Filming in Abu Dhabi

We’re here to help you with all procedures necessary to film in Abu Dhabi

Script Clearance Procedures

Do I require script clearance for my production?

Yes, you do. All scripts, treatments, storyboards, and series synopsis need to be approved by the National Media Council – in advance of any production.

Can anyone help me understand what would be, and what would not be, deemed acceptable?

ADFC is available to advise on what content is, and what is not, likely to be deemed as appropriate in terms of meeting the cultural, social, and religious sensitivities of the United Arab Emirates. In addition, to assist applicants, there is a code of content available for downloaded.

What is the procedure to obtain clearance for my script?

Applicants are encouraged to apply for script approval, as early as possible. ADFC’s Government Liaison Officer is available to assist in submitting the script to the NMC via the Customer Care team at twofour54. Once the National Media Council has approved the script, or otherwise, the Government Liaison Officer will notify the applicant.

Is there a charge for script approval?

All scripts, treatments, storyboards, and series synopsis need to be approved by the National Media Council in advance of any production. Contact ADFC for questions about fees but please note the duration for script approval depends on the size of the treatment – average of 2 to 3 weeks.

Types of Filming Permits

What type of filming permit do I need?

That depends on where you are planning to film.

  • If on the ground, you will require either a Public Ground Permit, or a Private Location Permit – depending on the status of the location.
  • If in the air, you will require an aerial permit
  • If offshore you will either require a special permit to film at, or close by oil installations; or a ground permit if you are filming elsewhere.

What do you mean by Public or Private Permit?

A Private Location Permit (a.k.a. location agreement) is for locations owned or managed by private entities, such as: hotels, leisure facilities, mosques, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.

A Public Ground Permit is for all other types of locations, such as: deserts, roads, islands, bridges, Government buildings, etc.

How do I get a Public Ground Permit?

You can obtain a Public Ground Permit by filling in the following application form and submitting the completed document to the ADFC Government Liaison Officer.

How do I get a Private Location Permit?

In order to obtain a Private Location Permit (or multiple permits, if required), you need to contact the private entity, directly. If you have issues finding the appropriate contact, you can get hold of the Production Coordinator at ADFC and he can assist you.

How do I get an Aerial Permit?

To obtain an aerial permit, please fill in the following application form and submit the completed form to the ADFC Government Liaison Officer.

How do I get an Offshore Permit?

If the permit is related to filming petroleum-related locations, please contact us. For all other offshore, marine, and seascape locations, you should apply for a standard Public Ground Permit.

Is there a charge for filming permits?

The National Media Council does not charge for filming permits. The applicant is free to apply directly to the NMC. However, ADFC recommends that applicants make full use of twofour54 Customer Care Services to assist with all permit applications. Please contact ADFC for questions about administrative fees for handling and advising the applicant on all documentation.

How long does it take to get filming permits?

Please visit our Permits page for detailed information.

Is it the same charge for photographic and film permits?

Yes. The same charges apply if you are shooting photography or film.

Customs Clearance Procedures

If I wish to bring film or photographic equipment into Abu Dhabi, what are the procedures?

Any professional film or photographic equipment brought into Abu Dhabi needs a temporary import license. You can obtain the license by filling in the following application form and submitting the completed document to the Government Liaison Officer.

Are there any charges for bringing in film and photographic equipment?

Yes, there are. Upon entering the country, you will be required to supply customs with a 5% cash deposit, based on the book value of the equipment. Note; this is a cash deposit in AED. Credit cards and currencies other than AED are not accepted.

Alternatively, for a small administrative fee you can hire Customer Care at Twofour54 Tawasol, and they will provide a PRO to be at the airport to handle all relationships with Customs on your behalf – including holding the customs fee on a credit card, until your departure.

Does it matter if I enter the country via Dubai or another Emirate?

Yes, it does. If entering the country through any port other than Abu Dhabi, you will need to deal with their respective customs authority.

Does it matter if I depart the country via Dubai or another Emirate?

Yes, it does. In order to reclaim your cash deposit, you need to exit the country from the same port that you entered.

Can I bring wireless transmitting equipment into the country?

Yes, you can. However, you will be required to apply for clearance from the TRA, as well as to pay for the permit and frequency. You can obtain a TRA license by filling in the following application form and submitting the completed document to the Government Liaison Officer.

Unless the specific wireless equipment is essential to the success of your production, our recommendation would be that you hire what is required in Abu Dhabi.

Working Visas

Do I, or any of my cast and crew, require visas to work in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, you do. All international (meaning non-Emirati residents) require a valid visa to work in Abu Dhabi.

What type of visa do I need?

Each international member of cast and crew requires a visa that grants permission to work in Abu Dhabi for up to 90 days – with the ability to extend.

How much does the visa cost?

For U.A.E Visa related questions, please visit twofour54 tawasol

What is the visa application process?

For visa application process, please contact ADFC Government Liaison Officer