The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting issues permits to productions filming on location in the City of New York and provides free police assistance, free parking privileges and access to most exterior locations free of charge. Not all filming activity requires a permit.
Productions using hand-held camera, camera on tripod, hand-held props and/or hand-held equipment, not asserting exclusive use of City property, not using prop weapons, prop vehicles, stunts, actors in police uniform and not requesting parking privileges for production vehicles do NOT need a permit. Standing on a City sidewalk, walkway of a City bridge or within a City park while using a hand-held camera and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property is NOT an activity that requires a permit.
$300 non-refundable application fee does NOT apply. Productions using hand-held camera, camera on tripod, hand-held props and/or hand-held equipment, not asserting exclusive use of City property, not using prop weapons, prop vehicles, stunts, actors in police uniform and not requesting parking privileges for production vehicles can apply for an Optional Permit. Insurance NOT required. Completed optional permits should be faxed to 212-262-7677. Applicants MUST provide a fax number in order to receive the approved permit, otherwise permits must be hand delivered to the OFTB at 1697 Broadway, 6th Floor, Monday through Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm.
$300 non-refundable application fee DOES apply. Productions with equipment* packages, production vehicles requesting parking privileges (excluding personal cars, mini-vans, SUVs and pick-up trucks), asserting exclusive use of City property, prop weapons, prop vehicles, actors in police uniform or stunts on set must apply for a required permit. Insurance required.
*“Equipment” is defined as anything more than hand-held camera, camera on tripod or hand-held items (such as bounce-boards, boom mics, etc.)
Permits are not required for casual photographers, tourists or credentialed members of the media.
A new project account application, when submitted with a required permit, shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $300.00, made payable by credit card.
A “New Project Account application” must be submitted in any of the following instances:
i) in connection with a new project which has never before submitted an application,
ii) in connection with a television series (in a new season) which has previously submitted an application for a prior season, or
iii) in connection with an project which has previously submitted an application but has completed the continuous photography associated with that application and desires to re-commence photography.
An applicant may request a waiver of the new project application fee, which shall accompany the application when submitted. OFTB shall have the authority to waive such fee where the applicant is able to demonstrate unreasonable hardship.
Liability insurance is needed for those who obtain a required permit. If an applicant can demonstrate that obtaining the required insurance would impose an unreasonable hardship, OFTB may waive the need for liability insurance. In addition, student filmmakers can meet their liability insurance obligations through coverage under their school's insurance program. Learn more about liability insurance.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) oversees various City buildings, such as the Manhattan and Brooklyn Municipal Buildings, all Borough Halls, and City and State Courts, that are available to productions as filming locations. When filming in one of these properties, a fee of $3,200 needs to accompany a DCAS permit submitted to the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. Payment may be made by certified bank check, payable to the New York City Department of Finance. Please note that this payment is separate from the $300 new application fee (which must be paid by credit card). When filming on a DCAS property, do not select "Filming Permit" from the drop down box as the Permit Type, select "DCAS Permit". Permissions for filming must be obtained prior to applying for a filming permit. For additional information, visit the Department of Citywide Administrative Services' website.
Click the corresponding links for the rules published in July 2008 for when a permit is required, a question and answer document explaining the rules, and the June 2010 rule amendment regarding the new project application fee.