Permit FAQs

These are the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding production permit requirements in the City and County of San Francisco:

Do I need a permit?

A production permit is required whenever you’re shooting on City property for commercial purpose. Please note that students, b-roll and other small productions still require permits from the Film Office.

You do not need a permit to film on City property if:

a) you are not shooting for commercial purposes; for example, you are filming a breaking news story with the appropriate press credentials or taking a photograph for personal use (i.e family portrait or documentation of your personal travels)
b) you are filming entirely on private property. For example, if you are filming inside a private restaurant, will not be taking any exterior shots of that private space, nor taking out parking or filming in front of the restaurant, you do not need a permit with our office

All other types of productions, including but not limited to: commercial, digital media, student, corporate videos, PSAs, advertisements, feature films, independent films, television episodes, short films, web content and still photography, all require permitting through our office. You can begin by filling out a permit application. All completed permit applications may be submitted digitally to film@sfgov.org.

How long does it take to secure a permit?

Our office requires 4 full business days to process a permit from start to finish, including the application, insurance verification, notification creation, parking approval and other supplemental permitting requirements. Therefore, if you submit an application on 9am Monday morning, we will get you permitted and ready for filming by 9am Friday.  Please note that permit applications requiring special filming, such as a Street/Lane Closure or SFMTA-operated vehicle charter rental, will require anywhere from five to 10 additional business days to process.  If you think your production will need any of these types of special filming needs, please contact the Film Office as early as possible to discuss deadlines.

How do I submit a permit?

You can begin by filling out a permit application. All completed permit applications may be submitted digitally to film@sfgov.org.  

What are the Film Office hours of operation?

Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm, excluding legal holidays. Permits are issued only during our office hours.

Which locations are not covered by your permit?

City parks, beaches, and private properties are examples of locations not permitted through our office. Please review our full list of contacts to find the person you're looking for. Check out our Locations section for much more information about the iconic locations San Francisco has to offer.

Is there an application fee?

No, it does not cost anything to apply for the permit, but if the permit is approved a fee will apply. Our permit fees are the last step in our permit application process and amount to the total of days you are planning to request. For more information about our fees, click here

What kind of insurance is required for a production permit in San Francisco?

Each production that requests a production permit must have valid proof of insurance coverage with specific requirements set out by the City and County of San Francisco.  For more information about our insurance requirements, click here

How do I obtain permissions to film on a Muni bus and/or a Cable Car?

The Film Office is your best contact for securing any public transportation for production activities.   For more information see Filming Guidelines

How do I get a permit to shoot my student project?

The Film Office can assist students in permitting student projects.   For more information see Filming Guidelines

How can I get an internship with the San Francisco Film Commission?

We are always looking for excited internship candidates to join our mission. Any interested applicants may send their cover letters and resumes to film@sfgov.org. Tell us why you'd be a great intern for our office!