Laws & Policies

Learn and Explore

Enabling Legislation and Public Laws

Within 36 CFR, park superintendents are granted the right to make park-specific regulations to maintain public health and safety, protect environmental or scenic values, protect natural and cultural resources, aid in scientific research, provide for equitable use of facilities, and avoid conflict among visitor use activities. These park-specific regulations are found in the Superintendent's Compendium. Included below is a partial list of park regulations.

 

Regulations

Advertisements

Commercial notices or advertisements may not be displayed, posted, or distributed in park area unless prior written permission has been given by the Superintendent.

Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances

All park areas open to the public are closed to the use and possession of alcoholic beverages except during special events when authorized via special use permit.

Audio disturbances

  • Operating motorized equipment, machinery, audio device or musical instrument in a manner that makes unreasonable noise.

  • Operating a power saw in developed areas is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

  • Operating any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

  • Operating a public address system is prohibited, except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued.

Bicycles

Bicycle use is not allowed on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public except as used by government employees in the performance of official duties or otherwise approved by the Superintendent.

Business operations

Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provision of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States is prohibited.

Closures and public use limits

SCHEDULE OF VISITING HOURS

  • All areas of either island, not otherwise closed to public use, will be open to public use according to the following schedule of visitor hours.

    • Both islands will be open to public use according to the National Park Service approved schedule of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry service, weather permitting. The islands will close to public use fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of the final closing ferry of the day.

    • Portions of either island will close earlier than fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of the final closing Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry of the day at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee due to the time restrictions of the closing procedures.

    • Both islands are closed to all public use and permitted activities on December 25 annually. Additionally, both islands may close two hours early on December 24 in coordination with the park’s concession transportation provider.

PUBLIC USE LIMITS

  • All areas of either island, not otherwise closed to public use, will be open to public use with the following limits.
    • Any or all areas may be closed to public use or a permit issued may be canceled at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee.
    • The maximum island count for either island shall not exceed 4,500 visitors at any one time.
    • All school or youth groups, excluding college groups, shall be accompanied by a minimum of one chaperon for every ten students during the groups visit. Chaperons must be a minimum of eighteen years of age and designated by the school or sponsoring organization. Students found without their chaperon may be removed from either island.
    • Disorderly persons or groups may be removed from either island and prevented from returning to both islands on the day they are removed.
    • It is prohibited to sit or stand upon the railings of any walkway, stairway, escalator, seawall, dock, viewpoint, museum area or motor vessel.
    • Climbing over, under, or around railings, gates, doors, stanchions and lines, barricades or other physical barriers used to control public access is prohibited.
    • It is prohibited to sit, stand upon, or climb any ledge, wall, refuse receptacle, tree, exhibit, statue, flagpole, the American Immigrant Wall of Honor, or Fort Gibson.
    • Touching the original torch of the Statue of Liberty or historic graffiti on Ellis Island is prohibited.
    • Persons, packages and vehicles are subject to search and canine inspection at any time on either island for public safety and security. Failure to allow an authorized person to perform a search is prohibited. Failure to comply with the direction of a lawful authority may result in a legal citation or arrest.
    • It is prohibited to consume food or drink inside any structure open for the general public on either island except in concession dining facilities unless authorized by the Superintendent or designee.
    • Photography/recording activity is prohibited within the security screening areas if it interferes with, or slows down the security screening process.
    • Face masks and/or costumes which are designed to conceal the identity of a person are prohibited.
    • Statue of Liberty crown occupancy time limit for visitors is approximately 15 minutes and will strictly be adhered to during high visitation periods.
    • The maximum number of people allowed to climb the staircase to the crown of the Statue of Liberty is 60 people per hour. Because of this very limited capacity and to allow as many members of the general public to have access to the crown, no VIP access shall be granted to the crown during visitor hours and no tickets shall be withheld for VIPs outside the normal ticketing process.
    • The maximum occupancy of the Statue of Liberty pedestal is 500 people per hour. All requests for VIP access to the pedestal outside the normal ticketing process is at the discretion of the Superintendent and is coordinated through the office of the Superintendent.
    • All requests for VIP tours of either island are arranged at the discretion of the Superintendent and coordinated through the office of the Superintendent.
    • Public nudity and any behavior which interferes with, or causes a disturbance to park operations, are prohibited.

PARK AREA CLOSURES

  • The following areas of Liberty and Ellis Islands shall be closed to all public use:

    • The following areas within the Statue of Liberty, the pedestal and Fort Wood on Liberty Island: the portion of the Statue of Liberty from the right shoulder to the torch (inclusive); the original torch of the Statue of Liberty and the area inside the railing surrounding it; areas of the Statue of Liberty and pedestal outside the public access stairs and landings and museum exhibits; work areas; storage areas; offices; locker rooms; mechanical rooms; electrical rooms; crawl spaces; and boiler rooms.

    • The Statue of Liberty torch is restricted to employees who have been authorized access for official purposes.

    • The Shuttle Dock, extending from the seawall on the northeast corner of Liberty Island, except when in use by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry as authorized by the Superintendent or designee. See attached map.

    • The Ellis Island Slip, including the entrance and inside the slip. Vessels may not block egress. e. The designated 150 yard maritime security zones around each island.

    • All Liberty Island areas within the Administrative and Maintenance compound. This area is defined as follows: commencing at the black granite wall along the seawall north of the Ellis Island Observation Area which is northeast of the Flagpole Plaza, the line runs southwesterly to the low curved black granite wall on the northwest side of the Flagpole Plaza. The line follows the low curved black granite wall westerly, southwesterly, and southerly to the twenty seventh section of raised black granite. The line turns southwesterly to a low brick wall. The line follows the low brick wall generally southwesterly to the handicapped access sidewalk and ramp leading to the Administrative building. The line continues along the northern and northwestern side of the handicapped access sidewalk and ramp to the northeast corner of the Administrative building. The line follows the southeast exterior wall of the Administrative building to the southwest corner of the main entry stairs. The line turns southwesterly along the side of the stairs to the low brick wall. The line turns and follows the low brick wall southwesterly to the tall curved brick wall with the metal gates at the northwest side of the Arrival Plaza. The line follows the tall brick wall southwesterly to the seawall. The line continues along the seawall heading northwesterly, northerly, northeasterly, easterly, and southeasterly until it reconnects with the commencement point of this description. All areas within this line are closed to public use. See attached map.

    • The following areas within the Concession Building on Liberty Island: stairways outside of the public access stairs, work areas, storage areas, kitchen, offices, locker rooms, mechanical rooms, electrical rooms, crawl spaces, boiler room, and the basement.

    • The fenced area on the Northeast, East, and Southeast side of the Concession Building on Liberty Island. This is the area between the fence and the exterior of the building including the air conditioner/basement access area, stairs and lift.

    • The utility bridge between Liberty State Park in New Jersey and Ellis Island. Access to Ellis Island via the utility bridge is only permitted with the permission of the Superintendent or designee.

    • The following areas within the Main Building and Railroad Ticket office on Ellis Island: stairways outside of the public access stairs and landings, work areas, storage areas, kitchen, offices, locker rooms, mechanical rooms, electrical rooms, crawl spaces, boiler rooms and basements.

    • Any structure other than the Main Building, Railroad Tickets Office or Kitchen and Laundry Building (K&L) on Ellis Island unless authorized by the Superintendent or designee.

    • A portion of Island One, all of Islands Two and Three, and the ferry slip on Ellis Island. The area is defined as follows: commencing at the northwestern exit to the Rail Road Ticket Office, the line runs in a northerly direction to the seawall. The line follows the seawall heading northwesterly, westerly, southwesterly, southerly, southwesterly, southerly, southeasterly, easterly, and northeasterly until it crosses the opening of the ferry slip and joins the southeast corner of Island One. The line turns northwesterly along the ferry slip to the fence at the New Ferry Building. The line turns along the fence heading northeasterly and south easterly until it joins through the far side of the K&L. The line continues southeasterly and northeasterly along the rear of the K&L until it joins the exterior wall of the Main Building. The line continues northeasterly and southeasterly following the exterior wall of the Main Building until it joins the fence in the courtyard between the main building and the Baggage and Dormitory Building (B&D). The line turns northeasterly following the fence until it joins the exterior wall of the B&D. The line turns southeasterly following the exterior wall of the B&D until it joins the exterior wall of the Railroad Ticket Office. The line turns northeasterly following the exterior wall of the Railroad Ticket Office until it reconnects with the commencement point of this description. All areas within this line are closed to public use, except the New Ferry Building, New Immigration Building (park offices) and Island Three areas as authorized by the Superintendent or designee. See attached map.

    • All elevator, electrical, water, sewer, HVAC, and drainage pits, pipe runs, and tunnels on either island.

Commercial photography

  • Before any motion picture may be filmed or any television production or sound track may be made by any person other than bona fide newsreel or news television personnel, written permission must first be obtained from the Superintendent.

  • Taking photographs of any vehicle or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising without a written permit from the Superintendent is prohibited.

Commercial vehicles

Using commercial vehicles on government roads within park areas when such use is in no way connected with the operation of the park is generally prohibited, and requires permission or a permit from the Superintendent.

Construction of buildings or other facilities

Such activities are prohibited, except in accordance with the provisions of a valid permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States.

Explosives

  • Using, possessing, storing, or transporting explosives, blasting agents or explosive materials is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit or contract.

  • Using, or possessing fireworks and firecrackers is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit or contract.

Fires

The lighting or maintaining of fires is prohibited.

First Amendment activities

The following locations are designated as available for first amendment activities:

  • Flagpole area at Statue of Liberty National Monument.

  • Flagpole area at Ellis Island.

Load, weight and size limits

LOAD, WEIGHT, AND SIZE RESTRICTIONS

  • The limit on weight of vehicles operating on sidewalks shall not exceed 5,120 pounds.

  • The load limit for the Ellis Island utility bridge is 36 tons.

  • A permit is required for vehicles exceeding designated load, weight and size limits.

  • All requests for a vehicle exceeding designated load, weight and size limits permit must be made a minimum of 5 days in advance and in writing to the Superintendent or designee. This 5 day period may be waived by the Superintendent or designee if the size and nature of the activity will not reasonably require the commitment of park resources or personnel in excess of that which are normally available or which can reasonably be made available within the necessary time period.

  • Any or all areas of either island may be closed to public use or a permit issued may be canceled at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee.

  • All costs incurred by the Statue of Liberty National Monument as a result of a vehicles exceeding designated load, weight and size limits permit from the Superintendent or designee may be recovered from the permit holder.

  • A permit may contain additional reasonable conditions and additional time limitations, consistent with this section, in the interest of protecting park resources, the use of nearby areas by other persons, and other legitimate park value concerns.

Memorialization

LOCATION AND PERMIT CONDITIONS FOR THE SCATTERING OF HUMAN ASHES
  • The closest water area near the designated public assembly areas on either island have been designated for the scattering of human ashes.

  • All requests for the scattering of human ashes permits must be made a minimum of 72 hours in advance and in writing on the approved form to the Superintendent or designee. This 72 hour period may be waived by the Superintendent or designee if the size and nature of the activity will not reasonably require the commitment of park resources or personnel in excess of that which are normally available or which can reasonably be made available within the necessary time period.

  • Scattering of human ashes permits will be issued with a minimum of a one hour buffer between permits.

  • The scattering of human ashes may only take place during hours when either island is open to public use.

  • The maximum number of participants in the scattering of human ashes is 25 for Liberty Island and 25 for Ellis Island.

  • The scattering of human ashes shall not exceed two hours in duration.

  • The scattering of human ashes shall not interfere with normal public use or pedestrian flow.

  • Participants of the scattering of human ashes must arrive by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry.

  • The permit holder of a scattering of human ashes permit requiring power, equipment, furniture, or other items must provide their own materials and transport those materials aboard the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry. No structures may be constructed. Approval from the Superintendent or designee must be obtained to use any of these items in advance.

  • The permit holder is responsible for cleaning the scattering of human ashes area upon the completion of the event.

  • A permit may contain additional reasonable conditions and additional time limitations, consistent with this section, in the interest of protecting park resources, the use of nearby areas by other persons, and other legitimate park value concerns.

Noncommercial solicitation

Soliciting or demanding gifts, money, goods or services is prohibited except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit that has been issued.

Permits

COMPILATION OF ACTIVITIES REQUIRING A PERMIT

  • Activities requiring a permit are listed throughout this document under the specific 36 CFR section that authorizes or requires the issuance of a permit. Additionally, the following is a compilation of those activities and/or those public uses from which a permit from the Superintendent is required:

    • Carrying and using a trap or net.

    • Collecting research specimens.

    • Certain audio disturbances.

    • Delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means, except in emergency situations.

    • Soliciting gifts, money, goods or services.

    • Using, possessing, storing, or transporting explosives, blasting agents, or explosive materials.

    • Using or possessing fireworks and firecrackers.

    • Holding sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainments, ceremonies, and similar events.

    • Holding first amendment activities with more than 25 people.

    • Selling or distributing printed matter.

    • Livestock use and agriculture.

    • Residing on Federal lands.

    • Displaying, posting, or distributing advertisements or commercial notices.

    • Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas.

    • Commercial photography.

    • Using commercial vehicles on government roads within park areas when such use is in no way connected with the operation of the park.

    • Constructing buildings or other facilities.

Pets and service dogs

SERVICE DOGS

  • Possessing pets at Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is prohibited. This restriction does not apply to service animals. The National Park Service will use the same definition of service animal currently found in DOJ (Department of Justice) regulations and will not rely on 36 CFR 2.15. Service animals will be allowed to accompany visitors or employees with a disability. For safety reasons, service animals are not allowed in areas above 6P level (observation deck) inside the monument.

  • Service dogs must remain on leashes while in the park.

  • Leaving service dogs unattended and tied to an object is prohibited.

  • Service dog owners must pick up pet waste and remove it from the park or dispose of it in an appropriate refuse receptacle.

Picnicking

Visitors must remove all garbage from picnicking site after use. Littering and dumping is prohibited.

Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources

  • Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging or disturbing living or dead wildlife, fish, plants, paleontological specimens, cultural resources, archeological resources, mineral resources, or any of the parts or products thereof, is prohibited.

  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants into park area ecosystems is prohibited.

  • Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing an archeological or cultural resource, monument, or statue is prohibited.

  • Generally, collecting natural materials from the park is prohibited; however, fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or possession and consumption restrictions.

Property

  • Abandoning property within the park is prohibited.

  • Found property must be turned in to the Office of the Superintendent as soon as practicable.

  • Property determined to be left unattended will be impounded by the superintendent pursuant.

  • Found or impounded property will be inventoried.

  • Visitors and their belongings are subject to inspection. Security screening, similar to airport security procedures, is required for those boarding any concession ferry to Liberty Island or Ellis Island, and must be completed at the point of departure before boarding. Secondary airport security style screening is required for those entering the Statue of Liberty. A list of prohibit items will be posted on the park’s public website and at security screening locations.

Public assemblies, meetings

PERMIT CONDITIONS FOR PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES

  • In addition to public assemblies and meetings, gatherings, parades, first amendment activities, or other public expressions of views are subject to the conditions of this regulation.

  • All requests for public assembly permits must be made a minimum of 5 days in advance and in writing on the approved form to the Superintendent or designee. This 5 day period may be waived by the Superintendent or designee if the size and nature of the activity will not reasonably require the commitment of park resources or personnel in excess of that which are normally available or which can reasonably be made available within the necessary time period.

  • Public assembly permits will be issued with a minimum of a one hour buffer between permits.

  • Public assemblies may only take place during hours when either island is open to public use.

  • The maximum number of participants in a public assembly is 100.

  • Public assemblies shall not exceed one hour in duration.

  • No signs or placards shall be permitted except those made of cardboard, poster board or cloth having dimensions no greater than three feet in width, twenty feet in length , and one quarter inch in thickness. No supports shall be permitted for signs or placards except those made of wood having cross sectional dimensions no greater than three quarters of an inch by three quarters of an inch. All signs and placards shall be attended at all times and may not be elevated in a manner so as to exceed a height of six feet above the ground at their highest point. Signs or placards shall be considered to be attended only when an individual is within three feet of his or her sign or placard. No signs or placards shall be tied, fastened, or otherwise attached to any post, fence, sign, statue, flagpole, refuse receptacle, tree or other structure in the park. Signs or banners greater than three feet in width, and three feet in length are prohibited from entering the monument.

  • Any or all areas of either island may be closed to public use or a permit issued may be canceled at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee.

  • All costs incurred by the Statue of Liberty National Monument as a result of a public assembly permit from the Superintendent or designee may be recovered from the permit holder.

  • Noise levels must not exceed the limits established in 36 CFR 2.12, Audio disturbance.

  • Public assemblies shall not interfere with normal public use or pedestrian flow.

  • Participants of public assemblies must arrive by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry.

  • The permit holder of a public assembly permit requiring power, equipment, furniture, or other items must provide their own materials and transport those materials aboard the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry. No structures may be constructed. Approval from the Superintendent or designee must be obtained to use any of these items in advance.

  • The permit holder is responsible for cleaning the public assembly area upon the completion of the event.

  • A permit may contain additional reasonable conditions and additional time limitations, consistent with this section, in the interest of protecting park resources, the use of nearby areas by other persons, and other legitimate park value concerns.

Research specimens

The taking of plants, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals is prohibited except under the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit.

Residing on Federal lands

Residing on either island is prohibited.

Sale or distribution of printed materials

  • All costs incurred by the Statue of Liberty National Monument as a result of a sale or distribution of printed matter permit from the Superintendent or designee may be recovered from the permit holder.

  • The commercial sale of items other than the printed matter approved for sale with a permit is prohibited.

  • The sale or distribution of printed matter shall not interfere with normal public use or pedestrian flow.

  • Participants of the sale or distribution of printed matter must arrive by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry.

  • The permit holder of a sale or distribution of printed matter permit requiring power, equipment, furniture, or other items must provide their own materials and transport those materials aboard the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry. No structures may be constructed. Approval from the Superintendent or designee must be obtained to use any of these items in advance.

  • The permit holder is responsible for cleaning the sale or distribution of printed matter area upon the completion of the event.

  • A permit may contain additional reasonable conditions and additional time limitations, consistent with this section, in the interest of protecting park resources, the use of nearby areas by other persons, and other legitimate park value concerns.

Sanitation and refuse

  • Disposing of refuse in other than refuse receptacles is prohibited.

  • Using park refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse is prohibited.

Skating, Skateboards, and similar devices

Possession of skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, self-balancing scooters or similar device is prohibited.

Smoking

All buildings and structures on both islands are closed to smoking.

Special events

  • Sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainments, ceremonies, and similar events are allowed, provided there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event(s), and the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area, and a permit has been issued by the Superintendent.
  • All requests for special event permits must be made a minimum of 5 days in advance and in writing on the approved form to the Superintendent or designee. This 5 day period may be waived by the Superintendent or designee if the size and nature of the activity will not reasonably require the commitment of park resources or personnel in excess of that which are normally available or which can reasonably be made available within the necessary time period. All requests for events of more than 25 people must be made a minimum of six weeks in advance.
  • Any or all areas of either island may be closed to public use or a permit issued may be canceled at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee.
  • All costs incurred by the Statue of Liberty National Monument as a result of a special event that has been issued a permit from the Superintendent or designee shall be recovered from the permit holder.
  • Noise levels must not exceed the limits established in 36 CFR 2.12, Audio disturbances.
  • Special events shall not interfere with normal public use or pedestrian flow.
  • Participants of special events must arrive by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry unless otherwise authorized by the Superintendent.
  • The permit holder of a special event permit requiring power, equipment, furniture, or other items must provide their own materials and transport those materials aboard the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry unless specified otherwise in the permit.
  • The permit holder is responsible for cleaning the special event area upon the completion of the event.
  • A permit may contain additional reasonable conditions and time limitations, consistent with this section, in the interest of protecting park resources, the use of nearby areas by other persons, and other legitimate park value concerns.
  • The maximum number of participants for a special event is 500 for Liberty Island and 1,000 for Ellis Island unless otherwise authorized by the Superintendent.

Speed limits

  • The speed limit on the temporary bridge between Liberty State Park in New Jersey and Ellis Island is 15 miles per hour.
  • The speed limit on paved and gravel roadways (which includes parking lot on Ellis Island) is 10 miles per hour.
  • The speed limit on sidewalks and grass areas on either island is 5 miles per hour.

Swimming and wading (including SCUBA)

It is prohibited to SCUBA dive or snorkel within park waters with the exception of authorized Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers and search and rescue teams in the performance of their official duties or as authorized by the Superintendent or designee.

Vessel permits

No permit will be issued for the use of a vessel within the Ellis Island Ferry Slip since the area is closed to public use.

Weapons, traps and nets

  • Firearms are prohibited in federal facilities. Federal facilities are marked with signs at public entrances.
  • Authorized Federal, State and local law enforcement officers may carry firearms in the performance of their official duties.

Wildlife protection

  • The taking, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentional disturbing of wildlife is prohibited.
  • Hunting is prohibited.

Last updated: November 21, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Liberty Island
New York, NY 10004

Phone:

(212) 363-3200

Contact Us