Do you want to start a business in Dubai as a foreigner? If YES, here is a detailed comparison on the best between UAE freelance visa vs Dubai Business Visa.

For an investor or entrepreneur to do business legally in a new country, he/she must consider a wide range of commercial, political and capital security issues that will directly or indirectly affect the final decision of investing in the said country. Within the past two decades the United Arab Emirates has developed itself to be a very attractive hub for investors.

Why Start a Business in Dubai, UAE?

The United Arab Emirates successfully parades itself as one of the well-established infrastructure networks in the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA Region), a wonderful banking system, a solid political system and a favorable tax environment.

The Nation’s stable currency (which is pegged to USD) continuously ensures strong capital flows from across the region. In the United Arab Emirates, there are no exchange control restrictions and unrestricted repatriation of income and capital is easily facilitated through numerous international banks located in the UAE.

This very liberal foreign investment regime allows 100% foreign ownership of enterprises across over 45 Free Zones, some of which are industry specific. The region’s legal system and culture are based on Islamic traditions, underpinned by the UAE leadership’s commitment to the values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and equality among all members of the community.

UAE expatriates account for over 80% of the workforce, and over 150 nationalities thrive and practice their own religions and cultures in a safe and secure family environment with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It also provides businesses with the friendliest regulatory environment in the MENA Region. The UAE is the top Arab country in the latest World Happiness Report.

An Overview of UAE Freelance Visa

Freelancing simply means working for yourself as an independent contractor, and it is completely legal in the UAE as long as you hold the necessary visa and license. You are establishing yourself as a one-person company, working as an individual but doing business in your own name, which is slightly different from establishing a startup company.

That said, many entrepreneurs start out freelancing and upgrade to a company setup once they get established, which is easy to do in the Emirates. If you think you have the skills to work and succeed as a freelancer, however, there are plenty of good reasons to try.

Freelancing is growing massively around the world right now. Report has it that 40 percent of US workers are expected to be freelancers by 2020. While in the UK, that projection is expected to grow around 50 percent. Statistics also has it that the UAE will experience a similar surge in the popularity of freelancing.

The UAE is also known to be incredibly welcoming to freelancers. It boasts of many online marketplaces for freelancers to promote their services and pitch for work, with Nabbesh being the largest and most popular.

Within the past few years, the UAE also began issuing entrepreneur visas, a strategy that proved to be a game-changer for freelancers. This entrepreneur visa allows foreign nationals to move to the UAE without a solid offer of work, allowing would-be freelancers the chance to start building a network of clients from inside the country.

Have it in mind that many UAE free zones also offer freelance permits. These licenses provide freelancers with the right to set up in a free zone. Free zone freelance permits are an affordable and relatively straightforward way for freelancers to set up in the UAE and many also offer other benefits such as the use of desk space and office facilities as required.

As well as a good option if you’re looking to secure the cheapest freelance visa in UAE, setting up in the UAE with a Freelancer License is also incredibly straightforward. You can either apply directly to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or Municipality in the Emirate you are setting up in, or apply to a free zone.

Many free zones, including Fujairah Creative City, allows you to apply online. Also, to make ensure there are no omissions or mistakes in your application, it’s always advisable that you work with a company formation expert when making your application. They can manage your entire application for you, informing you as soon as it is successful. In most cases, licenses are issued in a matter of days.

An Overview of UAE Business Visa

It’s very important to state that unlike many other countries, the process of getting a Business Visa for Dubai is rather simple. You can apply for the Visa by visiting any of Dubai Visa Processing Centers in your city. You can also apply for the same online or through a tour operator.

Try to research carefully before undertaking this process. Once you have zeroed in on the type of Visa that is most convenient for you, you can proceed with the documentation and other formalities. Irrespective of the application route, you will need to keep the following documentation handy for your Visa application:

  • First and Last page of your Passport
  • Colored photos as per the specified size of 4.3 cms X 5.5 cms
  • Financial documents such as income tax returns, Form 16, investment proofs in case of bank deposits and so on.
  • NOC’s for students and ladies and marriage certificates in case of travelling couples.
  • Confirmed airline ticket of the passenger.

Coupled with the above-mentioned documents, travelers are mandated to fill in a Visa application (in electronic or physical form). Such application shall be duly filled in and completed along with the set of the supporting documents. After the form is completed, one needs to pay the required fee for the Dubai Visa to finally process the application.

UAE Freelance Visa vs UAE Business Visa – Which is the Best Visa for Foreign Entrepreneurs in Dubai?

Between Freelance and Business Visa in the UAE, the Freelance visa for many reasons has been seen to better than the Business visa, especially for Foreign Entrepreneurs with massive capital to invest. A lot of freelance visa and permit packages allow freelancers to base themselves in the free zone, either renting office space or using a flexi-desk, surrounded by other businesses who themselves might need the freelancer’s services.

Below are the few reasons why the freelance visa is better for prospective foreign entrepreneurs in Dubai:

  • Easy to Setup

In the UAE, you can confidently apply for your freelance permit in two ways: either direct to the Department of Economic Development (DED), or from one of the country’s numerous free zones. Although none of the routes is especially difficult, the free zone option is probably easier, and comes with other benefits such as 0% corporate and personal tax and 100% repatriation of profits. Also note that the application process is simple: your company name is simply your own name, and your license is usually issued in 7-10 days.

  • Wide variety

Have it in mind that one of the most enticing things about freelancing in the UAE is the wide range of fields in which you are allowed to operate. Unlike business visas, freelance visa are issued for almost all DED-listed business activities, but if you wish to obtain a freelance visa from a free zone, your business activity must be related to the free zone’s area of focus.

The visa and permits are issued for almost all DED-listed business activities, but if you wish to obtain a freelance visa from a free zone, your business activity must be related to the free zone’s area of focus.

  • No need for office space

In the UAE and especially Dubai, freelancing gives you total freedom. Aside from being your own boss and choosing when you work and for whom, you don’t need to be tied to an office. You can work from home if you wish, or rent a desk or office facilities from one of the free zones.

  • No NOC required from local sponsor

According to reports, one of the factors behind the growing popularity of freelancing over business visa in the Emirates is that it’s possible to do freelancing without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from a local sponsor. The majority of free zones don’t require an NOC, whether you’ve just arrived in the UAE or have been here for some time.

  • No auditing or book-keeping

Not so many people like paperwork, especially if we have to do it all ourselves. Fortunately, freelancers in the UAE are not always required to submit official accounts or be subject to an audit – the ideal setup for the busy entrepreneur.

  • Conclusion

Freelancing can be a profitable and rewarding path, but it’s not easy. Sure, being your own boss is great. It makes you not answerable to anyone and you can work how you want, when you want. But it can also present a challenge: the profits stops with you. You have to be highly focused, self-motivated and driven: there’s no one else cracking the whip to make sure you deliver. And you need to wear many hats.

Sure, the core of your business will be your area of expertise – say, technology, writing, accountancy, or design – but you’re also likely to be a one-person marketing, sales, accounts, and IT department. Also, you can’t do everything by yourself, you have to possess first-class networking and communication skills to ensure you’re always coordinating with the right people at the right time to get things done.