Everything You Want to Know as a Movie Producer Filming in UAE

1 Sep


Everything You Want to Know as a Movie Producer Filming in UAE

With its breathtaking landscapes and contemporary architecture, the UAE has become a sought-after location for filmmakers far and wide. However, the process of filming in the UAE can be quite intricate. It’s a landscape that needs proper navigation. 

Before embarking on your filming journey, there are several crucial aspects to take into account — obtaining licenses, securing permits, and arranging equipment rentals. Here at Film Permit, we’ve helped many of our clients resolve their papers for movie shoots in Dubai and we’re here to help you too! So, if you're seeking guidance to navigate this complex process, we recommend delving into this article before proceeding with your plans.

Also Read: Why is UAE your next shooting destination

Get the right permits

To ensure compliance with the legalities of your movie shoot in Dubai, your film crew needs to possess the appropriate licenses and Dubai movie permits. Failure to have this paperwork can result in severe consequences, including financial penalties and potential incarceration!

Equally important is equipping your team with the knowledge of how to procure filming permits. The following steps should be followed:

  • Initiate the permit application process at least one week before your scheduled shoot date
  • Furnish all relevant documentation, such as storyboards and scripts, alongside your application
  • Provide comprehensive details regarding the content and nature of your film
  • Upon approval of your application, you will be issued a location permit that specifies the authorized areas for filming
  • Ensure strict adherence to the approved locations, as certain places may have restrictions based on religious or cultural grounds
  • Another crucial consideration is determining the type of safety permit in Dubai. Two categories exist: temporary and permanent. Temporary Dubai movie permits are typically valid for a day, and permanent papers extend up to a maximum of 90 days

Shooting in public areas without explicit permission from the authorities is illegal. Engaging in such unauthorized activities can result in hefty fines, legal repercussions, and the confiscation of equipment!

To get your filming permit, there are a few more things you’ll need to pay attention to and get sorted along the way, or preferably before the approval! 

Put Your Vision Together

Offering a visual depiction of the script as a blueprint for film production is crucial to secure your permit. It allows you to conceptualize each scene before commencing the filming process. By ensuring all shots are properly organized within the storyboard, you can see how they will translate onto the screen.

The storyboard plays a pivotal role in the planning of film locations. It aids in determining the type of environment or setting that aligns harmoniously with your creative vision. Imagine forgetting to include a location in your permit request! This foresight can prove invaluable, as it helps you save both time and money when scouting for suitable shooting locations!

Scout Locations

Selecting the right location is paramount when embarking on a film or TV production. The United Arab Emirates boasts a plethora of captivating and diverse settings, ranging from enchanting deserts to majestic mountains, picturesque beaches, and even ancient cities brimming with architectural marvels. These varied localities are situated conveniently close to one another.

The UAE is renowned for hosting some of the world's most extravagant accommodations too. So, if you need a rest from the demanding filming schedule, you'll have no difficulty discovering a luxurious haven to rejuvenate and unwind.

Conduct thorough research to identify the perfect match between your film's concept and an appropriate location. However, recognizing the extensive undertaking this can be, allow our Dubai film permit service to lend a hand in scouting the optimal setting for your upcoming movie shoot.

Hire the Crew

Assembling an exceptional film crew is a pivotal and sometimes challenging task that sets the foundation for a successful production. When seeking the ideal team, it is essential to carefully consider several factors:

  • Experience and an impressive portfolio: Look for individuals who possess relevant expertise and a history of success in their respective roles. Their past accomplishments, as reflected in their portfolios, can be indicative of their ability to contribute effectively to your project
  • Availability and flexibility: Ensure that the crew members you select can commit to the required time frame and are adaptable to any potential scheduling adjustments or unforeseen circumstances that may arise during production
  • Willingness to meet your needs: Seek out professionals who not only possess the necessary skills but also demonstrate a genuine interest in your specific requirements. Their ability to communicate openly, ask pertinent questions, and align with your creative vision is vital for a smooth collaboration
  • Budget compatibility: While it's crucial to maintain fiscal prudence, it's equally important to find a crew that can deliver high-quality results within your allocated budget. Look for resourceful and capable professionals that don’t compromise on quality

Know the Regulations

There are additional regulations to be mindful of:

  • Airports: Access to Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport is restricted unless you can get special permission from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. Prior authorization is essential if you plan to include these locations in your filming
  • Places of Worship: Mosques and churches are sacred spaces that require special permissions from their respective religious authorities before filming is allowed. Respect for religious customs and protocols is paramount when considering such locations
  • Historical Buildings: Some historically significant structures, like Al Fahidi Fort, may have restrictions on filming due to their cultural importance or because the government agencies presently utilize them before considering these sites for filming, it is crucial to seek permission and guidance from the relevant authorities

By adhering to these guidelines you can ensure a respectful and compliant approach to incorporating these restricted locations into your film.

Appropriate Time

When determining the ideal filming period in the UAE, climate should be taken into account. The country experiences a hot desert climate, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 39°C (64°F-102°F). However, these temperatures apply to coastal regions. Inland areas can be up to 30 degrees hotter!

Major festivals in the UAE typically occur during the spring or summer seasons when temperatures are hotter but still tolerable, even for outdoor filming. If your project is set during these times, you’ll need flexibility, because of adverse weather conditions and other factors that may disrupt production timelines.

Considering the climate and aligning your filming schedule with festivals can enhance the efficiency of your production, ensuring a smoother experience and minimizing potential weather-related challenges.

Additional Rules to Keep in Mind


Street photography remains a topic of discussion in numerous countries, as the emphasis on safeguarding individuals' privacy continues to grow. In an era where privacy protection is increasingly important, filming people in public spaces without their consent can raise legitimate concerns.

The UAE is renowned for its deep respect for personal privacy and the enactment of laws aimed at preventing the invasion of one another's privacy. Consequently, it is unsurprising that the UAE Cyber Crime Law explicitly stipulates that no person should appear in your photos or videos without their explicit consent.


It is essential to understand that the consequences of capturing images or footage of prohibited locations or individuals in the UAE can be severe. Engaging in such activities can result in hefty fines, imprisonment, or even being barred from entering the country. Sharing a picture that includes a state building or another person without their consent may lead to prosecution under UAE law.

If you unintentionally or deliberately include an individual in your photo, you should refrain from sharing the image or footage on platforms like Instagram or other content-sharing platforms. However, you can mitigate risks with explicit permission from the individuals involved. Certain exceptions exist, such as sharing photos that feature celebrities, officials, or gatherings of people during public events.

Extra Safety Guidelines

When it comes to shooting movies in Dubai with additional resources and elements like animals and fires, film permits may vary in terms of requirements and considerations!

  • Animal Handling: If your production involves animals, you will need to comply with specific regulations and guidelines set by the Dubai authorities. This may include obtaining additional film permits with animals and ensuring the safety and well-being of the animals during filming. Trained and certified animal handlers need to be present to meet the necessary standards
  • Fire Safety: Incorporating fire-related scenes or stunts into your film will require stringent adherence to fire safety protocols. This involves obtaining specialized permits related to fire effects, ensuring the presence of professional fire safety personnel on set, and following strict safety guidelines to prevent accidents or hazards
  • Risk Assessments: Productions involving additional resources and elements like animals and fire will require comprehensive risk assessments to be conducted. This includes assessing potential risks, implementing safety measures, and providing detailed plans to address any potential issues that may arise during filming
  • Insurance Coverage: Having comprehensive insurance coverage for your production becomes even more crucial when working with additional resources and potentially hazardous elements. Adequate coverage will help protect against any unforeseen accidents or damages that may occur during filming

Specific requirements and processes for obtaining film permits in Dubai, including those related to animals and safety,  may be regulated by the local authorities. Therefore, you should consult with a professional production services company — Film Permit Dubai is here to ensure compliance with the latest regulations and guidelines.


Filming in the UAE as a movie producer requires careful attention to various aspects to ensure a successful and compliant production. Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, equipping your crew with the proper knowledge, scouting suitable locations, hiring a competent film crew, understanding the regulations, considering the climate and timing, respecting privacy laws, and implementing extra safety guidelines are all essential steps to navigate the filming process in the UAE.

UAEFilmPermit is here to assist and guide you through this intricate process, helping you resolve the necessary paperwork and obtain the required permits. Take the time to plan and prepare, and you'll soon be creating a remarkable film production in the UAE. For all questions and applications, connect with us today