Four Places Where You Cannot Film Without a Permit in the Middle East

27 Sep


Four Places Where You Cannot Film Without a Permit in the Middle East

Getting that authentic vibe in your Middle East-based movie is only achievable when you lose the green screen and shoot in the live city! This experience cannot be replicated even by the most advanced studios and CGI. The great news is that the Middle East is increasingly opening to the filming industries, and places like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are at the forefront of it all! 

Exploring the mesmerising landscapes, vibrant cultures, and rich histories of the Middle East is a dream for many aspiring filmmakers. From bustling markets to ancient ruins, the region offers a plethora of breathtaking backdrops perfect for cinematic creations. 

However, amidst the allure of capturing these picturesque scenes, a web of regulations demands our attention — a world where creativity inevitably meets bureaucracy. 

Join us as we embark on the journey into the complexities of capturing the essence of the Middle East on film and discover the delicate balance between creative freedom and the necessity of respecting local laws and traditions.

What Regulates These Rules

Deep within the folds of the UAE Penal Code, specifically articles 378 and 379, and the UAE cybercrime law article 21, a resounding decree resonates – capturing images or videos of individuals without explicit consent is a transgression against privacy. These legal safeguards are not just inking on paper but reflect a commitment to shielding the essence of personal lives from the probing lens.

There's also the UAE Copyright Law, specifically in Article 43, which speaks the essence of consent in sharing photographic treasures. The Copyright Law stands as a sentinel, guarding against the unauthorised distribution of images that feature individuals.

The boundaries extend beyond the individual realm to encompass the collective identity. Both internal and external views of governmental institutions and military structures remain shrouded from the camera's unblinking eye, for they are the cornerstones of national security, painted with hues of secrecy and safeguarding.

As we set our lenses upon the captivating tapestry of the UAE and the Middle East, let us embark with a profound understanding – that to capture the essence of this region is to honour its intricate legal tapestry.

Places Where It's Forbidden to Film in the Middle East

With these similar governing regulations all over the Middle East, you should avoid carrying your recording equipment anywhere near these.

Unless you have the permit in hand, of course! 

Government Buildings

The Middle East (especially the UAE) promises encounters with architectural wonders that exude authority and history. But, as our lenses explore the urban landscapes of Dubai and the cultural riches, a curtain of caution unfurls, reminding us of the defined permissible exploration.

The focal points of power and governance, including Civil Defence, the Department of Finance, Public Prosecution, and the Courts, bear witness to the intricate tapestry of the nation's functioning, each brick a testament to history and purpose.

These governmental buildings stand as off-limits to the casual gaze of the camera, a decree that echoes through the corridors of policy. A special permit must be sought, a key to this restricted realm.

We know that every frame tells a tale, but the filmmakers must acknowledge and respect the local laws. In a land where tradition meets innovation and the lens captures history and hope, let us remember that some stories are reserved only for lenses that bear approval.

Military Sites

Filming military structures in the Middle East and several other parts of the world is typically forbidden due to security concerns and national interests. Some key reasons include: 

  • National Security
  • Operational Security
  • Preventing Espionage
  • Cultural and Political Sensitivity

Governments prioritise national security and the protection of their citizens, which often requires setting boundaries on what can be filmed, especially when it comes to military infrastructure.

Aircraft and Airports

In this area, adherence to the established norms becomes paramount. The documents and permits aren't just bureaucratic formalities but the keys to unlocking creativity within the boundaries of responsibility. They are the promise that your lens shall capture, your shutter shall click, and your creativity shall flow, all while aligning harmoniously with the greater goal. These seamless operations allow passengers to soar through the skies.

As you tread the corridors of these hubs, the lens is a privileged companion, but its power is tethered to the commitment to safety. Let the sky be your canvas, but let your strokes be guided by respect for the regulations.

Busy Public Places

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of life that unfolds on the bustling streets, the scenes serve as a silent observer of unique moments in time. In a world where privacy holds paramount significance, filmmakers might need to reconsider before capturing candid moments in a public space.

Amidst the UAE's cultural mosaic, a reverence for personal boundaries shapes the narrative. Privacy is not just a word but a cornerstone etched into legal codes, particularly the UAE Cyber Crime Law.

The streets pulse with life – the laughter of friends, the footsteps of strangers, the fleeting glances of passersby. Each frame seeks to capture an essence, to paint a picture of humanity in motion. Yet, within this art, the company is responsible for seeking approval first. 

Expand your knowledge with: What You Need To Know About Streaming Movie Permits in the UAE

Film Permit as a Must 

Proper permits are your compass to safe conduct when filming in the Middle East. Start the application process at least a week ahead of your production. Provide scripts and details about your shoot. 

Once approved, you'll receive a location permit outlining approved areas. Remember, there are no off-script moments – adhere to approved locations due to cultural and religious considerations.

Safety is paramount – choose between temporary (one-day) and permanent (up to 90 days) permits. Don't improvise on public shoots; unauthorised filming leads to fines and equipment confiscation. So, before the director calls "Action," ensure your permits are in place. It's the script you follow for a successful shoot in Dubai's cinematic landscape.

How We Can Help

Navigating the maze of film permits in Dubai is made easy with Film Permit Dubai. We're your ally, streamlining paperwork and securing permits. With careful planning, your UAE film project will shine. 

Our agency is dedicated to assisting production companies like yours in acquiring the necessary permits and approvals for filming within the country. With our user-friendly online platform, you can complete the application process in just three straightforward steps: 

Within five working days, voila! — Your permit is issued. For inquiries and applications, connect with us today and allow us to simplify the filmmaking bureaucracies for you while you focus on the creatives of filmmaking in UAE.