With an increase in the usage of smartphones and the internet, freelancing has not only become popular but also a preferred choice of career. Owing to comfort, freedom and the money that comes along, freelancing has made its own mark in the world. Besides, who wouldn’t want to become their own boss? If you are bored of the regular 9-to-5 job or are tired of doing the same process over and over again or have a steady job but want to start a lucrative sideline in your own time, freelancing is the way to go. Whichever suits you, there are a few things to consider before you make a leap. Freelancing is currently the ‘in’ business in the market.
According to Forbes business experts, 2017 was dubbed as “the year of the freelancers”. The US predicts that by the end of 2020, 50% of its workforce will be freelancing. Here, in Dubai, the figures are harder to come by but Nabeesh, Dubai’s largest freelance marketplace currently holds a membership of 100,000 freelancers across the region. If you are planning to become a freelancer, Dubai has a few guidelines for freelancing that are mandatory to be followed to sustain in the market for a long time.
Freelancing in Dubai
A freelancer in simple terms is a self-employed person offering services. Dubai can be one of the best places to freelance if you have a valid license. Freelancing in Dubai is quite liberating. Yet, it is difficult and often scary, and it surely isn’t a cakewalk. But a good start can make the journey smooth. And if you have what it takes then the next thing you need to do is know all about the freelancing conventions in Dubai.
Dubai is currently a hotbed for freelancers, as many businesses are making the use of their services across different industries. Your decision to start alone is fully supported by the government of UAE, and therefore the process to get a valid license for freelancing has been made hassle-free. In the UAE, most of the free zone authorities are providing freelancer permit license and getting your license from a free zone can be beneficial. Upon choosing an activity as per your professional background, you will need to secure a trade license from a selected licensing authority. Here the question arises, how to get a freelance license in Dubai? You have to follow a procedure by presenting a definite set of documents to the authorities as given below:
Documents Required to Get a Freelance License in Dubai
- Filled application form of freelance license
- Copy of your business plan
- A copy of your passport
- Recommendation letter signed by current/previous employers
- Your résumé and original qualification certificates
- NOC signed the by the sponsor to transfer residence visa to freelance visa and to obtain a freelance permit
- Good-standing-certificate by the bank ensuring that you have a satisfactory banking history
- Portfolio of your work or any samples of work that prove you could freelance in the stated business activity
Procedure to Get a Freelance License in Dubai
- Apply with the relevant free zone authority where you intend to hold a freelance license and/or a freelance visa
- Submit an application for interim approval along with the business plan, passport copy, and the reference letter
- In case the provisional approval is permitted, you will receive a customer confirmation letter from the respective free zone authority
- Sign this confirmation letter and give it along with the other documents, mentioned above, for the final approval
- Make all the payments, such as the freelance permit fee, employee visa sponsorship fee, and first installment for rent or office space (could be optional), plus deposit (if applicable)
- Sign the free zone sponsorship agreement and collect the freelance permit along with the freelance visa
- On acquiring all the certifications and approval to start a freelance business in the UAE, you will be provided with a ‘flexi desk’ and business facilities within the free zone
- The license is issued within 7-10 working days
The freelance license cost in Dubai for the whole procedure will be approximately AED 17,000. Its details are as below:
|Particulars - Cost (AED)|
It does not include visa charges, EST card, and National ID charges.
The freelance license fee applicable in the major free zones is:
|Free Zone - Cost (AED)|
|Twofour54 free zone||2,500|
|D-Tech free zone||7,500|
|Ajman free zone||11,000|
|UAQ free zone||13,000|
|Fujairah free zone||14,000|
|RAK free zone||15,000|
Few Other Things You Must Consider
- While applying for a freelance license, you must know that you cannot get a license for the same job from the mainland and offshore jurisdictions.
- You have to apply from any of the free zone authorities, where freelancers license is permitted.
- If you are on your spouse’s visa and are sponsored by your husband/wife, then to get a freelance license you have to get a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from your sponsor. The same applies if you are working in Dubai full-time and are sponsored by your company.
- Having a physical office is not mandatory under freelancing, but free zones do provide flexi-desk offices for small businesses.
- Freelancers in Dubai need not require submitting official accounts or being subject to an audit.
- You can apply for the license yourself but it is best advised to get help from business setup services in the UAE to make the process easier.
Being your own boss sure sounds great, but you need to be self-motivated, highly focused and driven by a will to succeed. One of the major things to consider while freelancing is networking. Getting in contact with right people at right time to get the work done is possible only through networking and communicating. If you think you can do it, then what are you waiting for?