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Film Permits

District of Columbia Film Permitting Guidance
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
ReOpen DC: Phase Two

On June 22, 2020 the District of Columbia entered Phase Two of the ReOpen DC Plan. Restrictions on non-essential media production activity remain in place during Phase Two. OCTFME shall issue no film permits for production activity that does not comply with Mayor’s Order 2020-075: Phase Two of Washington DC Reopening and Mayor’s Order 2020-081: Requirement to Self-Quarantine After Non-Essential Travel During the COVID-19 Health Emergency.


Public Gathering Requirements

Beginning Monday, March 22, 2021 the following District of Columbia Phase Two DC Reopening adjustments go into effect:


  • Outdoor public gathering restrictions (including media production activity) limited to more than fifty (50) people
  • Indoor public gathering restrictions (including media production activity) limited to no more than ten (10) people

Travel Requirements
On Monday, November 9, 2020 the District of Columbia Government issued updated travel requirements for anyone traveling to DC the from a jurisdiction with more than 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people:

  • Get a test within 72 hours of traveling, and if the test is positive, don't travel to DC;
  • If you are a close contact of a confirmed positive case, don't travel to DC;
  • If you are a visitor to DC for more than three days, get tested within 3-5 days of arriving in the city

The new restrictions will limit all media production activity on District of Columbia municipal spaces to no more than 50 cast and crew on set for outdoor filming and no more than 10 cast and crew for indoor filming. During this restriction period no film permit request will be considered for crew sizes that exceed these new restrictions. All other previously announced public safety and public gathering restrictions impacting media production remain in place pursuant to current District of Columbia's COVID-19 Mayor's Orders.

During Phase Two, a production company may submit a permit application for consideration and review if the production meets the following criteria:


(1)   Productions limited to on-site cast and crew of 50 persons or fewer for outdoor filming and 10 persons or fewer for indoor filming;

(2)   Cast/Crew traveling from outside DC must get a test within 72 hours of traveling, and if the test is positive, do not travel to DC;
(3)   If cast/crew will be in DC for more than three days, they must get tested within 3-5 days of arriving in the city; 

(4)   Restrictions on cast and crew working, rehearsing or performing within 6 feet of each other;

(5)   Requests requiring the supervision and approval of District of Columbia or Federal Government public safety agencies (including street closures or traffic control) are restricted

        or prohibited; and,

(6)   Submit a safety plan outlining on-set safety and social distancing protocols for review and approval.


If your production request does not meet the criteria listed above, please monitor, for updates on when the ReOpen DC plan enters Phase Three.


COVID-19 Administrative Processing Times: Because of the additional administrative time required to review and verify that on-set COVID-19 safety plans and protocols are in alignment with District of Columbia Phase Two guidance, please allow an application review and processing time of at least 7 to 10 business days. The administrative processing time begins after both the permit application and the auxiliary COVID-19 on-set safety questionnaire is completed. The COVID-19 safety questionnaire will be forwarded to the applicant after the initial application has been reviewed.


If you have any questions about the permit application policies and procedures during this time, please contact our permit administrative team at [email protected].


Thank you for your interest in filming in the District of Columbia. We look forward to hosting your production activity under conditions that are safe for your crew, cast, and residents of the District of Columbia.




Film permits are issued by the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment and provide permission to occupy public space for media production related activities. Permits may include location parking for essential production vehicles when available. Permits for production related parking will be restricted during Phase Two of the ReOpen DC Plan.


Film permit requests requiring additional permits, certifications or approvals from other District of Columbia agencies may require longer administrative processing times. Those requests include but are not limited to the following: temporary parking restrictions; traffic or pedestrian management; traffic lane or street closures; use of auxiliary power sources (generators); construction of temporary structures (tents, stages, etc.); use of mock firearms; use of pyrotechnics; or any request that involves the alteration or temporary removal of streetlamps, fire hydrants, parking meters, bike lanes, or other street or traffic signage or signals. During Phase Two of the ReOpen DC Plan some or all of these additional permit requests may be prohibited or restricted.


The film permit administrative process involves the following 5 steps:



Film & Permit FAQ