Applying for a permit is free. You pay per day that you are filming or parking. See permit use fees.
You need a permit when shooting:
- Commercial productions, including digital media, advertisements, corporate videos, and PSAs
- Entertainment, including feature films, independent films, TV episodes, short films, and web content
- Student film productions
- Still photography
You do not need a permit when:
- Filming a breaking news story, if you have official press credentials
- Taking photos of video for private use (family or personal travel)
- Filming entirely on and within private property (no shots or production parking outside)
Check if the locations you want to film are within SF City boundaries. We cannot issue blanket permits to film the entire city.
Other agencies separately issue permits to film. You can look at photos of popular filming locations to help you scout locations and see the agencies that issue the permits for them. Contact Film SF to find out more info about which permits you will need.
We also have a list of B-roll locations with permit application location pages pre-filled. You can shoot on city sidewalks at such locations.
See extra processes for highly involved shoots
You need to follow additional steps if your film shoot has certain circumstances.
If you plan to:
- Film between 10 pm and 7 am, we may require you to get feedback from locals about your off-hours shoot
- Shoot on board an SFMTA bus, train, or cable car, you need to charter the vehicle
- Use traffic control or close a street to film, request police support
- Use a drone, see drone use guidelines
- Film on SF Port property (most piers and the Embarcadero) with a crew larger than 5, complete the Port request form (Word) and include it with your application
- Shoot more than 7 days in SF, register for a business license
- Shoot a feature film, TV series, and web series, check if your production is eligible for a rebate
If you are shooting a student film, see tips for film students shooting in SF.
Request parking with your application if you need it for production vehicles, picture vehicles, or to clear for picture.
We do not accept requests for personal vehicle parking for crew or cast.
Plan outreach of the neighborhood if required
You must notify the neighbors if you want to do certain activities including:
- Use 4 or more parking spots for 4 or more hours
- Close lanes or streets
- Film simulated violence or explosions
- Film between 10 pm and 7 am
Fill out and send in the permit application
If you have more than 3 locations, add them on Additional Location Pages.
If needed, include:
- Parking requests
- Pre-selected B-roll location pages
- Filming notices
- Drone use request
Email the entire permit application to email@example.com.
Last updated November 1, 2022