How to Become a Freelancer in the UAE

More people are choosing the freelance work model that offers the freedom to manage their schedules and pursue projects that align with their skills and interests. Freelancers often have the flexibility to choose their projects, set their rates, and work from anywhere with an internet connection. 

A freelancer job refers to a type of work arrangement where an individual offers their services to clients or companies on a temporary, contract basis rather than being employed full-time. Freelancers are typically self-employed and work independently, providing services in various fields such as writing, graphic design, programming, marketing, consulting, and more. 

Freelancing has been gaining popularity in the UAE, thanks to the country’s growing economy, diverse business landscape, and increasing demand for specialized services.

Here are ten of the top freelance jobs in the UAE:

Web DevelopmentGraphic Design
Content Writing and CopywritingDigital Marketing
Translation and InterpretationPhotography and Videography
Virtual AssistanceAccounting and Bookkeeping
IT Support and Consulting Business Consulting

If you are considering being a freelancer in the UAE, you can opt for a business license from SPC Free Zone, which allows up to five business activities under a single license.

The business activities related to freelance work are: 

9000.04 – Activities of individual writers, for all subjects including fictional writing, technical writing etc.

This activity includes a number of services including writing and editing services like creating content for clients such as articles, blog posts, reports, white papers, and manuscripts, as well as editing and proofreading services to improve the quality of written materials. Many writers work on a freelance basis, providing their services to clients on a project-by-project basis. They may find work through online platforms, networking, or by pitching directly to publications and businesses. Writers may self-publish their books or work with traditional publishing houses to release their manuscripts. This involves tasks such as manuscript submission, negotiations with publishers, and marketing efforts to promote the book. Some writers specialize in ghostwriting, where they write content on behalf of someone else who takes credit for the work. This can include books, articles, speeches, and more. Writers may create content for businesses, including website copy, product descriptions, marketing materials, and social media posts. This helps businesses establish their online presence and communicate effectively with their audience. Technical writers specialize in creating documentation for technical products and services. This can include user manuals, instruction guides, FAQs, and help documentation. Writers may also write scripts for various mediums, including film, television, theater, and radio. Some writers specialize in content marketing, creating valuable content for businesses to attract and engage their target audience. This can include blog posts, ebooks, case studies, and email newsletters.   

Other requirements:  

  • Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity.
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.
  • Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

9000.03 – Activities of sculptors, painters, cartoonists, engravers, etchers etc.

The primary activity involves creating original artwork which could include sculpting statues, painting canvases, drawing cartoons, engraving, or etching designs onto various surfaces. Many artists work on a commissioned basis, where clients hire them to create specific pieces of artwork. This might involve creating custom sculptures, paintings for private collections or businesses, cartoons for publications, or engraved designs for various purposes. 

Other requirements:  

  • Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity. 
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement. 
  • Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement. 

9000.05 – Activities of independent journalists

Independent journalists engage in the creation and distribution of journalistic content independently, meaning they are not formally affiliated with any specific media organization or conglomerate. They may work as freelancers, contributing content to various outlets on a contract basis, or they may operate their own media platforms such as blogs, podcasts, or video channels. 

Other requirements:  

  • Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity.
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.
  • Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

7820.04 Freelancers’ Services

Freelancers’ services refer to self-employed individuals offering specialized skills or expertise on a contract basis. These professionals work independently, providing services across various industries such as writing, graphic design, programming, consulting, and marketing. Freelancers often manage their schedules, projects, and client relationships. They may work remotely or on-site, depending on the nature of the service.

Other requirements:  

Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

9000.01 Production of live theatrical presentations, concerts and opera or dance productions and other stage productions:

Activities of groups, circuses or companies, orchestras or bands.

 • Activities of individual artists such as authors, actors, directors, musicians, lecturers or speakers, stage-set designers and builders etc.

Other requirements:  

Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

7410.03- Activities of graphic designers

Activities of graphic designers involve creating visual concepts to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They develop layouts and designs for various mediums, including advertisements, brochures, magazines, and websites. Graphic designers utilize software tools to manipulate text and images, incorporating typography, color, and imagery to convey messages effectively.

Other requirements:  

Third-party approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-money laundering compliance: This business activity is exempt from this requirement.

Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

You can also calculate your business setup costs easily using our handy cost calculator and choose from our customized company setup packages to find your perfect fit.

Get your business license in the UAE today and explore a world of opportunities waiting for you.

Sawsan Alsharanee

Sawsan is an Arabic copywriter and translator with over 12 years of experience in EnglishArabic translation and 6 years of experience in copywriting across various domains including business setup, technology, healthcare, and marketing. Sawsan has a rich portfolio of high-quality, culturally appropriate translations and articles, crafted to drive engagement and conversions, and help businesses connect with their Arabic-speaking clients.

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