Freelancing in Dubai
Starting out as a Freelancer in Dubai – These days, more people than ever are turning to flexible and creative job opportunities to help start their careers. You don’t have to be tied to a 9 to 5 office gig anymore; in fact, there are more chances than ever to take creative work opportunities doing things you enjoy and pursuing your very own passions.
Freelancers have been enjoying the benefits of a flexible career gig for many years. In Dubai, the center of worldwide commerce, technology, and business opportunities, there are more options than ever before for freelance workers who are looking to strike out on their own. With the right tools in place, you can have a successful freelance career in Dubai in no time at all.
In order to set up a successful freelancing career in Dubai, you first need to determine exactly what kind of freelance career you want to have. A freelance worker is someone who devises and offers a service for others on their own, without a larger business or company behind them.
Dubai Freelance workers differ from entrepreneurs or independent consultants in that they typically work as support staff to existing companies. Their goal isn’t to create their own independent business, but rather to aid existing businesses in developing their services and mission further.
For example, a graphic designer that creates branding material for 10 clients every month would be considered a freelancer because they’re not promoting their own company, but rather for others.
Being a freelancer means knowing what services you’re going to specialize in and having a plan for how you’re going to provide them and manage your client base at the same time.
When you’re a freelancer, you don’t have the protection of a larger company to support you through dry spells or to help promote your services. You also won’t have the benefit of their health insurance, tax support, or other corporate assistance.
In Dubai, as long as you’re a citizen you may experience some additional protection, but if you’re not you need to apply for a trade license.
How to get your freelance license in Dubai
Freelancing licenses in Dubai are available for foreign workers in certain free zones within the city limits. Each free zone covers a geographical area that lets foreign workers start their own businesses in certain business sectors, like graphic design, project development, media management, and more.
To become a Dubai licensed freelancer, you must register as a business owner and apply for a Freelance License from the UAE government. Depending on the free zone, there might even be additional fees or registration protocols required to get established.
What is the cost of a Freelance license and visa in UAE
You can get a freelance license from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai but many prefer to go with the license options offered by the free zones in UAE.
Some of the free zones offering a Freelance license in UAE are:
- Dubai Internet City from AED 7500
- Dubai Knowledge Park from AED 7500
- Dubai Design District AED 7500
- Sharah Media City Freezone (SHAMS) from AED 5750
- Ajman Freezone from AED 6000
- Fujairah Creative City Freezone from AED 13,500
- Ras Al Khaimah Economic Freezone (RAKEZ) AED 6100
Additional costs will be applicable when applying for a UAE residence visa, if you opt for it including costs for your Medical, Emirates ID and Health Insurance.
Documents required for a freelance visa in UAE
To obtain a UAE freelance visa, you need to submit the following documents:
- Application form
- Passport copy
- Passport-size photo
- Updated Resume/CV
- Attested Educational Certificates
- Two professional references (with contact details) – depends on the freezone, some don’t require it.
- No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your sponsor (if required)
- The Cost for a UAE Freelance Visa starts from AED 3500/USD 1000 and is valid for upto 2 years.
Navigating the legal requirements to get started as a freelancer in Dubai can be a challenge, which is why it’s best to work with a Business Consulting firm that can help you get established, especially if you’re a foreign worker looking to start your own freelance work and take advantage of the value added services to support your business. They might also be able to help you get hired with other companies.
More and more companies are using freelance services in Dubai as a regular part of their staff, whether to avoid hiring full-time staff or to help employees benefit from flexible employment schedules. They can also help sponsor temporary work permits, something else you may need, especially if you’re a foreign national
How to become a successful Freelancer in Dubai
Once you’ve been approved as a freelance worker, it’s time to begin establishing your business and building your client base. One thing that will be especially important to your freelancing career in Dubai is multilingual skills. The official language of Dubai is Arabic, so fluency or at least intermediate level Arabic would be an added advantage when dealing with UAE Government agencies.
However, Dubai is also fast becoming an international center of business, meaning that fluency or intermediate level proficiency in English will also be an advantage. If you can speak, write, and offer services in both languages, you’re doubling your ability to serve your clients and your client base itself.
Customer service is an important part of your Dubai freelance business, and the more positive reviews you get the faster your business will spread. When you’re running a freelance business, it can be hard to stay on top of all the different components of your business.
Advertising, responding to client concerns, billing, providing services; all of the things that are usually handled by a full business staff. Some freelancers find it helpful to hire an additional person as their business expands to manage their communications while others make a point of setting aside time to address client concerns. However, you decide to handle your customers, make sure they’re the priority of your business.
If the idea of freelancing in Dubai on your own seems overwhelming, there are agencies set up to help freelancers get their start. Companies like Upwork provide hundreds of available freelancers who work in all business sectors. You can also turn to online service platforms like Fiverr to help get work done digitally.
Freelance work in Dubai is an incredibly freeing career path that allows many people to work from wherever in the world they want. Dubai is a growing metropolis full of technological opportunities that make it a great place to begin a freelance career.