Freelance Visa And Permit Dubai: Eligibility, Requirements, And Costs

28-Sept-2022

12 min read

The UAE is calling all Indian ex-pats, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers worldwide. After seeing the global shift in the workforce, increase in freelance work, and the desire to be self-employed: the UAE government introduced the Freelance Visa Dubai.

With the freelance visa Dubai, you can be your own boss by starting your own business. But what exactly is a Dubai freelance visa? If you want to start your freelancing career in Dubai, keep reading the blog to find out how.


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What Is A Freelance Visa Dubai?

In Dubai and across the UAE, there are several free zones that offer Indian citizens freelance permits. For a freelance permit, you do not necessarily need a sponsor or to be hired by any company in the UAE. It is basically a work permit for freelancers in UAE.

Indians can apply for a freelance license or permit, allowing them to operate full-time as freelancers in Dubai. Several authorities operating in the free zone issue freelance license, such as the TECOM Group or twofour54.

Once you have obtained the freelance permit, you can apply for the Dubai freelance visa. The freelance visa Dubai is a type of UAE residency, meaning that you can live and work with your family members in the UAE for anywhere from 1 to 5 years. The freelance permits are available for UAE nationals, citizens, residents, and non-residents.

Couple walking in Sahara desert at sunset

What Is Allowed With A Dubai Freelance Visa?

The holder of the freelance visa Dubai can participate in many business fields for which they have a freelance permit. With a freelance permit in their specified field, they can:

  • You can work in Dubai or UAE
  • You can offer services to individuals or businesses
  • You can work as an independent contractor with individuals or businesses
  • You can work with the government agencies
  • You can charge for your work and services

What Are The Free Zones?

Free Trade Zones or FTZs are created in the UAE to offer companies and professionals operating from those areas tax concessions and customs duty benefits.

Freelance permits or licenses can be obtained from these free zones. In addition, several free zones in the UAE offer freelance permits in various industries and work fields and are operated by relevant authorities.

These permits can be obtained from industries ranging from trades, services, investments, media, and several others.

Where Are These Free Zones Located?

There are numerous free zones all across the UAE that offer freelance licenses in Dubai. Some of these free zones are:

  • twofour54
  • Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development
  • Dubai Development Authority (DDA)
  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone
  • Fujairah Creative City
  • Umm, Al Quwain UAQ Free Trade Zone
  • Ajman Free Zone
  • Sharjah Media City or SHAMS Free Zone The Dubai Development Authority and the TECOM Group have launched the GoFreelance initiative, which includes:
  • Dubai Media City
  • Dubai Internet City
  • Dubai Knowledge Park
  • Dubai Design District

What Is A Freelance License (Permit) in Dubai?

Any Indian citizen wishing to work as a freelancer in Dubai or the UAE must get a freelance license in Dubai. A specific free zone provides freelance permits in a specific field of work. For example, with GoFreelance, Indian nationals can get a freelance license in Dubai for various design, technology, and media activities and the education sector.

Similarly, different free zones offer a different and vast range of activities to choose from. And these freelance license is used to apply for a freelance visa in Dubai. However, the need to get a freelance visa Dubai for UAE and Non-UAE residents is different:

For UAE Residents:

If you are already residing in the UAE on your spouse's or parent's visa and wish to be a freelance resident, you will need a Freelance Permit. You can also apply for a freelance permit if you have worked in the UAE full time and wish to become a freelancer.

Though you do not need sponsorship in Dubai or the UAE if you work for someone, you will need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer. NOC is also required if you decide to work as a freelance part-time. Additionally, UAE or Dubai residents do not have to give up their residency permit to get a freelance permit.

For Non-UAE Residents:

As mentioned earlier, everyone is eligible for a freelance permit and a freelance visa. In addition, the freelance visa Dubai can be converted to a Dubai residency permit, which allows them to live and work in Dubai.

Non-UAE Residents MUST get the Freelance License Dubai to apply for the freelance visa.

What Is The Talent Pass?

Similar to the freelance license Dubai the 'Talent Pass' is a permit or license that is introduced by the Dubai Airport Freezone of Dubai.

Individuals who wish to pursue a freelance career in the Arts, Culture, Education, Media, Marketing, Consultancy, and Technology field can apply for the talent pass.

The individuals must first obtain their Talent Pass, renewed each year. After getting the Talent Pass, the applicant can apply for a resident visa. Then, they can work in the fields specified by the Talent Pass.

Aerial skyline of downtown Dubai filled with modern skyscrapers in the UAE

Who Can Get A Dubai Freelance Visa?

Anyone wishing to be a freelancer in Dubai can apply for a freelance permit and a visa. The main applicant must have a bachelor's degree or specialized diploma. Additionally, they must prove that they have earned an income of at least AED 360,000 (approx. INR 75 lakh) in the last two years.

However, the person's eligibility depends on whether they belong to one of the qualifying professions. For example, to get your Dubai freelance permit, you can be in one of the following industries or work fields:

Media Activities

Actor, Aerial Shoot Photographer, Animator, Artist, Audio / Sound Engineer, Brand Consultant, Cameraman, Choreographer, Commentators: Radio, Events, Sports, Television, Composer, Content Provider, Copywriter, Creative Director, Critics: Music, Film, Theatre, Director: Film, Television, Music, Theatre, Editor: Audio/Video, Editor: Publishing, Events Planner, Furniture Designer, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Journalist, Lighting Specialist, Market Analyst, Marketing Specialist, Media Planner, Music Director, Musician, New Media Specialist, Photographer, Photojournalist, PR Specialist, Presenter V/Radio, Print Media Specialist, Producer, Scriptwriter, Set and Exhibit Designer, Social Media Specialist, Social Media Influencer, Special Effects Producer, Translator, Wardrobe Stylist, Web Developer, Web Designer, Writer

Education Activities

Education Advisor, eLearning Advisor, Executive Coaching, Researcher, Trainer,

Tech Activities

Web, Mobile, Software Development and Architecture Freelancer, IT and Telecommunication Networking Freelancer, Data Science and Analytics Freelancer, Customer Service Freelancer

Design Activities

Apparel Designer, Concept Designer, Costume Designer, Fashion Artist, Fashion Designer, Fashion Stylist, Image Consultant, Hair Stylist, Interior Designer, Jewelry Designer, Make-up Artist, Object Designer, Personal Shopper, Textile Designer, Visual Merchandiser, Wedding Planner

This list is forever changing, and more professions are being added. So make sure you stay up to date!


What Are The Requirements For A Dubai Freelance Visa?

Indian citizens have a vast array of options available regarding which industry they would like to work in from all the free zones. Once that has been determined, the visa application process is relatively straightforward. To apply for a freelance visa Dubai, you do not need an extensive list of documents. However, the documents you will need are:

  • A thorough resume or CV
  • A recent photograph, check requirements or use Atlys's visa photo tool to get the perfect photo
  • A valid passport for at least 6 months
  • The Dubai freelance permit
  • The Dubai establishment card
  • Proof of funds
  • Bank statements
  • Medical examination report
  • UAE phone number
  • Health Insurance
  • If applicable, a portfolio of work experience
  • If applicable, No Objection Letter

How To Get Freelance Visa In Dubai?

Though getting a Freelance Visa Dubai is easy, the application process can be lengthy and tedious. Additionally, there are a few steps that you need to take before you can even apply for your Dubai freelance visa. The steps to getting your Dubai Freelance Visa are:

Gather All Documents

The first step to getting any of the permits or visas is gathering the documents. The list is not exhaustive but is extremely important. Though the Dubai government is making the visa application process more accessible, any incorrect document can result in the rejection of your visa application.

However, you must remember that you might require additional documents for each step. Hence, being prepared with the necessary documents can also reduce the time of the entire process.

Apply For Dubai Freelance Permit

As mentioned earlier, a Dubai freelance permit is necessary for a freelance visa in conjunction with other required documents. In Dubai, the GoFreelance initiative was launched by the TECOM Group.

Indian citizens must first visit the online GoFreelance application form webpage to fill out the form and start the application process. You will receive an email confirmation and OTP on the phone number provided.

You might have to visit the Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Media City, or Dubai Internet City with your original passports and other documents to get the Dubai freelance permit. The entire process takes approximately 5-7 working days.

Indian nationals will also have to pay the Dubai freelance permit fee. Once the application is approved, you will receive your Dubai freelance permit via email.

Apply For Dubai Establishment Card

You must first get your freelance permit to apply for the establishment card. Once you have received the permit, you must access the AXS website, submit your application with your Dubai freelance permit and phone number, and pay the fees. The establishment card can be obtained from the GDRFA website by submitting an online application.

Apply For Dubai Freelance Visa

Once you have gathered all the documents, the last step is to apply for your freelance visa. The visa application for your Dubai freelance visa can be made through the GoFreelance website. Indian citizens will receive their entry permits within 5-7 working days.

Once you have the entry permit, you can apply for your long-term visa. You can apply for your Dubai residency visa on the GDRFAD website. You must submit all the required documents and pay the visa application fees.

After the Dubai residency permit is approved, you can live and work in Dubai. Additionally, you can sponsor your spouse and other family members to Dubai with a residency visa.

Dubai skyline reflection, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What Is A Freelance Visa Dubai Cost?

The freelance visa Dubai costs vary depending on the urgency, the permit's validity, and if you are applying from Dubai or outside.

Additionally, Indian citizens must pay separate fees for the freelance license or permit, establishment card, and freelancer visa. The Dubai freelance visa costs are as follows:

  • The freelance permit in Dubai is valid for a year and must be renewed annually; it costs AED 7,000
  • The establishment card in Dubai is valid for a year and must be renewed annually; it costs AED 2,000
  • The freelance residence visa in Dubai costs AED 4,960 (normal) or AED 6,340 (express) and is valid for 3 years if applied from within the UAE.
  • The freelance residence visa in Dubai costs AED 3,330 (normal) or AED 3,990 (express) and is valid for 3 years if applied outside the UAE.
  • The freelance employment visa for a one-year visa in Dubai costs AED 2,750, and the three-year-visa employment visa costs AED 5,000 through GoFreelance.
  • The total for a freelance visa Dubai cost can be between AED 10,000 and AED 25,000.
  • The Talent Pass license fee is AED 9,500, which must be renewed annually.

Additionally, the Dubai freelance visa costs may vary depending on the location of the free zone. Hence if you apply at:

  • Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone, the costs can start from AED 15,000
  • Fujairah Free Zone, the costs can start from AED 14,000
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Zone, the costs can start from AED 13,000
  • Ajman Free Zone, the costs can start from AED 11,000
  • D-Tech FTZ in Dubai, the costs can start from AED 7500
  • Twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, the costs can start from AED 2500
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) FTZ, the costs can start from AED 20,000

You might also have to pay additional fees throughout the entire visa process, such as paying for your medical insurance. However, the cost for the freelance visa includes the medical test, visa stamping, and Emirates ID.

Regardless of the duration and validity of your visa, you will need to pay the fees mentioned above either for an employment visa to work or a UAE residency visa. The freelance visa fees are also non-refundable.


What Are The Benefits Of A Freelance Visa In Dubai?

There are numerous benefits to having a freelance visa in Dubai. Not only can you be your own boss of your business, but you can also:

  • You can get a UAE residence permit
  • You do not need a local sponsor
  • You can sponsor your spouse or family members
  • The visa application is simple
  • You can diverge into a new field of work
  • You do not need to worry about bookkeeping
  • You can earn more
  • You can take longer holidays
  • You do not need office space
  • Work at your own pace
  • You can travel and live anywhere

With all the benefits and the ease of visa application, Dubai Freelance Visa is one of the best options for entrepreneurs and freelancers.

If you first want to check out Dubai for yourself, you will need a Dubai Tourist Visa, and you can quickly get one on Atlys.

Written By: Nikhita Rathod

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Indians Need A Visa For Dubai?

Yes. Indian citizens need to get a valid visa before they can travel to Dubai or any other Emirates in the UAE. You can get your UAE visa in under 30 minutes using Atlys.

What Is The Processing Time For Dubai Freelance Visa?

You will need an entry permit if you apply for the Dubai Freelance Visa from outside Dubai. The entry permit can take between 2-7 working days if all the documents are correct. After getting the entry permit, you can apply for the Dubai Freelance Visa, which can take up to 10-30 days to process.

What Is An Establishment Card?

An establishment card, also known as the company establishment card (CEC) or company immigration card (CIC), is issued for one year and includes all the necessary information about your business. Business owners must get an establishment card from relevant authorities in the free zone or online on the GDRFA website.

What Is The Validity Of The Freelance Visa Dubai?

Depending on the type of visa you choose, the validity of the Dubai freelance visa is between 1 to 5 years.

What Is The Validity Of The Freelance Permit In Dubai?

The Dubai freelance permit must be renewed every year.

What Is The Cheapest Freelance Visa In UAE?

The TECOM freelance permit is the cheapest freelance visa in Dubai. It costs about AED 7500; however, there might be additional fees that you might need to pay throughout the application process for a freelance visa Dubai.

Do I Pay Tax With A Freelance Visa Dubai?

As a freelancer, you do not need to pay VAT if you make less than AED 375,000 yearly. However, if it is more than AED 375,000, you must register for VAT and pay 5%.

Can I Open A Bank Account?

Yes. You can open a personal bank account once you get your freelance permit and visa. Sometimes, you can also open a corporate account depending on the free zone you have your freelance permit for.

Freelancer Visa Dubai Cost?

The total for a freelancer visa Dubai cost can be anywhere between AED 10,000 and AED 25,000.

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