Freelancers in the UAE: opportunities and limitations

The UAE is becoming an increasingly popular destination for freelancers from around the world due to its attractive tax conditions, high standards of banking and residency opportunities. Antwort Law will tell you about who can get a freelance visa in the UAE, what advantages it provides and what restrictions must be taken into account.

Freelancers are professionals who work for themselves and offer their services directly to clients. To work in the UAE, freelancers must obtain a freelance visa, which gives the right to legally stay in the country, and a freelance license, which gives the right to work.  

The main thing: a freelance visa, which allows you to stay and live legally in the country, works in tandem with a freelance license, which is issued only for certain areas of activity: 

  • Management consulting: business analysts, managers, project managers;
  • IT consulting: web designers, programmers, IT specialists;
  • Education: coaches, tutors, trainers, online entrepreneurs;
  • Design and engineering: designers of various fields, architects;
  • Media and infobusiness: bloggers, journalists, translators, copywriters, PR specialists, producers;
  • Marketing: marketers and advertising specialists;
  • Beauty: specialists in the field of beauty.

Advantages of a freelance visa 

Zero Tax: Freelancers will benefit from the zero tax rate in freezones under small business status, making it extremely profitable to work here;

Top Banking: The UAE offers high standards of banking services to manage your finances safely and efficiently;

No sharing of information: The UAE does not share financial information with other countries, which provides additional privacy for freelancers;

Settlement: obtaining a freelance visa provides an opportunity to obtain a residence permit not only for the freelancer himself in the UAE, but also sponsor visas for family members.

However, there are certain restrictions for freelancers in the UAE in 2024:

1) Freelancers can only work in limited numbers and cannot hire employees; 

2) Freelancers cannot attract contractors for their type of activity in large numbers; 

3) The freelance license is used by an individual entrepreneur and does not allow creating a brand or logo, so only the first and last name can be used by the freelancer in the work. 

Opening and properly using a bank account are also important aspects for freelancing in the UAE. In our practice, there are often cases when freelancers use personal bank accounts for payments with clients. This is categorically unacceptable, as banks carefully monitor transactions and, in case of suspicion of conducting commercial activities through a personal account, may close it for improper use. For freelance activities, it is necessary to open a separate bank account, which will avoid such problems and meet the requirements of banking regulation.

If your specialization corresponds to one of the listed areas, and you work independently without the involvement of contractors, a freelance visa in the UAE can be an excellent option. Responsible use of bank accounts and compliance with all legal requirements are important steps to successfully doing business in the UAE. We will be happy to answer your UAE freelancer visa and license questions online or in person at our Antwort Law office in Dubai. Contact us for detailed consultation and support at all stages of your entrepreneurial journey.

Lidia Ivanova

International lawyer
Antwort Law

Who can get a freelance visa in the UAE?
Specialists in the fields of management consulting, IT consulting, education, design and engineering, media and infobusiness, marketing and beauty can get a freelance visa.
What are the benefits of a freelance visa in the UAE?
1) Zero tax in Freezones. 2) High level of banking services. 3) Confidentiality of financial information. 4) Residence for freelancer and family.
What restrictions must be considered for freelancers in the UAE?
1) Limited number of jobs. 2) Prohibition of hiring contractors in large numbers. 3) Using only a personal name and surname without creating a brand or logo.
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