Commercial Filming and Photography

Following an October 2022 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, on November 10, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rescinded interim guidance that was established in response to litigation regarding commercial filming. At this time the Fish and Wildlife Service has resumed managing commercial filming and still photography in the National Wildlife Refuge System according to laws and regulations in 50 C.F.R. 27.71 (and 43 C.F.R. Part 5). See Filming Activities in the National Wildlife Refuge System for details.

Still photography does not require a permit unless it uses a model, set or prop, or the Fish and Wildlife Service determines a permit is necessary for logistical or cost reasons outlined in 43 CFR 5.2. Visitors do not require a permit for filming or still photography activities unless the filming is commercial filming as defined in 43 CFR 5.12 or the still photography activity involves one of the criteria listed in 43 CFR 5.2.

Date Enacted
43 CFR 5.1-5.12