Permits

Most visitors do not need a permit. Permits are needed for activities beyond a typical visit to the park by a family or individual. At the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, they fall into two categories:
Film Permits & Special Use Permits.

 

Filming, Still Photography, and Special Use Permits

Under federal law, all commercial filming that occurs within a unit of the National Park System requires a permit.

"Commercial filming" means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recording of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income. Examples include, but are not limited to, feature film, videography, and documentaries. Commercial filming may include the advertisement of a product or service, or the use of actors, models, sets, or props.

Federal law requires a permit for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment. The primary focus of the NPS, however, is on commercial filming that has the potential to impact park resources and visitors beyond what occurs from normal visitor use of park areas. Examples of this type of filming are productions that use substantial equipment such as sets and lighting, productions with crews and personnel that exceed 5 people, and filming in closed areas, wilderness areas, or in locations that would create conflicts with other visitors or harm sensitive resources.

All filmers, no matter the size of the crew, must comply with all rules that apply in park areas, just like other visitors.

Non-commercial filming may require a permit if a permit is necessary to manage the activity to protect park resources and values, minimize conflict between user groups, or to ensure public safety. Examples of non-commercial filming include, but are not limited to, filming for tourism bureaus, convention and visitor bureaus, student filming, and filming for personal use and enjoyment. In most cases, a permit is not necessary for visitors engaging in casual filming for personal enjoyment.

In most cases, still photography does not require a permit. A permit is required for still photography only when:

  1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or

  1. 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

  1. park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.

A “model” means a person or object that serves as the subject for still photography for the purpose of promoting the sale or use of a product or service. Models include, but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects, such as vehicles, boats, articles of clothing, and food and beverage products. Portrait subjects, such as wedding parties and high school graduates, are not considered models.

Those interested in filming activities on land managed by the National Park Service have to fill out a Film Permit Application. You are encouraged to contact the park’s Permit Office at (646) 356-2107 or email for more information about filming in the park and to discuss how to minimize potential impacts to visitors and sensitive park resources.

Federal law requires the NPS to recover its administrative costs for commercial filming and still photography activities that require a permit. Cost recovery includes an application fee and any additional charges to cover the costs incurred by the NPS in processing your request and monitoring your permit. This amount will vary depending on the park and the size and complexity of the permitted activities. The application fee must be submitted with your application.

In addition, Federal law also requires the NPS to collect a location fee that provides a fair return to the United States for the use of park lands for commercial filming and for still photography requires a permit. The NPS uses the following fee schedules for filming and photography:

Commercial Filming/Videography

  • 1–2 people, camera & tripod only - $0/day

  • 1–10 people - $150/day

  • 11–30 people - $250/day

  • 31–49 people - $500/day

  • Over 50 people - $750/day

Still Photography

  • 1–10 people - $50/day

  • 11–30 people - $150/day

  • Over 30 people - $250/day

Permits issued for non-commercial filming may be subject to cost recovery charges, and you may be required to obtain insurance naming the United States as additionally insured.

You will be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.

Required for organizing and performing activities or assemblies which provide a benefit to an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large. Special use permits are also needed for activities that require National Park Service staff to protect park resources, the public interest, or both.Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • ceremonies
  • performances
  • festivals
  • cultural programs
Filing a permit application alone does not grant you the right to your activity. Permit applications may be approved or rejected by the park. The $50 fee is nonrefundable, whether your application is approved or denied. Download the Special Use Permit Application

Permit applications must be submitted at least five (5) business days in advance.
The park requires permit applications to be submitted at least five (5) business days before the proposed event.

Permits are reviewed & coordinated through the park’s Permit Office (646) 356-2107 or email.

Permit Application Fee
Once a permit application is submitted, you will be charged a nonrefundable $50 application fee. This fee will not be returned even if your application is rejected. The $50 application fee may be waived for those submitting requests for school band, choir or dance performances and for certain ceremonies, such as reenlistments.

First Amendment Activities
Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. Therefore, all First Amendment activities require special use permits. The National Park Service may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted.

Application Submittal
Please read the application carefully before filling it out. Special Use Permit applications and Filming Permit applications may be submitted via email or sent via US Postal Service to:

Statue of Liberty National Monument
Attn: Permits
Liberty Island
New York, NY 10004

Last updated: January 30, 2023

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