Commercial Film/Photography Permit Application


Cost and Fees

The National Park Service is required by law to recover all costs for special use permits. All costs incurred by the NPS in conjunction with the permitted filming activity will be reimbursed by the permittee. A cost estimate can be calculated and provided once the Filming Coordinator has received all applicable information.

Non-refundable Application Fee: $100
The non-refundable application fee must accompany each application. This fee is based on an average time it takes to provide initial contact and consultation with permittees and initial review of a standard application or project.

Administrative Fee: $80
Once a request is approved, this fee covers the costs associated with issuing a standard permit. This fee includes, but is not limited to, the average time it takes for processing fees, permit development, consultations with the permittee, managerial consultations and billing.

Hourly Management Fee: $50 per hour
This fee applies under the following situations:

1. Monitoring - All activities authorized by permit require continuous, on-site supervision by the National Park Service to assure full compliance with all conditions of the permit. A minimum of 2 hours monitoring ($100) is applied to the cost of every permit upon issuance. The scope and complexity of the activity will determine the level and type of supervision. Fees include travel time for employees involved between activity location(s) and employee duty station(s).

2. Interviews - All interviews of park personnel will be assessed at the hourly rate. This will not apply to pre-approved filming or photographing of NPS staff members performing their regularly scheduled work activities.

3. Scouting - If a permittee requests a scouting trip with or by the Filming Permits Coordinator; staff time will be assessed at a rate of $40 per hour if on regular duty time, $50 per hour if it's overtime.

Extended Administrative Time Fee:
$50 per hour/per employee
Any requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics, coordination with other NPS divisions or additional environmental compliance, or any permit that requires additional staff time beyond the averages in the initial costs will be charged an additional $50 per hour per employee that is needed in order to complete the permit.

Location Fees: Beginning May 15, 2006, the NPS began charging location fees for filming. Public Law 106-206, codified at 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, instructs the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to "establish a reasonable fee for commercial filming activities or similar projects on Federal Lands…" The location fee is in addition to cost recovery charges that are currently being collected.

Number of People Motion Picture and Video Still Photography
1 to 2 (tripod $0 $0
3 to 10 $150/day $50/day
11 to 30 $250/day $150/day
31 to 49 $500/day $250/day
Over 50 $750/day $250/day

The applicant or permittee is required to notify the NPS of any delays or schedule changes at least 36 hours in advance, or as agreed to by the superintendent or his/her representative.

Should the applicant or permittee fail to provide such advance notification, the applicant or permittee is responsible for paying all costs incurred by the NPS any time during the application, permitting, or operational process, including those due to cancellation, moving or rescheduling of the project. Such payment will include but is not limited to a non-refundable charge for each staff person scheduled for the affected activity.

Such charge will, at a minimum, be the equivalent of two hours overtime for each employee assigned. These costs may be recovered through the posting of a bond at the time of application, or though a bill of collection presented at any point after initial contact.



General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee naming the United States Government as an additional insured. Short-term policies must show coverage on an "occurrence" basis. Required commercial general liability for video or film productions is generally one million dollars ($1,000,000), but will vary according to project scope, risk to park resources and other relevant circumstances. All insurance certificates must be issued by an insurance company operation in the United States. The Filming Coordinator must receive the original insurance certificate no later than one week before the scheduled activity.


Performance Bonds

All permitted filming activities will require the permittee to post a performance bond. The purpose of the bond is to insure that the resource is left in as good condition as it was prior to the filming, and to cover restoration costs (if needed). The amount of the bond will be determined according to the scope and potential for damage by the activity. At the conclusion of the permit, the bond will be returned to the permittee after final billing costs and costs of necessary clean up; repair or rehabilitation is deducted. The performance bond can be in the form of a money order or cashier's check.


Sharing the Park

A filming or photography permit does not give exclusive rights to the permittee or allow the permittee to restrict visitors from any location; therefore sites which attract a large number of visitors should be avoided. Normal visitor use patterns will not be interrupted for longer than five minutes, and only as specified in the approved permit. Visitors will be able to observe filming activity.


Restrictions and Conditions

All restrictions and conditions will be enumerated in the permit. The following activities are restricted and must be approved on a case by case basis;

1. use of children or animals,

2. discharge of blank ammunition and all black powder weapons,

3. mechanical or pyrotechnic special effects,

4. stunts,

5. amplified sound or music,

6. placing of large set dressings,

7. filming photography inside interiors of government administrative work areas,

8. film equipment or activities on roadways,

9. access to closed areas or access to areas during non-visitor use hours.

The permit will specify the number of people and the types of equipment allowed. The NPS monitor on duty will not allow activities not specified in the permit.

Please note that the permit does not include authority to film or photograph park visitors unless agreed to by the visitor and a signed written release is obtained by the permittee.



Permit activities may be restricted based on weather, seasonal conditions or conflicts with visitor use (fire danger, wildlife concerns, busy weekends, etc.). Additional closures use limits and/or restricted activities are listed in the superintendent's compendium.


Prohibited Activities

Activities having the potential to damage or significantly impact or alter park resources are prohibited.

The following is a partial list of prohibited activities:

1. altering, damaging or removing vegetation,

2. vehicle use off established roads and parking areas,

3. use of insecticides, herbicides and pesticides,

4. loud noises that exceed 60 decibels or have the potential to negatively impact park resources or visitors experience,

5. smoking in building or vegetated areas,

6. use of fragile vegetation areas, except on trails or already disturbed areas (as determined by the NPS),

7. flying aircraft below FAA recommended minimum altitude (usually 2,000 feet) above noise sensitive areas (National Parks),

8. commercial filming in wilderness areas,

9. writing on or discoloring any natural feature or structure.


Last updated: April 10, 2021

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