Freelance License v/s Trade License

Feb 10, 2023

Dubai has turned into a top 10 global start-up hub in the future. UAE is a great place to launch a business with its innovative and thriving entrepreneur ecosystem. However, you would require a permit/license for it. You can start a venture with a trade license or a freelance permit. Are you confused about both? In this article, we will explain about a freelance permit and a trade license to assist you in selecting the one to be the right choice for you. 

Freelance Permit or License

If you plan to work as a self-employed or freelance in the gig economy, you must have a freelance permit from the government authorities to work legally in the UAE. You can work on multiple projects and various companies without a sponsor or an employment visa. If you are a solo entrepreneur, you can take a freelance license until you expand your business with an office space and more employees. 

Professional activities under a freelance license:

1. Media Activities

2. Education Activities

3. Technology Activities

4. Design Activities

Documents for Getting a Freelance Permit in UAE

1. Copy of a valid passport

2. Updated CV or portfolio

3. Social media links

4. If you’re a resident, a copy of your valid visa and emirates id

Jurisdictions for freelancing permits

You must choose jurisdictions that provide licenses for your specific business activities. Here are the popular jurisdictions that provide freelance licenses.

1. Dubai Economy and Tourism(DET), 2. Dubai Media City, 3. Dubai Internet City, 4. Ajman Free Zone, 5. Dubai Economy and Tourism, 6. Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone, 7. Fujairah Creative City Free Zone, 8. Dubai Design District, 9. Dubai Knowledge Park, 10. Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), 11. Sharjah Media City 

Trade License

With a trade license, you can involve in various commercial and professional business activities in the UAE. Among the permissible operations are imports, exports, the sale of commodities, and the trade of services. You can operate your business locally and overseas by taking a trade license under the mainland. 

Freelancer Permit vs. Trade License 

Hiring Employees

With a freelance permit, you are an independent employer who runs your business as a one-person enterprise. You can’t hire or employ anyone with your freelance permit. If you decide to run your business yourself, the freelancing license may be your best choice. If you want to expand your business or start commercial activities, you can change your freelance permit to a trade license anytime. 

But it will be more convenient to have a trade license at the start if you are planning to conduct commercial activities in the UAE.

Cost of business setup

If you're ready to start your business at a small-scale level with just you, you can always go for a freelance license on a budget. You can also minimize the cost of office space and employees with a freelancing business. In terms of outlay, a trade license is a company establishment that requires higher investment. You can get a TRN (Tax Registration Number), open a corporate bank account, and hire more employees with a trade license.

But a freelancer can not take on government projects or large organizations without a trade license and a TRN number. As mentioned, you can control your costs to secure initial business growth with a freelance permit. 

Running your business 

Freelancing license offer an affordable and flexible option to start your business. For this reason, many people launch their business idea with freelancing and then switch to a trade license business setup.

Do you want to start your business in the UAE? You can go for a trade license if you want to establish a company or get a freelance permit to work as a solo entrepreneur!

Freelance in UAE with Freedom2work!

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