Guide to Obtain a Freelance License in the UAE

by Zaara 14, Nov 2019

Due to the high cost of living and maintaining a good standard, many residents in the United Arab Emirates want to earn some additional income apart from their salary. Freelancing is one of the options not just to earn extra income, but also be your own boss. Becoming a freelancer in the UAE comes with a set of guidelines. One of the ways through which you can be a freelancer is to get a freelance work permit and residence visa (if not sponsored by your father or spouse) from a free zone. The free zones that offer a freelance permit in the UAE include Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai Production City, Dubai Design District, Abu Dhabi's TwoFour54, Fujairah Creative City, RAKEZ, and Ajman Freezone.

Freelancing in the UAE

Freelance means working as an independent contractor and is legal in the Emirates as long as you hold the necessary license. It is establishing oneself as a one-person company, working as an individual and doing business in your name. That said, many entrepreneurs start out freelancing and upgrade to a company set up once they get established, which is easy to do in the Emirates.

One must have the right skills, passion, drive, and business knowledge to be a successful freelancer. It can be stressful and lonely initially and isn’t for everyone. You must have a strong idea and determination to start getting clients on board and reeling in the business. But, if you have what it takes, then UAE is a great place to show your freelancing skills. What’s more, your decision to work alone is actively supported by the government, which has taken a number of steps to make setting up a freelancing business a viable choice for everyone in the country. The initiatives include forming business support forums and accelerators for startups and solo entrepreneurs.

Freelancing Permits in the UAE

Freelancing has now become a popular choice among the individuals in the Emirates, and thankfully, Freelance Permits are now available in many free zones that are based in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Abu Dhabi. These permits allow for specialized individuals in the media, technology, and education sectors to offer their service on a consultancy basis, even if they have a full-time job- this initiative has become legalized by the UAE to boost diverse skills into the local market.

Currently, individuals based in the following sectors can apply for a permit, which is as under-

  • Technology- Web/mobile/software development and architecture, IT and telecommunication networking, customer service, data science and analytics etc.
  • Education- Educational advisor, executive coach, eLearning advisor, researcher, trainer
  • Media- Actors, journalists, film directors, editors, photographers, writers, animators,  audio/sound engineer, brand consultant, artist, cameraman, choreographers, commentators, composers, content provider, copywriters, creative directors, events planners, designers, journalists, lighting specialists, market analysts, marketing specialists, musicians, PR specialists, print media specialists, social media specialists, critics, social media influencers, translators, stylists, web developers/designers plus other more specified roles within the above mentioned specialties

How to Obtain a Freelance License?

The steps involved in obtaining a freelancing license in the UAE are as follows-

  1. Apply with the free zone authority of your choice to hold a freelance license as well as a visa
  2. The next step is to submit an application for interim approval. With this, you must also attach a passport copy, business plan, and a reference letter
  3. Once the interim approval is done, you will get a Customer Confirmation Letter from the authority
  4. Sign the letter and submit the list of documents as under-
    1. Filled application of freelance license
    2. Copy of your business plan
    3. Passport copy
    4. Resume and qualification certificates (original)
    5. NOC signed by the sponsor to transfer residence visa to freelance visa
    6. Good Standing Certificate by the bank ensuring that you have a satisfactory banking history
    7. Portfolio of your work or any samples that prove your freelancing abilities in the stated business activity
  5. Pay the fees for license, visa and sponsorship, and office space
  6. Sign the free zone sponsorship and collect the freelance permit along with the freelance visa

Freelancing can be lucrative as well as a rewarding path, but it’s not easy. Sure, being your own boss is great. You are not answerable to anyone, and you can work how you want, what they want. But that’s also the challenge; the buck stops with you. You should be highly focused, self-motivated, driven to achieve success, and there’s no one else cracking the whip for you.

So, if you think you do can do this, then we at Commitbiz can help you with the licensing process. Right from business setup, registration, and licensing to establishing your office space, we facilitate the formation of your business through expert counseling and incubation. Contact us today to avail these services.


Is freelancing legal in UAE?


What are the benefits of working as a freelancer in the UAE?

 The following are the benefits of being a freelancer in the UAE

  • Self-time management

  • Ability to control own workload

  • Doing what you like

  • Having longer holidays

  • Being your boss

  • The ability to travel and live wherever

  • Obtaining a UAE resident visa

Can full time working professionals in the UAE become freelancers?

Full-time working professionals in the UAE can become freelancers by obtaining a freelancing permit.

How much does a freelancing visa in the UAE cost?

The overall cost of a freelancing visa is between AED 10,000 and AED 20,000.

Who can apply for a freelancing visa in the UAE?

The freelancing visa is open to freelancers working through,

  • Online

  • Mobile

  • Software development

  • Architecture

  • IT and telecommunication networking

  • Data science and analytics

  • Customer service