Permits & Reservations

Do I Need a Permit to Film?

Effective October 28, 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) has rescinded interim guidance that was in place during litigation regarding commercial filming and has returned to longstanding laws and regulations governing commercial filming in parks.

Visit the National Park Service Filming and Still Photography Permits page to learn more about film permits.

 

Film Permit Questions & Answers

Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit. 423 units make up the National Park System, and includes National Parks, National Monuments, National Preserves, National Battlefield Parks, and more. A full list of parks in the National Park System is available online: National Park System (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)  

 

If you believe that your filming or photography activity may require a permit, you should submit a completed application to the park where you want to film or photograph as far in advance of your planned date as possible. 

Commercial filming means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income. Examples include, but are not limited to, feature film, videography, and documentaries. Commercial filming may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.

In most cases, still photography does not require a permit. A permit is required for still photography only when: 

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or 
  2. the activity uses model(s)*, sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or 
  3. the NPS would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity. 

*A “model” means a person or object that serves as the subject for still photography for the purpose of promoting the sale or use of a product or service. Models include, but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects, such as vehicles, boats, articles of clothing, and food and beverage products. Portrait subjects, such as wedding parties and high school graduates, are not considered models.

Federal law requires a permit for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment. This includes individuals or small groups that don’t use much equipment, but generate revenue by posting footage on websites, such as YouTube and TikTok. The primary focus of the NPS, however, is on commercial filming that has the potential to impact park resources and visitors beyond what occurs from normal visitor use of park areas. Examples of this type of filming are productions that use substantial equipment such as sets and lighting, productions with crews that exceed 5 people, and filming in closed areas, wilderness areas, or in locations that would create conflicts with other visitors or harm sensitive resources.   

Federal law requires the NPS to recover its administrative costs for commercial filming and still photography activities that require a permit. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the NPS in processing your request and monitoring the permitted activities. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of the permitted activities. The application fee must be submitted with your application. 

In addition, Federal law also requires the NPS to collect a location fee that provides a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands for commercial filming and for still photography requires a permit. The NPS uses the following fee schedules for filming and photography: 

Commercial Filming 

  • 1–2 people, camera & tripod only - $0/day 
  • 1–10 people - $150/day 
  • 11–30 people - $250/day 
  • 31–49 people - $500/day 
  • Over 50 people - $750/day 

Still Photography 

  • 1–10 people - $50/day 
  • 11–30 people - $150/day 
  • Over 30 people - $250/day 

Permits issued for non-commercial filming may be subject to cost recovery charges, including an application fee, but a separate location fee will not be charged. 

No. You may film consistent with the terms of the permit that has already issued.  

Email Pam Neil, Permits Coordinator, for additional information.

 

Special Use Permits

If you wish to conduct a formal event on the battlefield you are required to apply for a Special Use Permit. Certain areas of the park may be used by organized groups upon prior arrangement and with the permission of the park superintendent. For formal events to be held on the park, there is a $100.00 fee per permit. Email Pam Neil, Permits Coordinator, for additional information.

The application fee is non-refundable and reimburses the park for expenses associated with processing the application.

We require 30 days prior to your proposed event or filming to process permit applications.

Form 10-930 Application for Special Use Permit ~ updated December 2021
Form 10-932 Application for Commercial Filming/Still Photography Permit ~ updated December 2021

Special Laws and Regulations that Govern National Cemeteries Managed by the National Park Service

Reference Manual (RM) 61, 3.2.5 B. Commercial Filming and Photography

A written permit from the superintendent is required for all commercial filming in national cemeteries (NPS Management Policies 2006, section 8.6.6.2). Commercial filming means filming that involves the digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience. This includes recordings such as those used for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project (NPS Management Policies 2006, section 8.6.6.2).

36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 12.4 Special Events and Demonstrations

Conducting a special event or demonstration, whether spontaneous or organized, is prohibited except for official commemorative events conducted for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other dates designated by the superintendent as having special historic and commemorative significance to a particular national cemetery.

36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 12.3 Definitions

Demonstration means a demonstration, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding a vigil or religious service, or any other like form of conduct that involves the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers. This term does not include casual park use by persons that is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.

First Amendment Areas

The park has designated several First Amendment areas which can be used by less than 25 people without a sound amplification device and during park hours without any permit required. A map of the designated First Amendment areas can be found here.

 
 

Agricultural Use Permits

Agriculture Permits are given to area farmers to farm selected areas of the battlefield park. For information on agricultural use permits and activities in the park, contact the office of the Natural Resource Specialist at (717) 334-1124, extension 4483.

There are currently no areas available for Agricultural Use Permits.

 

Commercial Use Authorization

Gettysburg National Military Park (GETT) and Eisenhower National Historic Site (EISE) are implementing changes to their Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program. Effective immediately, all newly issued CUA permits at GETT and EISE will be valid for one year only. The park will no longer issue two year CUA permits. Fees will be increased for CUA permit applications and the park will be implementing a new market price fee based on revenues earned from in-park or park-based operations.

CUA permit holders are required to report revenue information to the park annually. Application fees paid by CUA holders are credited back to the permit holder when they pay the market price fee at the end of the operating season.

The park is providing advance notice to companies operating under an existing CUA and others who have an interest in applying for CUA permits. These fee changes only apply to new permits and renewals issued on or after October 1, 2019.

What is a CUA Permit? The National Park Service issues CUA permits to allow an individual, group, company or other for-profit entity to commercially operate within a park. Federal law mandates the National Park Service issue CUAs only for commercial activities and visitor services that:

  • are determined to be an appropriate use of the park,
  • will have minimal impact on park resources and values, and
  • are consistent with the park purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.

Types of activities currently authorized under CUAs at GETT and EISE: bus tours with Licensed Battlefield Guides or taped narrations; leadership tours; escorted horseback riding; horse-drawn carriage rides; scooters and segway rentals; naturalist-led birding tours; plein-air drawing and painting classes.

Why make the changes? Public Law 105-391, Section 418, requires the National Park Service (NPS) to collect a reasonable fee for CUAs at an amount at least sufficient to recover the costs to the NPS in administering and managing CUAs. These CUA fee changes at GETT and EISE will create a more equitable fee structure based upon volume of commercial activity conducted in the park. More information is available here.

Fee increases: CUA permit application fees at GETT or EISE will increase from $200 to $300 beginning October 1, 2019. The CUA permit application fee is a nonrefundable fee. This is the first increase in CUA fees in the park in more than ten years.

In addition, beginning October 1, 2019, GETT and EISE will charge a market price in order to recover all costs associated with the administration and management of the CUA program. Fees for CUA permits or any renewals issued after October 1, 2019, will be based on a percentage of revenue earned from in-park or park-based operations. New market price fees will be based on the following:

  • Less than $250,000 earned from park-based operations - 3% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
  • $250,000 to $500,000 earned from park-based operations - 4% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
  • More than $500,000 earned from park-based operations - 5% of gross receipts (minus application fee)

Implementation: Completed applications must be submitted to the park one month prior to the permit expiration date in order to obtain a finalized CUA permit in a timely manner. Applicants making more than $100,000 from park-based operations should submit the application two months prior to the end of the current permit in order to provide time for adequate review by the park and the NPS Northeast Regional office. All applications will be reviewed in the order in which they were they were received.

Email Pam Neil, Permits Coordinator, for additional information.



The schedule of rates approved for Licensed Battlefield Guides, effective January, 2017 is as follows:

Rate Paid to Licensed Battlefield Guide for 2 hour tour.

1-6 Visitors (car): $63
7-15 Visitors (van): $83
Group: 16+ Visitors (Bus) $132

Guides must be paid using the current Schedule of Approved Rates prescribed for a two-hour tour by the director of the National Park Service. Guides shall be paid a pro-rated fee, based on the Schedule of Rates, for tours lasting longer than two hours. Guides will not demand more than the authorized fees established by the schedule of of Approved Rates. They may, at their own discretion, charge less.

Last updated: November 14, 2022

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