PERMITS & REGULATIONS
No matter the crew size or impact, the City of Austin requires a permit to film on public property. All pyrotechnic effects must be permitted with the Austin Fire Department and all weapons safety must be signed off by the Austin Police Department. Permits are not required to use a private property for filming.
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, 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, must be authorized by the Austin Transportation Department's Right of Way Division. It is recommended that Permit requests be filed at least 5 days prior to the filming start date for the Transportation Department to be able to accommodate the request.
Permits are free, but productions need to provide the following as part of the permitting process: proof of insurance, description of impact, map highlighting production site, Austin Police Department safety sign-off and sign off from any impacted residents or businesses to resolve any conflicts that may occur due to filming.
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.
The Right of Way Department also issues general B-Roll Permits and Parking Permits/Meter Reservations.
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.
City of Austin Transportation Department:
Right of Way Management Division
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 instructions and more information on requirements, please reference the Parks and Recreation Department's Film Permit FAQ.
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.