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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

How Easy is it to get a Freelancer Visa in Abu Dhabi?

28th July 2023


Abu Dhabi offers many great reasons for freelancing, but how easy is it to get a freelancing visa? The good news is that its super quick and easy, and you don’t even have to be currently living in the UAE to apply, providing you have previously visited the UAE at some point. So, let’s dive in and find out about the eligibility requirements and how to apply.


Are you eligible for an Abu Dhabi freelancer visa?

The great news is that almost anyone can apply for the Abu Dhabi freelancer visa. You must be 18 years or over, and either currently live in the UAE or have previously visited the UAE.


Who is the Abu Dhabi freelance visa suitable for?

The Abu Dhabi freelance visa is ideal for professional individuals wanting to provide freelancing services in Abu Dhabi using their specialist skillset. It should be noted at this point that you will need to demonstrate your competence by having either a bachelors degree in your specialist field or a certificate of experience.


✔️ Freelancers and skilled professionals

✔️ Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mompreneurs

✔️ Creatives and artisans

✔️ Unemployed specialists wanting a cheap way to stay living in the UAE

✔️ Skilled professionals wanting to be in control of their own visa – this can also have the added benefit of making you more attractive to prospective employers.


What is the process for getting an Abu Dhabi freelancer visa?

The process is simple. There are just three steps:

1) Setup the Abu Dhabi freelance license

2) Register the Abu Dhabi freelance license in Immigration’s E-Channel system

3) Apply for the Abu Dhabi freelancer visa


Abi Dhabi freelancer license and freelance visa requirements Gateway Group UAE

What are the requirements for an Abu Dhabi freelancer visa?

For the license, which must be applied for first, applicants need to supply the following information and documents:


✔️ Full name

✔️ Date of birth

✔️ Nationality

✔️ Residential address (inc. verification, e.g. utility bill)

✔️ Mobile number

✔️ Email address

✔️ Source of funds

✔️ Purpose of the transaction

✔️ Occupation, employer & tax number

✔️ UAE Pass App (download to your mobile phone and register)

✔️ UID Number* (only for overseas applicants)

✔️ Passport copy (minimum 6 months validity)

✔️ Visa copy (only UAE citizen and resident applicants)

✔️ Emirates ID copy (only UAE citizen and resident applicants)

✔️ Proof of expertise in the activity being applied for:

University degree certificate - attested** or

Certificate of experience or accredited accomplishments - attested**

✔️ No Objection Certificate (NOC) in Arabic addressed to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (only applicants currently working in the UAE).


For the freelancer visa, applicants will need to supply the following information and documents, depending upon whether or not they have previously held a UAE residence visa:


freelancer license and visa requirements to freelance legally in Abu Dhabi Gateway Group UAE

Applicants who have never had a UAE residence visa

​Everything in the Freelance License list (above) PLUS:


✔️ High resolution passport size, studio photo, white background (soft copy)

✔️ Health insurance

​✔️ Marital status

✔️ Mother’s name

✔️ Religion

✔️ Residential address in home country

✔️ Telephone number in home country

✔️ Tourist visa copy or visa on arrival stamp



freelancer visa and license requirements to freelance legally in Abu Dhabi Gateway Group UAE

Applicants who have previously held a UAE residence visa

​Everything in the Freelance License list (above) PLUS:


✔️ High resolution passport size studio photo, white background (soft copy)

✔️ Health insurance

​✔️ Marital status

✔️ Mother’s name

✔️ Religion

✔️ Residential address in home country

✔️ Telephone number in home country

✔️ Residential address in UAE

✔️ Previous UAE residence visa copy

✔️ Previous Emirates ID copy.



Do you need to be inside the country or can you apply from overseas?

It is not necessary for you to be in the UAE when applying for your Abu Dhabi freelancer license; however, if you aren’t already in the UAE, once the freelancer license has been issued, you’ll need to physically be inside the country for registering the license in Immigration and applying for your visa.


How long does it take to get an Abu Dhabi freelancer visa?

Setting up the Abu Dhabi freelancer license takes approximately three to five working days, although it is often completed sooner. Thereafter, registering the new economic license (trade license) in Immigration, applying for your visa and receiving your Emirates ID takes approximately 10 to 14 working days. Do be aware that you will be required to arrange health insurance during the visa application process and this may add additional time to the processing of your freelancer visa.


Complete Guide to the Abu Dhabi Freelancer License

Gateway Group has compiled all the essential information about the freelancer license into a user-friendly format for your understanding.



How to apply for an Abu Dhabi Freelancer Visa

Gateway Group has launched a collection of exclusive freelancer license and visa packages. They are designed to help you get started by simplifying the business setup process.


Firstly, decide what type of package you need: Freelancer License Only or a Freelancer License & Visa Package. Next, browse the collection of packages and choose the one which closely aligns with your specialist skillset. There is a wide variety of activities available, including: photography, space consultancy, real estate development, IT, marketing, accounting, HR, interior design and many more. Read all of the information and be sure you fully understand it - don't worry, our dedicated Abu Dhabi Business Setup Team are on hand to answer any questions you might have. Also, be sure to check you meet all of the criteria.


Once you have chosen the perfect freelancer package for your situation, you can immediately purchase it online. There is no need to delay scheduling appointments or waiting for quotations. You can literally get started there and then!


Upon successful completion of your online purchase, you will be invited to upload all of the information and documents needed to our user-friendly, cloud-based portal. It is really easy to use and you will be guided through it step-by-step. 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. Upon your license issuance, we'll email you with a copy of your new economic license and congratulate you on deciding to become your own boss in Abu Dhabi.

 

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* The UID Number (Unified Identification Number) is a six digit number given to all UAE visitors upon arrival. It may be in the form of a small white sticker attached to a page in your passport by the immigration officer; alternatively, if you used the e-gates, rather than passing through the traditional immigration counter, you can search for your number here: https://gdrfad.gov.ae/en/unified-number-inquiry-service


** The document needs to be attested in the country of issuance and the UAE. If you require assistance to get your document attested, please less us know and our team will be happy to assist you. If the document needs attesting in the country of issuance, please advise which country it was issued in, so that we can arrange a quotation for you. If the document has already been attested in the country of issuance and just needs attesting in the UAE, we can arrange this for you and send you a payment link. Once payment has been arranged, we will need you to courier the original document to us to be able to carry out this service on your behalf.

 

Written by Jenny Hunt

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

FORBES' Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Middle East


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Links to some of our freelancer packages















Check out some of our other blog posts for freelancers

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