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How to move to Dubai without a sponsor

Keen on living, working, or hiring staff in the UAE? Discover how it's possible without a sponsor.

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Sun, sea, beaches, sparkling high-rise buildings, and even higher salaries – there are many reasons why people all over the world are attracted to the idea of living and working in Dubai. In fact, almost 90% of the population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises of foreign nationals, with 8.8 million expatriates living and working there. However, it has famously been tricky to move to the UAE without a sponsor, as the country has historically abided by strict immigration regulations.

However, Dubai is now offering a variety of UAE permits which are aimed at encouraging skilled professionals from all areas of the working world to apply. Announced in March 2024, the UAE is slashing its visa and permit processing times from 30 days to just five – starting with Dubai, under the government’s new ‘Work Bundle’ platform.

If you’re exploring ways to move to Dubai without a confirmed employer, read on to find out how!

Self-sponsor your visa

The most straightforward way to move to Dubai without a job is to self-sponsor your visa. Self-sponsor visas are part of the UAE’s plans to enhance its professional landscape, competitiveness, and job market flexibility.

Types of self-sponsor visas

There are three main types of visa available to applicants who do not have a sponsor: Golden, Green, and Freelance. Find out which best suits your situation.

Golden Visas

The UAE Golden Visa offers renewable residency of up to a decade. It allows the holder to work and study; bring family members of all ages; and sponsor domestic helpers.  According to the UAE, Golden Visas are available to investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes. Investors eligible for the Golden Visa have generally made public investments or invested into a UAE fund for a minimum of AED 10 million (approximately 2,155,442 GBP).

Green Visas

The UAE Green Visa allows the holder to sponsor themselves for up to five years. It’s available to freelancers and/or self-employed people, who must have proof of a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma, a freelance or self-employed permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and must also prove self-employment has yielded annual income for at least two years of no less than at least AED 360,000 (approximately 77,690.00 GBP).

Freelance Visas

If you are seeking to work as a freelancer in Dubai, regardless of your skill level, you can apply to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) for a freelance permit in 2024.

Freelance visas include visas for investors, media professionals, and tech specialists. Meanwhile, the Freelance Permit for Women is specifically aimed at empowering female freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Another freelance option is Freelancer License Registration, also known as the Dubai Virtual Company License, which supports freelancers wishing to establish an online presence in Dubai, who do not require office space.

The Freelance visa in Dubai costs AED 7,500 (approximately 1,616.00 GPB)

If you’re interested in living, working, or hiring staff in the UAE, contact our team of experts today to find out how Mauve Group can support your global mobility needs.