FilmLA Inc.

Do I Need a Film Permit?

Laws regarding film permit requirements are established by the jurisdictions that FilmL.A. serves.  In the City of Los Angeles, Division 22, Chapter 13, Article 8, Section 22.350 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code specifies that a film permit is required for the filming of commercial motion pictures (including television and other like projects) and still photography.  Please contact FilmL.A. if you have questions about whether a permit is required for your specific project.  Generally speaking, non-commercial filming (personal use) does not require a film permit.

How Do I Apply for a Film Permit?

Customers wishing to film in any of our client jurisdictions can fill out a permit application online and track its approval status in real-time using OPS, FilmL.A.'s web-based Online Permit System. 

Apply Online Now

After a brief registration process, OPS users have the ability to:
  • Create and save templates for future permit applications
  • Receive instant confirmation of application receipt
  • Track permit progress and approval status in real-time
  • Download coordinated permits made ready for distribution 
Although the preferred way to apply for permits is online, a traditional pen-and-paper application form is also available.

How Do I Pay for a Film Permit?

Permits are paid for in advance either through:

Permits on Account
Established businesses are encouraged to apply for credit with FilmL.A. Credit is granted based on a review of your completed credit application and is not guaranteed. Once you establish credit with FilmL.A., you will be able to download completed permits directly from the Online Permitting System (“OPS”). The download will include an invoice for estimated charges, which is due in 15 days.

Applying for credit is simple. Just complete and return the Business Credit Application and Authorization to Verify Credit (please see links below). You will receive an email confirming receipt. Once your application has been received, the FilmL.A. Accounting Department will follow up to request any additional information that may be needed. You will receive final notification from the FilmL.A. Accounting Department of the acceptance or rejection of your application by both email and mail within 30 days of your request.

Business Credit Application (.PDF)
Authorization to Verify Credit (.PDF)

Cash, cashier’s check, money order or business check
If you are an individual, new company, student or do not qualify for our Permit On Account program (credit), FilmL.A. accepts payments by cash, cashier’s check, money order or business check at our office at 6255 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 1200, Hollywood CA 90028. The office is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except for holidays. If all other permit requirements have been met, you will receive your permit at the time you make your payment.

How Do I Get My Deposit Back?

If your permit or license required a security deposit and you are entitled to a refund of the deposit, FilmL.A. will return the deposit to you within 30 days of the time we have received all of the final charges from the government agency. There is no need for any additional action on your part.

How Do I Receive a Refund?

A portion of the fees FilmL.A. collects at the time of permit release are based on various government agencies’ estimates of their fees, based on the information you provide on your film permit application. Once filming is complete, each government agency sends FilmL.A. their final charges for facility use, personnel, and other charges, based on the actual work the agency performed at your request. If the final charges are less than the estimated charges, you may be entitled to a refund of the difference. If you believe you might be entitled to a refund, provide FilmL.A. with a completed Refund Request Form within 90 days of the completion of the permitted filming activities. Requests received after 90 days will not be considered.

Obtain refund form here.

FilmL.A. will process the refund request once we have received the final charges from all of the agencies listed on the original permit and associated riders.

Please note that this can take some time; receipt of final charges from government agencies can take up to 60-90 days. Please note that permit application, permit rider and other processing fees assessed by FilmL.A. are non-refundable.

What if My Production Was Cancelled? Will I Get a Full Refund of the Fees Paid?

FilmL.A. is unable to make any commitments concerning refunds of fees in the event of a cancelation. If a permitted activity is canceled and adequate notice is given, FilmL.A. will work with you and affected government agencies to retrieve fees that have been paid on your behalf. Please contact for assistance. Please note that the final decision about the refund of fees for a permit that was cancelled will be made by the respective government agency.

FilmL.A. Process Guides

Obtaining a film permit involves more than just submitting an application.  As a part of the permit process, applicants must also furnish proof of insurance and other documents and conduct community outreach.

All of this can get rather complicated.  At FilmL.A., it's our job to streamline the permit process, help you work with local communities and speed you on the way to production. 

That's one reason we created Process Guides (see page sidebar), that include step-by-step permit process overviews and detailed jurisdictional requirements.

We want you to have the option to learn about the process before you submit an application.

What if the Guides Don't Answer My Question?

Please contact us for prompt assistance with any permitting questions not addressed on our site. Our experienced production planning team will be glad to assist you.
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