Cost of Freelance License in UAE

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In the last blog, the discussion was all about obtaining a freelance licence. The shift is now towards the cost of the freelance license. If you’re a skilled individual or a service provider looking to set up your remote business in this dynamic region of the UAE, the cost of a freelance license acts as a crucial element in your freelancing journey. This blog post is looking into the freelance license fees category and discussing the variations that happen across the different emirates (as well as giving you an update on the information that should help you make better decisions).

Freelance Visa vs. Freelance Licence

Before getting into the cost factor, let’s recap on how they are different from each other. All it takes to do freelancing in the UAE is a freelance license and visa if required. The freelance visa grants you residency in the UAE specifically for freelance work. The license, on the other hand, authorises you to operate your freelance business within a particular emirate, which covers around 48 business activities. While both are necessary, applying for a freelance license in the UAE has its own cost.

The overall cost of freelancing in the UAE can be divided into three main categories.

1. Freelance License Fee: This government-imposed fee varies depending on the emirate you choose to operate from. In the Mainland, the license cost starts from AED 14,500. Here’s a breakdown of some flexible options with license costs mentioned.

  • Dubai: The normal rate for a freelancing licence in Dubai (free zone) ranges between AED *7,500 and 12,500, with annual renewals costing the same.
  • Abu Dhabi: While Dubai has a flat fee, Abu Dhabi offers a more budget-friendly option.  The twofour54 free zone, for instance, boasts zero licence fees for the initial two years (though VAT and health insurance are additional costs). The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) focuses on “achieving knowledge-based, diversified and sustainable economic growth.”
  • Ras Al Khaimah: Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) caters specifically to freelancers without breaking the bank, with permit fees starting from AED 6,100. Use the RAKEZ Portal 360 for seamless transactions.
  • Sharjah Media City (Shams): An ideal spot for creative and media businesses to kickstart. Their offer ranges around AED 5,760.
  • Ajman: Apart from being the most affordable cost, one license can sponsor two resident visas. 

2.Establishment Card Fee: This acts as your company registration fee and allows you to operate under your chosen business name. Expect to pay around AED 2,000 for this card, with annual renewals at the same price.

3. Visa Fee: This grants you residency rights in the UAE and is linked to your freelance visa. The cost depends on the validity period you choose. 

  • Legality: It ensures you’re operating legally and can freely enter into contracts with clients or service seekers.
Some Additional Considerations

While the above fees form the core expenses, remember to factor in additional costs:

  • Health Insurance: Mandatory health insurance is a requirement for obtaining a residence visa. Premiums can vary depending on your age, health status, and the chosen plan. Budget around AED 3,000  onwards for basic coverage.
  • Business Support Services: Depending on your chosen emirate and free zone, there might be additional fees for services like business setup support or visa processing assistance.
  • Office Space (Optional): While some free zones allow for remote work, others might require renting a physical office space. Costs will vary based on location and size.
Tips for Cost-Conscious Freelancers

These top #2 strategies will help to save your time and money. Minimize your freelance setup costs in the UAE with:

  • Explore Free Zone Options: Free zones like twofour54 in Abu Dhabi or RAKEZ offer competitive license fees and other benefits like shared workspaces (if required).
  • Compare Visa Options: Choose a residence visa validity period that aligns with your initial project commitments. A one-year visa might be sufficient initially.
Beyond the Costs: The Benefits of a UAE Freelance License

While there are upfront costs involved, a UAE freelance license possesses a treasure trove of benefits. Here are those explained in a nutshell:

  • Tax Advantages: Freelancers in UAE generally enjoy a tax-free income, making it an attractive location for businesses.
  • Work-Life Balance: Freelancing allows you to set your hours and create a work schedule that suits your lifestyle.
  • Exposure to New Markets: The UAE’s strategic location opens doors to lucrative opportunities in the Middle East and beyond.
The freedom of being your boss starts HERE

Whether you are a social media marketer or creative strategist, it’s all possible in the UAE with one license and an all-in-one freelancing platform to get local clients in an instant. 

By researching cost-cutting tactics, you may make an informed decision about launching your business on a freelance platform in the UAE. The initial investment provides not only financial benefits but also the freedom and flexibility to pursue a career on your terms.

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