Independence National Historical Park requires a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for all tour companies who operate within the boundaries of the park. A CUA allows an individual, group, company, or other for-profit entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park. The responsibility for obtaining a CUA will fall on the company that packaged, priced, and sold the tour, not necessarily the individual tour guide. Individual tour guides employed by a tour company who holds a CUA with the park will be required to display an ID on their person while operating within the park. Much like a fishing license, when displayed properly, this ID will be visible to park law enforcement and will minimize the need for disruption to the guide’s program. The CUA will confer no other rights or privileges other than the ability to conduct commercial tour operations with the park. Commercial tour guides will still be prohibited from conducting interpretive programming inside park buildings.
Per 36 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 5.3, engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, except as such may be specifically authorized under special regulations applicable to a park area is prohibited.
Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, provides the park the authority to issue CUAs to allow business operations and requires the National Park Service to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management. Independence National Historical Park will assess management fees in July of each year, based on the reported total Gross Receipts earned as a result from visiting the park (as per the Annual Report filed with the park during the application process). Fees will be calculated as follows: 3% of the first $250,000 of total Gross Receipts, plus 4% of the next $250,000 up to $500,000, plus 5% of any amount over $500,000. The park will deduct the $300.00 application fee from this total.
This requirement applies to local, national, and international tour companies who operate within Independence National Historical Park and every effort will be made to enforce this regulation fairly and equally. We appreciate your continued visits to Independence National Historical Park and thank you for including us in your travel and tour packages.
Applications to obtain or renew your CUA for the 2024 season with no lapse in authorization should be received by January 8, 2024 (Valid 2022-23 CUA’s may continue to be used until February 28, 2024 to allow time for processing a 2024 CUA). Please note: There are two forms to submit, the standard CUA application and the NPS CUA Annual Report Form (see links below). The additional management fee will be assessed in July from the information given in the Annual Report.
Applicants should complete, sign and return the application and the Annual Report Form (even if this is your first year in business) and mail both documents, along with a certificate of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 (with United States of America as a Certificate Holder), and a check for the $300.00 application fee (made payable to: National Park Service). If you wish to be billed so that you can pay electronically, please state this when you send in your paperwork.
The complete renewal package with these four items (CUA application, Annual Report form, Certificate of Liability, and check for $300.00 or note that you would like to be billed electronically) should be emailed to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or sent to:
Special Use Office
Independence National Historical Park
143 South Third StreetPhiladelphia, PA 19106
The new badges will be in effect for one year, January 1 to December 31, 2024. We will be switching the color of the badges for 2024 in order for park staff to distinguish between previous year badges.
Thank you for choosing to conduct your business here at Independence National Historical Park. We look forward to a successful and prosperous 2024 for all our CUA holders.
For specific questions relating to obtaining a CUA please email us.
Commercial Use Authorization Application
Annual Reporting Form