Freelance Visa Requirements in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide

Freelance Visa Requirements in the UAE

Meeting all Freelance visa UAE requirements ensures a smooth and fast process for your work aspirations. In this case, the authorities of the nation allow independent activities to be carried out from a large list of possibilities. Furthermore, working independently in one of the free zones guarantees you some relevant benefits.

In this article, we will show you what the essential requirements to qualify for this type of visa from the nation are. Likewise, we will give you some tips and advice to make the process easier to execute.

The Essential Checklist to Meeting Freelance Visa Requirements in the UAE

Freelance Visa Requirements in the Dubai, UAE

Freelance visas are a document that allows people to work and reside legally in the country. In this way, foreigners who meet the Freelance visa UAE requirements will be able to apply for it easily. Thus, they will be able to carry out the activities permitted for this type of worker independently, without the need for sponsorship.

In this case, applicants will only be able to carry out activities such as design, education, and others that we will detail later. In addition, they must be governed by the conditions established by the nation’s authorities and by those specific to each free zone.

Eligibility Criteria

As we mentioned, there are certain freelance visa requirements in UAE that applicants must meet, which are as follows:

  • They must obtain a freelance permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization or MOHRE.
  • The applicant must possess the appropriate educational qualifications, which may be a bachelor’s degree or a specialist diploma.
  • They must have an annual income during the previous 2 years of at least AED 360,000. However, you can provide proof that you have the financial solvency to remain in the country during the visa period.

Business Plan

Another of the freelance visa UAE requirements is to have a well-structured business plan to serve as proof of your work aspirations. Hence, a good work plan tells the authorities that the work you want to do meets the parameters established in the nation. Therefore, we offer you some details of what you should do to properly plan your activities in the nation:

  • Identify your niche. To begin, you must work in one of the activities allowed for this permit, which must be consistent with your academic and professional qualifications.
  • Research the local market. In this case, you should investigate the most in-demand services in the place where you want to establish yourself. Likewise, you should investigate how saturated the market is in your niche and which with the characteristics of your direct competition.
  • Set clear goals. You can think about both your short-term and long-term goals, such as how far you want to go in your work. Therefore, you will be able to stay motivated but only if you set realistic goals.
  • Financial planning. You should be clear about the costs of your services, and operating costs, and investigate if you can make additional profits.
  • You must be clear about the legal aspects of setting up as a freelancer so that you can remain compliant at all times.
  • This is an important part of your activities since will help you get clients, and promote yourself professionally so they can find you easily.
  • Changes to your business plan. As you grow, there may be changes or other priorities, so you should always update your business plan.

Legal Structure

There are no freelance visa requirements that involve creating a legal structure like with other businesses. Thus, an applicant only needs to obtain a freelance permit from the relevant authorities to carry out work activities. Therefore, by obtaining the permit, the permit holder can operate under his name instead of having a brand name.

Free Zone Selection

Aspiring to work independently in the UAE can choose from a wide range of Free Zones. However, each of them may have different Freelance visa UAE requirements for permitted activities. Therefore, we will show you details of some of the Free Zones in which you can decide to work as a freelancer:

  • RAKEZ free zone. In this case, it is a free zone that allows activities that have to do with media and education. Nevertheless, you will only be able to select one activity that you can work on in this area.
  • Fujairah Creative City Freezone. There you can choose from a wide variety of activities, there is even a Freelancer Business Package for emerging companies with 4 Visas.
  • Ajman Free Zone. In this case, you can obtain all the facilities to obtain a freelance permit.
  • Tecom Business Center. Thanks to the Go Freelance program, freelancers will be able to have access to this business center, as well as educators and media workers.
  • Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC). This is a hub for technology specialists, where you can find flexible desktop options and more.
  • Twofour54 Abu Dhabi. In this case, it is a center for media and entertainment professionals where you will not have to pay income taxes.

Finance Requirements

Applicants must meet one of the freelance visa requirements that have to do with the financial aspect. Thus, to obtain the visa, you must provide evidence of having earned an annual income in the two years before applying for AED 360,000. However, you can also demonstrate that you are financially sound enough to remain in the country for the duration of the visa.

Health Insurance

Freelancers in the UAE must have health insurance that covers their entire stay in the country. This is because these types of workers do not have the benefits of a company worker. Also, depending on the health insurance you apply for, it may cover the following:

  • Emergencies
  • Basic health care services
  • Maternity services
  • Preventive services

Residency Proof

Proof of residency is one of the Freelance visa UAE requirements for those who are already residents of the country. Thus, this is for people who have obtained it through the sponsorship of a spouse, parent, or employer. In this case, they must obtain an independent worker permit from the authorities.

Educational Qualifications

To obtain a freelance visa in the United Arab Emirates, the applicant must have the necessary qualifications. Therefore, you must present educational certifications according to the requirements of the authorities. Hence, you need to present proof of having obtained a bachelor’s degree or a diploma in a specialty.

No Objection Certificate (NOC)

This is another of the freelance visa requirements in UAE for those who already have a job in a company. In this case, this document certifies that the employer has no objection to the worker carrying out activities independently. However, in some free zones of the nation, it is not an essential requirement to obtain a freelance permit.

Background Checks

Although it is not among the mandatory requirements to obtain a freelance visa, it does not hurt to obtain a document that certifies your good conduct. Thus, authorities can verify that you have no criminal record and could make it easier to obtain a permit. It also helps companies that hire your services verify that you are a trustworthy person.

Visa Processing Fees

The Freelance visa UAE requirements also include a series of fees according to the duration of the document. However, this is a general view of the rates, as they may vary according to the free zone and the activity you will carry out. The breakdown of the fees for obtaining the visa is as follows:

Freelance permit

  • The visa issuance costs approximately AED 7,500, which is also the renewal price.

Establishment Card

  • The renewal card costs AED 2000

Employment Visa

  • A 3-year employment visa costs AED 2750
  • 5-year employment visa costs AED 5000

Residence Visa

Applying for a 3-year residence visa from outside the country costs AED 3,330. However, if you require an express service, you must pay AED 3,900.

Applying for a 3-year residence visa from within the country will cost you AED 4,960. Nonetheless, applicants requiring express service will have to pay up to AED 6,340.

Professional License

The self-employed license or permit is sufficient to work in the UAE in activities permitted by the authorities. The professional license is for those who want to establish and operate a service business in the UAE.

The Road to Success: Overcoming Challenges of Freelance Visa Requirements in the UAE

To obtain this document, you must meet the Freelance visa UAE requirements that we mentioned at the beginning. Without them, the applicant cannot work in this way in the country, so, before applying, they must know these requirements. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to worry about meeting the other application requirements.

The UAE authorities facilitate the application for freelance visas to encourage this type of activity for entrepreneurs. However, it can be difficult to start your freelancing if you do not have the right tools. That is why it is important to have a good business plan and clear and realistic short and long-term objectives.

In addition, you will be able to obtain support from the authorities thanks to plans to encourage entrepreneurs and independent workers. In this case, you can find forums and accelerators designed for small businesses and freelancers.

Freelance Visa UAE: Requirements and Best Practices for Smooth Application Process

You already know the freelance visa requirements in the country, so make sure you have everything covered. Next, we will show you some of the aspects you should consider for a smooth and uncomplicated process:

  • Choose a field of work that should not only match your profession and skills, but also the permitted activities.
  • Choose the appropriate free zone according to the type of activity and the potential it offers for your professional and employment aspirations.
  • Have specific application documents on hand, such as a valid passport, NOC, and work portfolio, among others.
  • Make sure to validate your professional certifications at the relevant authority in your home country and at the UAE embassy.
  • Apply once you have everything prepared so you do not have to repeat the process, delay it, or even receive a denial.
  • Please try to obtain appropriate health insurance to cover any unexpected incidents during your stay in the UAE. You can also get insurance that covers unforeseen events in your freelance activities to avoid incidents that affect your finances or reputation.


What are the specific eligibility criteria for obtaining a freelance visa in the UAE?

Applicants must meet the following Freelance visa UAE requirements to be eligible:

  • Obtain a freelance permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE).
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or a specialization diploma.
  • Prove that you earned an annual income of AED 360,000 for the last 2 years or proof of financial solvency to support yourself.

What is the process for applying for a freelance visa in the UAE?

If you meet the freelance visa requirements, can start the process to obtain it. The process is simple and includes each of the steps that we list below:

  1. Apply for a freelancer permit in the chosen field of work in the free zone of your choice.
  2. Gather the necessary documents for smooth processing.
  3. Next, send the request to the corresponding authority.
  4. Once approved, the authorities will issue the freelancer permit.
  5. Then, apply for a freelance visa.
  6. Pass medical tests and obtain adequate health insurance.
  7. Finally, pay the fees for you to receive the visa.

How long is a freelance visa valid for in the UAE?

Normally, freelance visas, which are residence visas for independent workers, are valid for 3 renewable years.

What happens if my freelance visa expires while I’m still in the UAE?

After your freelance visa expires, you must leave the country and apply for its renewal. Otherwise, you will have to pay a fine if you remain in the country after the expiration date. The overstay fine accrues daily until you leave the country, which you can only do until you pay the penalty.

Is there a minimum income requirement for freelancers applying for a visa in the UAE?

One of the Freelance visa UAE requirements is to have earned at least AED 360000 annually for two years before application. However, if you have sufficient evidence that you can adequately support yourself during your stay, you also qualify for the visa.

What are the restrictions on the types of freelance activities permitted in the UAE?

The authorities of the UAE and the different free zones offer freelance visas only for certain activities. In this case, the lists of activities that you can carry out are those that we will mention below:

  • Actor
  • Animator
  • Artist
  • TV or radio presenter
  • Producer
  • Audio/sound engineer
  • Cameraman
  • Lighting specialist
  • Choreographer
  • Commentators
  • Aerial photographer
  • Brand consultant
  • Composer
  • Content provider
  • Editor
  • Creative director
  • Music, film, and theater critic
  • Director of music, film, television, and theater
  • Audio and video editor
  • Post Editor
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Event planner
  • Furniture designer
  • Journalist
  • Market analyst
  • Marketing specialist
  • Media planner
  • music director
  • Musician
  • New media specialist
  • Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Print media specialist
  • Screenwriters
  • Set and Exhibition Designer
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Social media influencer
  • special effects producer
  • Translator
  • Wardrobe stylist
  • Web developer
  • Web designer
  • Writer
  • Employee in education
  • Education Advisor
  • eLearning Advisor
  • Executive Coaching
  • Investigator
  • Coach
  • Technology employee
  • Freelancer Web, Mobile, Software Development and Architecture
  • Freelancer IT and Telecommunications Networks
  • Data science and analytics freelancer
  • Customer service freelancer
  • Design employee
  • Clothing designer
  • Conceptual designer
  • Costume designer
  • Fashion artist
  • Fashion designer
  • Image advisor
  • Fashion stylist
  • Stylist
  • Interior designer
  • Jewelry designer
  • Makeup artist
  • Object designer
  • Personal shopper
  • Textile designer
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Wedding planner

However, remember that the permitted activity depends on the free zone in which you want to establish yourself as a freelancer.

Are there any specific documentation requirements for freelancers from certain countries?

Among the freelance visa requirements in UAE are the following documents that you must submit to the authorities:

  • Copy of your passport valid for at least 8 months
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Recent photography
  • Bank reference letter
  • NOC from your sponsor if you are employed in the country
  • Academic qualifications certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the UAE Consulate in your home country
  • Portfolio or sample of your work for certain specialties

Are there any additional permits or licenses required for certain freelance activities in the UAE?

There are no additional requirements within the Freelance visa UAE requirements that include licenses or permits. This is because government authorities limit the activities that you can carry out as an independent worker. If you want to carry out activities that do not correspond to those permitted by a freelance work permit, you should apply for a professional license.

If you want more information regarding free zones and labor aspects in the UAE, just contact us.

Sanjyam Dhingra

Avatar photoSanjyam DhingraShe is an esteemed Compliance Officer with extensive experience in ensuring corporate adherence to regulatory standards. Her expertise spans a wide range of compliance functions, including regulatory analysis, risk management, and the implementation of compliance programs. She excels in identifying potential compliance issues and developing strategic solutions to mitigate risks.

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