The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center offers visitors a place to connect with national, international, and personal histories of World War II in the Pacific, ranging from events leading to the December 7, 1941 attack on Oʻahu, to continued peace and reconciliation. Special events are authorized under a Special Use Permit (SUP) when they fall within the scope and purpose for which the memorial was established. The memorial is a “place of remembrance and contemplation of the nature of war and the sacrifices of those who lost their lived during the Pacific War.”
Events authorized through permit must meet the following criteria:
- The activity will not impair park values, resources, and visitor enjoyment.
- There is a meaningful association between the park area and the event.
- The event contributes to visitor understanding of the park’s significance.
To apply, download a Special Use Permit Application. Please e-mail us to submit applications or to ask questions about this process. Allow 5 business days for the processing of completed permit applications. Only completed applications will be considered. Applications may be denied due to the lack of sufficient time to review, process, and schedule.
Personal filming could require a permit if conducted indoors or doesn't meet the "low impact" standard.
Do I need a permit to film?
- Under interim guidance, the National Park Service is not distinguishing between types of filming, such as commercial, non-commercial, or news gathering. Low-impact filming activities will not require a special use permit, but non-low-impact filming may require a permit to consider its potential impacts on park resources and visitor activities.
All applicable laws and regulations governing activities and public use in parks still apply, including park hours and areas open and closed to the public. Videographers, filmers, producers, directors, news, and other staff associated with filming are reminded that rules and regulations that apply to all park visitors still apply to filming activities even if no permit is needed for their activity. Check with the park staff for more information on closures, sensitive resources, and other safety tips.
What is Low-Impact Filming?
- “Low-impact filming" is defined as an outdoor filming activity in areas open to the public, except areas managed as wilderness, involving five people or fewer and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras. Those participating in low-impact filming activities do not need a permit and are not required to contact the park in advance. If low-impact filmers have questions about areas where they want to film, they should contact the park’s commercial services office at e-mail us at least 10 days ahead of time.
- Filming activities that do not meet the description of low-impact filming require at least 10 days advance notice to the National Park Service by contacting the park directly in writing. The park’s superintendent will determine whether the filming activity will require a special use permit for filming.
- Based on the information provided, a permit may be required to:
- maintain public health and safety;
- protect environmental or scenic values;
- protect natural or cultural resources;
- allow for equitable allocation or use of facilities; or
- avoid conflict among visitor use activities.
- Some requests that may require permits include: entering a sensitive resource area, filming in areas that require tickets to enter, including the park’s theaters and the USS Arizona Memorial, or filming inside the museum galleries or bookstore. The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on the threat to park resources, values or the visitor experience.
- Contact the park directly at least 10 days prior to the date of arrival if unsure whether a filming activity is considered low-impact or will require a permit.
- Any filming activity that requires bags or other items allowing concealment must comply with the existing bag policy or will require a permit.
NPS is prohibited by law from permitting any filming, still photography, or other related activity that presents a likelihood of resource damage, would cause an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use and enjoyment of the site, or poses health or safety risks to the public. Issuance of any filming and photography permit will be subject to terms and conditions, which must be accepted in writing by the permit holder before the permit will become effective. In addition to other conditions, permit holders are required to carry specified types and levels of insurance and to indemnify and hold harmless the United States from liabilities in connection with the permit. Neither the application for a filming and photography permit nor the permit, once issued, may be transferred or assigned.
To apply for a Special Use Permit for filming and photography: Completion of the permit application form will assist NPS in determining whether to grant or deny a request for a permit. To be considered, completed application packages must be received by NPS at least ten business days prior to filming. Please submit the following:
1. For commercial filming, please complete, sign, and return the NPS Form 10-930 Special Use Permit Application. For still photography, please complete, sign, and return the NPS Form 10-931 - still photography permit application.
2. Submit a copy of the Certificate of Insurance, or its equivalent, naming the United States Government, National Park Service, Pearl Harbor NM as additionally insured for a minimum of $1,000,000.00. All insurers for all coverage must be rated no lower than A- by the most recent edition of the Best’s Key Rating Guide (Property-Casualty Edition); must have a Best’s Financial Size Category of at least VII according to the most recent edition of A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide (PropertyCasualty Edition); and must be admitted, licensed, and approved to operate in the state of Hawaii.
Background: The sites at Pearl Harbor National Memorial represent the sacrifices made by thousands of American men and women under terrible circumstances. These memorials honor their sacrifice and preserve their stories for future generations.
Film permit: Applicants and permit holders acknowledge that the following conditions are in place to ensure the dignity and respect due to those Americans whose lives were lost and to their families who have lost loved ones.
In the immediate vicinity of the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah Memorials and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center:
Any permit issued will be for filming and photography, alone: no on screen dialogue is allowed through this permit on the USS Arizona, USS Utah, and USS Oklahoma Memorials, on the floating dock near the USS Arizona Memorial or on the mooring quays along Battleship Row. The permit holder is required to present to the National Park Service the text of storylines, voice over narratives, story arc descriptions and other scene-related commentary utilizing images of the memorials as a part of the permit application process. NPS will review this information solely for purposes of determining if the legal criteria for issuance of a filming and photography permit are met. Choice of content is that of the applicant, alone, and will not be regulated by NPS.
Issuance of a film permit by the National Park Service does not provide any rights, consents, or authorizations (1) to film, photograph or record (regardless of form or the media on which it may be recorded) or use the name(s) of any individuals, including without limitation any park visitors; or (2) regarding to any claims of right of privacy or publicity that may be asserted by any individuals whose name, photographic likeness, image and/or voice may be contained in any films or photographs made. NPS is not liable for the disclosure, use or reproduction of any such recorded information.
Underwater Photography: Underwater photography of the wrecks of the USS Arizona and the USS Utah may be conducted by the NPS only and not by commercial or individual photographers. These wrecks serve as tombs for service members who gave their lives to their country while aboard those battleships during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. This restriction reflects the character of the wrecks and assists in the preservation of these resources. The permit applicant acknowledges the following:
1. Use of underwater video footage or still imagery of the USS Arizona and/or USS Utah maintained by NPS must be requested through the film application process. The National Park Service will identify what imagery or video footage is available to the permit applicant.
2. If the video footage or still imagery available through the National Park Service is not acceptable to the permit applicant, the permit applicant may—at its sole discretion— support all government costs associated with acquiring new video footage or still imagery by the National Park Service.
3. The permit applicant acknowledges that all existing or newly acquired video or film footage or still imagery or record (regardless of form or the media on which it may be recorded) will be the property of the US Federal Government which shall have the right to use, disclose, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public and perform publicly and display publicly, in any manner and for any purpose, and to have or permit others to do so.
Safety and Stewarship: All filming will be done in such a way that provides for the protection of park resources and for the positive experience of the visitor. The safety of park visitors and employees, and film crewmembers will be ensured during all filming activities. Comply with all NPS escort requests. Do not alter, move, or disturb any park features protected by federal law against disturbance, removal or destruction. All crewmembers will remain in your group. Always allow for visitor access, use, and enjoyment of an area. Do not enter areas closed to the public unless permission is preauthorized and the crew is physically accompanied by US National Park Service personnel.
The NPS may assign a ranger to monitor your group for part or all of the shooting. The ranger will monitor the film crew's activity, provide essential resource protection and safety information, and inform visitors about the special use activity. NPS staff may also be assigned (at the NPS’ sole discretion) to provide resource education interviews. NPS Staff have the authority to suspend filming permit activities if terms and conditions are not adhered to.