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Self-Employment Visas in UAE

Self-Employment Visas in UAE

What are the UAE Self-Employment Visa Requirements?

The first self-employment visa requirement to fulfill is finding a sponsor. To find one, the easiest way is to enter the country and search in-person or online, when you can meet interested parties face-to-face.

Sponsorship for self-employment can be obtained through a free zone, as a contractor through an established company, or through an individual. Self-employment visas are often called freelance visas.

When you apply for a self-employment visa you will be expected to show the proper qualifications in whatever area you intend to work. For example, if your self-employment is in the medical field, you will be expected to show adequate qualifications to the Ministry of Health. Expats are advised to consult a lawyer or business specialist.

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There are Several Self-Employment Visa Types to Consider:

  • Investors in a Property
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Investors in public investments of at least 10 million AED (2.7 million USD)
  • Freelance

Investors in a Property in the UAE

Granting this visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than 5 million AED (1.3 million USD).
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.
  • The property must be retained for at least three years.

This visa allows holders to remain in the country for five years.


This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of 500,000 AED (136,000 USD), or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

  • The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.

This visa allows holders to remain in the country for five years.

Investors in Public Investments of at Least 10 million AED (2.7 million USD)

The investment may take many forms such as:

  • A deposit of at least 10 million AED in an investment fund inside the country.
  • Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than 10 million AED.
  • Partnering in an existing or new company with a share value of no less than 10 million AED.
  • Having a total investment of no less than 10 million AED in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60% of the total investment.

Granting this visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The amount invested must not be loaned.
  • The investment should be retained for at least three years.
  • There should be a financial solvency up to 10 million AED.

This visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes 10 million AED.

The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.

This visa allows holders to remain in the country for ten years.


To apply for the freelance visa you will need:

  • A freelance license application form for your chosen free zone.
  • A copy of your business plan.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • Recommendation letter(s) signed by current/previous employers.
  • Your CV and original qualification certificates.
  • Provide a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) stating the transfer of residence visa to freelancer visa (see the Entry Visa section on entities that can sponsor an Entry Visa).
  • Good-standing-certificate by a bank ensuring that you have a satisfactory banking history.
  • Portfolio of your work or any samples of work that prove you could freelance in the stated business activity.

In addition to a freelance visa, you will also need to obtain a freelance license. The process for that is as follows:

  1. Apply with the relevant free zone authority where you intend to hold a freelance license and/or a freelance visa.
  2. Submit an application for interim approval along with the business plan, passport copy, and a reference letter.
  3. In case the provisional approval is permitted, you will receive a customer confirmation letter from the respective free zone authority.
  4. Sign the confirmation letter and give it, along with the other documents mentioned, for the final approval.
  5. Make all the payments, such as the freelance permit fee, employee visa sponsorship fee, and (if required by your chosen free zone) first installment of rent for an office space.
  6. Sign the free zone sponsorship agreement and collect the freelance permit along with the freelance visa.

The license is typically issued within 7-10 working days.

Keep in mind that documents will need to be translated into Arabic. Many expats choose to hire a business specialist to help them throughout the procedure.

The article was originally published on Internations.org

Source: internations.org/go/moving-to-the-uae…

266 Saved
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