Permitting Assistance

For your convenience, below is a summary of the permitting procedure for the City of Boston.

To acquire the necessary permit, you must present the following to the Office of Special Events, Tourism and Film, Room 802, City Hall:

Schedule an appointment to discuss and present these materials by contacting the Boston Film Bureau.

Required Materials

Prior to submitting a Permitting Request to the Boston Film Bureau, complete the following insurances:

  • Protection Against Personal Injury
    For protection against possible occurence of personal injury, you must provide a Certificate of Insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000.00 issued to: The City of Boston, Boston City Hall, Room 716, Boston, MA with The City of Boston as the certificate holder. This Certificate ensures security in the unlikely event of personal injury occurring on city property as a result of your activities. You must request a Certificate of Insurance from your own insurance company, and have it dated for the entire period of time you are working in the City of Boston.

  • Protection Against Damage to City Property
    For protection against possible damage to city property, you must provide a bond with a minimum security of $5,000.00 issued to the City of Boston. The bond must be acquired from a local bonding company. There is usually a $50.00 fee for a bond valid for one year. For assistance in selecting a bond company, please contact our office.

NOTE: The following permitting steps cannot be completed before meeting with a member of the Office of Special Events, Tourism and Film. They will accompany you through the remainder of the permitting process.

  • Reserved Parking Permits
    If your production requires reserved parking for staging vehicles, or pedestrian or vehicular traffic control, or if special circumstances are involved, you must present copies of your Certificate of Insurance and the property security bond to the Boston Transportation Department, located in Room 721 at City Hall.

    For parking needs, complete a parking permit application and have it approved. You must provide a detailed map of your proposed locations for filming and staging vehicles to facilitate the permitting process. If you are required to post notices for restricted parking or special circumstances, some postings must be completed 72 hours (three days) in advance of activities in residential communities, and 48 hours (two days) for non-residential communities; in addition, the posting notice application requires 48 hours to process interdepartmentally. Therefore, you must allow for a minimum of four to five days lead time to complete such arrangements. Parking will only be approved for vehicles with commercial plates.

    Requests for bagging of parking meters are also made at the Transportation Department, and you must provide meter numbers and exact locations. (The meter charge is $20.00 per meter per day.) For such arrangements, call Brian McKinley at 617-635-4675 at the Boston Transportation Department.

Review of Application

The office will review your application to determine any additional permits, fees, and licenses that may be required by the City of Boston. (These may involve the Department of Public Works, Police or Fire Departments, Parks and Recreation Department, Neighborhood Associations or Special Interests.) The Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events will then assist you in making any necessary arrangements with these departments.

If there are any fees for special services, for example Police Details, Ranger Details, and Fire Marshall Details, such fees will be billed directly to the client by the respective office. The Office of Special Events, Tourism and Film also collects contributions to the Funds for the Parks and Recreation and Funds for Boston Neighborhoods. If necessary, any Neighborhood Associations or Special Interest groups will make decisions that may be appropriate.

Public Area Filming Permits

The Department of Public Works issues permits for shooting on the streets, sidewalks and public ways. For such permits, contact Ann McNeil, at 617-635-4909, Room 714 at the Department of Public Works. The Department will issue the project documents to determine the need for a permit. The fee for the permit is $20.00 per day per location.

Other Production Requests

For other production requests, including locations or other film services, contact the Office of Special Events, Tourism and Film, which can also assist you in information pertaining to cities and towns outside Boston.

Boston Police Assistance

The Boston Police Department has worked closely with many productions to ensure the safety and convenience of the public as well as attention to the needs of the production crew. Routine police details may be obtained through the Boston Police Department Detail Office. Police details are charged at the following hourly rates:

Detail Rates Per Hour:

Captain - Captain Detective$51.00$47.00
Lieutenant -Lieutenant Detective$46.00$42.00
Sergeant - Sergeant Detective$44.00$40.00
Police Officer - Detective$37.00$33.00
Billing Rate Per Hour (Including 10% Administrative Fee):

Captain - Captain Detective$56.10$51.70
Lieutenant -Lieutenant Detective$50.60$46.20
Sergeant - Sergeant Detective$48.40$44.00
Police Officer - Detective$40.70$36.30

*Four hour minimum for all details.

*Any detail exceeding six hours will be invoiced at a minimum of eight hours. There is no seven hour paid detail. Time in excess of the eighth hour will be invoiced on an hourly basis.

*Specific to construction details only, details worked in excess of four hours will be invoiced as a minimum of eight hours. Time in excess of the eighth hour will be invoiced on an hourly basis.

Additional information on Boston's Neighborhood District Stations is avaiable through the Boston Police Department.

Boston EMS Assistance

Boston Emergency Medical Services can provide EMTs and Ambulance details to provide medical treatment as needed to the crew and/or public.  Boston EMS will also provide vehicles and personnel for use in production. The minimum detail is three hours with the addition of ½ hour before and after on-site time for the EMT(s) to obtain and return their vehicle(s) and equipment.  All units carry oxygen, defibrillator, and first aid supplies.

For more information, please contact Boston EMS at 617-343-2367.

Detail Rates Per Hour:

DetailDescriptionRate per Hour
Basic Life Support Squad UnitSingle EMT with SUV$55
Basic Life Support AmbulanceTwo EMTs with Ambulance$115
Bicycle Defibrillator Team Two EMTs on Bicycles  $95 
Advanced Life Support AmbulanceTwo Paramedics with Ambulance$140