As more and more people seek the flexibility and independence of working for themselves, freelancing has become an increasingly popular route for professionals.
An increasing number of people are registering themselves as freelancers in the UAE. According to a survey, 1 out of every 10 UAE residents was either already freelancing or were planning to join in.
If you're considering freelancing in the UAE, you'll need to obtain a freelance license and freelance visa Dubai has to offer to legally operate as a freelancer.
Read this blog to learn how to obtain your Freelance License in Dubai
1. Choose your business activity
Although freelancing is a lucrative work option in Dubai, it is a bit contrasting when we compare it to other countries around the world. Firstly, freelancers need to obtain an official license regardless of the field they operate in. Subsequently, these activities need to fall into the index of permitted activities which need to be mentioned while pursuing your business license. Some of the fields freelancers are permitted to work in are: Media, Education, Technology.
2. Choose Your Free Zone
There are few free zones within Dubai and the UAE that issue freelance licenses or permits. Some of these free zones also offer additional services such as office facilities, co-working spaces, and Freelance visa in UAE eligibility as part of the license package. Setting up in a free zone is one of the most cost-effective ways to do business in Dubai. In addition to an affordable license and service fees – along with the UAE’s 0% tax rate – you’ll also benefit from the ability to repatriate all profits to your country of origin.
3. Apply for your freelance license
After choosing your Free Zone, the application for a Freelance License in Dubai (or Freelance Permit Dubai has to offer) needs to be submitted to the respective authorities. To receive the freelance permit UAE has to offer, the individual will be required to furnish documentation along with the application.
In all, you may be asked to provide the following:
- Resume / CV
- Passport copy
- Visa copy
- Reference letter from your bank
- Work examples
- Credentials and qualifications (if applicable)
Finally, your sponsor or current employer also needs to assist you with a No Objection Certificate (NOC). Although this might not be a necessary requirement for all Free Zones, it is advisable to have one ready.
4. Apply for your freelance visa in UAE
Once you have all the necessary documents, you can apply for the freelance license Dubai has to offer. The application process varies depending on your legal structure and the free zone you choose to operate in. Generally, the process involves filling out an application form, submitting your documents, and paying the necessary fees to get the freelance visa in UAE.
5. Obtain your residence visa
After obtaining your freelance license, you'll need to obtain a residence visa to legally work in the UAE. If you're a sole proprietor, you'll need to apply for a residence visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. If you're operating under a free zone, the free zone authority will typically handle the residence visa application process for you.
6. Register for VAT
If your annual revenue exceeds AED 375,000, you'll need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a tax on the consumption of goods and services and is currently set at 5% in the UAE. You'll need to register for VAT with the Federal Tax Authority and submit periodic VAT returns.
Once you have received your Freelance License in Dubai, you can keep track of the expiry date by checking the UAE visa status online. For those planning to sponsor a family member, do check up on the new family visa rules in the UAE.