Before Doing Anything, Ask Yourself, "Do I Need a Permit?"

A permit is no longer needed if you are using ONLY a camera and tripod, along with any handheld equipment - AND if filming activity does not involve the assertion of exclusive use of City property AND does not request parking privileges for its vehicles. For further explanation, click here. For all other filming, procedures stay the same.

The Motion Picture / TV permit (also called a "Required Permit") is needed when you shoot in any public space, including sidewalks, parks, beaches, public buildings or in any New York City facility in the five boroughs. A scouting permit is required when scouting Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) or other City-run properties. 

Student/School Requirements

The student whose name is listed on the school’s cover letter, must upload the documents provided by their school as well as a copy of their school ID when submitting the online permit. This letter from the school confirms that you are enrolled in a film course and that the school’s insurance will cover your filming. On the permit application, your school name is the “company” and you are the “production contact”. Remember - Permits will be issued ONLY when the student named on the insurance letter and on the photo ID is an active user of the project.

Filing Student Permits

The Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting issues permits Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. The office is closed on weekends & holidays. Permits must be submitted no later than noon at least two business days prior to the shoot or earlier. If requesting to scout City owned buildings or locations requiring special approval, please allow enough lead time to get permission. Permits for Times Square must be filed 7 business days in advance. Permits for Saturday, Sunday and Monday must be submitted by NOON on Thursday. If Friday or Monday is a Public Holiday, act accordingly.

NYPD Movie/TV Unit

The following requires NYPD Movie/TV Unit assistance:

1) The use of prop firearms or weapons on set
2) Actors in police or other emergency response uniform
3) Prop police or other emergency vehicles
4) Any sequence that may impact public safety

Officers are not used for security or crowd control. Police assistance is not available for student projects on weekends. Police assistance for student films is available ONLY on regular working weekdays in commercial/business areas until midnight (12AM). You must confirm the request by calling the NYPD Movie/TV Unit at (212) 239-2521, by 10 AM on the working day prior to the shoot. They will not just “show up” unless confirmed by you. Please note: it is not legal for on-duty Police Officers to appear in dramatic productions, nor may you film active police equipment, including precinct houses, police vehicles, horses, etc. Police assistance is provided by OFTB only. Do not approach local precincts.

Hours of Filming

Residential areas - Exterior filming is allowed ONLY until 11 PM. Interior filming is not restricted.
Business/Commerical areas – Exterior filming is allowed past midnight (12AM) ONLY if Police Assistance is not required.
Areas that are both residential & commerical - Will be reviewed by a OFTB supervisor on a case by case basis.

3 Steps to a Permit!

Step 1

When a Permit Is Required and Fee Info
Insurance Requirements
Optional Permit

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

International Productions
Red Carpet Premire Permits
Calendar of Citywide Events