Commercial Use Authorization

Commercial Services Office

e-mail us
(808) 985-6027
National Park Service
Commercial Services
P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for Out of Park Services: Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391 (Section 418), authorizes the National Park Service (NPS) to issue commercial use authorizations (CUAs) to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs provide a means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in park areas. The CUA is used to provide for incidental use of park area resources by operators who provide commercial services originating and terminating outside of the park area (Out-of-Park-Services).


What Activities are Authorized in Hawai'i Volcanoes Through a CUA?

Hikers next to a lava formation
Non-Road Based Commercial Tours
These include hiking more than one mile on one trail, bird watching on foot for more than one hour at one location, and/or or bicycling tours.
Rainbow on the side of a road in a lava landscape

Road Based Commercial Tours
Traveling by vehicle on an itinerary that has been packaged and sold for leisure purposes and provides no other services except those incidental to road based travel.


Application Process

Annual Checklist:

  • Submit application and application fee during the open application period
  • Sign and return CUA documents and operating plans as required in the application
  • Send certificates of insurance with the application, and as they renew throughout the permit year
  • Submit Annual Report Form by January 31st

Road Based Tour

  • Application - must include Point of Contact email
  • Proof of Insurance
  • PUC License Certificate (as defined per State of Hawaii - PUC)

No Application Fee

Non-Road Based Tour

  • Application - must include Point of Contact email
  • Application fee
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Written itinerary and maps of one-mile hikes
  • PUC License Certificate (as defined per State of Hawaii - PUC)

$200.00 Application Fee

Combination - Road and Non-Road Based Tours

  • Application - must include Point of Contact email
  • Application fee
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Written itinerary and maps of one-mile hikes
  • PUC License Certificate (as defined per State of Hawaii - PUC)

$250.00 Application Fee

Biking (Non-Road Based Tour)

  • Application - must include Point of Contact email
  • Application fee
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Written Operating Plan
  • PUC License Certificate (as defined per State of Hawaii - PUC)

$200.00 Application Fee


Application Fee represents the costs incurred by the National Park Service in mailing, distributing and review of submitted documents. This fee is non-refundable, whether or not the authorization is approved. All non-road based or combination applicants must pay this fee.

The accepted method of payment is through

Through you can pay with the following methods:

  • Check/ bank account/ ACH
  • Paypal account
  • Debit or credit card

Prior to permit approval, an invoice will be sent to applicants to make payment on


Non-Road Based Tours One-Year Authorization: $200.00
Non-Road Based and Road Based Combination Tours One-Year Authorization: $250.00

Commercial Use Authorization Application Instructions and Form (pdf- 280 KB)


Entrance Fees

Non-Road based Guided Tours:

$15.00 per person (2021)

Road Based Guided Tour:
This fee is based on vehicle seating capacity - see table below


User Fee

1-6 person vehicle

$25 + $15 per person

7-15 person van


16-25 person mini-bus


26 or more person bus



Insurance Requirements for CUA Holders

The permittee must provide commercial liability insurance against claims arising out of or resulting from the acts or omissions of the permittee or the permittee's employees, agents, or contractors, in carrying out the activities and operations required and/or authorized under the permit. This office must be in receipt of verification of insurance coverage before any commercial park operations may take place.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

All CUA holders are required to maintain comprehensive general liability coverage in the amount of $500,000 minimum per occurrence. Comprehensive general liability insurance is designed to provide broad coverage for liability to other persons. Generally, it covers all liability for personal injuries or property damage caused to other persons, unless specifically excluded.

Commercial Automobile Liability Coverage

In addition to general liability coverage, the CUA holder must also maintain commercial automobile liability coverage for all owned, non-owned, and hired vehicles used to carry clients within the park for a trip under the CUA or if you utilize a vehicle in the performance of your CUA within the park. The minimum amount of commercial automobile liability coverage required is based on the number of passengers a vehicle was originally manufactured to carry and is shown in the application.


Worker's Compensation

Permittees with employees must be in compliance with the insurance requirements under the Hawaii Worker's Compensation Act.

Additional Insurance Information

All liability policies must specify that the insurance company will (1) have no right or subrogation against the United States of America AND must (2) provide that the United States of America is named an additional insured.

The NPS may require additional insurance commensurate with the risk involved with your commercial service and the scope and size of the activities. IMPORTANT: The name on the certificate of insurance must match your business name, including any names used under "doing business as". The certificate can be mailed to the address on this letterhead or emailed to The certificate holder's address must read:

U.S. Government
National Park Service
Commercial Services
P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718

Example of Insurance Certificate (.pdf, 75 KB)

Visitor Acknowledgement of Risks

CUA holders are not permitted to require clients to sign a waiver of liability statement or form, insurance disclaimer, and/or indemnification agreement waiving the client’s right to hold the CUA holder responsible for accidents or injury occurring on NPS property. The holder is permitted to request or require a client to sign a form or statement acknowledging risk and/or indicating that certain prerequisite skills may be needed to participate in the commercial activity. The holder must provide the park with the current copy of all forms and/or statements used for this purpose and obtain written approval by the park.

NPS Visitor Acknowledgement of Risks Form (.DOCX, 34 KB)

Frequently Asked Questions

This type of service means accommodations, facilities and services the NPS has determined to be necessary and appropriate for public use and enjoyment of a park area provided to park area visitors for a fee or charge by a person. The fee or charge paid by the visitor may be direct or indirect as part of the provision of comprehensive visitor services.
You must obtain this authorization if your business will provide a commercial visitor service in national park areas and the service originates and terminates outside of the park unit.
The issuance of a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is authorized by Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391 and Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations 5.3.
We recommend that you contact the Commercial Services Office at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park at 808-985-6027 if you have questions relating to the application process.
First read the entire application packet for full details. Applicants must complete the application form in full, include proof of payment, insurance and other applicable documentation and mail it to National Park Service, Commercial Services, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718 or email to Applications will be processed upon receipt and if approved, a permit will be issued after all required documentation has been submitted. Permits are not automatically renewed, applicants must reapply each year.
A copy of your Hawaii Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity must be submitted with your application. The State of Hawaii Public Utilities Commission issues the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity authorized by provisions of chapter 271, Hawaii Revised Statutes. If you do not have a current Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, contact the State of Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, 688 Kinoole Street, Suite 106A, Hilo, HI 96720, at 808-974-4533. *Certificate required for Hawaii based companies.
The time to process an application can vary. It may take up to 1 month if your application is incomplete, the fees are not included with your submission, the insurance verification is not received by our office and/or if you are applying for a service that has not been pre-determined to be necessary and appropriate.
YES. NPS employees or their resident family members may be NOT be owners, partners, corporate officers or general managers of any business conducting commercial visitor services in a park, nor may NPS employees or their resident family members have a financial interest in such a company. All instances of employment by an operator of the SPOUSE or MINOR CHILDREN of an NPS employee must be approved in advanced, in writing by the superintendent or delegated person(s).
YES. If you are in the process of obtaining insurance, a Hawaii Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or other required documentation, please send in your completed application and fee payment. Your application will be processed and if approved, the permit will be issued at the time we receive all required documentation. *Certificate applicable to Hawaii based companies.
The National Park Service does not allow subcontracting under this authorization. The park service uses the same criteria used by the IRS (as defined in IRS Publication 15-A) to determine if a representative is an employee or independent contractor. Please contact the NPS for a decision if you are in doubt.
YES. An annual report must be submitted each year that the permit is active reporting on the previous year's activities. The reporting form will be emailed to your company in January, and is due January 31. You can mail the report in, or email it to
YES. Each park has special requirements that will be attached to your permit. The requirements will be sent based on which park/s you select for your permit.

Last updated: April 12, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


808 985-6011

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