UAE expats can get Abu Dhabi Freelance Visa in 48 categories

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 16 November 2020: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), announced that it is now possible for UAE citizens, residents — and even non-residents — to obtain Freelancer licences that will allow them to practice in 48 economic activities.

The move will enable non-citizens to conduct their business activities from their residences or any other authorised location, according to the general provisions that are applicable to individual organisations.

A recent resolution issued by DED had permitted non-citizens to obtain Freelancer licences in accordance with the terms and conditions specified by the department. The licences were previously issued to UAE nationals only, said official news agency Wam.

Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of DED, said that the resolution will contribute to enhancing the role of both citizens and non-citizens in boosting Abu Dhabi’s business sector. He noted that this will help stimulate the business and investment environments in the emirate and will create more job opportunities in certain fields that add value to the business sector.

Al Blooshi added the issuance of Freelancer licences will harness the skills of unemployed people. In addition, it allows those with technical expertise to practice freelance activities after finishing their normal work hours. He also pointed out that the licence will help businesses by eliminating the need to employ labour in all specialisations that are only needed periodically, apart from allowing freelancers to provide their services remotely and round the clock. Furthermore, it will contribute to solving the unemployment problem and will increase the income of various segments such as retirees, housewives and students, among others.


The regulatory list of the new resolution specifies a number of work terms and general conditions that need to be met by the applicants. In case the applicant works for the public sector, he/she should obtain an approval from the government employer and meet the general requirements. If the applicant works with a permanent employment contract in the private sector, two cases are identified here. In the first case, if the employer’s activity is similar to or overlaps with the activity of the requested licence, the employer’s approval is a must, in addition to meeting the general requirements.

In the second case, if the employer’s activity is different from the activity of the licence to be issued, then the employer’s approval is not needed in this case, same thing applies if the applicant works in a part time contract in the private sector. the two parties’ agreement’s terms and condition will be applied in terms of work timings, leaves and other obligations.

48 Activities

The 48 economic activities that can be practiced with a Freelancer licence, including fashion design, clothing, natural and aesthetic flowers arrangement, photography studio, event photography, videography, event management, gift packaging, jewellery design, web design, project design and management services, translation, calligraphy, drawing, statistical consultations, agricultural guidance and marketing operations management.

The Freelancer licence also covers consultation activities in areas of computer hardware and software, real estate, legal consultancy, public relations, standardisation and quality management, pest control, project development, procurement, technical installations, green buildings, information technology, economic feasibility studies, human resources, tourism, heritage, entertainment, administrative studies, food safety, goods designs, fine art, architectural drawings, and maritime services.

In addition, consultations related to lifestyle development, marketing studies, parliamentary studies, banking and marketing services in the fields of energy, space and logistical consultations, fitness, art works, sculpting, handicrafts, printing services, photocopying, gardening and landscaping, printing on textiles or clothes, plastering, engraving, decoration and soap-making can be practiced with the licence.



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