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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

5 Reasons Why Freelancer Visas in Abu Dhabi are a Game Changer

Updated 10th September 2023. First published: 4th August 2023.

There are a variety of freelancer visas, licenses and permits across the UAE, and we love the Abu Dhabi option because it offers the most flexibility, making it an ideal solution for a much larger market. We’ll highlight the eligibility criteria and outline the process at the end of this article, but first, let’s delve into what makes the Abu Dhabi freelancer visa an absolute game changer.

1) You don’t need to be a UAE resident to apply

That’s right. Providing you have previously visited the UAE at some point, you’re able to apply for the Abu Dhabi freelancer visa, even from overseas. Given the huge increase in global freelancing, remote working and digital nomads in recent years, this puts Abu Dhabi firmly on the map as a destination for such individuals, whether it’s a temporary move to experience the delights and rich Arabic culture of living in a Middle Eastern city, or strategic market-entry move to test the waters, with the intention of staying longer term, it’s an easy way for professionals to legally live and work in Abu Dhabi.

2) It’s a way of staying in the UAE

So if you have enjoyed being an expat resident in the UAE, but found yourself in the unfortunate position of being unemployed, and want a solution to be able to remain living in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi freelancer visa does just that. Whilst, the grace period for expats to be able to remain in the UAE after their residence visa has been cancelled was extended last year, it is only, a grace period, a temporary measure. The Abu Dhabi freelancer visa gives you the control over your own, independent visa and enables you to continue living in the UAE.

3) It’s a way of legally working in Abu Dhabi

Yes, freelancing is legal in Abu Dhabi, providing you have all of your paperwork in order. The great thing about Abu Dhabi’s freelancer license is that it isn’t just restricted to professionals in the media, tech and education sectors, it has solutions for artisans and creatives, as well as consultants. Traditionally, creatives and hobbyists, as well as professional consultants didn’t have a cost-effective way to legally carry out their craft, but the Abu Dhabi freelance license solves this. And, it is flexible; so if you have an existing visa and just want a license to freelance you can get one; but, if you need a visa, you can choose to get the license and the residence visa.

4) You can have total control over your visa

Having your own, independent visa of course has its advantages. You are not governed by the rules of an employer and therefore you aren’t at risk of being made unemployed at any time and having your visa cancelled or having labour disputes. You can choose where and when you work and when you want to take a vacation. You also, don’t need a local sponsor. So you are in control of your destiny.

5) It's a thriving economy

Freelancers are specialists in their particular line of work and provide innovative and flexible solutions to the market they are working in. With the added bonus of not having the huge overheads of monoliths and the onerous procedures of conglomerates, freelancers can provide solutions at a quicker rate and more cost effectively, making them a driving force in the local economy, which has the subsequent effect of opening up new opportunities and jobs. Last year, Abu Dhabi boasted the fastest growing economy in the MENA region with its GDP growing at a massive 9.3%. This means that Abu Dhabi is the place where business is actually happening, making it an ideal location to be operating in, and given its strategic location, it is gateway to the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi has created a diversified economy encouraging innovation and sustainability, supporting startups and entrepreneurship. It’s visa reforms are attracting top talent from around the world. The lifestyle opportunity, no personal income tax and the fact that Abu Dhabi is consistently ranked the safest city in the world, are just some of the contributing factors to the attractiveness of living and working in the UAE’s capital city.

So, how do you go about getting an Abu Dhabi freelancer visa and are you eligible? Let's check this out right now.

Get Your Abu Dhabi Freelancer Visa In 3 Easy Steps

1) Get an Abu Dhabi freelancer license

2) Register your new Abu Dhabi freelancer license in the Immigration E-Channel system

3) Apply for your Abu Dhabi freelancer visa

At Gateway Group, we've created a complete guide about the Abu Dhabi Freelancer License, covering absolutely everything you need to know, in an easy-to-understand style, in one convenient place: Abu Dhabi Freelancer Guide.

Abu Dhabi Freelancer Visa Requirements: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to licenses and visas, everyone's personal situation is unique. Gateway Group has simplified the requirements for applying for the Abu Dhabi Freelancer Visa into two lists. Simply choose the list which applies to you - whether you HAVE or HAVEN'T previously held an a residence visa in the UAE: Freelancer Visa Requirements.

How to apply for an Abu Dhabi Freelancer Visa

buy online right now freelance visa freelancer license Abu Dhabi with Gateway Group UAE

Gateway Group has introduced exclusive freelancer packages tailored to specific activities, simplifying the process of getting started for you. All you need to do is decide whether you just a need a freelancer license or whether you need a complete package with a residence visa. Next, select the package that aligns with your area of expertise and conveniently make the purchase online. After completing the transaction, you'll receive an invitation to upload necessary information and documents on our user-friendly cloud-based platform, which will guide you through each step seamlessly. Once all your documents are uploaded, our Abu Dhabi business setup team will initiate the application process for your freelancer license and visa, ensuring you stay informed with regular updates.


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Written by Jenny Hunt

Founder, Gateway Group, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Links to some of our freelancer packages

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