View some of the frequently asked questions that potential applicants have about the permitting process. Review Permit Planning Resources and pages for specific kinds of common permitted activities for more information. Or contact the National Mall and Memorial Parks Division of Permits Management at 202-245-4715 or email us.
Step 1 - Submit an application and payment (unless not required) to the Division of Permits Management. Applications may be submitted up to one year in advance of the event.
Step 2 - Your application is reviewed for completeness, including for signature, locations, date(s) and times, potential conflicts with other activities, and other important information.
Step 3 - Your application is assigned to a permits specialist to guide you through the permit process, including addressing any potential conflicts or required adjustments to the activity. Additional required documents or information is also collected depending on the size and scope of the proposed activity.
Step 4 - Logistical meetings may be required depending on the size and scope of the proposed activity.
Step 5 - A final permit is issued.
If submission of application allows, you will receive an acknowledgement your application was received and your assigned permit specialist at least three days after receipt of application or call 202-245-4715 for an update. The processing time from application to issuance of a permit varies depending on the size and scope of the activity. It can take anywhere from a couple of days for simple activities to a few months for more complex events.
Application for a Permit to Conduct a Demonstration or Special Event: This application is used for the majority of permitted activities in the parks including First Amendment-related activities, unless another application is required for an activity specified below.
Special Use Permit Application: This application is used primarily for weddings and organized sports (except for running or bicycling events and tournaments). Other National Park Service sites in the greater DC area that are not managed by National Mall and Memorial Parks will have their own form to use for similar activities obtained directly from those parks.
Commercial Filming and/or Photography (short form): This application is used for the majority of commercial filming and/or photography on parkland in the greater DC area administered by the National Park Service.
Commercial Filming and/or Photography (long form): This application is used for filming large-scale productions, such as motion pictures, documentaries, and television shows, on parkland in the greater DC area administered by the National Park Service.
Recreation.gov: This system is used to reserve picnic areas on Hains Point in East Potomac Park and Parkway Drive Volleyball Courts.
The maximum duration of a permit for an activity is four months. If the activity lasts longer than four months, the permittee must reapply.
As part of a special event or demonstration permit you may sell books, newspapers, leaflets, pamphlets, buttons, and bumper stickers containing a message related to the activity.
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) are required for any commercial business wishing to conduct a business in the park. If the commercial use also includes use of park land an application to conduct a demonstration and or special event must be completed. If you have additional question about CUAs please contact the park Concession Management Specialist.
Due to high demand and limited space availability, applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible. Applications can be accepted up to one year in advance of the proposed activity including first day of equipment setup, and at least 48 hours prior to the start of the activity. The Division of Permit Management is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, except federal holidays and other closures of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Once your application is submitted, a permits specialist will contact you if there is a conflict with the location you specified on your application and attempt to find an alternative site.
Permit applications are not accepted online at this time. Follow the instructions on the application form closely for submitting an application to the Division of Permits Management.
Yes. Please continue to work with the permits specialist assigned to your application if you are planning any changes to the event, including after a permit is issued.
Last updated: June 9, 2023