Film Permits

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The City of Santa Cruz is known for its unique atmosphere, incredible weather and beautiful beach setting.

If you are filming on public property in the City of Santa Cruz (including still photography) for commercial purposes, you must have a permit to do so. This application is solely for the use of public property within the City’s jurisdiction.

Requests for using Drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems - UAS) for filming must submit FAA certifications and/or other requirements with the application. 

If private property is utilized, arrangements must be made with the property owner.


Parties interested in filming in the City of Santa Cruz must review the following policies and procedures which will provide information regarding filming.

The following forms/fees should be completed and submitted:    

  • Application: A completed application with all requested documents must be submitted no later than 1 week prior to requested dates. 

The application will be reviewed and the applicant advised as to which City services, if any, are required.

The application must be processed and approved and all other documents submitted before filming/photographing begins. 

  • Certificate of insurance. See the insurance requirements
  • Site Map of requested location that provides equipment and/or other items 

Santa Cruz City Council members, the Police Department, and the Fire Department will be advised of significant film permits that are requested. Further review may be required for multiple dates, locations, and/or significant street closures. 

The application fee will be determined by City staff after reviewing the application. The application fee will be required to be paid in order to schedule the requested date/time.

Simple Filming App Fee: (less than 4 hours of City staff time)     

$120 July 2018          $126 Jan 2019       $144* July 2019   *estimated fees

Complex Filming App Fee: (more than 4 hours of City staff time)

$300 July 2018         $314 Jan 2019       $360* July 2019    *estimated fees

If the application is approved, the applicant will be issued an “Authorization to Film in the City of Santa Cruz” permit. This permit must be on hand at approved location at all times while filming/photographing.

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