Abu Dhabi Freelance Visa Complete Guide

Abu Dhabi

The United States, U.K., China, Germany, and significant world superpowers are in a rat race trying earnestly to attract outstanding talents to their country to grow their economy, strengthen their labor market, and boost their bragging rights on the world stage.

While the United States, the U.K., and China have done little to follow up their desires with significant actions, the government of Abu Dhabi seems to be making a name for themselves thanks to the introduction of a brilliant initiative—freelance visa.

The freelance visa offers non-residents and UAE residents covered by their parent’s or spouses’ visas the opportunity to work legally in the Emirates.

If you are a freelancer who has dreamt of relocating to greener pastures like the picturesque city of Abu Dhabi, you’d like the UAE freelancer licence. 

What is the Freelancer License in Abu Dhabi?

Whether you are a UAE citizen, resident, or a non-resident looking to take your freelance career to the next level, there is every reason to be excited about the UAE freelance licence/permit. However, before you become ecstatic, you must understand what the freelance license is about.

The freelance licence was introduced by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) as a means to woo brilliant minds into the country.

This outstanding initiative was designed specifically for certain business activities deemed beneficial to the UAE economy.

What is the Freelance permit?

You shouldn’t mistake freelance visas with a permit. While the former is required for non-residence of Dubai who wishes to ply their trade in the country, the latter is ideal for residents covered by their spouse’s or parents’ visa. 

Such people only need a license to work as a freelancer. Plus, holders can easily apply for a residence visa and don’t have to list office space, as it’s not a compulsory requirement. 

How does Freelance Visa Contribute to Economic Development in Abu Dhabi?

 The Abu Dhabi freelancer licence benefits are enjoyed by holders, the private sector, and the entire Dubai economy.

While holders benefit from the affluent community, infrastructures, and flexibility of working in the UAE, the Dubai economy and even UAE citizens benefit from the abundance of talents flocking into the country.

Advantages of the Freelance License In Abu Dhabi 

The freelancer licence in Abu Dhabi has attracted UAE non-residents and residents thanks to the enticing benefits it boasts of. 

Freelancers or self-employed who qualify and are given the visa will be allowed to participate in corporate activities from an authorized location or where they live.

In addition, with the Abu Dhabi freelancer license, professionals don’t have to go through much stress to apply for a work permit. You can apply for a work permit even without a sponsor.

Business Activities Covered by Freelance Visas in Abu Dhabi 

Before you become excited about the idea of the freelance license in the UAE, you must note that not all freelance activities are covered under this initiative.

Unfortunately, the Abu Dhabi Department of economic development is providing the freelance license to only 48 business activities, many of which are technical or service related. And as a freelancer, you can offer these services remotely.

 Here are some of these activities that are covered under the new freelancer licence:


  1. Information technology consultancy
  2. Translator
  3. Web designers
  4. Producer


  1. Project development 
  2. Design and programming of electronic chips
  3. Software development


  1. Jewelry design, costume jewelry
  2. Gardening services
  3. Agricultural extension services
  4. Food safety consultant
  5. Reviewing accounting and auditing systems
  6. Islamic financial institutions
  7. Fashion design
  8. Interior designers

Do you offer software development services or boast of other technical expertise? Then, you can apply for an Abu Dhabi freelancer licence.

This also applies to others who offer the pro services above. However, if you are a UAE resident and are covered by your parents’ visa, you’ll need a freelance permit to start working. 

How Much does the Freelance Visa Cost?

The freelance licence isn’t a free initiative. If you engage in any approved business activities and are interested in the visa, you’ll need to apply.

To do that, you’ll have to know the cost.

We highlighted them below.

  • Freelance permit with a year validity: AED 7,500
  • Establishment card with a year validity: AED 2,000

Are you applying for a freelance employment visa in Dubai within the United Arab Emirates?

If so, here are the costs:

  • Normal visa: AED 4,960
  • Express visa: AED 6,340

 Are you a food safety consultant ( for instance) applying for a freelance liscence in Dubai (valid for 3 years) abroad?

If so, here are the costs:

  • The normal visa: AED 3,330
  • The express visa: AED 3,900

Worthy of note is that the stated costs cover your medical test, visa stamping, and emirates ID.

Validity of the Abu Dhabi Freelance License

The Dubai freelance license has an expiry period of two years. Afterward, you are required to renew it annually after its initial expiration.

Holders of the freelancer visa can also sponsor their family members in the United Arab Emirates. But, the sponsorship will be under the family visa and not the company’s name. Like the typical Abu Dhabi freelancer licence, a family visa expires after two years. 

Getting a freelancer permit

Many free zones offer freelancer permits in UAE. To get your permit, you’ll need to apply to the free zone of your choice.

Free Zones that offer Freelancer Permits

  • Abu Dhabi’s twofour54
  • Ajman free zone
  • Dubai media city free zone
  • Fujairah creative city
  • Dubai design district
  • Umm Al Quwain ( comes with two residence visas and family sponsorship)

Regardless of the zone, you choose to apply to; you can work across UAE in your specialty.

If you are eager for office space, Flexi desk, or PRO services, you may want to consider applying in Fujairah free zone. This zone also offers three activities, including four visas (one is free).

Also, for those looking to avoid license fees, you may want to consider getting your freelancer permit from twofour54.

The Media Zone Authority has waived all license fees for the first two years in the media zone. So, all you have you pay for are the visa registration process and health insurance.

How to Apply for Freelance Visa and Permit in Dubai

Don’t fret! Applying for a freelancer licence or permit in Dubai is a piece of cake. All it takes are a few simple steps.

We have highlighted them below:

Go online and apply for the permit 

Application for a freelance permit in the UAE can be made via the GoFreelance site. On the site, choose “Go Apply” and complete the application.

Afterward, you’d be required to submit some supporting documents.

Some of the required documents are:

  • Resume/CV
  • Bank reference letter
  • NOC letter from your UAE sponsor or employer if you are on a permanent contract and work in the private sector
  • Passport and visa copy (valid for a minimum of 8 months)

You can apply to the private sector, business sector, government sector, public sector, or entertainment industry.

However, suppose you are applying to the education sector. In that case, you’d need to provide health insurance, freelancer permit, UAE phone number, original passport and passport photos, establishment card, university degree, or other proof of your academic qualifications.

Your degree must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE Consulate in your country.

Also, if you are under your spouse’s or parent’s visa, you’ll need to get a No-Objection Certificate from your sponsors before applying for the permit.

Monitor the application

After the online application process, an email will be sent to you after approval (it can take 10-15 days). Afterward, you’ll have to visit the Abu Dhabi business centre in Dubai Knowledge Park or Dubai internet city.

There, you’ll sign the necessary documents and pay the fees. After this, your permit will be sent to you through email.

Apply for your Freelancer Visa

After receiving your permit, you’ll be given access to TECOM’s business service platform (AXS). With this platform, you can benefit from several government services and apply for the establishment card, which comes at an extra cost.

After receiving the card, you can apply for a freelance employment visa under the DDA (Dubai Development Authority). The new licence or visa is valid for three years.

Finish the residency visa process

After submitting your application for the visa in Abu Dhabi, you’ll be given an entry permit. Once you get this permit (valid for 60 days from the issue date), you’ll have to undergo some visa processes in Dubai, like your medical test. Afterward, your residency visa will be approved and issued to you.


Whether you are a UAE resident who’d like to freelance after his normal work hours or a non-resident who wishes to enjoy working in Dubai or Abu Dhabi benefits, the UAE freelancer offers you an opportunity of a lifetime.

Thanks to this wonderful initiative by the department of economic development, individuals that render specific services can contribute to the growing economic activities of Dubai while growing their freelance careers.

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