Shah Rukh Khan in a still from his movie Zero
Shah Rukh Khan in a still from his movie Zero, which was partially shot in Dubai. The film is currently showing in UAE theatres. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Now you can get a filming permit in Dubai within 24 hours.

Disclosing this to Gulf News, Saeed Al Janahi, director, operations, Dubai Film and TV Commission, said, “The decision to expedite the issue of filming permits from three days to one day has been taken by our board in keeping with the requirements of a fast-paced industry and in line with Dubai’s 2021 vision.”

Saeed Al Janahi Image Credit: Supplied

The changes are effective from February 1, 2019.

Al Janahi said the permits are mandatory for shooting all forms of television, film and digital content for public consumption.

“This includes movies, television serials, commercials, documentaries, corporate videos and digital content.”

However, individuals taking videos of events for personal use are not required to secure the permit.

According to commission chairman Jamal Al Sharif, “Dubai’s rapid development and geographic advantage makes it an exclusive destination for filmmakers who are constantly looking for unique locales. Our aim is to create a conducive environment for production companies by providing the necessary infrastructure and facilities.”

Jamal Al Sharif Image Credit: Supplied

How many passes?

Al Janahi said the commission has issued a total of 1,062 filming permits in 2018.

“The just released Bollywood film Zero, featuring Shah Rukh Khan, was also partially shot in Dubai. So was the Salman Khan [film] — Race 3. The movie Beneath a Sea of Lights was fully filmed in Dubai,” he added.

He said for the commission, which works closely with production companies, fast-tracking of permits was necessary to keep pace with the development of the media.

“We also spoke to a number of production companies and based on their requirements and feedback, decided to issue to the permits within one day.”

Producers happy

Production companies have welcomed the initiative.

John Whyte, location manager of Magnet Connect, said, “We at Magnet Connect are extremely glad to hear about the reduction in processing time for filming permits. As the production requirements in the region are constantly growing, there is an ever increasing need for us to deliver content in faster and more efficient ways, so it’s great to know that the DFTC is taking positive steps to make the permitting process more streamlined in the near future.”

Karen, owner and producer, Central Films, said, “We are delighted to hear about the continued improvements in the permit process at DFTC. The nature of our industry is such that creative requirements need to adapt to storyboard and clients changes. Especially in the production of social media and digital content, we need to react faster to be as current as possible. Reducing the approval time for a DFTC permit is a step in the right direction and extremely helpful.”

Zakeer Hussain, CEO and producer at Icon Art Production, said, “Getting a filming permit in three working days is already a great advantage for the industry. Now bringing it down to one working day will incredibly help those projects which depend on the urgency of permits. DFTC has been a big support to all our major productions such as feature films, TVCs [television commercials], music videos and TV shows in Dubai. Its team has been constantly monitoring and reviewing the production requirements through surveys, seminars, individual interactions with producers and production houses.”

To apply for an online filming permit, go to:

Filming permits were issued by DFTC in 2018.