PERMITS & REGULATIONS
No matter the crew size or impact, the City of Austin requires a permit to film on public property. Permits are generally not required to use a private property for filming.
All pyrotechnic effects must be permitted with the Austin Fire Department and all weapons safety must be signed off by the Austin Police Department be it either a public or private property.
If you have questions or need assistance with City of Austin film permitting processes, please contact Kim McCarson, with the City of Austin Music & Entertainment Division at 512-974-7963 or email@example.com.
For motion picture set construction guidelines for sets, please reference the City of Austin Development Services Department Permit Exemptions.
The Austin Film Commission does not issue permits for filming but the following are local contacts (along with guidelines) for the various Austin-area film location permitting entities:
City of Austin - Streets & Sidewalks / City of Austin - Parks & Waterways
City of Austin - Public Library / State of Texas - Capitol Grounds / State of Texas - Owned Properties
TxDOT - Highways (Austin District) / LCRA - Properties / University of Texas at Austin
The following are additional regulatory resources for filming locally:
If you are working in the communities surrounding Austin, please reference the Film Friendly Texas Directory for permitting contacts in those jurisdictions.
CITY OF AUSTIN - STREETS & SIDEWALKS
Requests for the use of City of Austin Right of Way (city streets, sidewalks, and alleys) by commercial, student, or mobile filming, are reviewed and processed by the City of Austin Office of Special Events (OSE) in the Transportation and Public Works Department. It is recommended that Permit requests be filed at least 5 days prior to the filming start date to accommodate the request.
Permits are free, but productions need to provide the following as part of the permitting process: Austin Police Department safety sign-off, proof of insurance, description of impact, map highlighting production site and notification sign-off from any impacted residents or businesses to resolve any conflicts that may occur due to filming. Depending on the impact of the shoot, there may be incurred costs for things like use of police on-site and reserving of parking.
If you are requesting any type of road closure, a Traffic Control Plan will also be needed as well as on-set police assistance. For complete road closures, productions are asked to have permit requests submitted 10 days prior to filming. Complete closures also have additional requirements like notification signage prior to filming and an engineering plan for rerouting traffic.
Right of Way permit requests are filed online through the City of Austin's ABC Permitting Portal. The following is a link to the official Right of Way website with permitting instructions (which includes greater detail and requirements) as well as a link to the ABC Portal create/submit an online permit request: Apply for a Right of Way Film Permit.
This film permit is also used for general B-Roll Permits and Parking Permits/Meter Reservations. Note, any vehicles being used for production like box trucks or even crew street parking will require a film permit if the public right of way is being utilized.
Tips: With the description of impact, detail is good but keep things succinct. Include the who, what, where, when and why. With the map highlighting the production site, keep it accurate to where things will be on-location - for example if you have generator on-site note where they are being placed. Inspections of permitted public shoots will happen and the map will need to be followed. With notification sign offs, two attempts must be made.
For questions, please contact the OSE or reference the OSE Right of Way permitting guidelines:
City of Austin Transportation Department:
Office of Special Events (OSE)
Please check the Austin Center For Events Calendar for upcoming road closures that could impact your production.
Not sure which local jurisdiction permits a certain roadway or need to check for permit conflicts? Find out if a roadway is overseen by City, County or State along with any active permits in the area with Right of Way GIS Profiles.
CITY OF AUSTIN - PARKS & WATERWAYS
To film on Austin Parks properties—like Zilker Park, Pfluger Bridge, the Hike and Bike Trail, Mount Bonnell, Lady Bird Lake, Decker Lake, & Lake Austin—a permit must be obtained from the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD). The Park Directory includes a full list of the over 300 City of Austin Parks properties. It is recommended that requests be filed at least 7 days in advance of filming start date for small productions and 14 days for large impact projects.
For full application, instructions, filming FAQs and more information on requirements, please reference the Parks & Recreation Office of Special Events Page.
City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department:
Special Events Office
CITY OF AUSTIN - PUBLIC LIBRARY
Reservations for filming and photography are based upon availability as determined by library staff. It is recommended that all filming requests be made 21 days prior to the production day. Filming is welcome but must not interfere with the public’s regular use of the facility during open hours.
Commercial Filming and Photography Permit requests are available via the Austin Public Library Communications Office.
APL Event Services Office
STATE OF TEXAS - CAPITOL GROUNDS
To inquire about filming on the State Capitol Grounds, requests must be submitted to the State Preservation Board.
Events & Exhibits Coordinator, State Preservation Board
STATE OF TEXAS - OWNED PROPERTIES
In order to film on a state-owned property—like a building or park—a request must be submitted to the Texas Film Commission. Permit requests can be filed online through the State Property Use - Request for Use Application.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (TXDOT) - HIGHWAYS
To film on any State of Texas highway right of way in the area, you must obtain permission from the TxDOT Austin District Office, which oversees Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Gillespie, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis, & Williamson counties. Local corridors overseen by TxDOT include: I-35, US 290, US 183, US 281, SH 71, SH 195, SH 130 toll road, Loop 1 (MoPac), & Loop 360.
Austin District Office
LOWER COLORADO RIVER AUTHORITY (LCRA)
Organizations and individuals wanting to film or take photographs on LCRA property can apply online. The LCRA oversees a number of beautiful parks and waterways as well as offices and unique industrial spaces in the Austin area. Local properties including McKinney Roughs Nature Park, Lake Bastrop, and the Dalchau Service Center. The Parks Directory includes a list of LCRA properties.