All About The Self-employment Permits In The UAE: Various Kinds, Eligibility Criteria & Cost 

The UAE government has in September 2022 unveiled certain reforms in its visa regime. As part of the same, the country has introduced various types of visas for the diverse category of professionals. With such initiatives, the emirates intend to attract the best of the talents across the globe into the country. 

Among the new visas, one is specifically meant for self-employed professionals or freelancers. Numerous free zones across the UAE; Dubai Media City, Ajman Free Zone, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone etc; will be providing a host of self-employment permits to UAE nationals as well as foreigners. It does not matter for which free zone candidates apply, they can still work anywhere in the country in their suitable professions. 

The Expense To Be Borne 

A freelance work permit can normally be acquired for AED 7,500, but the amount is devoid of the visa cost, according to Dubai Development Authority. In the freelance arena, Creative City Media Free Zone in Fujairah also provides permits for three activities and four visas, including one visa without any cost. It is meant for people belonging to media, events, consultancy, education, communication and marketing, music and entertainment, design and technology. 

Even Ajman Free Zone provides freelance visas for AED 6,000 in 40 categories and no-holds-barred co-working spaces. In this category, candidates can avail of two residence visas and family sponsorship. These apart, Umm Al Quwain Free Zone also gives visas to freelance professionals. 

Where & How To Acquire The Visas 

Talent Pass 

This happens to be a three-year visa for freelance work apart from renting office space for professionals belonging to media, education, art, technology, marketing and consultancy. The pass has been launched by Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza), Dubai Culture and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). 

Banking/finance Category 

Those specialising in accounting and auditing, analysing and reviewing accounting and auditing systems, Shariah review consultancy for the transactions of Islamic financial institutions and consultations in the fields of tax must seek a freelance work permit from Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development. 

Media Professionals 

Freelance work permits are also available through Dubai Media City for people wanting to work in several arenas pertaining to media. There are close to 45 categories open for application. It includes actor, aerial shoot photographer, animator, artist, audio/sound engineer, brand consultant, cameraman, choreographer, commentator, composer, content provider, copywriter, director, editor, etc. 

In Abu Dhabi, twofour54 provides self-employment permits in the media, production and entertainment industries that are valid for two years. Even Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone gives freelance visas to media professionals, beginning with AED 6,100. 


Over here, education advisors, e-learning advisors, executive coaches, researchers and trainers are eligible to seek a freelance visa with Dubai Knowledge Park. The relevant candidates can apply via a one-year visa for a fee of AED 2,750 and AED 5,000 for a three-year visa. The necessary documents needed happen to be a freelance licence, Establishment Card for AED 2,000, UAE phone number, valid medical insurance, original passport and passport photo. 

IT Professionals 

Those seeking suitable openings in web, mobile, software development and architecture, IT and telecommunication networking, data science and analytics and customer service can also seek a freelance work permit as per the new visa regulations. 


Freelance work permits are also available for apparel designers, concept designers, fashion stylists, image consultants, fashion artists, hairstylists, interior designers, object designers, personal shoppers, textile designers, visual merchandisers and wedding planners. These professionals can acquire the visa from Dubai Design District after presenting all mandatory documents. 

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