Filming and Photography Guidelines and Permits
The service….shall promote and regulate the use of….national parks….[its] purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." (16 U.S.C. 1)
It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to permit filming and photography when and where possible, while adhering to this mandate. Therefore, a permit is required for filming, photography, and associated sound recordings as a means of regulating this special use of parks. When reviewing submitted applications, the primary concerns of the NPS are the potential impacts to the parks geological, natural and cultural resources, safety, and visitor use.
Be safe, protect our geological natural and cultural resources, and always provide for visitor access and enjoyment. Please remember that aesthetic values such as scenic vistas, natural quiet, dark night skies, along with partnerships, and neighborhoods, are resources that we value.
You must allow a minimum of 10 business days for the park to process your request.
Filming and Photography permits are required when/for:
Filming and Photography permits are generally not required for:
A request for permit may be denied if in the opinion of the Superintendent or her designee,
Our permits prohibit:
Please remember, it is our responsibility to protect the natural, cultural, and recreational resources for which we are stewards of and responsible for. We cannot accommodate a project if it should include any of the above.
If your project requires a permit for filming and photography, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3... 4, 5, 6,7
Application Form for Photography/Filming Permit - Short form for still photography and most video/film projects (Microsoft Word fillable form format - 835KB)
Permit Costs and Fees
The National Park Service is required by law to recover all costs associated with filming. No waivers are allowed. Since these costs are based on the services we provide, we do not differentiate between profit and non-profit projects. Recovery of costs can sometimes be reduced if the project can be shown to have an outstanding benefit to the NPS. That decision is made by the Park Superintendent. We accept money orders, personal, cashiers, or company checks (with tax ID number), made out to the National Park Service.
Liability Insurance and Refundable Bonds
General liability insurance must be carried by the permittee naming the United States of America as an additional insured under Cerificate Holder on the Certificate of Insurance (COI). If an address is required, use the park address on the first page of the permit application. NOTE: If the Certificate Holder section on the COI is filled out incorrectly, it will be returned.
All COIs must:
A copy of the certificate may be faxed or emailed as a PDF to our office but we must receive the original certificate no later than two days before the scheduled activity.
Cancellations and Changes
The permittee is required to notify the NPS of any delays, schedule changes, or cancellation at least one day in advance of the scheduled activity. If the permittee fails to provide such notification, the permittee will be responsible for paying all costs incurred by the NPS, i.e. scheduled staff.
Termination of Permit
All special use permits issued by the NPS are subject to termination on 24 hours notice or without notice if terms of the permit are violated or if deliberate infractions of the terms of the permit occur. Permits will be revoked if damage to resources or facilities occurs or if there are health and safety concerns.
A ranger may be either assigned to your group, for part or all of the shooting, or can be requested as an on-camera spokesperson(s) to provide resource educational interviews. The park ranger fee is $50 per hour with a four-hour minimum. This recovery of costs fee will be charged to the permittee upon approval of the permit. Assigned rangers will monitor the film crew's activities, provide essential resource protection and safety information, and inform visitors about this special use activity.
Sharing the Park
Always allow for visitor access, use, and enjoyment of an area. All crew members who are not essential to the operation should remain in the designated parking areas to reduce impact and congestion to an area. Disperse the locations of vehicles, to allow for other visitor access, and shuttle crew if necessary. This permit does not give exclusive rights to the permittee to restrict visitors from any location. Visitors will be allowed to observe all filming activity.
All aerial filming must comply with applicable provisions of the Special Federal Aviation Regulation 50-2. All contracted companies must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration for conducting filming. In these situations, we request that the company for which the permittee has contracted contact our office, as a courtesy, advising us of your activities.
The current eruption of Kīlauea is a unique and dynamic process. If you are considering filming the activity, please first consult the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory website where you will find daily updates, maps, and images of what is currently occurring. This information can be found at https://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/hvostatus.php.
Contact Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park for access restrictions as active vents and lava flows are often in closed areas.
Additional Filming Contacts
All production crews should contact both the State and County of Hawai'i film offices when filming in the islands. Their websites are as follows:
These offices can help with film permitting on State and County lands, location scouts, cast and crew, incentives and tax credits, and more. They can also help with alternative locations if the park isn't available to accommodate your production; i.e. filming of hardened black lava can be found all over the island hence it can be filmed and photographed outside of the park.
Questions or Assistance
If you have questions, please contact:
Jessica Ferracane, Public Affairs Officer
Last updated: September 15, 2017