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Our sister site over at RHJ Law have recently written an article providing the top information on becoming a freelancer in the UAE, discussing tax obligations and other rules that you need to follow. As well as some tips on how to succeed as a freelancer. So if you’re interested in becoming a freelancer in the UAE, this blog post is for you!

If you would like to read more from RHJ Law, click here

What is freelancing?

Freelancing is a form of self-employment, allowing individuals to provide services on their own terms. Freelancers are independent contractors who are not bound to any particular organisation or company. Instead offering their services to multiple clients. They typically charge for their services by the hour or project, and the amount depends on the type of work and the experience of the freelancer.

The great thing about being a freelancer in the UAE is that you have the freedom to work with anyone in the world while still enjoying all the benefits of living in a global city. You don’t need to be physically present in the UAE to make money as a freelancer, making it the perfect option for those who want to travel or take extended periods away from home.

Being a freelancer does come with its own set of rules and regulations. In order to legally operate in the UAE, freelancers must obtain a visa and register with the Ministry of Labour. You will also need to apply for a trade license, pay income tax on all profits, and register with a health insurance provider. It’s important to keep up to date with all the latest regulations so that you remain compliant.

Overall, becoming a freelancer in the UAE is an attractive option for anyone looking for flexibility and freedom. With the right knowledge and understanding of the local laws, you can enjoy the benefits of freelancing without any hassle.


What type of visas allow freelancers to work in the UAE?

If you’re planning to work as a freelancer in the UAE, it’s important to understand which type of visa allows you to do so. Depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay, there are different visas that will allow you to become a freelancer.

The most common type of visa for freelancers is the one-year renewable freelance visa, which can be obtained through the Department of Economic Development (DED). This type of visa does not require a sponsor, and it can be renewed annually with no additional cost. This visa allows you to work as a freelancer, but also provides some restrictions in terms of the type of business activity you can engage in.

If you’re looking to stay in the UAE longer, you may be able to obtain a two-year or five-year freelance visa. These visas require you to have a sponsor and must be applied for through the DED. The application process can be time-consuming and expensive, but it will provide you with more freedom in terms of the type of business activities you can engage in.


How long can I stay in the UAE on a freelance visa?

Relocating to the UAE as a freelancer can be an exciting opportunity. However, it’s important to understand the visa requirements in order to stay legally in the country.

The good news is that the UAE has a freelancing visa specifically designed for entrepreneurs and freelancers. To apply for this visa, you must have a valid passport from your country of origin and a local UAE sponsor (like a family member, friend or business partner). You must also have proof of income or proof that you are financially able to support yourself during your stay in the UAE.

Once you have a valid visa, you can stay in the UAE for up to three years. During this period, you will need to renew your visa annually to continue living in the country legally. When your visa expires, you will need to leave the UAE and apply for a new one if you wish to continue staying in the country as a freelancer.

It’s also important to note that if you decide to take on any paid employment while in the UAE, you must first obtain a work permit. Without this permit, any work performed is considered illegal and may lead to deportation.

So if you’re thinking of relocating to the UAE as a freelancer, make sure to familiarise yourself with the visa requirements. Doing so will ensure that you remain compliant and can enjoy your time in the UAE without worrying about any potential penalties.

What is the process for renewing my freelance visa?

If you’re considering becoming a freelancer in the UAE, one of the most important steps is understanding the visa process. The good news is that it is relatively straightforward and can be completed quickly.

To begin, you must apply for a freelance visa from the Department of Economic Development (DED). You will need to provide documents such as passport copies, a copy of your UAE residence visa, an updated CV, bank statements, and a portfolio of your work.

Once your application has been approved by DED, you will be issued a freelance visa which is valid for one year. After the year is up, you will need to renew the visa to stay in the UAE.

The process for renewing your freelance visa is similar to the initial process; you will need to provide updated documents and contact DED. Once approved, your freelance visa will be valid for another year. It’s important to note that you may also need to provide a health certificate as part of the renewal process.

If you decide to no longer work as a freelancer in the UAE, you can choose to cancel your visa or let it expire. However, cancelling your visa may result in fines or legal action if not done properly.

Overall, renewing your freelance visa in the UAE is relatively easy and straightforward. Just remember to make sure you have all the necessary documents and are aware of any additional requirements from DED. With the right steps, you can ensure that your freelance career in the UAE continues successfully.


What are my tax obligations as a freelancer in the UAE?

One of the most important aspects of freelancing in the UAE is being aware of your tax obligations. Freelancers are responsible for ensuring they pay the correct taxes according to their individual circumstances. The good news is that the UAE has a very straightforward and clear set of rules on this.

If you are a UAE resident, you are liable for personal income tax, which is usually paid annually. This applies to both full-time and freelance employees, as well as those working remotely from another country. Non-residents who work in the UAE must pay taxes on any income earned in the country.

In addition, the UAE also imposes a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on most goods and services. This includes services such as consulting, graphic design, and other freelancing services. It’s important to note that there are certain exemptions from VAT. So, it’s wise to check with the relevant authorities before registering for VAT.

When it comes to filing taxes, freelancers in the UAE are expected to do so through the Federal Tax Authority’s e-services portal. Here, you can access a range of tax forms and file your returns quickly and conveniently. You may also need to provide proof of income, so make sure you keep records of all invoices and payments received throughout the year.

Taxes can be complicated and intimidating, but understanding your obligations will help ensure you stay on top of them. Doing your research and understanding the rules around taxation can help make life easier and make sure you’re always compliant.


What type of insurance do I need as a freelancer in the UAE?

As a freelancer in the UAE, you’ll need to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. There are a few types of insurance you should consider when operating in the UAE as a freelancer.

First, you’ll need liability insurance, which will protect you if you make an error or omission while providing services to your clients. This type of insurance will cover legal costs associated with the claim and any awards that may be paid out if the case is successful. It’s important to note that this type of insurance doesn’t cover claims from your own employees, so you’ll need to find additional coverage for them.

You’ll also need professional indemnity insurance. This provides protection for financial losses suffered by a client due to your negligence or incompetence. This is especially important for freelancers who provide advice, such as accounting and legal professionals.

Finally, you should also consider business interruption insurance. This will cover your losses due to unexpected events like pandemics or natural disasters. This type of insurance can help you stay afloat during difficult times and protect your livelihood.

It’s important to remember that all of these types of insurance are designed to provide protection for different aspects of your business. Make sure to carefully evaluate your needs and speak to an insurance specialist to find the right policy for you. With the right coverage, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you and your business are protected in the UAE.

What other rules do I need to follow as a freelancer in the UAE?

If you’re considering becoming a freelancer in the UAE, there are some important rules and regulations that you will need to follow. First and foremost, you will need to apply for a work visa in order to stay in the country for more than 90 days. You will also need to register for a permit with the Ministry of Labour in order to work legally in the UAE.

Additionally, you should be aware of the taxation system in the UAE. While freelancers are not required to register for VAT, they are still subject to income tax. The exact amount of income tax you need to pay depends on your residence status, also your annual income. It is important to note that freelance income is not tax exempt in the UAE. You should always make sure to declare any income you receive to the authorities.

Finally, you should familiarise yourself with the labour laws in the UAE before starting your freelance career. This includes knowing your rights as a freelancer and understanding the obligations you have towards your clients. You should also check if there are any additional regulations or laws that apply to your particular line of work.

If you’re ready to start planning your move to the UAE to become a freelancer, why not contact the team at RHJ Law? We are ready to help you relocate and start your dream career!

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