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Filming in Dubai - any advice?

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Hi there, my most esteemed colleagues.  It's been a while.  Glad (and grateful) to be back.

I'm heading to Dubai in two weeks to shoot some scenics - general city shots, then to Al Ayn to shoot desert life, and finally to a private club to shoot golf.

Does anyone have experience travelling there?  I'm curious about how stringent customs might be (I'lll have 12 cases with a carnet), whether anyone can recommend a good co. to provide shooting permits and transpo/fixer for 2 days of broll shooting, whether a visa is required (i've found "yes' and "no" on the web.).

It'll just be me and one other guy.  We only need permits for public places since it's just city scenics.  And the rest of the time we'll be on private property.

Any advice/help from someone who's been would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

John Cole

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I shot a feature 3 years back in Dubai, we had a local line producer who took care of all details, never had any issues with getting equipment into and out of Dubai,they are used to film crew coming all the time(esp from India),I had all papers handy but had no issues,guess a good line producer can and will sort out any issues, I didnt have a carnet

Good luck, 

let us know how it went



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  • 1 month later...

Been there done that- here’s what I experienced: Great people, friendly customs, not a lot of police presence felt.
I had a Carnet, no permits, and was only questioned once on a public beach. Spent most of the week on private property, but 1 day in Dubai, and 1 day in the desert. I was respectful and conservative, but got my shots- scenics in both places; out the car window, on sticks, etc. no problems.
Research (google) suggested hiring fixer (2k/day with car PLUS permit fees). Hiring a fixer seemed the safest bet, but it was too spendy for us. If I go back, I’ll fill out the permit paperwork in advance and choose a few locations before I go... Every place I contacted in advance recommended something different (from no carnets to no permits, to only shoot if you’re with a local fixer). Consulate said I didn’t need anything, embassy said I’d need way more than I had.
In the end, the Carnet was the thing to have. The rest is probably a good idea if you have the time and/or money to do it. Permit process was very slow- they never got back to me, so if you go that route, start early.
Overall - great, hospitable place; I trust my shots will reflect that.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  • 1 year later...

So I have been to Dubai on multiple occasions for various ad shoots and personal film projects and have always had good experiences: Great crew, easy customs, and not many legal issues. However, there are some things that need to be kept in mind while going there for a shoot:

Any individual that wishes to shoot in Dubai needs to appoint a production company licensed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to obtain a shooting permit for them. Make sure you apply for the permits on time because DFTC takes up to 5 working days to grant them for non - scripted shoots, and 25 for scripted. Also if you plan to shoot at a private location make sure you confirm on the charges days before your actual shoot. Because these places tend to charge extra depending upon the demand, production requirements and clean-up or security.


If you keep in mind these factors, there is nothing as such that can cause trouble while shooting in Dubai.


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