Do I need a film permit?
Laws regarding film permit requirements are established by the jurisdictions that FilmLA serves. Please contact FilmLA 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.
Film Permit Process
Below are the following 5 steps for completing the film permit process.
- Step 1: Select Location
- Step 2: Secure Insurance
- Step 3: Submit Application
- Step 4: Conduct Outreach
- Step 5: Arrange Payment
Our Production Planning Team will save you time and money by guiding you through permit requirements, as well as the unique needs of area communities. Count on us for help with:
You will be required to furnish proof of liability insurance before FilmLA can coordinate and release your permit. Insurance requirements will vary depending on the areas you intend to film, and the activities you plan to conduct on location.
Before you submit your permit application, start your search for insurance with a review of our partial list of licensed local insurance carriers.
Our staff will supply further guidance on insurance requirements once we receive your film permit application.
Do I need to purchase Workers’ Comp?
Yes, even employers with one employee are required to carry Workers’ Compensation (Labor Code Section 3357). Even those with 1099 workers only may require coverage. Please speak to an insurance professional for more information.
Do I need a broker to purchase Workers’ Comp?
No, the State of California established State Fund, a non-profit Workers’ Comp Insurance provider with fairly priced workers’ compensation.
Once your application is accepted and a confirmation notice is sent to you, your project will be assigned to one of our knowledgeable Production Coordinators.
Your Coordinator will be your point person for the remainder of the process. His or her primary responsibility is to create a permit that addresses community concerns while securing the permissions you need from appropriate local authorities.
Because all film permit situations are unique, your coordinator may ask you to fulfill other requirements as a condition of permit release. These requirements could include, but are not limited to:
- Performing a filming survey
- Meeting with concerned community members
- Applying for additional permits (for example animal use, etc.)
- Organizing walk-throughs for public safety personnel
- Paying activity-based use, personnel and inspection fees
- Utilizing a FilmLA Monitor in sensitive areas
- Please see Area Requirements for application submission deadlines
When you work with FilmLA, we will help you by distributing official “Notices of Filming” to all residences and businesses located in the area near your location. These Notices contain details you’ve provided about when you will be filming, the activities to be filmed and whom community members can call to share their concerns. The Notices are typically distributed two business days ahead of your first day of production.
Along with that, we encourage you to distribute your own letters on production company letterhead describing the filming activities and providing your contact information.
Whether you choose to distribute a letter or introduce yourself to community members face-to-face, bear in mind that other filmmakers will have to follow in your footsteps. Being a good neighbor will help the crew that films there after you.
Our consolidated payment option allows you to pay for most of your permit-related fees in a single transaction. Your finalized permit will include a cover invoice with a detailed breakdown of fees.
Customers who apply using our Online Permit System (OPS) are able to pay for transactions using all popular credit cards. Additionally, you may also participate in our optional “Permits on Account” credit program can request immediate email delivery of permits.
Other delivery options include free in-office pickup or low-cost delivery. Payment is generally accepted in the form of cash, money order, cashier’s check or company check, though some restrictions apply based on permit type.
Payments and Refunds
When you request a film permit from FilmLA, you agree to pay all FilmLA required fees and charges, including, but not limited to: permit application fees, notification fees and monitoring fees. Total fees applied to your permit will vary depending on the location(s) used, type of production, and the impact and duration of your proposed filming activity.
Government-required fees must also be paid when you retrieve your permit. Please note that FilmLA does not set or control the filming-related fees charged by its government partners. Filming at City parks, for example, will generate use fees. Use of City or County personnel to protect public safety or property during filming will generate personnel fees.
|Application Fee (Motion)*||$699.00||Per Permit (Up to 10 locations over a 2 week period)|
|Application Fee (Still Photo)*||$66.00||Per Permit|
|Rider Fee (Motion)*||$111.00||Per Rider|
|FilmLA Monitor||$32.50||Per Hour, 1st 8 Hours (overtime rates apply)|
|Notification Fee||$173.00 min.||Per Location (fee varies with notified radius)|
We recognize that all filmmakers work within a limited production budget. Reviewing your filming plans with a FilmLA staff member can help you avoid use of locations and/or activities that will increase your total permit cost. Your FilmLA Production Coordinator or Production Planning staff member can assist you in exploring your options.
The non-profit rate for permit applications is a courtesy provided by FilmLA and is not a contractual or legislated requirement of our municipal clients. Proof of non-profit status is required. For eligibility requirements, please see our guide for non-profit permit requests:
As a convenience to filmmakers, all fees payable to FilmLA and most estimated city and county fees related to your film permit are payable together in a single transaction, provided these fees are related to a single film permit or license.
Payment for estimated fees is due in full at the time of permit pick-up or when requesting electronic permit delivery. Later, should changes be made to your permit requiring payment of additional fees for FilmLA or government services (aka “final charges”), a new invoice will be generated reflecting these charges.
Payment options for all transactions include credit card, debit card, Apple Pay (requires Safari browser), Google Pay (requires Chrome browser), FilmLA business account, cash, cashier’s check, money order, or business check.
Credit Card / Debit Cards
FilmLA accepts electronic payment via major credit card, debit card, Apple Pay (requires Safari browser), or Google Pay (requires Chrome browser). All card transactions are subject to a nonrefundable processing fee, assessed by our payment processor. This fee (typically falling between 3% and 4%) will vary with the total cost of your permit or license.
Use of a credit card issued by a non-US bank will result in an additional 1% transaction fee, billed and collected by FilmLA as a separate final charge.
Electronic payment eliminates the need for office visits to submit payments and pick up documents. If payment is made by credit card outside of regular business hours, documents will be delivered electronically the next business day.
FilmLA Business Account
Established companies may also apply for a business credit account with FilmLA. Acceptance to the “Permits on Account” program is based on creditworthiness and not guaranteed. There are no fees associated with use of this service.
Once you establish credit with FilmLA, you will be able to download completed permits directly from the Online Permit System (“OPS”) immediately when ready. Your download will include an invoice for estimated charges, which is payable within 15 days. Any form of payment accepted by FilmLA may be used to pay your invoice.
Applying for credit is simple. Complete and e-mail the Business Credit Application and Authorization to Verify Credit (see forms below) to AR@filmla.com. You will receive an email confirming receipt. Our Accounting Department may follow up to request additional information. You should expect to receive a final decision regarding your application by both email and mail within 30 days.
Cash, Cashier's Check, Money Order or Business Check
FilmLA also accepts payment in person via cash, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. Business checks require your company to have long-term insurance coverage on file with our office. Payments are accepted during business hours at 6255 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 1200, Hollywood CA 90028. We are open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except for holidays.
If your permit or license required a security deposit and you are entitled to a refund of the deposit, FilmLA 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.
A portion of the fees FilmLA 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 FilmLA 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 FilmLA 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.Refund Request Form (PDF)
FilmLA 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 FilmLA are non-refundable.