When a Permit is Required

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. In 2008, the rules were published for when a production is required to have a permit and when it is not in order to help expedite filmmaking in the City. When a permit is required, there is a $300 fee for the processing of the initial application of a new project.

Permit Required: $300 application fee applies Permit Not Required: $300 permit fee does NOT apply Optional Permit: $300 permit fee does NOT apply
Equipment or vehicles are used or the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property.
Insurance is required for this permit.
Hand-held cameras or tripods are used and the person filming does not assert exclusive use of City property. Hand-held equipment only. Permit does not include special parking privileges.
Insurance is not required for this permit.
Equipment does not include hand-held devices (such as hand-held film, still, or television cameras or video cameras) or tripods used to support such cameras. A permit is required in certain situations when the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property while using a hand-held device.

Permits are not be required for casual photographers, tourists, credentialed members of the media or other members of the public who do not use vehicles or equipment or assert exclusive use of City property. Standing on a street, walkway of a bridge, sidewalk or other pedestrian passageway while using a hand-held device and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property is not an activity that requires a permit.

In addition, activity that involves the filming of a parade, rally, protest or demonstration does not require a permit except when equipment or vehicles are used. Press photographers, who are credentialed by the New York Police Department do not need to obtain an OFTB permit.


New Project Application Fee

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.


Optional Permits

A permit is not required for filming that uses hand-held cameras or tripods and does not assert exclusive use of City property. Standing on a street, walkway of a bridge, sidewalk, or other pedestrian passageway while using a hand-held device and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property is not an activity that requires a permit.

A free optional permit is available to an applicant when a permit is not required but who wishes to have documentation from the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. The optional permit must be filled out with dates, times, locations and contact information. Liability insurance is not required for an optional permit. Download the optional permit here. Completed optional permits should be faxed to 212-262-7677.


Liability Insurance

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.

Filming in a Department of Citywide Administrative Services Property

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 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 form of payment should be made separately from the new application fee. For additional information, visit the Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ website.

History

The rules published in July 2008 for when a permit is required http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/downloads/pdf/moftb_permit_rules_final.pdf, along with a question and answer document explaining the rules http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/downloads/pdf/moftb_permit_rules_QA_final.pdf and the June 2010 rule amendment regarding the new project application fee http://nyc.gov/html/film/downloads/pdf/moftb_application_fee061110.pdf are available to read online.

3 Steps to a Permit!

Step 1

When a Permit Is Required and Fee Info
Insurance Requirements
Optional Permit
Pre-Production

Step 2

Filming in a Park
Online Application

Step 3

Find a Community Board
Find a City Council District
Find a Business Improvement District
Sample Resident Letter

Step 4

Students
International Productions
Red Carpet Premire Permits
Calendar of Citywide Events
FAQs