Are You Planning to Film Shoot in Dubai? Rules You Need To Know

1 Sep


Are You Planning to Film Shoot in Dubai? Rules You Need To Know

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is like a hub of remarkable structures and wonderful architecture. These captivating sights effortlessly seize one's attention, often inspiring individuals and professionals alike to capture them in photographs or film. While it's customary for people to take countless pictures and videos as a way to preserve memories while travelling, it's important to note that UAE, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, surprises many with its specific regulations regarding photography! 

Unlike many other places around the world, film shooting or photography in the UAE is not a free endeavour. In Dubai or Abu Dhabi, individuals and professionals can face potential arrest for infringing upon photography and filming guidelines, as this action is considered an invasion of someone's privacy. 

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a resident, it is crucial to adhere to the established rules. In certain public spaces, it is permissible to capture and shoot videos using your smartphone, but if you possess professional equipment, you’re in a completely different zone. 

If you find yourself unfamiliar with the filmmaking regulations in the UAE, this article will provide you with all the necessary insights and information about film shoots in Dubai.

Avoid Shooting Government Buildings

As you venture through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you'll encounter awe-inspiring locations that include notable government structures. However, it's important to be aware of the strict regulations in place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi regarding filming and photography of government or military buildings. For security reasons, capturing images of these buildings is strictly prohibited unless you possess a special permit explicitly granting permission to do so. 

These buildings encompass various important establishments such as the Civil Defence, Department of Finance, Public Prosecution, Courts, and other government-owned structures.

Avoid Aircraft Recordings

Photography and filmmaking are strictly prohibited at both Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. This rule is in place to ensure the safety and security of passengers and employees associated with civil aviation authority. Filming aircrafts can potentially expose their configuration and technology to unauthorised individuals, posing a risk to the airport's operations. 

It is essential to obtain the necessary documents and strictly adhere to the guidelines provided. By doing so, you can ensure compliance while still meeting your photography requirements.

Respect Privacy Rights

Occasionally, individuals may inadvertently capture someone's face while recording videos and taking photographs, oblivious to the fact that they are intruding upon another person's privacy. It is crucial to note that in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is strictly prohibited to photograph individuals without their consent. Doing so is considered a breach of their privacy, and such actions can lead to severe consequences. From an ethical standpoint, it is inherently wrong to capture someone's image without obtaining their permission. 

This is a sensitive matter, and Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law 3 of 1987) explicitly prohibits the unauthorised sharing of pictures and videos. Therefore, it is imperative to respect the rights and privacy of individuals by seeking their approval before photographing them.

Appreciate the Culture

In addition to valuing and respecting individuals' privacy, it is essential to display sensitivity and mindfulness toward the local culture. The Dubai Code of Conduct, specifically Article 4.5, emphasises the significance of obtaining consent before capturing footage or photographs of people, particularly women, and families, in public spaces. 

While this code pertains specifically to Dubai, it is reasonable to assume that similar or even more stringent rules are in place across other emirates as well. By showing respect for these principles, we demonstrate our commitment to cultural awareness and uphold the values of the community we are visiting or residing in.

Avoid Sharing Material Without Permission

Even in the event of inadvertently filming someone, it is strictly prohibited to share it on social media platforms without obtaining proper consent. The UAE Copyright Law, specifically Article 43 of Federal Law No. 7 of 2002, stipulates that individuals who have taken photographs or videos of others are prohibited from publishing, distributing, or exhibiting them without permission. 

Violation of this law can lead to serious consequences, including fines and a maximum detention period of six months. It is crucial to respect the rights and privacy of individuals by seeking their explicit consent before sharing any visual content, ensuring compliance with legal regulations and ethical considerations.

Keep Private Material to Yourself

When taking a selfie, it is important to be mindful of including others, especially women whom you are not acquainted with, in the frame. It is crucial to maintain a heightened awareness of the individuals surrounding you and to respect their right to privacy. By exercising this consideration, we contribute to creating a more respectful and considerate environment for everyone involved.

Obtain Proper Permits

If you are involved in a commercial campaign, particularly as part of your professional responsibilities, it is crucial to obtain the necessary permissions before conducting a photo shoot in a public location.

Specific venues, such as Madinat Souk Jumeirah or the sprawling malls in Dubai, require prior authorization for photography. Moreover, most hotels have restrictions in place that prohibit capturing images using professional cameras within their premises unless prior approval has been obtained.

However, if you are simply a visitor at a public place, such as a beach, mall, or popular tourist attraction, it is generally acceptable to capture images using your smartphone. You can freely document the view, an event, or moments with friends and family.

If security personnel, management, or even the police approach you and request the deletion of any captured images or footage, it is imperative to comply with their instructions.

Also Read: Benefits Of Employing a UAE-licensed Partner To Obtain Filming Permit

How Film Permit Dubai Helps?

Having a reliable partner to assist you in obtaining permits and approvals is invaluable! In the UAE, the film permit agency assumes a vital role in streamlining the process of acquiring a filming permit. They provide invaluable support to production companies by facilitating the necessary permits and approvals needed for filming within the country, guaranteeing adherence to local laws and regulations. Collaborating with a film permit agency not only saves time and effort but also ensures that all the essential permits and approvals are in order before commencing any filming activities in the UAE.


If you are planning to film in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE, it is crucial to be aware of the film rules and regulations to avoid any legal issues or consequences. Respecting people's privacy, obtaining proper permissions, and adhering to local laws and cultural sensitivities are essential aspects to consider. 

Working with a film permit agency can greatly assist in navigating the complexities of obtaining permits and approvals, ensuring a smooth and compliant filming process. By following these guidelines and working in collaboration with the film permit agency, you can have a successful and hassle-free filming experience in the UAE.

Planning your next filming project in Dubai? Feel free to contact UAEFilmPermit and let us guide you!