Freelance is a format that is gaining popularity everywhere. This is comfortable for the employee and beneficial for the employer himself. Many countries have already introduced special conditions for employees working outside the physical office. And more recently, a freelancer visa was launched in Dubai. This news pleased many remote workers, because the prosperous Arab state offers very comfortable conditions for life, work and personal development. Next, we will tell you about the features of obtaining a license.
New initiatives and amendments to UAE legislation
The decree on the launch of a project to attract remote employees was one of many planned in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the state. Last fall, the government started implementing the “Projects of the 50” package and the innovation for remote workers was among the first 13.
For the development of the Internet technology industry as a whole, many steps are being taken, new initiative projects are being formed. In particular , they note:
- Emirates Investment Summit is an event designed to establish links between investors, individuals and representatives of government agencies. The summit should also attract external investment over the next few years.
- Portal invest.ae . An investment project aimed at maintaining the functionality of local structures related to investments in one way or another. With the help of this portal, users will be able to receive data on everything related to investments.
- The 100 Coders Every Day – the project aims to expand the ranks of coders by more than 3.5 thousand frames per month, so that in a year the total figure will be 100,000 promising frames.
- The “10×10” initiative will function for a 10% increase in export indicators to a number of specific 10 states, the list of which also includes Russia.
- The PyCon Summit. The event is one of the largest in the Middle East. Its main topic is programming. The event will bring together direct representatives of the industry from the institutions of the state and commercial segment.
- UAE Data Law. In an effort to protect the interests of its citizens and protect their privacy, the government, in partnership with major technology companies, has defined a federal law. It will regulate the activities of organizations in the Emirates, create an opportunity for people to control processes related to personal data, and provide a higher level of privacy of personal life.
What is a freelancer visa
The Government of the Emirates creates all conditions for productive work and business development for representatives of all industries. There is an obvious interest in attracting promising personnel. There are several visa options on the basis of which you can provide your services.
The innovation affected fans of the free labor format and was announced this spring. According to the text of the new resolution, you can apply for a permit without having an actual offer from the employer, a valid contract or a guarantor. It has a five-year validity period with the possibility of further extension.
A prerequisite for registration is the presence of a bachelor’s degree or a specialist. You will also need to make a request to the Ministry of Human Resources (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation). Another important condition is that the total income of the previous two years should be at least 350 thousand dirhams.
The traditional option of cooperation that the Emirates has been offering to remote workers for quite a long time is a visa with a license. This type of permit is issued for remote employees registered in any of the NZ of the state. The holder of such a paper receives the right to provide services to individuals and legal entities in the territory where he is registered.
Documents are submitted to one of the FEZ. It is important to remember that different zones often offer terms of cooperation only in certain areas. The validity period is a year, and the cost, as a rule, is slightly higher than $ 2,000. It is also required to issue a migration card – Establishment card, the price of which is about 2,000 dirhams. Having received all the necessary certificates, a foreigner is allowed to apply for a 3-year residency.
The recently implemented Virtual Working Program has provided a new opportunity for foreigners to live and work in Dubai. You will have to pay 2,500 dirhams to get an annual visa. To apply, you will need an up-to-date passport and medical insurance valid for the entire period that the candidate is going to stay in the country.
There are some requirements for the applicant:
- at least an annual up-to-date employment contract with a company from any country in the world;
- income level not less than 5 thousand dollars;
- presentation of the salary statement for the previous month;
- bank statement the account for the previous 3 months.
It is noteworthy that this option is available not only to individuals, but also to legal entities. To do this, you will need to prove that the applicant is the holder of the company for a period of one year, receives at least 5 thousand dollars per month and confirm the account status with a bank statement for the previous 3 months.
To clearly understand all the features of different freelance visas in Dubai and compare them, it is best to look at the table below.
|Visa under license||Visa under license||“Green visa”||Remote employee visa|
|Validity period||1 year||3 years||5 years||1 year|
|Visa price (AED)||2750||5000||still being determined||2,451|
|License fee (AED)||7,500||7,500||not required||not required|
|Establishment card fee (AED)||2000||2000||not required||not required required|
|Registration of medical insurance (AED)||included in the package||included in the package||still determined||from 1850|
|Minimum Income (AED)||not set||not set||from 360,000||from 18360|
|The total amount (AED)||12 250||14 500||is still determined||from 4200|
In the Emirates, remote workers can work on special conditions. Candidates are provided with special opportunities, but some restrictions are also present. Among them are noted:
- The opportunity to act as a sponsor for your family. If the income is sufficient to cover the needs of family members, their relocation together with the candidate is allowed.
- Having a freelance visa will not be able to hire employees. This is prohibited by law.
- You will not need to pay income tax if it does not exceed the annual threshold of 375 thousand dirhams. Otherwise, you will need to pay 5% of the profit received in excess of the designated threshold.
- Even if the candidate already lives in the country for a certain period, on other legal grounds, it is allowed to issue a freelance license.
Licensing is a complicated and responsible procedure that will require the provision of a certain set of documents. Prepare in advance:
- a copy of a foreign passport;
- standard 3-by-4 photos;
- medical insurance;
- bank statement;
- certificate of education.
If the candidate represents a creative specialty, it is necessary to collect a portfolio to demonstrate the level of professionalism. Be sure to translate all important papers into English and certify them in accordance with the current legislation, otherwise they will not be considered valid by the receiving party.
How to get a freelancer visa in Dubai: step-by-step instructions
Getting visa permits will seem to someone quite a difficult task, especially if you have not had to solve such issues before. We have prepared step-by-step instructions that will better orient you in the process of preparing for the move.
Create a personal account on the official GoFreelance portal. Specify all the requested information about yourself, specify the expert field as a freelance employee.
Purchasing a freelance visa in the UAE will require submitting a request for an appropriate license. Experts offer a convenient and easy way to do this – the axs platform. It was created for the purpose of interaction of management bodies with representatives of the business industry.
Next, you will need to pay a state fee of about $ 2,000. Which is also available remotely, or by contacting the representative office of the NW in person. The certificate will be sent to the post office within two weeks, in case of a positive decision.
In addition to the licensing procedure, an internal identity card Establishment Card will be required. The already well-known axs platform allows you to register a request for a migration card. Prepare 2,000 dirhams as a fee.
After licensing, the applicant receives permission to offer his services on the territory of the state. However, in order to live here legally, you will need to acquire the status of a resident. A separate structure, the Dubai Development Authority, is responsible for this.
You will need to confirm that the expat does not have serious health problems and any contraindications for doing his job. To do this, each applicant for a visa undergoes a medical examination. It is carried out at a local medical center with special accreditation.
When a freelancer visa to the UAE has already been received and the accompanying documents have been issued, you need to visit the state center (typing centers) to submit biometric data (fingerprinting) and take a picture on a resident identification card (Emirates ID). It is issued in about a week.
How to get a freelance visa in other UAE cities
You can also work as a freelance employee in other cities. In addition, the SZ in each of them may differ in their professional profile. You should choose based on your preferences, infrastructure and specialization.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the Arab Emirates and one of the most developed cities. Back in the fall of 2020, the Department of Economic Development (ADDED) introduced a freelancer license, which unites more than 60 types of activities of remote employees. To study in detail the full list of professional directions can be viewed on the official website. You can also apply there, which will be even cheaper than registration through a free zone representative office.
From an expat, you will definitely need:
- copy of passport;
- current resident visa;
- passport photo in digit;
- at least two recommendations from previous employers with contacts;
- confirm the presence of an invitation from the employer.
After sending everything necessary, the candidate’s application is considered, and after that, if the decision is positive, a personal meeting is scheduled. The review period is not long and takes only a couple of days. The originally issued two-year license can be renewed in the future, but not for more than a year.
Then you can apply for residency, but you will have to get medical insurance – this is a mandatory requirement. You can also sponsor your family members if you have a valid work contract for at least 3 months and a confirmed income of at least 4,000 dirhams per month.
Ras al Khaimah
In the FEZ Ras al-Khaimah, remote workers have been accepted since 2018. But there is a restriction on professional areas – only representatives of the media sphere and the educational segment. The price of the issue, according to the most conservative estimates, is about 6,000 dirhams. However, the price already includes a two-year visa, access to a workplace, as well as some types of business services. Here, the candidate must offer services on his own behalf, and not as a representative of the company.
For registration, you will need a standard set of documents, as well as a permit for the type of activity that the freelancer will carry out. In this free zone, the registration process is quite fast and after a few days a foreigner receives a legal status and can start work.
If a foreigner represents the media, technology or the film industry, then in the Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone he will be able to register as self-employed. You need to submit all the papers to the representative office of the NW remotely, or during a personal visit to the office. If the decision is positive, a 3-year visa is issued.
Fujairah is a great place for remote workers. The Creative City Free Zone presents a huge number of areas in which foreigners realize their expertise. You can choose from several packages with a license period of 1-3 years and an establishment card. Registration takes only a day. At the same time, the opportunity to apply for a resident is given, as well as access to a flexible workplace is provided. The price of the issue starts from 11,000 dirhams, taking into account the selected cooperation package.
Those wishing to apply for a freelance license in the AFZA of the Emirate of Ajman must prepare at least 6,000 dirhams. Along with the papers, the applicant will also receive access to the business center facilities. This option allows you to get a visa for up to 3 years with the possibility of extension. Prepare a standard package of documents in advance.
Taxes for freelancers
The first thing that attracts free zones in the UAE is the absence of income tax. As long as the profit does not exceed 187,000 per year, the freelancer does not have to pay any taxes. After exceeding the threshold, he can voluntarily register for the payment of VAT in the amount of 5%. But if the profit is more than 375,000 dirhams, then the payment of VAT becomes mandatory.
Comparison of conditions for freelancers in Dubai, Malta and Antigua and Barbuda
Not only the progressive Arab state is popular among foreigners eager to move. Such destinations as Antigua, Malta, and Barbuda are of no less interest. However, the approach to doing business in the UAE is strikingly different from other countries. If the Emirates are aimed at attracting talented personnel to local companies, then Antigua, Malta and Barbuda are mainly interested in the influx of foreign investment.
Malta is strict towards candidates for residency under the Nomad Residence Permit (NRP) scheme. The applicant must not be a citizen of an EU country, and the job must be located in any other state. The restrictions also apply to income, it should not be lower than 11,550 dirhams. The permit is issued for a year, but it can be extended after the expiration date.
It is noteworthy that the applicant’s biography is also being studied very closely before an answer is given. Another important requirement is a rental or purchase agreement. You can work in one of the formats:
- consultations and freelance cooperation with foreign clients;
- under an employment contract for a foreign employer;
- on behalf of a foreign company as a partner or shareholder.
Barbuda and Antigua offers the Nomad Digital Resident program, whose participants receive 2-year visas for themselves and their family members. Participants are also allowed to cooperate with local firms. To apply, you will need to confirm your employment, including self-employment, which for some turns into a problem. The applicant will need to submit a declaration confirming the expected income of at least $ 50,000. You will also need to prove your financial viability and willingness to support yourself and your family members.
As you can see, a freelancer visa in Dubai largely benefits from similar offers in other countries.In addition, the country is actively developing and investing in the IT industry, in which remote personnel are most in demand.