A permit is generally not required for personal, noncommercial filming and photography activities within normal visitation areas and hours. However, filming outside normal visitation areas and hours and all commercial filming will require a special permit.
Filming that involves the digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience. This includes recordings such as those used for a documentary, educational program, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project.
For the purposes of NPS policy, filming and photography encompass any technology that may be used for recording images or the sound tracks associated with them.
Still Photography and Audio Recording
A permit is required (whether commercial or noncommercial), in accordance with Public Law 106-206, and 36 CFR 5.5 if the following occur:
Commercial Media Coverage of Breaking News
A permit may be required if the activities are of such size and scope that a permit would help manage the activity to minimize possible damage to park resources and visitor use conflicts or authorize entrance to a closed area.
Filming and Photography permit applications will generally be approved provided that the requested activities:
Permission to film or videotape in a historic park building or structure can be granted by the Superintendent only when:
The same considerations as those which apply to building interiors will be applied by the Superintendent in granting permission for exterior motion picture or television productions. The Superintendent may choose not to apply the criteria of a meaningful association with the historic resource or that it would contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of the historic resource to video production in other areas of the park. Unless co-sponsored by the NPS
Performance Bond and Liability Insurance
Performance bond and liability insurance requirements must be met, and all costs incurred by the National Park Service in writing the permit, monitoring, providing protection services, or otherwise supporting filming or photography activities will be reimbursed by the permittee as a condition of the permit.
If you're unsure if you need a permit for filming or any other special use, please feel free to contact our Special Park Uses Office:
Last updated: January 25, 2021