What is a Freelancer?
A freelancer is self-employed person offering services, usually to businesses and often to multiple clients at a time.
Freelancing is a good work opportunity for many in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Year on year there has been an increase in the number of freelancers for both male and females. Therefore, there is a greater entrepreneurial spirt via our Synergy Group client base.
More and more businesses are looking to employ freelance workers in many different areas such as social media marketing, SEO, copywriting, publicity, writing, such as articles and blog posts, technological support, such as web programming and design, creative works such as graphic design, and financial support, such as bookkeeping etc. all at a fraction of the cost compared to employing a person full-time.
Freelancing seems an attractive way to work for many in the country, there are employees who are not sure about the rules that should govern their scope of work. Usually people are confused about the part time work and freelancer. Freelancing in the UAE is working or running a business legally with a valid trade license. Note part-time work is illegal unless you get the separate permit from the Ministry of Labour in Dubai. You can get the freelancer permit license with one or more person and enjoy the ownership of the company, open a separate company bank account; separate business address etc. under the freelancer permit, you are legally allowed to run the business or work here.
Below we have listed some common FAQ’s we receive from clients.
Can I freelance in the UAE? Do I need a license?
Yes, you freelance in the UAE, which is 100% legal as long as you are licensed to do so.
You will need to secure a trade license pertaining to your business activity from your selected licensing authority, and adhere to their stipulations.
Which license do I need?
The required license will depend on the activity of the business you are looking to perform.
There are two main ways of setting-up a business in Dubai and different license options for both.
- Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) business setup. The main license types in the DED are:
- Commercial (51% Emirati-owned; 49% foreign-owned), and;
- Services, professional and consultancy (100% expat-owned with a local Emirati service agent)
2. Free Zone (FZ) business setup
For the FZ, both of the above license options apply, however the main differences are:
- A local Emirati partner is not required, and
- FZ businesses are 100% expat owned.
What are the advantages of setting up via a FZ?
The main advantages of setting-up through a FZ is the company can remain 100% foreign-owned and enjoy being “tax free”.
Can I get a residency visa through one of these license options?
Yes, you can apply and receive a residency visa.
Can I freelance if I am under my husband’s visa?
Yes, this is permitted and to be legally accepted and recognised the documentation required is – No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your husband and a labour card issued from the licensing authority or immigration office of the Emirate where the freelance company is registered.
Can I obtain a license even if I’m sponsored by my employer full-time?
If you are currently working full-time and I want to turn your passion or hobby into a business, Synergy Group says go for it! Yes, can obtain a license whilst being employed full-time. Note most licensing authorities request you to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer in order for you to start your own freelancer company.
How long will it take to get a freelance license?
Provided all your documents are correct and submitted, the average timescale is 7-10 working days.
Is it mandatory to rent office space?
Most licensing authorities do require you to take some sort of office space within their jurisdiction. The minimum requirements are something like a hot or flexi-desk or a smart office. Usually the office allocation is already built into the price of the company setup package offered. These packages are catered to fit the needs of freelancers.
Some licensing authorities are able to provide a Trade License without taking office space of any sort. However, under this option you would not be able to secure any residency visas on the company, therefore this option is best suited to a freelancer who already has a residency visa be it through their spouse, parent or current employer.
What are the next steps to obtaining a freelance license?
There are so many facets to consider when setting up a new business in the UAE, like obtaining your trade license, applying for your visa, getting business cards printed and setting up your bank account. Synergy group takes care of all the administration and hassle, allowing you to focus your attention on developing and growing your business.
Contact our company formation specialists for a free consultation. Here we will discuss and source the efficient option(s) for your business needs. Email email@example.com or call +971 4 563 7302.