportunity and contact us to receive all the assistance you need to receive your UAE freelance permit. You can connect with our team by sending an email with your questions to email@example.com. Additionally, you can always call our advisors at +971 43 316 688. We are more than glad to help you.
Finding freelance jobs can be a difficult step when you begin your career as a self-employed professional. However, job opportunities are better and more when you search on the right places. If you are looking for your ideal job, you can access the best job platform in the Middle East, thetalentpoint.com. You can even send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org and apply for one of our open positions!