COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Film Permits

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COVID-19 Updates

As of Jun 12th, based on California’s Industry Guidelines, the City of Santa Cruz will begin issuing permits for filming and photography to resume. 

  • The size of filming cast, crew and talent group size will be considered on a case by case basis.Group size should reflect the capacity of the proposed space and take into account the ability to maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Cast and talent can remove masks while filming outside, but should practice social distancing as they are able.
  • All current guidelines and regulations from County Health Officer must be followed
  • All Production teams must submit a health and safety plan, including social distancing protocol, prior to receiving a final film permit. On site visits for compliance and implementation may occur as needed.
  • Film crews will be required to pay for all road closures and use of City facilities and resources to ensure exclusivity and to prevent spread of germs.
  • Any filming that occurs within the interior of a City building, will incur additional costs for cleaning and sanitation following the completion of the project.


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)     

$149* January 2020   *estimated fees

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

$370* January 2020   *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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