Permits

Fee station - USFWS.

The National Wildlife Refuge System has three different Special Use Permit (SUP) Application forms to enable the public to engage in activities on a national wildlife refuge. These forms have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget and are valid until January 31, 2024. Forms for common uses on the refuge are provided below in a fillable format. Scroll down for details on specific permits. A permit is not valid until approved and signed by a refuge official.

Your request can be submitted to: 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
8231 Beach Road
Chincoteague, VA 23336

Fax: 757-336-5273
E-mail: michael_dixon@fws.gov

If you have any further questions please call us at 757-336-6122 during our regular business hours Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Environmental Education Fee Waivers

Environmental education fee waivers will be approved for educational groups visiting strictly for educational purposes. Groups who also intend to participate in recreational activities such as visiting the beach must pay the entrance fee. Examples of educational groups include: schools, scout groups, nonprofit organizations. All requests must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the arrival date.

For information or to request a ranger guided program please contact the environmental education coordinator at 757-336-6122.

For information or to request a bus tour, contact the Chincoteague Natural History Association at 757-336-3696.

Fee Waiver Request Form (pdf 395KB)

Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) Use

The Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) zones at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge feature miles of beach managed by the National Park Service that provide expanded access (with a valid permit) for surf fishing and wildlife observation. The South Zone is for general use, while the North Zone is for fishing only and is open seasonally (March 15 - August 31st). In the event of hazardous driving conditions the OSV zones may temporarily close for your protection. Status updates for the OSV zones can be found here: https://twitter.com/ChincoteagueOSV  

In order to protect threatened and endangered species, the hook in the South OSV zone is closed to all access from March 15 – August 31, or until the last nesting shorebird can fly.  


Where to Purchase an OSV permit
Virginia - Toms Cove Visitor Center, 757-336-6577
Please note: Toms Cove Visitor Center is closed on Tuesdays-Thursdays from December-February.
Maryland - Ranger Station 410-641-3030

Learn more at the National Park Service website.  

Commercial Activities

For commercial permits, please click on the link below to fill out an application. Please send completed application packets to:

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
8231 Beach Road
Chincoteague Island, VA 23336

Workshops

A special use permit is required for all commercial operations on national wildlife refuges, including any activities for which participants pay a fee for any services rendered or goods delivered on refuge lands. This includes instructor-led educational groups. All requests must be received at least 30 days prior to the arrival date.

Commercial Filming 

Permits are required for all commercial videography, including filming of documentaries, travelogues, feature stories, and advertising. Liability insurance and bonding may be required depending on the specific production activities proposed. News gathering organizations are exempt from fee, insurance, and bonding requirements, but may require a special use permit to ensure compatibility with refuge purposes, public use, ongoing research, or to protect refuge resources. Because of this, a meeting between Refuge staff and the project leader is recommended. We recommend submitting an application 3 to 6 months in advance, to provide adequate time for the refuge manager to evaluate the appropriateness and compatibility of your proposed project. The scale, complexity or requested location may affect the time it takes to review. To help manage your time and expectations, we encourage you to contact us prior to submitting an SUP application.

Commercial Activities Permit Request Form (pdf 312KB)

Research

We encourage research and studies that assist in answering management questions to enhance wildlife and their habitats on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Research is usually conducted by universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, non-governmental agencies, and qualified members of the general public. Research is authorized via a Special Use Permit (SUP). To apply for a SUP, complete the application below. Priority will be given to studies applicable to management on or nearby the Refuge. Proposals must demonstrate that the study will not have an adverse effect on wildlife or habitat. Feel free to contact the Supervisory Biologist (757-336-6122) to discuss whether your project helps fill an information gap, and how it can be conducted to minimize impacts. All requests must be received at least 45 days prior to the proposed research date. 

Research Permit Request Form (pdf 412KB)

Wedding Permit

Couples wishing to have a wedding ceremony on the refuge must submit a request by mail, fax, or e-mail. If approved, a Special Use Permit (SUP) for the ceremony will be provided, along with any specific stipulations needed to avoid disturbance to wildlife or other priority public uses.  

  • Weddings are only allowed on the recreational beach.
  • Your ceremony cannot interfere with other public use activities. So, we recommend parking lot 1 or the last parking lot before the Over Sand Vehicle Zone.
  • Props like music, archway, and aisle runners are allowed.
  • Only shade canopies, not larger than 10 feet by 10 feet are allowed.
  • Artificial/silk flowers only for decoration.
  • Real flowers are allowed in bouquets.
  • Ceremonial props are allowed to be in place 1 hour before the ceremony and must be removed within 1 hour after the ceremony.
  • Accommodations and seating for people with special needs (elderly, physically disabled) may be granted.
  • Any additional ceremony props will have to be approved before the wedding. We do not provide any props or assistance in setting up for weddings.
  • No receptions are allowed after wedding.
  • The wedding permit is free of charge but the refuge entrance fees for you and your guest still apply.
  • The best time to have your wedding is May – September. Our highest visitation occurs around the July 4th holiday and is not a recommended choice. The summer months are also our busiest tourist season, We strongly recommend a sunrise or sunset wedding.
  • We require at least 2 weeks notice to issue a permit.
  • Please note that request can only be made up to 3 months in advance.

Wedding Permit Request Form (pdf 395KB)

General Special Use

For all other requests please click on the link below to fill out a general special use permit application.  Please remember that we require at least 2 weeks notice to issue most permits.

Special Use Permit Request Form (pdf 395KB)