Bill of Arabia

I worked late last year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) creating a customer use case for client Cisco. It’s probably one of the most challenging and interesting location shoots I’ve ever done and I wanted, in the next few postings, to share a few thoughts it.

As you might imagine, obtaining the correct documentation (passport visa, ATA Carnet) was one of the most complex and time-consuming things I’ve ever done. For my visa, I worked directly with the KSA Embassy in Southern California but, in retrospect, wished I’d worked instead with a broker as the process consumed many hours of effort and follow-up (if you choose to use a broker, I recommend G3 – ask for Mauricio!).

Also, I ended up using a local video crew instead of importing my own gear; the problem was that KSA is not a signatory to international ATA Carnet conventions so I wasn’t certain how the process of importing my own gear into KSA would work out. But in the end, had a great experience with the local crew – at a higher overall project cost but with a huge reduction in complexity.

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ACTION ITEM: If you’re planning travel anywhere in the Middle East, plan as far ahead as possible – and it cannot be too far ahead. My visa is good for the next 5 years

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