San Diego

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The San Diego Film Office’s film registration process is quick and simple. There are no fees to register your film/still photography production – whether it is a feature film or print photography shoot – on City public property and our hands-on, dedicated staff will assist you along the way.

To start the process, thoroughly review the PDF icon Filming Production Guide. Then, submit the required completed/signed forms to Film@SanDiego.gov at least three business days in advance of your shoot (two weeks if your shoot involves any water contact, vehicles on the beach, smoke effects, pyrotechnics/open flame, or other effects; one week if filming involves sidewalk, lane, alley, or street closures or intermittent traffic control (ITC), gunfire or weapons, simulated confrontation or fight scenes, “cloned”/faux military or law enforcement personnel/vehicles, recreation of a crime, the use of UAS, or other elements that may pose public safety risks).

Due to the popularity of our locations, we strongly advise you to reach out to our office as soon as possible to ensure your requested filming location(s) is available. Call the San Diego Film Office at 619-685-1340 to discuss the details of your shoot in advance, including locations, timeline, and other details about your shoot.

ADVISORY ALERT:  As a result of the amended orders and emergency regulations issued by the San Diego County Public Health Officer in response to the COVID-19 situation in San Diego County, the City of San Diego has enacted temporary limits on public gatherings to protect the public and slow the spread of COVID-19. These limits have specific implications for special event permits and on-location filming, which apply for both future permits and previously issued permits in the City of San Diego.

Filming productions are now permitted by Public Health Officials and the City of San Diego, effective immediately, is accepting film applications, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. All productions must complete and submit along with your other film permitting documents the County of San Diego's Safe Reopening Plan which requires facial coverings, physical distancing measures, and sanitation stations for all cast and crew.

To learn more about the City of San Diego's latest guidelines and resources, visit: 

Supplemental Guidelines and FAQs for Film/Still Photography Production and COVID-19 Prevention

As with all guidance that relates to COVID-19 response, authorities will revisit this guidance on a regular basis to evaluate the continued public health need for it and to evaluate if any elements need to be changed. To stay informed, continue to monitor this link: CA Department of Public Health COVID-19 Guidance

Additional Resources


Student Filmmakers

The San Diego Film Office recognizes that student filmmakers’ contributions today have the potential to shape the architecture of the film industry in the future. Our filming authorization process is fee-free, making it simple and affordable to host your production on City public property, while working with our hands-on staff to ensure your production is meeting, if not exceeding, the needs of the surrounding community and public safety.

Contact the San Diego Film Office to start the process at (619) 685-1340 or Film@SanDiego.gov.

Drone Filming

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, commonly referred to as drones) for commercial filming in the City of San Diego is reviewed on a case by case basis. In order for a production to be considered for filming authorization involving a drone, please submit the necessary documentation outlined on the PDF icon UAS Filming on City Property Checklist to Film@SanDiego.gov.