When do I need a film permit?

Filming/Video: Activities on public lands that may require a permit include the use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording or other moving image or audio recording equipment that involves actors, models, sets and/or props.

Public land users do not require a permit for short-term filming activities unless the activity would:

  • cause appreciable damage or disturbance to the public lands, their resources or existing  improvements, or 
  • is prohibited by closure of the lands to such activities.  

Still Photography: Still photography activities that require a permit are those that:

  • use models, sets or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities (Portrait subjects such as wedding parties or high school graduates are not considered models.); or 
  • would take place where members of the public are generally not allowed; or 
  • would require onsite management and oversight for resource protection or to minimize conflict with other users. 

Filming or still photography will NOT be permitted if it is determined that:

  • there is likelihood of resource damage or public health and safety risks that cannot be mitigated, or
  • there would be an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use and enjoyment of the site (beyond short-term interruption). 


Contact Information

Photographers and filming companies should contact the BLM Field Office most local to the proposed filming site or to their base of operation to determine whether a permit is required. 

Open the National Data Map viewer > 

With the Administrative Units data layer enabled, click & zoom to the area where you plan to apply for authorization. (BLM-managed lands show in yellow-gold.) 

Find the name of the local BLM Field Office in the pop-up, along with the link to online Contact Information for that office. 

Each BLM office authorizes filming on public lands within its jurisdiction. Each location is unique and subject to different permitting conditions. Regarding filming on lands not administered by the BLM, please contact the respective management agency, state film office or private land owner.