Before Doing Anything, Ask Yourself, “Do I Need a Permit?”
A permit is not required if you’re using a hand-held camera, camera on tripod and/or hand-held equipment, and not asserting exclusive use of City property, not using prop weapons, stunts, actors in police uniform and do not have production vehicles.
Asserting exclusive use of City property, using prop weapons, actors in police uniform, performing stunts, requesting parking privileges for production vehicles (excluding personal cars, mini-vans, SUVs and pick-up trucks) necessitates a required permit.
A scouting permit is required when scouting City-run properties (such HPD, NYCHA, etc).
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 using their school e-mail address, NOT personal e-mail addresses (such as gmail, yahoo, etc.).*
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 filming date 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 and requires prior permission from the Times Square Alliance. Business days do not include Legal Public Holidays – please plan accordingly. Permits for Saturday, Sunday and Monday must be submitted by NOON on Thursday.
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
Police Officers are not used for security or crowd control. Police assistance is not available for student projects on weekends. Police assistance for student projects is available ONLY on regular working weekdays in:
- Commercial/business areas until midnight (12AM).
- Residential areas until 11pm.
You must request Police assistance on the Questionnaire Page of the permit application and indicate why assistance is needed. You must confirm the request by calling the NYPD Movie/TV Unit at (718) 312-5120, by 10am on the business 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 film 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: Allowed until 11pm ONLY
- Commercial areas: Allowed past midnight (12AM) ONLY if Police Assistance is not required.
*Hours of filming in areas that are mixed residential and commercial will be reviewed by OFTB on a case by case basis.