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Freelance licence in Dubai


Freelancers are the professional individuals, who are not permanently employed to any particular company. They are independent workers, who usually perform various creative jobs in the areas of art, sport, personal development, photography, education or media.

For a very long time UAE did not really recognize this type of workers. It created a lot of uncertainty, related to making their work legal and getting UAE residency.

Freelance permit made business setup in Dubai more affordable for a large group of professional individuals, who had no solutions apart from company setup in Dubai or another Emirate previously.

Dubai freelance permit

Luckily, in 2018 TECOM authority came up with a new product of Dubai freelance permit. It was a huge breakthrough for all freelancers with lots of benefits: affordable price, quick procedure, Dubai freelance work permit.

This freelance licence Dubai in TECOM can be given to creative professionals in the areas of media, technology or education. It is provided by 3 sister free zones accordingly: Media City, Internet City, Knowledge Village.

Freelance license Abu Dhabi

Funny enough, TECOM was actually not the first authority who adopted a freelance concept. It was just the first to extensively market it.

Another business licensing authority in Abu Dhabi has had a freelance category for quite a while before 2018. It’s called twofour54. It is a local Abu Dhabi hub for creative professionals.

At twofour54 they frequently run promotional campaigns offering a free license for the freelancers in this case you pay for the visa, Emirates ID and health insurance only.

There are about 500 freelancers associating themselves with twofour54 now. The requirements of this authority are slightly higher in comparison to the others who issue freelance permits, but it remains the only freelance type of setup in UAE capital.

Freelance permit UAE

Other free zones followed up with TECOM and twofour54 shortly and now a freelance category is available in many licensing authorities:

Ajman Free Zone

Ajman free zone came up with 2 packages for freelancers: Pioneer package and Freelance package. They both are designed for single owner, who can pick a profession from the fields like IT, education, design, management consultancy, beauty and personal care, media consultancy and studies.

Pioneer package is designed for individuals between 20 and 30 years old, but a Freelance package fits anyone.

The license you get will actually look like a normal corporate license from this free zone, indicating that it’s a pioneer or freelance setup only at the bottom. You will also be entitled for a 3 year Investor visa with such a setup.

Umm Al Quwain Free Zone

Umm AL Quwain free zone has a freelance license with a vast choice of activities and a resident visa for 2 years.

Some interesting activities include:

  • musician
  • wardrobe
  • specialist
  • speech-language
  • pathologist furniture
  • designer
  • Composer

Umm Al Quwain has one of the easiest setting up procedures and most straightforward requirements.

Creative City Fujairah Free Zone

Creative City free zone has a package called “Freelancer company”. This package is not a freelance permit for a single person. It is just the name of a normal commercial business setup package, which is eligible for 3 resident visas.

In other words, in this case “Freelancer company” is just a marketing name of a full-fledged package.

Resident visa VS freelance permit Dubai

Many people confuse between resident visa and freelance permit. Basically, these are two separate things, which usually come together within the same setup.

Freelance license in Dubai is the actual freelance license, which allows you to carry out your work legally.

Resident visa is a visa stamped into your passport, which allows you to live in UAE legally.

Some people already have a visa and need only a freelance permit for their projects, whereas others may need the license and the visa

Freelance permits in UAE summary

Here is a short comparative table for you to choose between a freelance permit or a UAE residency as company owner. Freelance license Dubai cost is quite low and can be considered as one of the affordable options.

AUTHORITYLicense / permit validity, AEDVisa cost, AEDLicense / permit validityVisa validityAnnual renewal cost, AED
twofour54Free for 2 years36001 year2 years4,500 after 2 years
TECOM7,5203,330 out of UAE / 4,960 in UAE1 year3 years7,520
UAQ16,50022001 year2 years14,500
AFZA5000/600026001 year3 years5000

Freelance permit will be helpful for those who:

  • Want to practice their professional activity legally - for example, private teachers, tutors and consultants often opt for freelancing.
  • Consider ecommerce license in Dubai - for example, social media influencers or many lifestyle trainers work online.
  • Want to work for a company full time and have a permit to carry out a part-time individual business.


The usual set of documents for freelance license in Dubai or UAE include the following:

  • Passport copy
  • Current visa copy if you have one
  • Portfolio/educational degree/reference letters any proof of previous experience in the field**
  • CV*
  • Bank reference letter*
  • Offer letter from a member company or a detailed business and income plan**

*only in TECOM 

** only in twofour54


  • Getting UAE residency
  • Doing your professional activity legally
  • Getting UAE bank account easily


Top 10 questions about UAE Freelance

  • Can I open a corporate bank account with my freelance permit?

    Generally, a freelance permit allows you to operate as an individual and have a personal account only. However, some freelance setups look like a traditional commercial free zone licenses. For example, having a freelance license in Ajman Free Zone you are eligible for a business bank account instead of a personal one.

  • Do I have to pay VAT as a freelancer?

    If your turnover reaches 375,000 AED, you need to add 5% VAT to all your invoices, register with Federal tax authority and pay VAT quarterly.

  • Can I sponsor my family being on a freelance visa?

    Yes, you can. General immigration requirements would apply: you need to rent an apartment and have legalized marriage/birth certificates to apply for visas of your dependants.

  • I am employed in a company but want to do a part-time job as a freelancer. Is it possible?

    You can do a part-time freelance job, but in the majority of the free zones where you can get a freelance permit you need to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your visa sponsor (employer) in order to setup your freelance permit there.

    Umm Al Quwain free zones provides permits without NOC.


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