Everything you need to know about Freelance Visas


For thousands of people, it’s a dream to escape the 9 – 5 working model, and since 2020 the freedom of working wherever and whenever is attracting more people to work for themselves.

If this sounds like you, keep on reading as we unpack some of the important things you should know about freelance visa’s in the UAE.

Setting up your freelance business

As a freelancer, you will be an independent contractor or a sole practitioner operating a business in your name.

To do this, you will require a freelance permit and not a trade license which you can upgrade to once you have established yourself and your business.

To get the permit you will need to apply to a free zone and this will have to be selected based on the activity/ sector you will be working in.

The free zones that offer freelance permits include:

  • Dubai Media City
  • Dubai Studio City
  • Dubai Production City
  • Dubai Knowledge Park
  • Dubai Design District
  • Abu Dhabi’s twofour54
  • Fujairah Creative City
  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone
  • Ajman Free zone
  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone

The cost starts from 7,500 AED and will vary depending on which free zone you select and if you are looking for a 1-year or 3-year permit. 

If you are already a UAE resident on a visa sponsored by a parent or spouse, you don’t need to cancel your current residency visa. 

Documentation for the freelance permit

Some of the documents required include: 

  • Resume/ CV 
  • Recent photograph 
  • Passport & Visa copy (valid for at least 8 months) 
  • Bank reference letter 

Timeline for freelance permit

Once the application has been made it can take between 10 – 20 days to be approved. Once you receive confirmation you will need to personally sign documentation and the permit will be emailed to you. 

Residency Visa procedure

Once your freelance permit application has been submitted, you will receive entry permit within 5 – 7 working days which is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. 

You will then have to complete certain residency requirements like  a medical test prior to receiving your residency. 

Can I sponsor dependents with a freelance visa?

Yes, it is possible if you meet the salary requirements to sponsor family members. 

The cost of living in the UAE  – specifically Dubai – is rather high, so it’s important to be confident that your freelance business can support you. 

Hensley&Cook is a leading Corporate Service provider in the UAE, with offices located in Singapore, Seychelles & Philippines. 

We offer a suite of visa solutions and provide value-added support to freelancers looking to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey in the UAE. 

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Our UAE offices are closed from April 8-12, 2024, you may still reach us on +971 4 406 9680 as our team in Seychelles and the Philippines remain at your disposal. Eid Mubarak!


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