Ajman Free Zone

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Ajman Free Zone (AFZA) (Arabic: منطقه عجمان الحره) is a free trade zone in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (UAE). First established in 1988, it is one of a number of unbonded free zones in the UAE offering offshore company setup and operation to investors. As of Q1 2018, 12,362 companies operated out of AFZA.[1]

The UAE's free trade zones are a major economic contributor, with 2017 exports from UAE free zones of Dhs 225.5 billion in 2017 representing some 19.5% of total exports. Of a total of 45 free zones in the UAE, 30 are located in Dubai. A further ten zones are currently under construction in the country.[2]

Business Services[edit]


All businesses in the UAE require a trade license, which is renewed annually. Onshore trade licenses are only available with 49% foreign ownership, requiring a local partner or sponsor. Sponsorship fees can range from Dhs20,000-2 million per year.[3] A legislative change announced in May 2018 allowed for 100% foreign ownership of onshore businesses, alongside a 10-year residency visa for certain categories of investor and professionals, but this has yet to be implemented and costs and structures of such businesses remain undefined.[4]

AFZA allows investors to set up companies and trade with 100% foreign ownership and no taxation. Its services include the provision of visas for expatriate workers, land for development or pre-existing warehousing and business premises supporting a range of business types, including 'smart offices' - co-working spaces.[5] Business licenses at AFZA are annually renewable and costs start from UAE Dhs 11,900.[6]

AFZ provides multiple attractive investment opportunities to all investors. AFZ offer flexible investment models suitable for all business entities across a variety of sectors with varied specifications and objectives. the company registration is starting from AED 11,900 only (Business Center Package).[7]

The UAE levies a 5% Value Added Tax, from which companies at AFZA are exempt when trading between free zones or internally.[8] However, the tax is levied on goods and services traded onshore into the UAE.

Indian-owned businesses comprise 40% of the companies operating from AFZA,[9] which is growing at a rate of 28% new business registrations year on year (of which 46% were import and export businesses).[10] A number of international representative, sales and promotion offices have opened, with Mumbai, Dubai, Karachi and Manchester opening in 2015,[11] Delhi,[12] Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg,[13] Cyprus and Moscow in 2016[14] and in 2017 Hong Kong, Canada, Azerbaijan, Switzerland and China,[15] joined by Lahore in 2018.[16] Ajman Free Zone also opens representative office for Scandinavia in 2018.

Ajman Media City Free Zone[edit]

Operating independently of AFZA, Ajman Media City Free Zone was launched in 2018,[17] some three years after the Emiri Decree to establish the zone was issued.[18] The zone offers a range of small company licensing services to media-related businesses.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff Report. "Ajman Free Zone to open new offices in 5 countries". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  2. ^ Abbas, Waheed. "More relief as three UAE free zones are out of VAT scope". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. ^ Aya Lowe (2011-04-05). "The cost of setting up shop in the UAE". GulfNews. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  4. ^ "Are free zones in a bind?". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  5. ^ carla (2018-02-21). "Snap's Analyst Rating Slips After Over 1.2 Million Users Protest Update - Forbes Middle East". Forbes Middle East. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  6. ^ "Ajman Free Zone kick-starts its latest product 'Business Centre'". Archived from the original on 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  7. ^ "Ajman Free Zone Company Formation". Elegant Services. 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
  8. ^ "UAE tax authority outlines VAT exempt free zones". Gulf Business. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  9. ^ "Ajman Free Zone targets Indian businesses". The National. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  10. ^ "New business licences in Ajman Free Zone increase 28% to 12,362 in Q1 2018". www.afz.gov.ae. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  11. ^ Wam. "Ajman free zone aims to draw Pakistan firms". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  12. ^ IANS (2016-01-12). "Ajman Free Zone opens second India office in Gurgaon". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  13. ^ Zendera, Yamurai. "Ajman Freezone floats tender for expansion works | ConstructionWeekOnline.com". www.constructionweekonline.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  14. ^ "Ajman Free Zone to open rep office in Azerbaijan". AzerNews.az. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  15. ^ Staff Report. "Ajman Free Zone to open new offices in 5 countries". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  16. ^ Wam (2016-12-19). "Ajman Free Zone opens Representative Office in Lahore". Emirates24|7. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  17. ^ Staff, Entrepreneur Middle East (2018-08-20). "Ajman Media City Free Zone's New Offer For Startups". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  18. ^ Wam. "Ajman Ruler issues decree establishing Media Free Zone". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-19.

External links[edit]