Skip to content

Get Your Freelance Visa in Dubai 2023 | A Comprehensive Guide

freelance visa in Dubai

If you obtain a freelance visa in Dubai, you can enjoy significant benefits, including 0% corporate and personal tax rates and the ability to repatriate 100% of your profits. Dubai has opened its doors to self-employed individuals, freelancers, and digital nomads from around the world, thanks to the legal framework established back in 2019. Specifically, Dubai now offers freelance visas to specific categories of individuals.

The Dubai freelance visa is designed for independent contractors and can have a longer validity period compared to the digital nomad visa. Below, we provide you with more information on the costs and requirements associated with obtaining a freelance visa in Dubai.

Quick Facts:

Types of freelancers addressed:

  • Artists
  • Sportsmen
  • Designers
  • Banking and IT professionals
  • Education specialists
  • Media persons

Availability for foreign professionals:

Yes, foreign citizens can apply.

Activities permitted:

Education, marketing, IT, consultancy, event management, editing, copywriting, design, and more.

Eligibility conditions for applicants:

Academic qualifications, degrees, recognized prizes, etc.

Special requirements for foreigners:


Residence permit requirements for foreigners:

Yes, residence permits must be obtained.

Dubai free zones available:

Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Design District, Dubai Internet City.

Availability in other emirates:

Yes, in Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah.

Possibility to relocate with family:


Sponsorship requirements:

Only if sponsored by an employer or family member living in UAE.

Application fee (approx.):

AED 15,000

Validity period:

Ranges from 2 to 10 years

Timeframe to obtain a freelance visa:

3-4 days

Advantages of freelance visa:

  • Easy to obtain
  • A cost-effective alternative to an investment visa
  • No personal income tax
  • Access to a large business market

Freelance visa application services:


The Freelance Visa in Dubai:

freelance visa in dubai

In 2023, the following categories of independent contractors are eligible to apply for a freelance visa in Dubai:

  • Individuals working in the education sector.
  • Designers.
  • Sportsmen and artists.
  • Professionals in the media sector.
  • IT professionals.
  • Banking professionals.

Another key distinction between a freelance visa and a digital nomad visa is that freelancers can generate income in Dubai. Additionally, the freelance visa in Dubai comes with a lower cost.

Foreign citizens interested in obtaining a freelancer visa in Dubai must prepare a set of documents and submit them to the Dubai Development Authority.

Furthermore, the freelance visa in Dubai can be utilized in various free zones across the city. Each free zone has specific conditions and costs associated with the issuance of these permits, allowing individuals to select a cost-effective option based on their preferred location for immigration to Dubai.

A New Type of Permit in 2023:

A new freelance permit introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) in 2023 allows individuals of all skill levels to apply for freelance work in the UAE. This permit enables work from any location within the UAE or worldwide.

Steps in Applying for a Freelancer Visa in Dubai:

The process of obtaining a freelance visa in Dubai involves specific procedures:

  1. Gathering the necessary documents.
  2. Applying for the freelance visa.
  3. Applying for the establishment card.

It’s important to note that the freelance visa cost in Dubai differs from that of the establishment card, so keep this in mind when initiating the application process.

Types of Freelance Visas in Dubai:

There are four types of freelance visas available to those relocating to Dubai:

  • Talent Pass for Dubai Airport Free Zone.
  • Media freelance visa for Dubai Media City.
  • Educational freelance visa for Dubai Knowledge Park.
  • Designers’ visa for Dubai Design District.

IT professionals can also apply for a freelance visa, and our PRO team can provide details on the freelance visa prices in Dubai. Other free zones that issue such visas include Dubai Internet City, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City. Abu Dhabi 54 free zone, Um Al Quwain Free Zone, and Fujairah Creative City also offer such permits to UAE citizens and foreigners, provided they first obtain residence permits. For specific questions about the freelancer visa in Dubai, feel free to consult our immigration lawyers.

Documents Required for a Freelance License in Dubai in 2023:

freelance license in dubai

When applying for a freelance permit in Dubai, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Your resume.
  • A recent photograph.
  • Copies of your passport and visa.

Please note that when seeking to work in education, proof of qualifications recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country is required. Our immigration team in Dubai can provide all the information you need to ensure your application is filed correctly, including details about freelance visa costs in Dubai.

Sponsorship Letter for a Freelancer Visa in Dubai:

Sponsorship or a No Objection Certificate is necessary for individuals coming to Dubai to join their spouses or partners or for those arriving based on full-time employment. Entrepreneurs can obtain the certificate from their own company.

However, the renewal of the freelance permit in Dubai no longer requires this certificate. The visa application procedure varies depending on the chosen free zone but typically takes 10 to 15 days to complete. For more information on specific conditions related to obtaining a freelance license in Dubai, don’t hesitate to contact our law office.

Additionally, if you hold an investment visa in Dubai, you can bring your spouse and children with you. If you decide to open a company in Dubai, you can also include at least one executive member of your staff on this visa.

Differences Between Various Types of Freelance Visas:

While all freelance visas allow you to work in Dubai’s various free zones, there are differences between them. These differences include application fees, required documents, and the duration of validity. For instance:

  • The Talent Pass is issued for independent work in fields such as media, education, art, technology, marketing, and consulting by the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza), Dubai Culture, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

There are various licenses available in these free zones, covering import, export, re-export activities, general business purposes, industrial and light manufacturing operations, e-commerce, packaging, and assembly of goods. If you wish to apply for a freelance license in Dubai or its free zones, our lawyers can provide guidance and details on freelance visa costs in Dubai.

Obtaining a Residence Card in Dubai:

Upon entering the UAE to apply for a freelance permit in Dubai, you’ll initially receive a residence card valid for 60 days while waiting for your license to be issued. During this two-month period, you should fulfill all the requirements for settling in Dubai, including medical exams.

Digital Nomad Visa vs. Freelance Visa in Dubai:

The Dubai freelance permit is akin to a digital nomad visa offered in other countries worldwide. However, there are significant differences between these two temporary residency options. For example, a digital nomad visa only covers activities conducted by remote workers for overseas employers, whereas the freelance license allows work for employers in Dubai. Digital nomad visas may also have income requirements depending on the duration of stay and whether one relocates with their family. In contrast, the Dubai freelance visa has an application fee.

Freelance Visa Cost in Dubai for 2023:

Foreign professionals interested in obtaining freelancer visas in Dubai should be aware of the following costs:

  • The total cost of the visa is AED 20,000, and it covers both issuance and renewal.
  • Additionally, an AED 10 “Knowledge Dirham” fee for innovation may apply.

The freelance visa in Dubai offers numerous advantages. For more information on the freelance visa price in Dubai, feel free to consult our immigration specialists.

The Dubai Talent Pass and Its Cost:

One of the freelance visas available in Dubai is the Talent Pass, which is offered by the Dubai Airport Free Zone. This pass is highly regarded and is open to individuals pursuing freelance careers in arts, culture, education, media, marketing, consulting, and technology. The Talent Pass is renewable annually, and after obtaining it, you can apply for a Dubai residence permit. The cost of this freelance visa for Dubai is AED 20,000 (with AED 1 equal to $0.27). It’s important to consider that the prices for securing such a permit may differ in terms of validity and application procedures.

How Long Does It Take to Obtain a Freelance License for Dubai and What Is Its Cost?

After assembling all the necessary documentation, the next step is to apply for the freelancing visa. The license is typically issued within 5 to 7 working days, but there is also an express procedure available at a higher cost. The cost of a freelance visa for Dubai is calculated as follows:

  • The cost of a one-year freelance permit is AED 20,000.
  • The price of a one-year residence card is AED 2,000.
  • The cost of a three-year employment visa is AED 2,750.
  • The cost of a five-year employment visa is AED 5,000.

For those applying for a three-year residency visa in Dubai from outside the United Arab Emirates, the fees are:

  • AED 3,330 for the normal procedure.
  • AED 3,900 for the express procedure.

Please note that the costs listed for freelance permits include the Emirates ID card cost and medical test fees. Entry visa fees have been abolished starting in 2023. To apply for a long-term visa, you must first obtain an entry permit, so consider the Dubai freelance visa price in conjunction with that of the residence card.

Introduction of the Dubai Green Visa:

Starting in October 2022, the Dubai government introduced a new entry and residence system that allows for faster relocation. Alongside this, a new type of residence permit called the Green Visa was introduced. The UAE Green Visa differentiates between employment and residency permits. With this permit, highly qualified individuals, investors, business owners, top students, and recent graduates can sponsor themselves. When obtained as a freelance license for Dubai, the cost of this visa is AED 2,280.

For information about changes in the visa entry system and how to obtain a freelancer visa in Dubai, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Why Apply for a Freelancer Visa for Dubai:

There are several compelling reasons to consider a freelancer visa in Dubai:

  • It is cost-effective.
  • It offers a validity of 1 or 3 years, depending on your intended stay.
  • It provides access to more than 6 free zones in Dubai alone.

Moreover, family reunification visas are available if you have a spouse residing in Dubai. If you’re interested in immigrating to Dubai through a freelance visa for sale, please inquire about the specific requirements. Contact us for support in obtaining your visa and making the move as soon as possible!