Freelance Visa in Dubai – Your ticket to stay Longer and work as you please in Dubai!

Freelance Visa

Life as we knew changed drastically post the COVID-19 pandemic. Work from home and remote working became popular, profoundly changing the workplace culture. Dubai was always a preferred choice for expatriates. Seeing the changes happening in the workforce around the world, Dubai made its visa more flexible. In the last few years, Dubai has come up with several new visas that encourage foreigners to spend more time in the UAE with ease. Even in terms of work visas and residency permits, there have been drastic changes that benefit expatriates. The “Freelance Visa,” a recent addition to the UAE visa programmes, has sparked interest among people all over the world in this era of remote work and the digital media revolution. So, what exactly is this visa all about? This short guide has everything you need to know about freelance visa in Dubai.

What is Freelance Visa in Dubai?

This Dubai visa is a form of residency permit that enables foreign nationals to move to Dubai and live and work legally as freelancers in the UAE. A freelance visa allows for self-sponsorship entry into Dubai. One can work in a Free Trade Zone in the United Arab Emirates with a freelance visa.

Types of Freelance Visa

With a Freelance visa UAE, any individual from anywhere in the world can relocate and work in the UAE’s Free Trade Zones. UAE Residents and non-residents can apply for and gain advantage from this visa. However, before applying for a freelance visa, there are certain terms and conditions to look out for which will determine whether you are eligible for this visa or not.

  • Freelance Visa for UAE Non-Residents

Applying for a Dubai freelance visa is simple. However, a freelance license must be acquired in order for someone to begin working as a freelancer in Dubai. This can be obtained from various Free Trade Zones in Dubai and the UAE. After receiving the permit, a freelancer may apply for a one-year or three-year visa. The visa is also eligible to be converted into a Green visa for freelancers.

  • Freelance Visa for UAE Residents

For a UAE resident already working in Dubai but seeking to earn via a freelance side hustle, a freelance permit can be acquired for which a No-Objection-Certificate(NOC) is required from the individual’s current employer. Once this step is done, a freelance visa can be issued without having to surrender your existing work visa. This visa is also a fantastic way for spouses of UAE residents to earn extra income. All they need to do is get a freelance permit from a Free Trade Zone, and then they can work at their own pace.

  • Dubai Talent Pass

This is a joint initiative launched by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), The Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza) and Dubai Culture that aims to let freelancers work in the field of media, technology, marketing and consultancy, art, and education in Dubai. The Dubai Talent Pass is one of the easiest ways to move to Dubai as a freelancer for 3 years.

  • Green Residence For Freelancing

An individual can apply for a 5-year Green Residence visa for freelancing and self employment where all one needs is a bachelor’s degree/diploma focused on the specialized study of a field, a freelance permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and the total yearly income should be AED 360000 or more in the previous 2 years.

Documents Required for Freelance Visa in Dubai

Documents Required

The following are the key documents needed to apply for a freelance visa in Dubai:

  • A passport that remains valid after you arrive in Dubai for at least 8 months.
  • Latest colour photograph with specifics as stated in the Dubai visa guidelines.
  • A neatly printed, error-free CV, samples of your previous work, and other certifications that support your professional services.
  • Dubai Freelance Permit.
  • Dubai Establishment Card in case of UAE Non-resident applicants.
  • Bank statements of the last two years.
  • NOC certificate from spouse/Employer for UAE residents.

How to Apply For a Freelance Visa in Dubai

  • First and foremost, check the validity of your passport. It should have 8 months or more duration available after you arrive in Dubai.
  • Next, choose which region of the United Arab Emirates you will be working as a freelancer. You need to select a jurisdiction and a Free Trade Zone before applying for a permit or visa.
  • Request a freelance permit for working in that Free Trade Zone. Then, fill out an application and submit all necessary supporting documentation, including copies of your passport and a NOC from your employer or spouse, recent photographs, bank statements, academic records approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the UAE Consulate in your country of origin if applying to work in the education sector, as well as a portfolio and samples of work if freelancing in the media sector. When requesting a freelance permit, you must provide an active UAE contact number.
  • The freelance permit fee is a separate fee that you need to pay additionally if you are applying for a freelance visa and a freelance permit.
  • Residents of the UAE may begin their freelancing once they have a freelance permit in hand. A non-resident of the UAE will have to further apply for an employment card and a freelance visa by filling up the form and submitting supporting documents and photographs. The approval of the visa typically takes 10 to 15 days. After submitting your visa application, you will be issued an entry permit that is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance, allowing you to arrive in Dubai and follow up on mandatory procedures such as medical examinations. Once you have completed these procedures, you will have your freelance visa in hand and be able to work and live as you wish in Dubai.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Free Trade Zone in Dubai?

Free Trade Zones are designated commercial-economic areas where businesses and commercial trades can operate with complete ownership and receive tax and custom duty concessions. These Free Zones were established especially to support the various professionals with whom independent contractors can easily select to work and offer their services. There are many Free Trade Zones in Dubai, including the popular Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Maritime City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai World Trade Centre, to name a few. Likewise, there are Free Trade Zones created in other emirates of the UAE as well. Authorities such as Gofreelance, TECOM Group and twofour54 are permitted to grant freelance license.

2. Is a freelance permit different from a freelance visa?

Yes. A freelance permit is a legal authorization that allows an individual to work in the Free Trade Zones of the UAE as a self-employed individual or freelancer. A freelance permit is a compulsory requirement if you want to become a freelancer, start a self-employed service or work as an independent contractor in the UAE. The Freelance visa, on the other hand, is a visa that allows a foreigner to enter Dubai to work as a freelancer. However, he or she would require to obtain a valid freelance permit to apply for this visa and to be allowed to work in Dubai. The freelance permit is only valid for one year and should be renewed annually. Freelance visas on the other hand can be obtained for 1,3 or 5 years.

3. Can I hire someone on a freelance visa to work for me?

No, a freelance visa shows your employment status as a sole employee for the service you provide. Hence, you cannot employ someone to work under you or sponsor anyone else with your freelance visa.

4. How much does this visa cost?

The cost of a freelance visa will vary depending on the type of visa you select, the type of service you provide, and the Free Zone in which you intend to operate. Additionally, the freelance permit will cost AED 7500 onwards, depending on the UAE jurisdiction you choose. If you are a non-resident of the UAE, you will have to pay for the freelance permit charges in addition to the freelance visa fee.


Following the pandemic, there has been a major shift in the global workforce, and the terms “Digital Nomad” and “Freelancing” have gained popularity. Freelancing has become more popular as people willingly shifted from traditional 9 to 5 jobs to ‘work-at-your-pace’ jobs because of the convenience and flexibility it offers. It is now possible to work from anywhere in the world thanks to modern technology. All you need is a cosy workspace with good internet bandwidth. Dubai offers the best modern conveniences, a multi-ethnic culture, and modern amenities that gels well for remote workers. With a freelance visa, you can make Dubai your home while you work and earn as per your flexibility. Get a Dubai freelance visa, be your own boss and live in style in Dubai.

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