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Frequently Asked Questions

For questions not covered by the FAQs, please send an email to with Filming/Special Events Inquiry in the subject line.


1. How long does it take to process a permit?
Film and Still Photography permits require 10 business days to process. If the shoot includes stunts, pyrotechnics, aircraft and/or water activity, additional time may be needed.  Special Event permits require a minimum of 20 business days.
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2. What is the standard process for obtaining a permit?
a) Application and application fee are submitted by applicants.

  1. Application is reviewed for completeness. Additional information is obtained from applicants, if necessary.
  2. The ten (10) business day clock starts when a complete application is received and accepted.
b) Insurance is determined and requirements provided to applicants within two (2) business days of receipt and acceptance of completed application.
c) Application is routed to Port divisions for review.
d) Input from other divisions is communicated back to applicants.
e) Insurance is submitted for approval.
f) Permit is prepared and issued, and fees are collected.
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3. Why does the Port make insurance so difficult?
It is not the Port’s intention to make insurance requirements difficult. Insurance requirements are determined by assessing risk on behalf of Port tenants, Port operations, and protecting Port assets.
Some elements of Special Event, Filming or still photography activities have the potential to damage Port property, shut down Port operations or create work stoppages by labor; which can be very costly for the Port, its tenants and customers. The insurance required for Special Events, Filming or Still Photography activities will help the Port to remedy such interruptions to service and any associated cost.
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4. Why doesn’t the Port accept ACORD or other certificates of insurance?
The Port does not accept ACORD or other certificates of insurance because they do not guarantee coverage, provide for indemnification of the Port, nor do they guarantee notification of cancellation. For example, ACORD certificates of insurance explicitly state: "This certificate is issued as a matter of information only and confers no rights upon the certificate holder.  This certificate does not amend, extend or alter the coverage afforded by the policies below."
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5. Why do we have to submit originals of insurance documentation?
We no longer require forms bearing wet signatures.  We accept e-mail or fax copies of Port Special Endorsement Forms and/or certified copies of insurance policies as long as they are legible.
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6. What happens if changes to an application are requested once it is under review or in the middle of a filming or a photo shoot?
The review process starts over for the change portion only.  To avoid delays in reviewing a request or holding a shoot, applicants are encouraged to include all scenarios of activity and equipment in their applications, even if certain activities are not yet confirmed.  It is easier to eliminate an approved activity than it is to add items after a permit is issued, as added activity may require additional review time and insurance.
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7. Is there a list of available space for special events, filming or still photography within the Port?

No, there is not such a list. The Port is a perpetual construction site, and as such, filming activity acceptable in certain locations on a given day may not be acceptable on another date. With activity at the Port changing from day to day, it would be impossible to maintain such a list. To this end, those seeking to film at the Port are encouraged to scout for a location and contact Terminal Services for advice on whether the location is available for filming.
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8. How do we work with the Port and its tenants?
If applicants want to photograph or film on a leased area, they must first
contact the lease holder directly and secure written permission.  A permit for filming or still photography will still need to be issued by the Port.

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9. Which terminals allow filming or photography on their premises?
Location scouts should contact tenants directly to inquire about filming or still photography on leased premises.  A list of terminal operators is available by clicking here.
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10. Is there a way to expedite check-in for location scouting?
Yes, click here to fill out the location scout request.

Upon arrival staff will meet you outside the Port’s administrative building to verify the information provided.  Pre-submittal of the above form will eliminate filling out paperwork at the time of the check-in.  Please note that scouting inside leased premises must be arranged with the tenants directly.
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11. Why are special events, filming and still photography permits at the Port so cost prohibitive?
It is not the intent of the Port to be a costly location for production companies.  Fees assessed to issue a permit cover staff time.  Insurance requirements serve to protect Port assets and tenant business interests.
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12. Why are so many Harbor Patrol officers assigned to special events, film or still photography shoots?
It is the duty of the Harbor Patrol to protect the Port’s interests during an event or shoot. Therefore, there will always be at least one officer present during any activity.  The size of the crew, the activity and location determines how many officers will be assigned.  The number of officers assigned is determined by the Security Division and is disclosed to the applicant before a permit is issued.
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13. Why doesn’t the Port say "yes" or "no" to requests upon initial contact?
The Port makes every effort to accommodate requests for special events, filming and still photography.  This decision cannot be made during initial contact, since we do not have a clear understanding of all activity, dates, times, locations and how they will impact Port assets, on-going projects or tenant operations.
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