How to Get a Freelance License in Dubai, UAE: A Beginner’s Guide

Considering launching your own entrepreneurial journey? Freelancing offers a compelling path to success. The UAE fosters a dynamic environment for independent professionals. Secure your freelance license with Smart Zones® UAE and unlock your entrepreneurial potential.

  • Flexibility
  • Remote Work Option
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Residency Visa
Get your Freelance License in Dubai, UAE - Smart Zones UAE

A Freelance Permit in Dubai, commonly known as a freelance license, serves as a work permit, empowering individuals to engage in self-employment as freelancers or pursue work without long-term commitments to a specific company. The Dubai Development Authority provides an avenue for professionals desiring independent work to submit applications for a Freelance License. With this license, independent professionals have the flexibility to practice their expertise using their birth name rather than a branded identity.

Why Get Freelance License in Dubai, UAE

The UAE offers abundant opportunities for individuals to engage in freelance work and achieve success. The popularity of freelance licenses in Dubai is steadily increasing. Initially, the prevalence of freelancers in the UAE was limited due to the challenges residents faced in obtaining permits for legal freelancing. However, with the recent introduction of provisions allowing the issuance of freelance permits in the UAE, the landscape has undergone a significant transformation.

The surge in the freelance workforce is also attributed to the UAE's recent initiative to grant residency visas to freelancers, enabling them to sponsor their family members. Consequently, this has motivated more individuals to explore the realm of freelancing.

Moreover, the UAE has emerged as a global hub, attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds seeking employment opportunities. This appeal is fueled by the country's exceptional standard of living, robust safety measures for residents, and other compelling factors. Notably, the UAE stands out globally for effectively managing the aftermath of the pandemic, swiftly and seamlessly rebounding in the economic sphere.

Advantages of Acquiring a Freelance License in Dubai - Smart Zones UAE

Benefits of Acquiring a Freelance License in Dubai, UAE

Acquiring a freelance License in Dubai brings forth several advantages for professionals seeking independent work. These benefits encompass:

  • Residency Visa:

    Freelancers in Dubai can obtain a residency visa valid for three years (duration may vary depending on the emirate).

  • Cost-effectiveness:

    The costs associated with securing a freelance visa are relatively minimal compared to establishing a traditional business.

  • Flexibility:

    Freelancers enjoy the liberty to define their own working hours and schedule, fostering a better work-life balance.

  • Access to Industry Opportunities:

    Dubai provides access to world-class media and entertainment companies, offering freelancers potential collaborations and networking opportunities.

  • Training and Talent Programs:

    Various training and talent programs are available to freelancers in Dubai, facilitating professional development and growth.

  • Dependent Sponsorship:

    Freelancers with a valid visa can sponsor their dependents, including family members, to reside with them in the UAE.

  • Economic Independence:

    Freelancing provides individuals with the opportunity to establish economic independence and pursue their chosen field of work.

  • Remote Work Option:

    Freelancers can work in the UAE without the need to be physically present, offering flexibility for those who may need to travel or work remotely.

Top Permissible Activities under Freelance License in UAE

  • Web Development and Designing
  • E-learning and Guest Lecturing
  • Copywriting and Guest Blogging
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Graphics Designing
  • Mobile App Development
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Branding
  • Computer-Aided-Design and 3D Modeling
  • Language Translation and Interpretation
  • Legal Services

Free Zones Providing Freelance Permits in the UAE

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (Rakez)

Rakez stands as one of the largest free zones in the UAE, offering a platform for freelancers, startups, SMEs, and industrialists to thrive across more than 50 industries.

Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media (Tecom)

Tecom has established itself as a prominent technological and educational hub in Dubai, hosting various clusters such as Dubai Media City, Dubai International Academic City, and Dubai Internet City. The zone accommodates over 6,000 companies, ranging from startups to international corporations.

Sharjah Media City (Shams)

Shams free zone offers a diverse range of activities, particularly catering to creative and media businesses. They also provide an exclusive offer for freelance permits starting as low as AED 5,750.

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development

In Abu Dhabi, this department facilitates 48 freelance activities, allowing foreigners to obtain a freelance UAE license and visa. For those with a work visa in Abu Dhabi, a No Objection Letter from the employer is required to obtain freelance permission.


Twofour54 serves as an Abu Dhabi creative hub, housing various media, leisure, and production enterprises. To acquire a freelance permission in this free zone, collaboration with a local business is necessary, and the business will provide a letter of intent for specific projects.

UAQ Free Trade Zone

The UAQ free trade zone stands out as one of the simplest and most affordable choices for freelancers in the UAE. It offers the best value for single enterprises with reasonable setup charges, freelance visa fees, and annual renewal costs. This freelance license doesn't mandate external permits or educational credentials.

Ajman Free Zone

The Ajman Free Zone provides one of the most affordable freelance visas in the UAE. Apart from cost-effectiveness, one license can sponsor two resident visas, providing an additional advantage. The business operations are cost-effective and straightforward.

Steps for Obtaining a Freelance License in Dubai, UAE

Obtaining a Freelance License in Dubai involves several steps:

Embark on the journey of opening a business in Dubai by partnering with Smart Zones® UAE. Our adept company formation specialists will guide you through the business license application and setup process, liaising with relevant government and municipal authorities on your behalf.

Entrepreneurs seeking a freelance license in the UAE must first choose a jurisdiction that aligns with their intended activities. Options include Abu Dhabi Two Four 54, Dubai Production City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Design District, Dubai International Academic City, Fujairah Creative City, and Umm Al Quwain FTZ. Ensuring compatibility between the selected jurisdiction and the planned business activities is crucial.

Applicants are required to obtain an application form from the relevant jurisdictional authority. The application must be accompanied by a comprehensive set of documents, including a business plan, a copy of the passport with residence visa, recommendation and reference letters from employers, resume, portfolio, original qualification certificates, and credentials. Additionally, a good standing certificate from the bank, confirming a satisfactory account, and a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Dubai residents are essential.

Expatriates working in the UAE must possess a visa issued by a sponsor. Freelancers can obtain an employment visa through the licensing agent. Alternatively, if the freelancer is already sponsored by a spouse visa or another employer, an NOC is required.

Acquiring a UAE freelance license also involves securing an office space in the selected jurisdiction. Flexible options such as flexi-desks or smart offices are available for sole entity companies. Jurisdictions often offer comprehensive license packages that include office rental costs.

Remember that the process may vary depending on your chosen jurisdiction and business activities. Consulting legal and business experts familiar with Dubai's business setup landscape is highly recommended.

Operating since 2013, Smart Zones® UAE provides on-going support to obtain Business Services License in Dubai, UAE including Freelance License.

Looking for a seamless business setup experience? Trust Smart Zones® Dubai to pave the way.

Documents Required for Freelance License in Dubai, UAE

  • Copy of your Passport: Include a passport-sized photograph.
  • Emirates ID: If already a resident in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Updated CV: Provide a comprehensive and updated curriculum vitae.
  • Introduction: Present an introduction detailing your personal and professional background, along with your work experience.
  • Details of Work: Outline the work already completed or planned to be carried out in the UAE.
  • Expected Income Statement: Include a statement projecting your anticipated income, along with a Bank reference letter.
  • References: Furnish two references along with their contact details.
  • Work Offer*: If you currently do not have a work offer, you will be granted a Sole Establishment, which is equivalent to a Sole Proprietorship Firm license issued by the Free Zone Authority where you submit your application.

*Note: In the absence of a current work offer, a Sole Establishment will be granted, mirroring a Sole Proprietorship Firm license as per the regulations of the Free Zone Authority where the application is submitted.

Submitting incorrect documents can lead to immediate rejection. Our consultants at Smart Zones® UAE ensure you have the right documents, avoiding any complications in the process.

Freelance Visa Cost in Dubai, UAE

The most cost-effective options for a Dubai freelance visa commence at AED 7,500 annually. Nevertheless, the pricing for a UAE freelance visa may vary based on the specific free zone in which you choose to register. It's important to note that if you require a freelancing visa from the DDA (Dubai Development Authority), additional fees may apply.

The freelance visa, inclusive of insurance and an immigration card, holds a validity period of three years. Renewal of the visa is permissible every three years. Furthermore, individuals sponsored by a spouse or parent are not obligated to terminate their resident visa.

Asked Questions (FAQs)

A Freelance Permit in Dubai, also known as a freelance license, allows individuals to engage in self-employment or pursue work without committing to a specific company. Issued by the Dubai Development Authority, it provides professionals the flexibility to practice under their birth name.

The UAE offers abundant opportunities for freelancers, with recent initiatives such as residency visas for freelancers and family sponsorship. The country's global appeal, high living standards, safety measures, and effective post-pandemic economic rebound contribute to the growing popularity of freelance work.

Acquiring a Freelance License in Dubai brings advantages such as a three-year residency visa, cost-effectiveness, flexible working hours, access to industry opportunities, training programs, dependent sponsorship, economic independence, and the option to work remotely.

Permissible activities include web development, e-learning, copywriting, sales, marketing, graphics designing, mobile app development, SEO, SEM, branding, legal services, and more.

Free zones such as Rakez, Tecom, Shams, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Twofour54, UAQ Free Trade Zone, and Ajman Free Zone offer opportunities for freelancers.

The steps include partnering with Smart Zones® UAE, choosing a jurisdiction, submitting a license application with required documents, fulfilling visa requirements, and securing an office space in the selected jurisdiction.

Required documents include a passport copy, Emirates ID (if already a resident), updated CV, introduction, details of work, expected income statement, references, and a work offer if available.

The cost starts at AED 7,500 annually, but prices may vary based on the chosen free zone. Additional fees may apply for a freelancing visa from the Dubai Development Authority. The visa, inclusive of insurance and an immigration card, is valid for three years, with renewal options available. Individuals sponsored by a spouse or parent do not need to terminate their resident visa.

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Want to know more, talk to Smart Zones® Dubai advisory team they will be happy to help. Ready to invest in your future?

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