Permits and Permissions
Film permits are required for production shoots that involve public property, equipment or facilities in Lee County. Filming on private property does not require a permit, unless it involves the use of pyrotechnics, explosives, firearms or other incendiary devices, and stunts of any kind.
Who Needs a Permit?
Feature film, TV special, commercial, pilot, series, documentary and one-off video crews of five (5) or more individuals using equipment that is not hand held. Projects requiring street closures, stunts, special effects and other unusual circumstances should allow substantial lead-time for arrangements and approval.
Still photography does not require a permit.
Flying drones above nature preserves and federal lands requires permits and clearances. The drone service provider must be willing to work with Lee County Visitor & Convention staff to secure the required permissions through relevant federal, state and county agencies before shoot dates, and maintain required licenses and registrations.
The Film Permit Application Process
The number of applications that must be submitted depends on which locations are included in the production shoot. A Lee County Film Permit covers shoots taking place on public property owned by Lee County Government (this includes county beaches and parks), unincorporated communities of Lee County (Captiva Island and Estero are two examples), as well as many other public spaces. The permit carries no fee. However, additional forms and fees may be required to film on public property owned by other entities, including incorporated municipalities within the county (state parks, downtown Fort Myers and Sanibel Island are three examples). There may be a fee associated with these permits. Any production scheduled for J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge requires a special use application which we already have in-house.
A lead time of 30 days is preferred. At a minimum, please allow for 10 business days to process and authorize a film permit application.
Requirements for an Application
The following list outlines the requirements needed to secure a film permit in Lee County.
- A locations breakdown and production schedule, which should include times, dates, type of equipment being used, special arrangements or needs for parking, and city/county services requested.
- The permit must be submitted by an authorized representative of your company and include size of cast and crew, number and types of vehicles, and approximate budget. Depending on the size of the project, a script or story board will help officials in determining what special services may be needed.
- Prior to the issuance of a permit, you are encouraged to discuss your project directly with a Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau film office representative for guidance in completing the required applications. Contact Miriam Dotson at MDotson@leegov.com.
To gain film permit approval, the applicant must have a Certificate of Insurance which provides at least $1,000,000 of Comprehensive General Liability for each instance of claim to protect against bodily injury and/or property damage.
Additional information required:
- Name of the insured production company
- Name of the insurance company
- Lee County Board of Commissioners and municipalities must be listed as certificate holders. If filming within Fort Myers, Sanibel, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers Beach, the cities must also be listed as certificate holders and additionally insured. This can be done on the same certificate of insurance.
- Policy number and dates of policy coverage, including expiration date.