How to Get a Photography and Film permit in UAE?

5 Feb


How to Get a Photography and Film permit in UAE?

If you're a production house looking to shoot in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, or Ras al Khaimah, the first thing you need to check off the list is getting a film permit in the UAE.

UAE is the most sought-after location for commercial film productions, but many production companies find it hard to get their hands on the required photography and film permit.

In this age, digital photography and filmmaking have become more popular than ever, and the local authorities of the UAE want to regulate these activities for the safety of both parties involved. 

Keep reading to learn how you can apply for a photography or film permit and what other things you need to know about these permits.

The Film Permit in the UAE: What is it and Why is it Necessary?

A film permit is a permission required by production houses to shoot commercial videos, or movies anytime and at any place in the United Arab Emirates. The main reason is to avoid any legal issues later on. Plus, it also saves you from having to pay fines for filming without a permit.

There are seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), each with its own administrative authority. To film anywhere in these emirates, you need a film permit from the local government authority, which is listed below:

If you do not have a registered office in the UAE, you will need to contact a licensed media production company to help you get your film permit.

It makes the process of securing permits hassle-free for you, allowing you to concentrate on your filming.

What is the Process to Apply for the Film Permit?

If you are filming in the UAE for the first time or if you have never applied for a permit under the new system, here are some simple steps that will help you get started:

The first step is to fill out the application form to express your interest in getting the permit and regarding some details about your project. 

It should include:

  1. Your contact details
  2. Details about your project 

1. A Brief Description of the Concept of your Project

The more detailed information you provide here, the easier it will be for the service providers to assess whether they can help with your application or not.

2. Location(s) You Wish to Shoot 

Location is a significant part of the permit process. When you submit your documents, you are asked for the location(s) you wish to shoot at and when you plan to film there. 

You must know this before submitting your documents if you want to get a permit in time! 

It can take 3-4 working days if everything goes smoothly, so it’s best to ensure these details are worked out early on to avoid any delays later on down the road. The good news is that once these details are known, everything else will fall into place quickly. 

3. A Copy of Your Script/Shot List

A film script is a written document that outlines the story of the project and its characters. Usually, it will include dialogue, descriptions of shots and camera angles, and the director's notes. 

A shot list is an organised breakdown of scenes for production or video that lists all the shots needed to complete each scene. It's used by producers and directors to plan out how long it will take to shoot each scene and how much time they'll need on set. 

Your permit application should include the script because it helps the authorities understand what exactly you are filming in the UAE. Once you submit these documents, a list of locations will be proposed to you. You can choose the location and dates that work best for you. If any changes are required in the initial proposal, we will work with the relevant parties to make that happen.

If approved, you will receive a letter of intent which will confirm all the applicable fees for obtaining shooting permits in the decided location as well as additional services such as Police Escort services, amongst others. You need to sign the contract if you approve of the terms and conditions mentioned therein and follow up for payment processing details. Until this step is completed, you haven’t officially obtained your shooting permit yet, so make sure not to book tickets or pay off any filming equipment until this step is fulfilled!

Also Read: Top 9 Locations to Shoot Your Next Film in Dubai

We are Here to Help

The permit process can be a daunting task! We are here to help you with the whole process of applying for a permit to shoot or film within the UAE.

When you choose us for acquiring film permits, you choose convenience. We not only help you get those permits quickly, but also we assist you to connect with all the relevant authorities efficiently for a seamless production process. 

Contact us at UAEFilmPermit today to commence your journey of filmmaking in the UAE.


1. What is the purpose of getting a film permit?

A film permit ensures that filmmakers, photographers, and videographers are aware of all rules and regulations in place for the production of films, photographs, or videos in the UAE, as well as the general safety procedures that should be taken while filming.

2. Do I need a permit to film in Dubai?

It depends on what you're filming. If it's a commercial shoot, you'll need permission from the municipality (the Dubai Media Free Zone Authority). However, if it is a non-commercial small scale project, then you can skip the permit process.

3. Can I film at Dubai airport?

If you want to film at Dubai airport or its surroundings, make sure you have a valid reason. For example, if you're travelling on an aeroplane, filming yourself with your camera/phone can be a valid reason for filming. However, if you are filming for commercial purposes, you will need the necessary approvals.