Freelancer Permit FAQs

Can I obtain a freelancer permit if I am employed somewhere else?Can I obtain a freelancer permit if I am employed somewhere else in the UAE?

In specific Freezones, this is not an issue. However, a NOC must be provided by your current sponsor/ employer. However, in some Freezones, it is a mandatory requirement to obtain a visa directly from that Freezone authority.

If I hold a freelancer permit can I work from home or at the premises of a company I have a contract with?

Yes, you will be working as an independent supplier; therefore, if you have an agreement with a particular company, you are permitted to conduct business from their office.

Will I have to be audited as a freelancer permit holder?

This is not currently required; however it is highly advisable to keep accounts.

With a freelancer permit, can I register a trading name or do I conduct business under my name?

You cannot use a trading name; the permit is issued to you as an individual in your name. The Freelancer licence is a ‘permit’ for the individual, it is not a separate company with its own identity, and is not a limited liability structure.

Can I hire employees if I am a freelancer permit holder?

No, you cannot hire employees on a freelance permit, but you can sponsor your dependents.

Can the freelance permit holder apply for a UAE residence visa?

Yes, you can apply for an employment visa once the freelancer permit and establishment card are issued. Certain entities require medical insurance to be able to process visas.

Are there any office space options for permit holders?

There are options of flexi-desks and workstations located in the Free Zone’s permitted for use by freelance permit holders; some locations also offer meeting facilities.

Am I eligible for a freelance permit? What are the requirements?

Only individuals with the appropriate credentials or certificates relating to the allowed activities are permitted to apply for the permit. To apply, you must have the following:

  • Resume
  • Passport Copy
  • Visa Copy (if you have one)
  • Bank Reference Letter (this can be from either your local or international bank)
  • Sponsor/Employer NOC (if you currently have a work permit and a residency visa)
  • Portfolio – PDF or online link (for media related activities)
  • Credentials and Certificates (for related educational activities)
  • Other documentation may be required dependent on the Free Zone

How long does the freelance application process take?

  • Permit Application and Issuance: 7 to 14 business days (once all documents have been approved and required document signed)
  • Visa Application: 14 to 21 business days (after permit issuance)

What is the difference between a Freelancer vs Freezone visa?

Freelance Permits are now available in many Free Zones based in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai. These permits allow for specialized individuals in the media, technology, and education sectors to offer their services on a consultancy basis, even if they have a full-time job. On the other hand, A Freezone visa is a type of employment visa that you are sponsored by a Freezone in UAE and it’s not restricted to specific professions like the freelance permits.

Both visas allow you to sponsor your dependents however It is worth noting that it can be hard to prove your earnings as a freelancer. Having said that, if you do have official documents showing that you meet the salary threshold, you should have no issues applying for dependents' visas.

Freezone visas are not permitted to work directly with the local market or business on the mainland. On the other hand, there is no specific legislation stopping a freelancer from taking on work with mainland companies. However, some free zones may restrict your ability to do so.

Can an Abu Dhabi Freelancer Licence open a corporate bank account?

The answer is yes. There are a number of banks that will set up a corporate account for a Freelancer licence although the set up is depending on a number of factors and is case by case with each bank.

The Abu Dhabi Freelancer is essentially a Sole Establishment Licence that is 100% owned by a single person. This single person is the UBO for the Freelancer Licence and retains full liability and responsibility for the business. The Freelancer licence can have whatever name it likes as long as it doesn’t conflict with others and conforms to UAE naming standards - so the licence is not named after the person, it is a separate entity.

There are a number of banks that allow freelancers and SMEs to set up with zero balance account, with no deposit required – as opposed to the standard corporate account which can require a deposit of 50,000 plus in order to open the account.

The Freelancer will require the following documents to open a corporate bank account:

  1. Freelancer DED Trade Licence
  2. Passport, UAE Visa and Emirates ID copy of the 100% owner and signatory
  3. Address proof of the company and the individual owner
  4. 3 months bank statements of the company (if existing) or the owner (if new company)
  5. At least one Invoice of a customer or supplier

If you need assistance with setting up a freelancer permit in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or the wider UAE, and if you need assistance with corporate bank account opening in the UAE, or for any other PRO, visa, company set up, restructuring or local partner matter in the UAE or then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

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