What You Need To Know About Streaming Movie Permits in the UAE

27 Sep


What You Need To Know About Streaming Movie Permits in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates have recently become a place to be if you’re in the movie industry, and if you are, there are definitely a few things you need to pay attention to! The question that naturally arises: Does your venture require a legal stamp of approval?

We believe — it does

As a filmmaker, a movie permit guide is a golden grail, especially while shooting internationally. Let's skim the basics before we jump into the specifics of obtaining a UAE film permit

What Is a Film Permit?

In compliance with regulations, there is a document you’re going to need as a filmmaker to film at specific venues which states that your project complies with the regulations of the shoot location. The UAE's film permission process aims to provide a legal cover for public disturbances or inconveniences caused during filming.

When seeking a film permit, provide project details, including the filming schedule, locations, and your script or treatment. Upon approval, the permit enables the filmmakers to avoid potential fines or legal consequences while filming.

Non-compliance to the foreign investment rules like registration and licensing with UAE authorities may lead to penalties, potentially reaching AED 500,000 (approx. 136,000 USD).

How Can You Get It?

Navigating the process is relatively straightforward, with a few key points to remember. Your starting point is completing an online application form detailing project specifics like shoot duration, crew size, and locations.

Once your application passes, you need to initiate a minor fee payment and provide a security deposit. Once greenlit, you're ready to film and stream in the UAE seamlessly.

Remember, photography permits are valid only for select locations, so verify these details before seeking your permit.

Essential components include a project explanation and a shooting timeline in a letter of intent. Additionally, submit a script and storyboard for evaluation by the UAE Film Commission.

Upon approval, your filming permission is granted. Be mindful that securing the permit is necessary before filming—it cannot be obtained after shooting begins.

The Procedure and the Fees

The UAE's diverse landscapes and modern infrastructure make it a renowned filming destination. However, a permit is essential, processed through the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority.

Applicants provide a project overview, location list, and filming dates. Upon approval, filmmakers must secure public liability insurance.

UAEFilmPermit guides you through the labyrinth of Dubai's film permits. We're your reliable partners, simplifying bureaucracy and obtaining permits, legally securing your UAE film venture.

We aim to aid production companies like yours in securing essential permits and clearances for nationwide filming. Utilise our intuitive online platform for a seamless three-step process:

  • Register
  • Fill out the online form
  • Make payment! In just five working days, your permit is in hand. We're here to assist with inquiries and applications – at your service.

Once you have complied with the checklist, filming can commence under permit terms. Violations may lead to fine or jail time, emphasising the need for proper paperwork beforehand.

Obtaining a film licence in the UAE incurs costs, varying with factors like project type, shoot duration, and location. Additional charges for security and insurance apply. Contact the service provider to determine expenses, as unpaid fees may delay or deny the permit.

National Media Council Requirements

The National Media Council (NMC) is an independent government agency overseeing traditional and digital media. It issues licences under the 2018 Electronic Media Regulation (E-Media Law).

While UAE lacks specific content distribution or distributor authorisation laws, the E-Media Law defines "Licensable Electronic Media Activities." These include:

  1. Websites trading, offering, and selling audio-visual and print content.
  2. On-demand electronic publishing and printing.
  3. Specialised websites (e.g., e-ads, news sites).
  4. NMC-designated electronic activities.

The scope of the E-Media Law is broad yet somewhat ambiguous. A reasonable interpretation suggests that UAE-based companies selling audio-visual content need NMC licences, particularly if targeting UAE residents or utilising local infrastructure.

The E-Media Law mandates media platforms to obtain licences in order to do business in the UAE — this also applies to the so-called “Free Zones.” If your platform actively targets UAE residents or uses local infrastructure, then you’re definitely "doing business” and are required to obtain the film permit.

Extend your understanding: Unveiling The Importance of Film Permits in the UAE

Things To Define

A media company venturing into the UAE can establish itself onshore or within the free zones. Onshore setup requires a majority UAE national partner (51% ownership), while free zones offer no such requirement, making them appealing. Free zones include financial and economic zones like DIFC, ADGM and industry-specific zones like Dubai Media City.

Corporate choices vary, including LLC, branch, representative office, or distributorship. An office lease and VAT registration are also necessary. Operating without proper licensing risks fines (AED 100,000-500,000), NMC sanctions, and platform blockage. The ideal structure and location hinge on intended UAE activities.


In the dynamic setting of UAE's media landscape, obtaining a streaming movie permit is the pivotal gateway for international media companies to illuminate their presence. As the allure of live streaming captivates global audiences, the UAE beckons as a prime stage. The need for an official endorsement is undeniable, marking the first step in this cinematic journey.

From the intricacies of the film permit process to the judicious choice of onshore or free zone establishment, this expedition demands a thorough grasp of regulations.  

By partnering with Film Permit UAE, the path to obtaining the crucial permit is streamlined, enabling production companies to embark on their creative endeavours with confidence. Our commitment to simplifying bureaucracy and facilitating permits is a guiding light in this intricate process. Contact us today and get a reliable UAE-native filming permit partner!