Types of Dubai freelance visas: what you need to know

freelancer dubai visa

Dubai, known for its dynamic business environment, is a haven for freelancers seeking independence in their careers. This article explores the various types of freelance visas available in Dubai, their benefits, application procedures, costs, and essential FAQs.

1. Freelance Visa Options in Dubai

Dubai offers diverse freelance visa options catering to both residents and non-residents. Understanding these options is crucial for those venturing into the freelance world in this bustling city.

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1.1 Freelance Visa for Residents

For individuals already residing in Dubai, a freelancer work permit is attainable, even if they are employed full-time. However, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer or sponsor is required in such cases.

1.2 Freelance Visa for Non-Residents

Non-residents need to apply for a freelancer visa to acquire residency. This allows them to live and work in Dubai as freelancers, with the additional requirement of obtaining a residence visa.

1.3 The Dubai Talent Pass

Launched by Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Dubai Culture, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the Dubai Talent Pass aims to attract global talent. It caters to freelancers in technology, marketing, art, media, education, culture, and consultancy, providing them the opportunity to live and work in Dubai.

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2. Specialized Freelance Programs

2.1 GoFreelance Program

Operating in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park, and Dubai Design District, the GoFreelance program facilitates freelancers bidding on projects and expanding their network. The cost is AED 7,500, with annual renewal options and permit holders can apply for family and dependent visas.

2.2 Green Residence for Freelancing

The UAE Green Visa offers a 5-year residency option for freelancers and self-employed individuals. Eligibility criteria include obtaining a freelance permit, holding a minimum bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma, and demonstrating a minimum annual income of AED 360,000 through self-employment over the past two years.

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3. Benefits of Having a Freelance Visa in Dubai

3.1 Flexibility in Work

A freelance visa in Dubai provides the flexibility to work for multiple companies, making it an ideal choice for those wanting to avoid a traditional 9-to-5 job.

3.2 Affordability

The affordability of a freelance visa allows freelancers to offer their services at competitive prices. Programs like GoFreelance further reduce setup costs and eliminate the need for office space, fostering market entry for more freelancers.

3.3 Independence

Freelancers with a Dubai visa can work as independent contractors, accessing the free zone’s business center and opening avenues for diverse job opportunities.

3.4 Family Sponsorship

Freelancers can sponsor family members to live with them in Dubai, enhancing the work-life balance.

3.5 Access to Job Opportunities

Various online marketplaces connect freelancers with companies and individuals seeking specific skill sets, providing abundant job opportunities.

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4. Freelance Visa According to Profession

4.1 Banking and Finance Professionals

Banking and finance professionals can obtain a freelance visa via Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development, covering areas like auditing, accounting, and tax-related consulting.

4.2 Media Professionals

Dubai Media City offers freelance visas for a plethora of media professionals, including actors, photographers, artists, editors, and web designers. Alternative options exist in Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone.

4.3 Educationists

Freelance permits for educationists are cost-effective, with options available in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone.

4.4 IT Professionals

IT professionals working in mobile, web, software development, and related fields can secure a freelance visa in Dubai.

4.5 Couture Designers

Professionals in the couture industry, including apparel and interior designers, hairstylists, and wedding planners, have specialized freelance visa options with affordable fees.

5. How to Apply for a Freelancer Visa in Dubai

5.1 Online Application Process

The application process for a freelance permit is streamlined through the GoFreelance website. Applicants must fill out the online form and submit the necessary documents.

5.2 Required Documents

Essential documents include a resume/CV, recent photograph, passport and visa copies, bank reference letter, and, if applicable, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the sponsor or employer.

5.3 Application Follow-Up

After submitting the online application, applicants will be notified by email once it is approved, a process that may take 10-20 days.

5.4 Completing the Residency Visa Procedures

Upon approval, applicants receive access to TECOM’s business service platform, AXS, enabling them to apply for an establishment card and subsequently a freelance employment visa.

6. Freelance Visa Costs in Dubai

6.1 Breakdown of Costs

Freelance visa costs include the permit (AED 7,500 for 1 year), establishment card (AED 2,000 for 1 year), and employment visa (AED 2,750 for 3 years, AED 5,000 for 5 years).

6.2 Residence Visa Costs

For residence visas in Dubai, costs range from AED 3,330 to AED 6,340, depending on whether the application is made within or outside the UAE.


Embracing a freelance career in Dubai opens doors to a world of opportunities. The city’s diverse visa options cater to professionals across various industries, providing the freedom to work independently and the chance to experience a vibrant cultural landscape.

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