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Traveling to Dubai. Any experience?


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#1 John C. Cole

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 12:39 PM

Hi.  I'm new here.  

A fellow DP recommended I join after having researched work in the UAE, and come up fairly empty handed.

I'm traveling to Dubai in a little while, and I'm wondering if anyone's had any experience crossing customs with gear, or shooting in the UAE with - or without - permits.

 

Customs:  I'll have 10-12 cases.  One case will have wireless rf audio tx/rx's.   I have a Carnet and a letter from the private organization hosting me.  I'd love to know what kind of paperwork other people used to get through customs easily.  I've contacted the National Media Center, and have been on their website, and I see they have forms for wireless audio, as well as for bringing production "tools/equipment" into the country.  I'm in convo with them now, but they've been a bit slow so far, and hard to reach.  

 

Permits:  I'll mostly be shooting at a private Golf Club.  I've been told one doesn't need a permit to shoot on private property as long as they have a letter of invitation (which I have).  I've also been told one does need a permit.

 

I hope to shoot 2-3 days of local scenics/b-roll.  Dubai, the desert near Al Ain.  I expect I won't be able to do that without permits.  I'm limiting my permit applications to public places since other private property permits are very expensive.    I've reached out to local production companies to seek assistance, but my production found their prices too expensive.  Twofour54 in Abu Dhabi said they only assist members, and that I should just seek permits after I land...

 

The Golf Club has referred me to a local driver/tour guide who seems comfortable getting me around with my camera to film my scenics when off the property of the golf club.

 

Outside of the club, I am finding that the permit process asks for very specific addresses where I hope to shoot, and of course, I was hoping to drive around, find a public place with a good view and roll camera (like I've done everywhere else in the world where I've shot)...  

 

My questions are:

1.  Does anyone have experience getting through customs with lots of gear?  How did you find the border crossing?  Did you have wireless?  Was your Carnet enough?  

2.  Does anyone have experience shooting around Dubai or Al Ain ( just b-roll, no lights/audio/drones)?  How easy did you find it to shoot there?  AND did you find that you could secure your own permits driver/guide, or did you find the local production companies/fixers were an absolute must?

 

Thank you!

I'm glad/grateful to have found this board.

John Cole  (and if someone can tell me how to drop the "C." in my user name, I'd appreciate that, too.)

 


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:14 PM

I shot a commercial in Dubai about 10 years ago. I wasn't party to the permit applications, so I have no idea how difficult it was. We did have a fixer, an English guy who lived there, and he in turn had a couple of local guys helping him. They turned out to be off-duty police officers. Everyone was very kind and courteous, but I did get the feeling that without the fixers, we would have been subject to a lot more scrutiny from the authorities.


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#3 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:46 PM

I shot a portion of Star Trek Beyond in Dubai in 2015. We shipped a lot of gear and had a freight forwarder handle all of our shipping. Everything was manifested as a temporary import. We worked there for about a month and had no issues. Im sure we had permits for everything. Good luck!

Greg
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#4 Mei Lewis

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 02:08 PM

Do you have a work visa?


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#5 John C. Cole

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 09:44 AM

Why do you ask, Mei?  Have you been there?

I don't think a work visa is necessary since I'm not taking a job there - I'm freelance, and my employer in this case is from out of the country as well...  I'll only be there for a week.

Do you have a different experience?

Thanks.

John


Edited by John C. Cole, 16 November 2017 - 09:46 AM.

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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 11:51 AM

A brief google suggests you need one to work freelance so keep a low profile.
Bear in mind that the Dubai police tend to put you in a cell and ask questions later. Not direct experience but No. 2 son works there and has colleagues who have been banged up as the innocent party in minor road accidents even where no-one was injured.

Edited by Mark Dunn, 16 November 2017 - 11:52 AM.

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#7 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 11:34 AM

I know that we all had work visas while there and yes, we are freelance. Ive worked all over the world and have always had a work visa.

Greg
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 01:09 PM

When in doubt, consult the consulate and a good attorney


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