California Film Commission (CFC). The CFC offers free online permitting for all state properties including state parks and beaches, freeways, roads, and government buildings. The CFC requires state permit applications be submitted four business days/96 hours (weekends and holidays are not considered a business day) prior to the first pre/shoot dayhttp://film.ca.gov/state-permits/online-permit-application/
Links for permits per town/city:
- SAN MATEO COUNTY (San Mateo, Burlingame, Half Moon Bay, San Carlos, Menlo Park, Belmont, East Palo Alto, Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside, Portola Valley and more): https://www.smccvb.com/film/location-assistance/
How do I obtain a film permit?
In Los Angeles, the process is handled by FilmLA, a not-for-profit organisation. The following is a rough outline of the steps to be followed:
- Before you finalize your location, give FilmLA a call to discuss about your location and intended filming plans. They can help guide you through permit requirements, as well as speak to you about the specific area/location you're interested to shoot in.
- Before you can apply for your permit, you will be required to furnish proof of liability insurance. The exact requirements may vary depending on the areas you intend to film in and the activities you intend to conduct.
- Submit your application for the film permit with FilmLA. This is an easy process that you can do online. Do note that FilmLA may ask you for additional requirements such as a filming survey, meetings, additional permits, utilizing a FilmLA monitor in sensitive areas, or others.
- FilmLA will then distribute official "Notices for Filming" to all residences and business in the proximity of your location, in order to inform them about when you're filming, activities that you're filming, and contact details.
- Pay for your permit – you can pay online or offline, using a variety of methods. This is when you get your finalized film permit that allows you to begin filming.
How long would the film permit take to get processed?
You need a minimum of 3 days to get a permit approved. The reason for this is that the LAPD has to see and approve every permit application. However, other delays can always pop up, and we recommend that you budget enough time for this.