Special Use Permits

Visitor takes a photo at the park
Some activities require a Special Use Permit.

NPS Photo.

Permit Overview at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Thank you for your interest in permits at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park including Mission(s) Concepción, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, San Juan Capistrano, San Francisco de la Espada, and many more park sites.

It is the policy of the National Park Service to allow Special Uses that are not in conflict with law or policy; will not result in derogation of the values and purposes for which the park was established; do not present a threat to public safety or property; and do not unduly interfere with normal park operations, resource protection, or visitor use.

To start the permit process, please submit a Permit Application, by postal mail or email. We can answer preliminary questions regarding a permit but will require an application and non-refundable $50 application fee to engage further.

Please note the 30-day minimum time required for issuing standard permits. For larger, more complex events (Ex: Over 50 people, extensive setup, substantial equipment, ect.), there will be a 90-day minimum for application submission.

Visitor uses a tall tripod and camera to take photos at the park.

NPS Photo

Still Photography

Do I need a permit for my photoshoot?

Permits are required for still photography when:

  • the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed. To include when outside of normal staff operational hours of 9:00 am – 5:00 pm;
  • the activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities;
  • or the park would incur additional costs to monitor the activity.

Begin the permitting process by downloading the application and email it to saan_permits@nps.gov. Please submit your application 30 days prior to your requested date to allow sufficient time for review and processing.

Still Photography Permit Application

Commercial Filming

Do I need a permit to film?

Federal law requires a permit for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment. This includes individuals or small groups that don’t use much equipment, but generate revenue by posting footage on websites, such as YouTube and TikTok. All those partaking in commercial filming, no matter the size, must comply with all rules that apply in park areas, just like other visitors.

Begin the permitting process by downloading the application and email it to saan_permits@nps.gov. Please submit your application 30 days prior to your requested date to allow sufficient time for review and processing.

Filming Permit Application


First Amendment Permits

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. People may exercise these rights in national parks, but the National Park Service still retains its responsibility to protect park resources and prevent conflict among park visitors. Therefore, the National Park Service establishes guidelines for setting the time, place and manner (number of participants, use of facilities and type of equipment) for the events to occur.

Application processing costs for first amendment demonstrations are not required. No payment is required when submitting the demonstration application; however, all applications are reviewed by the park to ensure the activity meets the criteria of a demonstration. Organizers are responsible for all costs associated with producing the demonstration.

First Amendment Permit Application

Mission San Juan at night with festive banner.

NPS Photo.

Special Event Permits

Can I host an event at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park?

There will be a 90-day minimum to apply for large and complex events. Depending on the size of the event, the NPS may require documentation including, but not limited to: Event layout/route maps, parking plans, onsite EMS, or contracted law enforcement. Additionally, advertising for an event is prohibited prior to permit issuance. It is also prohibited for applicants to use NPS branding for their event.

Special Event Permit Application

Cost Recovery

The National Park Service (NPS) does charge a cost recovery for managing any special park use permit activities in accordance with 16 U.S.C 3a. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the location, size, and complexity of your permit. The $50, non-refundable, application fee must be submitted prior to your application being reviewed. While we are happy to provide an estimate of costs, we will not be able to provide a final amount until an application has been received and processed.

Questions about permits?
Contact Park Headquarters Special Use Permits at (210) 534-8875 ext. 242 or email us at saan_permits@nps.gov.

Last updated: December 19, 2023

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Mailing Address:

2202 Roosevelt Avenue

San Antonio, TX 78210


210 932-1001

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