Permits for Filming

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Thank you for your interest in filming in Chicago. We are here to assist you with all of your permitting needs and look forward to working with you. Here are a few guidelines to get you started:

  • Permits are issued by the City of Chicago for the purpose of filming on the public way (streets, sidewalks, alleys, etc)
  • Permits cost $25 per day per location. Permits are valid for a specific location, date and duration.
  • Permit approval takes into consideration the existing traffic conditions and community characteristics of the requested location. Street closures, stunts, special effects and other complex logistics will require additional time to evaluate and approve. In all cases, it’s essential for a production representative to discuss the shoot specifics with the CFO in advance of this deadline to identify desired locations, logistic needs and limitations, city services, etc. To give these requests the time and attention they need, your adherence to this policy is appreciated.
  • Processing time is determined by the scope of the request – however, permits require a minimum of 3 business days to process. We will not be able to process any late permits. Please plan accordingly when filming on a weekend.
  • For filming on the Chicago Riverwalk, permits require a minimum of 10 days to process. Please email the Chicago Film Office at for more details.
  • For information about filming requirements and rates for other City departments and venues including the Chicago Park District, Navy Pier and Millennium Park, please contact the locations directly regarding permits and permission.

B-ROLL GUIDELINES: News crews, handheld interviews, documentaries, B-roll, and other low impact productions typically do not require a permit, as long as it does not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.


Permit Requirements:

All of the Following Must Be Received in order to Process a Permit Request. Incomplete Applications Will Not Be Processed or Approved. Each Production Must Complete the CDOT Online Permit Application as well as Email All Documents to the Film Office Directly:

  • Online Permit Application and Payment
  • City Services Request Form
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Community Relations Notification Leaflet

Step 1. Complete the CDOT Online Permit Application. A separate email will be sent once approved for Payment

Step 2. Send the City Services Request form, Certificate of Insurance and Community Relations Notification Leaflet with a brief description of your project to

Both Steps Must Be Completed In Order To Be Approved.


Step 1:

Complete the permit request form on a new online system. 

To login, you’ll need create user name and password. Create an account.

Download a system tutorial (PDF).


Helpful Tips For The Online Application and Payment:

  • To access the Film Permit Application, click SPECIAL EVENTS-FILMING on the Select Application Type page.
  • The FILMING INFORMATION page will ask you “Will any interruption of vehicular traffic be necessary?” Be sure to enter traffic control times and streets impacted.
  • The LOCATION INFORMATION page requires that you enter street addresses (for example, 1000 to 1200 W. Belmont Ave). To help you identify streets by address, download a Street Guide is attached here (PDF). Use the “Additional Information” box on this page to specify posting times and side of street (both sides, east side only, etc.)
  • If you have a current insurance certificate on file, you’re good to go. If you’re applying on behalf of a new company, or if your insurance expires, email us a certificate and we will have it entered into the system.
  • PAYMENT: You will receive an email notification when your permit has been approved. The system will require credit card payment prior to permits being issued. Permits cost $25 per day per location.


Step 2:

Submit the City Services Request form, Certificate of Insurance and Notification Leaflet to

Do Not Call Other City Departments Regarding Your Production Needs. We Will Coordinate For You.

Please complete the City Services Request form to request posting of No Parking signs, tow trucks, Police officers and notice of special effects or gunfire. Email the completed form to so that we can coordinate the steps necessary.

Upon permit approval, the City of Chicago will post “no parking” signs in the designated areas. It is the responsibility of the production to verify that signs are posted accurately and to remove them at wrap. Please also be sure to remove the string and tape.

With proper distribution of the Community Relations Leaflet (sample below) and advance notice to the community (48 hour minimum), cars parked within permitted areas can be relocated by authorized City of Chicago tow trucks. Please contact the Film Office to make arrangements, or work with the on-site officer.

Chicago Police Department (CPD) personnel are required for any street closures or traffic control. Police services are paid for by the production. We will assist you in making the proper arrangements with the CPD for the required personnel. Production is responsible for providing timecards and paperwork to each officer to facilitate timely payment directly to the officer. Squad cars will be billed separately and emailed to the production contact directly. Visit our Rates for Filming page for more information.

The Police Department requires 3 business days from the call time prior notice for all requests (not including weekends and holidays). No exceptions will be made and late requests will be denied.

Any use of prop weapons or special effects must be discussed with the Film Office in advance. Special Effects may require a separate license and can only be performed under the supervision of police and/or fire department personnel. Any use of prop guns will also require the supervision a police officer and proper notification to the neighborhood.

Students, please remember that we are a resource center and we are here to help. Give us a call to set up a time to discuss your project. We will go over the process and the important things you need to know to ensure a smooth production.

City Services Request Form (PDF)


Certificate Of Insurance:

A Certificate of Insurance that meets the specified limits and names the City of Chicago as an additional insured is required. Policies must reflect the following minimum requirements:

  • General Liability: $1,000,000 per occurrence; $500,000 per person
  • The City of Chicago must appear as an "additional named insured" and listed as follows:

City of Chicago

121 N. LaSalle Street

Chicago, Illinois 60602

  • Workman's Compensation (only when hiring police/fire personnel)
  • A current certificate must be submitted prior to EACH production

Sample Insurance (PDF)


Community Relations Notification Leaflet:

It is the producer’s responsibility to properly notify and leaflet neighboring residents and/or businesses. Leaflets should provide pertinent details and must be listed on Company letterhead including a business address and contact phone number:

  • Filming Notice to be listed the heading (see sample)
  • Production Company/Project Title
  • Dates/Times
  • Locations where no parking signs will be posted
  • Traffic Restrictions – list any street closures
  • Notification of Special Effects or Weapons on Set (if any)
  • Production Company Contact Name, Cell Phone Number and Email Address

Early and thorough notification is not only a courtesy; it’s an effective and indispensable part of production prep. Notification should be with as much notice as possible prior to your shoot with a minimum 48 hours. Notices should be provided to nearby businesses, residential properties and cars parked in the permitted area. It is the full responsibility of the Production Company to ensure proper notification.

Please submit the Community Relations Leaflet to us for review. Do not distribute the leaflets until your request has been submitted to the Chicago Film Office and approved by the Department of Transportation.

Sample Leaflet (PDF)


Production Code Of Conduct:

Please review the Code of Conduct and share with the crew. It is your responsibility to create a positive experience for Chicagoans and we look to you and your crew to be respectful and courteous to all. Please leave your location clean, making sure to remove all production signage and trash and always be respectful to the neighborhood.

Code of Conduct (PDF)




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