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Start A Freelance Business In The UAE: An Essential Guide


October 26th, 2021 21:24

Start your freelance business in UAE with permits/licenses

Independent working individuals, also known as freelancers, who have been involved in various industries such as art, photography, media, and more are getting much recognition from the UAE government. 

If you wish to start a freelance business in UAE then there are certain freelance business licenses and permits that you would need to acquire first. 

Freelancing in the UAE

In the UAE, professionals from various approved fields can now acquire freelancer business permits by following the guidelines and fulfilling requirements. In some free zones, visas might not be a mandatory requirement; however, in others, they are.

Moreover, to start a freelance business in UAE, freelancers need to be the sole person in charge of their business and offerings. The permit can also be promoted to a trade license in the future. You can also become eligible for a business bank account.

The UAE government gives enough room and space for every business in the UAE to flourish well. If you wish to start a freelance business in UAE, then now is a great time. 

In the current Covid-19 situation, hundreds of new businesses are trying to find their space. All parts of UAE allow freelance work businesses with one strong condition: all legal things should be taken care of and rules must be followed.

Residence visa

Having a residence visa is an important requirement to start a freelance business in the UAE with a freelance work permit.

After acquiring a freelance permit, you can apply for a residency visa, which will be processed within seven working days. The issuance of an Emirates ID and a medical examination is also part of this process.

Eligibility criteria

The following main sectors can apply for a freelancer business license and work permit. 

  • Individuals who are part of education sectors (online lecturers, researchers, coaches, and advisers) 
  • art (painting, craft, and sculpting)
  • media (journalists, advertising and marketing, social media influencers, filmmakers, and photographers)
  • tech (website, analytics, and software development)


Dubai has many free zones that offer freelance business work permits to people from the above-mentioned backgrounds. 

  • Dubai Internet City
  • Dubai Media City
  • Dubai Knowledge Park

These and more are the free zones in the Emirate of Dubai.

Freelancers do need a business license. In the UAE, the packages offered and the ease of the applications is a major stepping stone for freelancers who want to set up their business in the UAE. and DED E-trader offer freelance permits and licenses in Dubai. These are the major and most popular providers.

Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah also offer various services and industrial licenses and even budget-friendly freelance permits across various industries.

Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 is made for creative freelancers and professionals. After submitting your application, you can simply pay for your permit and Emirates ID and you are good to go.

Ajman and Fujairah respect and promote freelance work with different packages available in their free zones. Affordable licenses and permits are available at these locations, for an individual’s comfort.

Where to apply

The free zones and major marketplaces offer freelance permits to start a freelance business in the UAE. These include:

  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
  • Sharjah Free Zone
  • Ajman Free Zone
  • Abu Dhabi (twofour54)
  • Fujairah Creative City
  • Dubai Knowledge Park
  • Dubai Internet City
  • Dubai Design District
  • Dubai Media City
  • Dubai Development Authority

Documents needed

The following are the main documents that would be needed to start a freelance business in the UAE:

  • CV
  • Bank account/passbook details
  • Visa copy (if applicable)
  • Passport copy
  • Offer letter
  • Passport copy
  • NOC (if you have a sponsor)
  • Medical insurance (if any)
  • Reference letter (if any)
  • Zone specific documentation (if any)

Processing time

For the visa application process, the time required is around 7 to 21 business days. Visa will be issued once the freelance permit is done. Your freelance business work permit issuance would require around 7 to 14 days after approval of all signed documents.


The cost of your freelance permit would directly depend on your industry, location in the UAE, and the duration for which you would need the permit. Residence visa, health insurance, immigration card, and other documents are excluded from this cost.

For instance: In Dubai Internet City, the charges for an IT industry freelance business permit are AED 7500 while the cost for the same industry in Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone would be around AED 6100.


Some of the benefits of starting a freelance business in the UAE include the following:

  • Registered freelancers can set up their online business in Dubai while working from anywhere and anytime in the UAE
  • Freelance work licenses are easily available and affordable; you can really become self-sufficient at a low price here in any field.
  • You can have credibility among your clients with flexible work hours


Even if you are employed somewhere else, with help of a NOC, you can have your freelance business license. You can even apply for an employment visa once your freelancer work permit gets issued.

Go ahead and begin your freelance journey today!

Frequently asked questions:

1. How can I get a freelance visa in the UAE?

  • You can apply online for a freelance permit, fill up the application, and then complete the residency visa procedures.   

2. Is freelancing legal in the UAE?

  • Yes, it is. And now, there is a wider region with many free zones offering a freelancer permit which enables you to get your residency visa and also to sponsor your family. 

3. Which is the cheapest freelance visa in the UAE?

  • The cheapest freelance visa and permit in the UAE can cost from around AED 6000 to AED 10,000, whereas the combined visa costs can range from around AED 11,000 to AED 16,000.

4. How can I start a freelance business?

  • Firstly, define your goals and find a profitable niche. Then identify your target clients and set strategic prices for your services. You can then build a high-quality portfolio website.

5. How can I earn money online in the UAE?

  • There are various ways to do so; these include, online tuitions, blogging, photography, freelancing, mobile applications, fitness, and many more.

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