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How to apply for a freelance permit and visa in Dubai

Dubai government has initiated efforts to make it easier and cheaper for freelancers to work and live. GoFreelance is an initiative by the TECOM group. This allows freelancers to work in tech, education, media and design sectors as independent contractor and it needs to be renewed every year.

If you are pursuing your profession in any of these sectors, you are eligible to apply for the freelance permit along with a residency visa in Dubai which is renewable every three years. If you are working in Tech, Dubai Internet City will issue permits. Dubai Design District for the design sector, Dubai Media City for the media sector and Dubai Knowledge Park for the education sector. 

The freelancer permit is ideal for professionals who are on a dependent visa and they only need to get the freelancer license. This permit identifies you as a sole practitioner and enables you to conduct business in your name other than a brand name. 


How to apply for a freelancer permit and visa in Dubai

To get the freelance permit and visa in Dubai through GoFreelance, you will initially need to apply for the freelance permit to be registered as a freelancer in the emirate which is a simple process and it requires only a few steps. 


1. Apply for the permit

You can apply for the freelance permit in Dubai through the GoFreelance website. Go to the Apply page and fill out the Go Apply application form along with the required documents. 

Some of the documents needed to apply for the freelance permit in Dubai include: 

  • Resume/CV
  • Recent photograph
  • Passport and visa copy (valid for at least 8 months) 
  • Bank reference letter
  • NOC from your UAE sponsor

When applying for the education or tech sector for a freelance license, you have to submit proof of academic qualifications which should be attested by the UAE Consulate your country of origin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai. You can only choose one activity for getting a freelance license in the education or tech industry.   If you are applying for the design or media industry, then a sample of your portfolio work is needed to submit along with the documents. 

Also read: Freelancing in the UAE: 5 facts that you need to know


No objection letter from sponsor/ employer

A NOC will be required from your employer if you are working full-time in Dubai under a company-sponsored visa. Which is not required when renewing your freelance work permit. 

When you are on a dependent visa, such as your parent’s or spouse’s sponsorship, you will only need a NOC from your sponsor.


2. Follow up on the application

Once your application is submitted, you will be notified when it is approved which can take up to 15 days. Then you will need to visit the GoFreelance office at the Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Design District or Dubai Knowlege Park for signing the documents personally and pay the fees. After you will receive your freelance permit in Dubai in your mail. 


3. Apply for the employment visa in Dubai

When you received the freelance permit, you can get access to TECOM’s business platform known as AXS, which is launched in partnership with the Dubai Development Authority(DDA). With access to this platform you can apply for exclusive jobs and which allows you to get access to both government and corporate services. Now you can apply for the establishment cards

When received the freelance permit, you will also receive access to TECOM’s business service platform known as AXS, launched in partnership with Dubai Development Authority (DDA), which allows you to avail of a number of government or corporate services. First, you need to apply for the establishment card through this platform, which will bear an additional cost. With the establishment card, you can apply for a freelance employment visa under the Dubai Development Authority (DDA), which is valid for three years. The documents required to get an employment visa are:

  • Original passport
  • Establishment Card
  • Passport photo
  • Valid medical insurance
  • Current visa (if any)

Also read: Is a freelancer license right for your start-up in UAE


4. Complete the residency visa procedures

You will receive an entry permit within 7 working days after submitting the application for the freelance employment visa. Upon receiving the entry permit (valid for 60 days from the date of issue), you will need to complete certain residency visa procedures in Dubai, such as your medical test and medical insurance. Once these procedures are complete, your residency visa will be stamped and valid for three years from the date of issue. 


Freelance permit and visa Dubai cost

There are separate costs for the freelance permit and establishment card 

  • Freelance permit (valid for 1 year): AED 7,500
  • Establishment card (valid for 1 year): AED 2,000

Cost of  applying for the freelance employment visa in Dubai (three-year validity)

Condition 1- inside the UAE: 

  • AED 4,960 (Normal)
  • AED 6,340 (Express)

Condition 2- outside the UAE:

  • AED 3,330 (Normal)
  • AED 3,900 (Express)

The above cost for the freelance employment visa includes costs for your medical test, visa stamping and Emirates ID. 


Have any questions on how to obtain a freelance business permit and license in Dubai, UAE? contact business setup consultants at Decisive Zone today!

About the author:
Jovana Petrovic | Marketing Manager

Jovana Petrovic | Marketing Manager

Jovana is the energy kick of the team, leading the marketing team with creativity and unique drive. She re-imagines the ordinary and transforms them into new ways of reaching audiences.
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