Do I Need a Permit?
Three major distinctions of filming are made in DC: news gathering/journalism, commercial, and non-commercial. DC film permits are not needed for journalists/media professionals, on assignment, or non-commercial projects. This office does not issue any media credentials; those may be obtained from your news/media outlet, or on a per-event basis from the event's organizer.
If you fall into one or more of the following classes, you do NOT need a film permit from this office. (Although National Parks, and Capitol Police may have different rules and procedures.) A permit from us would cover most areas in the District outside of NPS, Captiol Police, or private property.
- Journalists or other members of the media (working on assignment from a verifiable news outlet)
- Filming at any private location (inside or outside - so long as you remain on their property
- Private, personal, non-commercial filming (e.g. tourists)
You do NOT need any additional permit from the DC Film Office to film on any National Parks, Mall, Monuments, Memorials, or U.S. Capitol territory. (See MAP below, or visit: NPS, or U.S. Capitol for more info.
THE MAP – We’re continually updating this jurisdictional map. Check back from time to time as we plan to include additional layers of curated film-friendly locations under city control. All areas in PINK are NPS, BLUE is US Capitol Police. Most everything else is DC jurisdiction (except private property, Metro, embassies, and some other areas.)
PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAP (ABOVE) BEFORE CALLING, EMAILING, OR APPLYING TO FILM AT ANY FEDERAL, NATIONAL PARK, UNION STATION, CAPITOL, OR SMITHSONIAN LOCATIONS. (THE NEW SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE IS NOT OUR JURISDICTION. CONTACT THE SMITHSONIAN FOR MORE INFORMATION.)
We only have ONE film permit. No matter if you're shooting a PSA, documentary, still photography, aerials, small scale b-roll, feature film with street closures, fire and police, or a non-profit internal corporate web video - we only issue ONE permit - a public space occupancy permit for film and media production.
A permit for filming non-personal ,non-news-gathering projects will be vetted against relevant city regulations. Public safety, health, and the impact to our residents and businesses are considered FIRST. Therefore submitting an application is not a guarantee of approval. You will be notified within 2 working days after you submit of your application's "status".
Do keep in mind that certain times of each year are very busy for filming in the DC. Our weather is just amazing in the Fall and Spring!
Service Level Agreement
1. Within 24-hours, you should receive acknowledgement* of your application submission. If you do not receive an email confirmation of submission - call us! (202) 727-6608
2. Within 48-hours, you should recieve an email or a phone call from us. At that time, we will a) clarify any questions we have; b) provide you an opportunity to ask questions; and c) let you know the "status" of your application and define what's required to complete the process. In general, the following items MUST be submitted to obtain a permit, but other documents or approvals may be needed depending on what you are requesting. NOTE: Please understand that our first duty is to the residents of the District of Columbia and all film projects are considered with full consideration given first to existing of city regulations (noise, trafffic, public safety and health). DCMR
3. Based on the outcome of step #2, you should have a complete roadmap of what you need to deliver, what we need to deliver, and all deadlines.
- Application This is our official application. No others will be accepted. Emailing details of a film project does not constitute an application. If your applicaiton does not provide us with a clear understanding of EVERYTHING you plan to do under our film permit, it will delay the process.)
- Certificate of Liability Insurance (naming the District of Columbia as additional insured)
- Invoice and Payment (see below)
- Other documents or approvals as needed, based on what you applied for, or based on city regulations.
- Exit Survey (Everyone MUST submit a survey just prior to permit issuance. This is MANDATORY)
Processing times will always vary based on our workload, and the complexity of the requests we receive. Our committment is to update you within 48 hours via call or email. See above. Do keep in mind that while your shoot may be quite simple, there may be others 'ahead of you' that are more complex.
*Acknowledgement is emailed to the email address you put on your application. We will not be responsible for typos and/or missing information on your application. Since this service is automated and emailed, we also will not be responsible for the myriad technical factors involved in transmission and/or delivery of the various email services (icloud, gmail, yahoo, etc.); and will not accept responsibility should an email not arrive when expected for whatever reason. Again, please call us if you do not receive an automated response.
You will receive an email or phone call from us within 2 working days after you submit your application. At that time, you will get one of the following "status" updates, which will be explained to you in light of your particular situation.
Invoice and Payment
Once fully approved, your application will be entered into a city-wide tracking system and an invoice will be generated. This invoice will have a link to pay online (Visa or MasterCard only.)