Posted on 21-March-2019
One can freelance in the UAE as long as he or she possesses the requisite approvals and permits. If you want to work in the UAE as a freelancer or otherwise you need to have a work permit as well as a residence visa.
A free zone is one of the ways through which you can become a freelancer easily. You will have to apply for a residence visa (if not sponsored by your father or spouse) and a freelance work permit from a free zone. Fujairah Creative City, Dubai Media City, Abu Dhabi’s twofour54, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Design District, Dubai Production City, and Dubai Knowledge Park are some free zones that are currently offering a freelance permit. Remember that your work should be related to the activity of the free zone. The freelance permit gives you a sole identity and allows you to operate your business with your birth name as a brand name. The free zone offers you a shared PO box and office space.
The cost involved depends on the free zone you look forward to establishing your business in. the expected cost range for your set-up is Dh 10,000 to Dh 20,000. Also, keep in mind that you will have to renew your license every year. The cost of renewing will be the same as the set-up cost. The essential documents that you will be asked to submit include a copy of a non-objection certificate (NOC) from your current sponsor (if any), a copy of your passport, and a business plan.
Many people question if they can contract with mainland or onshore companies while possessing a freelance permit. Well, the answer is that there is not any restriction on being engaged by an onshore/mainland company. However, there might be fine print involved varying on the activity and the set-up in which you have established your business.
Another question which usually rises is that if an individual can freelance with a residence visa sponsored by husband, wife, or father. The answer is yes you can. But the only condition is that you must have a work permit in order to freelance. A temporary work permit can be acquired from the ministry of labor if you are employed for a minimum period of six months by a mainland company. Moreover, permit for a part-time job can be obtained through the company you intend to work for. A NOC from your current sponsor is needed for both a temporary as well as a part-time permit.
If you want to freelance for other companies in your free time, you will require a part-time work permit from the Ministry of Labor along with the approval of your part-time employer and current employer.