City, State & Federal Services

The Fire Department requires an inspection for any production that involves the staging of an event for the public in a place not commonly used for such (e.g.: The Jay Leno Show at the Philadelphia Marine Center) or if the staged event will involve the blocking of an exit on a previously inspected building.

Inspections are also necessary if a production involves open burning, use of pyrotechnic special effects, and/or any other situation that presents a clear and present danger to the public. It may be necessary to obtain a permit from Licenses & Inspections.

In both situations, the Fire Department will assign a representative to conduct an initial inspection, generally at no charge to the production company. A determination will be made at that time of what, if any, personnel and/or equipment will be necessary at the site during the filming. Upgrades and downgrades of both may be made over the course of the production. The production company will be billed accordingly for any manpower, apparatus and/or products (fire foam, clean up materials, etc.) used.

Fire Hydrants and Hoses – The Fire Department can arrange for the use of a hose attached to a fire hydrant for periodic wetting of streets or concentrated cleaning of buildings and streets. A firefighter will be assigned to instruct someone from the production company on the use of the equipment and will determine whether or not the situation requires supervision. Lengths of hose are provided free of charge (providing hose is not damaged and can be reused).

The Fire Department can also arrange for the opening of fire hydrants and the use of a sprinkler for short periods of time free of charge. Again, the Department will assign someone for instruction.

The production company may be charged for the firefighters’ time in both instances, at approximately $40.12 per hour.

Rainbirds  – Neither the Fire Department nor the Water Department have rainbirds. You will need to secure one from a private source. (The Fire Department has a snorkel, however, but it is not commonly used in film productions.) You can arrange for the Fire Department (not the Water Department) to pump the water for the rainbird by hiring an Engine Company.

Personnel Per Hour
Firefighter $46.12/hour
EMT $29.97/hour
Paramedic $43.25/hour
Engineer $54.65/hour
Pilot $55.92/hour
Captain $55.78/hour
Battalion Chief $74.21/hour
Deputy Chief $84.06/hour

*Rates as of July, 2016 and may change according to production.

Equipment and Facilities

The Fire Department has the following equipment and facilities which may be used for film productions. Equipment rates vary and are available upon request.

Equipment Personnel Per Hour
Fireboat 4 firefighters, 1 pilot and 1 officer Rates TBD
Advanced Life Support System Ambulance 2 paramedics Rates TBD
Basic Life Support System Ambulance 2 E.M.T.A.’s Rates TBD
Ladder or Engine Company (Standard Fire Truck) Dependent upon scope of production Rates TBD
Light Wagon Company (small truck with large search lights 1 firefighter Rates TBD

The Fire Department can also arrange for the opening of fire hydrants and the use of a sprinkler for short periods of time

Snorkel (can simulate rain in a concentrated area from aerial platform; 85-foot reach; standard engine company must accompany snorkel). This is not a rainbird – Personnel required: 1 firefighter $50.00/hour

Squirt (platform with nozzle operated by remote control; 45-foot reach; standard engine company must accompany squirt) Personnel required: 1 firefighter $50.00/hour

Fire Foam — requires basic instruction by Fire Department. Price for foam is approximately $45.00/hour $57.00 per 5-gallon can based on the Fire Department’s contract price. $50.00/hour

70 Fire Stations — Generally available for partial use of the building.

Fire Training Facility — has a fire tower, flammable liquid pits, a railroad car and a tank car used for fire drills. A fire scene can be staged at this facility.

Fire Command Center — central phone banks, administrative offices, emergency center and conference room.

Fire Museum — houses apparatus circa 1700-1800 that may be used for film productions at the site.

The Department of Public Health enforces public health ordinances and regulations, conducts programs in health education and public health research and operates health facilities. In relation to film productions, the Department is concerned with the management of environmental issues — use of special effects and noxious chemicals, hazardous wastes and noise abatement. The Environmental Health Services unit is notified of all situations requiring Health Department approval by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (see: Licenses and Inspections).

The Department operates a number of facilities such as health centers and an air pollution monitoring laboratory, which may be available for productions, with the approval from the Commissioner. In addition, the Department maintains affiliations with many of the area hospitals, health facilities, academic schools of medicine and nursing, and a variety of other health related disciplines and service providers, and has the capacity to serve as “pivot point” for accessing these resources and facilities.

A Temporary Labor Certification Application for Aliens (form ETA 750A) must be filed by employers with the Department of Labor Office Specializing in Entertainment (OSE) servicing the area of intended employment. To receive forms only, which must be filed in duplicate, contact the Pennsylvania State Alien Labor Certification Unit which covers the five county Philadelphia area at 215/560 1883. Completed applications should be filed with the Alien Employment Certification Office, New York State Department of Labor, 1 Main Street, 5th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201 (718) 797-7224.

It will not be necessary for the employers to file an application for every job. The employer may simply file one application for each job description, indicating on the application how many positions will be available in that category.

The procedures for Department of Labor certification are extensive and can be time consuming. Please note that one of the requirements is that the employers advertise the position(s) in the Department of Labor approved trade publications. Information on approved publications and specific instructions on how the ad must be written is available from the Film Office.

When reviewing applications, the Department of Labor will take into consideration, among other things: an assessment of requirements of the role or the act to be performed; the need to keep the unity of a group or company and support personnel; the role of labor unions in the field and their impact on the employment; and the willingness of available United States workers to fulfill the employers itinerary.

If you are planning to film in the Philadelphia area and will need to apply for certification by the Department of Labor you should contact the Film Office. We are willing to write a letter to the New York State OSE supporting your efforts, which may, or may not, be taken into consideration by the Department when reviewing your case.

The Department of Human Services provides a comprehensive, professional, effective system of human services for families in Philadelphia. These services are targeted to address the needs of the City’s dependent and delinquent children, youth and their families, as well as the aged.

The City of Philadelphia’s Risk Management Division is responsible for making and implementing decisions which will minimize the adverse effects of accidental or fortuitous loss on the City. In carrying out its responsibilities the Risk Management Division requires the cooperation of all City departments and agencies to provide information for risk identification and analysis.

The Risk Management Division is responsible for the evaluation and approval of the indemnification and insurance provisions of contracts prior to execution. Ordinarily, a production company planning to film in Philadelphia will need to provide evidence of General Liability insurance at minimum limits of $1 million per occurrence and Workers Compensation & Employers Liability insurance at limits of $100,000 each accident/ $100,000 each employee/$500,000 policy limit. However, film & video projects using special effects or stunts, and the like, will require a preproduction meeting to determine their required level of insurance.

The Film Office can provide you with the specific insurance requirements, as well as a list of qualified brokers.

The Law Department is responsible for the negotiation, preparation and approval of all leases, licenses, contracts, agreements, bonds, etc. in which the City of Philadelphia is a party.

An agreement with the City is required for any filming in or on, or use of, City streets or City owned or occupied property. The agreement, which may permit the use of City streets, or property and/or grant the right to construct at a specific site, must be executed prior to shooting. The agreement will require insurance. The types and limits of insurance coverage will be determined on a project by project basis by the City’s Division of Risk Management. The agreement will also require that the production company indemnify, defend and hold the City harmless from any claims or liabilities which may arise during shooting.

For large productions, such as feature films and television series when filming will take place at a variety of locations over an extended period of time, the production company must submit a proposed filming schedule to the Film Office for approval at least 48 hours in advance of the commencement of any filming. The production company must also submit to the Film Office for approval any change in location at least 24 hours in advance of such filming.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections issues all licenses, except marriage licenses, required by the City. It also conducts inspections, except those related to health, and is responsible for enforcing Philadelphia’s building, zoning, housing, electrical, plumbing and fire codes.

A production company planning to film in Philadelphia will need to obtain a Business Privilege License, required for any business, including trades and professions operated for profit.

A license or permit is also needed if a production will include: staging a parade, dance or ball; erecting, altering, repairing or demolishing any building or major structure, including electrical work; and/or the use of explosives, fireworks, firearms.

The initial application of any license or permit is made at the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Municipal Services Building, Concourse Level, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia. The Department will then determine what, if any, other department permits or signatures are needed before they can issue the license. The applicant will need to obtain the designated permits and approvals. The Film Office may be able to act as a liaison for a production company to obtain the necessary papers with some exceptions.

Persons requesting license and permit services may call the Deputy Commissioner for Business at (215) 685-3785 or fax at (215) 685-3733.

The Department also earmarks abandoned buildings each year for demolition which may be available for film productions.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) regulates parking in most commercial areas, and designated residential areas. They also operate 6 of the City’s more than 200 parking lots and garages. Download an application for Parking Placards, and fax it to the Film Office.

On location parking arrangements for production vehicles ONLY, can be made through the Film Office with the cooperation of the Streets Department, the Police Department and the Parking Authority. The City of Philadelphia does not issue special parking permits for carte blanche parking on City streets; however, arrangements can be made for short term parking. The Film Office can provide you with the pertinent information regarding such parking privileges.

When requesting on location parking arrangements, the following information is necessary in order for our office to expedite your request: Exactly where you would like to park; what street and what side of the street (east, west, north, south); what kind of signage is posted there; the actual number of vehicles you will have; what kind of vehicles and the license tag numbers of each. Requests for parking must be made at least two working days in advance. Our office cannot guarantee any special arrangements or privileges for parking at or around a production office or hotel during an extended stay.

If you receive a ticket, and you have not made prior arrangements for parking through the Film Office or followed parking instructions, you will be expected to pay the appropriate fine within 15 days to avoid a late penalty. If you receive a ticket and you have prior arrangements with the Film Office and were not in violation of any restrictions to that privilege, please contact the Film Office. If your vehicle is towed, you should contact the Parking Violations Branch at 913 Filbert Street, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Call (215) 561-3636 or (888) 591-3636.

The Philadelphia Police Department serves the City as the chief law enforcement agency charged with preserving public peace, preventing and detecting crime, policing streets and highways and aiding in the administration and enforcement, within the City, of State laws and City Ordinances.

Police assistance is available to production companies for traffic and crowd control during a production. Police generally do not provide personnel for security. Please refer to the website’s Professional Services main navigation search page for private company listings.

The Philadelphia Police department may provide up to two police officers for free traffic control and security as needed for filming activity, subject, however, to the discretion of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and the Philadelphia Police Department. For further details, contact the Film Office.

A representative of the Police Department is available to meet with the production company to provide assistance and advice regarding police related information during pre production stages. The Film Office will arrange pre- production meetings with all departments affected upon request.

Depending on the location and time of the shoot, traffic officers may be requested or required. If you are filming interiors and have only one or two vehicles, police assistance is generally not necessary. If you are filming exteriors and have a small number of vehicles, one or two officers are sufficient. If your shoot requires parking of vehicles in a running traffic lane, restricting or detouring traffic and/or the closing of a street, the number of police officers required will be determined by the Police Department. If five or more officers are required, it is Police Department policy that a supervisor also be assigned to the duty. Depending on availability, that supervisor will usually be a Sergeant. Production companies also pay for the supervisor’s services.

All officers have an eight hour minimum call.

Cancellation of requests for police assistance must be made to the Film Office by 9:00 AM the day prior to the shoot to avoid charges. Requests for additional manpower once a shoot has begun must be made to the Commanding Officer by 11:00 AM the day prior to the need. Decreases in manpower necessary at a location once shooting has started will be determined by the Commanding Officer.

During months of frequent rain or snow it is strongly recommended that the production company select an alternate or “rain date” for all productions.

A production company will not be charged for police assistance if a shoot is cancelled due to rain or snow IF: the production company indicated a rain date at the time of the INITIAL request and if the production company notifies the Film Office of a cancellation at least 8 hours before call time.

The responsibility for cancelling due to rain is solely that of the production company. If the production company has not cancelled yet and it is raining the day of the shoot, they should always call the Film Office to either confirm or cancel the shoot at least three hours prior to call time. If it is during regular business hours (Monday Friday; 8:30 AM 5:00 PM) the production company should call the Film Office at 215-686-2668. If it is before or after regular business hours or on a weekend, the production company should call a designated Film Office representative at home by calling the City Hall operator at (215) 686-1776.

For lane closures and closing of streets, see Streets Department. For on location parking please see Parking Authority.

Once arrangements for the above have been made, the Police Department will post the appropriate signage. On occasion, productions will be asked to post city-supplied no parking signage. Posting of signs is gratis. If barricades are needed for traffic restriction, the production company will be billed accordingly. Traffic cones, sawhorses and other miscellaneous traffic control items are not provided by the Police Department.

If your production will restrict public parking in any way (reserved parking, clearing lanes, closing streets), it may be necessary to arrange for a Police Department tow truck to move vehicles which are parked in violation of the posted signage.

You may request a guaranteed tow truck detail (which includes a PPD officer) and pay a four hour minimum charge. Charges for all tow trucks will include 1/2 hour before and after the detail for travel time.

Requests for tow trucks require at least 24 hour notice.

Police cars may be used as props but not for racing and/or stunt driving. The cars must be operated by police personnel. Productions requiring a police car for more than one day (as the same car cannot be guaranteed for every day) or for stunts, will require securing a surplus vehicle (rent, lease or buy) and marking of the car. See: Procurement.

The Police Department has 23 district offices, a traffic office and a special unit office which may be available for filming, depending on the scope of the production. Police Department holding cells are not available for filming.

Productions requesting to hire of one or more Philadelphia uniformed police officers should contact GPFO’s Production Department to discuss the logistics, cost estimate, and site survey of proposed location. For larger productions, see Managing Director’s Office.

In order to insure continuity in billing, it is strongly suggested that the production company review the day’s use of manpower and equipment with the police officer on duty or the Commanding Officer at the end of the day.

The hiring of police officers will be billed at the following rates and are subject to change.

*Prices Effective 7/1/18

Item/Personnel Rate
Police Officer(s) $83.29 / hour
Corporal(s) $92.00/ hour
Sergeant(s) $94.80 / hour
Lieutenant(s) $106.75/ hour
Additional equipment available:
Jeep(s) $7.18 per hour
Car(s) $6.34 / hour
EPW $9.18 / hour
Tow Truck(s) & Tow Truck Operator(s) $59.16/ hour
One (1) Officer & Motorcycle $89.00 / hour

The Procurement Department administers the disposal of or provides transfer from one agency to another of surplus, obsolete, or unserviceable property. The Department is also responsible for the leasing of surplus property.

Surplus property is available for leasing to production companies for a pre- scheduled time period and fee. Upon request, the Film Office can provide interested parties a list of various surplus items.

Surplus property may not be fully functional when leased and may require maintenance. The production company must assume total responsibility for the expense. All leases require standard liability insurance, and should the property become destroyed or lost, the replacement of property will be at fair market value.

A sample listing of available surplus property includes office furniture, maintenance, police and mass transportation vehicles. A limited range of “as is” vehicles are also offered at monthly public auction.

The quantity and type of items vary periodically. Therefore, production companies should contact the Film Office to determine the availability of required items.

Public Property Department
Arrangements for use of City property for major film productions will be made during the initial Film Office preproduction meeting with the Managing Director’s Office. All other requests for filming at municipal buildings: City Hall and Dilworth Plaza, Municipal Services Building and surrounding plaza and the concourse areas connecting these buildings must be addressed to the Film Office for forwarding and should include the location, date and time and the intended usage. Vehicles and equipment may not be placed on JFK Plaza, City Hall apron, or the Municipal Plaza for any reason.

The Department also maintains a number of abandoned residential homes, apartment complexes, industrial and commercial structures, open lots and farms, which may be available for film productions.

For use of City motor vehicles, see: Procurement. For use of transit stations, see: SEPTA, Delaware River Port Authority.

Arrangements for use of City property for major film productions will be made during the initial Film Office preproduction meeting with the Managing Director’s Office. All other requests for filming at municipal buildings: City Hall and Dilworth Plaza, Municipal Services Building and surrounding plaza and the concourse areas connecting these buildings must be addressed to the Film Office for forwarding and should include the location, date and time and the intended usage. Vehicles and equipment may not be placed on JFK Plaza, City Hall apron, or the Municipal Plaza for any reason.

The Department also maintains a number of abandoned residential homes, apartment complexes, industrial and commercial structures, open lots and farms, which may be available for film productions.

For use of City motor vehicles, see: Procurement. For use of transit stations, see: SEPTA, Delaware River Port Authority.

The Philadelphia Department of Recreation (PDR) maintains, coordinates and implements activities and programming at 160 staffed recreation facilities, 81 pools, 6 older adult centers, 5 ice rinks, 75 neighborhood parks, and 275 other outdoor spaces. The PDR maintains and coordinates activities, concerts and events for the Robin Hood Dell East, an outdoor 5,892 seat amphitheater located in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia within Fairmount Park.

Complete information on City owned recreation centers, playgrounds, parks and squares, swimming pools, tennis courts, ice rinks, boat ramps and performing arts center is available from the Film Office. All of these properties are generally available pending permission from the Department and in some instances, the specific facility. Production companies may be billed for any use of a facility, including overtime costs or costs incurred an altering a given facility for production-related purposes.

The Sheriff’s Office delivers services to the Philadelphia civil and criminal justice systems by providing courtroom security, county prisoner transportation in addition to state and national extraditions, and warrant service.

The Office maintains and operates a central holding complex including a vehicle garage for prisoner delivery, a cell block and the capacity to hold approximately 490 prisoners, 33 cell areas adjacent to 64 courtrooms, and attorney/client interview areas. There are two juvenile detention areas located in the basement of Family Court at 1801 Vine Street with 16 small cells that hold 8 to 10 juvenile defendants each, line up room and operations area.

The facilities are available whenever courts are not in session (approximately 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and, in most cases, any hour on weekends and holidays).

The Office maintains a fleet of vehicles for prisoner transportation consisting of unmarked autos, extra capacity vans, buses, station wagons and canine jeeps, all with Sheriff’s decal and modified for specific tasks. (Extras: stake body, utility van, jeep with snowplow.) The use of all Sheriff’s facilities, vehicles, uniforms and other insignia must not breach security. When using any Sheriff’s facility or vehicles, the production company will be responsible for the payment of Sheriff Officer(s), who must be present at filming site.

The Streets Department is responsible for the repair, maintenance, design and construction of all City streets, including lighting and cleaning. It performs all the City’s traffic engineering (regulating traffic flow) and collects and disposes of all rubbish.

If you are filming a scene on a street or bridge or if you need to place a camera, equipment or crew on a City street, it is always preferable to avoid the rush hours (7:00-9:30 A.M. and 4:00-6:30 P.M. weekdays), allow for at least one lane of traffic (in both directions) at all times, and maintain a safe pedestrian walkway at all times. Intermittent traffic stoppage can be arranged. This type of traffic restriction requires enough police assistance to adequately control and redirect traffic.

All requests for complete closure of a street are handled on an individual basis. As a general rule, the Streets Department is most favorable to closure of major streets during off peak hours (7:00 P.M.-7:00 A.M.). Streets that are not used heavily are easier to close for longer periods of time. The Film Office coordinates the permits that are required by the Streets Department and the police assistance necessary to close a street or bridge. Street closure requires 3-5 business days notice.

You may request the temporary removal of street lights, traffic signals, and other traffic control devices or other adjustments in the systems. All costs must be paid by the producing company. This must be done with the approval of and in coordination with the Streets Department, with work to be done by Department approved contractors. Requires 3-5 business days advance notice.

A production company may temporarily remove and then replace street signs themselves with the approval and under the supervision of the Streets Department.

You may request the services of a City street flusher (a truck that is used to wet down a street) or a mechanical broom (an apparatus that cleans gutters and small areas of the street and slightly wets the street). Requests require a 24 hour notice. If the area you request is already scheduled for a cleaning and/or flushing that night, you will not be charged for the service. If that is not the case or if you require the extended use (stand by) of the equipment, you will be required to pay for the rental and for the operator’s time. Costs (including an operator) for mechanical brooms and flushers range from $32.50 to $50.00 per hour, dependent on the time of day or night it is needed.

A flusher is not a water truck and does not come equipped with hoses or any other means to clean buildings or for concentrated cleaning of certain areas of a street. (For hoses and hydrants see: Fire Department). Flushers are not available when temperatures are below 32 degrees.

The Sanitation Department operates a fleet of 9 yard, 20 yard, 25 yard and 32 yard rear loading compactors, which may be available for a scene. Costs (including an operator) range from $37.50 to $55.00 per hour.

The Sanitation Department operates one transfer station (rehandling facility to prepare rubbish for movement to a landfill). The facility may be available for filming. Requests are handled on an individual basis.

The Water Department operates and maintains the City’s water supply system including facilities for pumping, filtering, treating, distributing and metering. The Department also operates the City’s wastewater collection and treatment system.

There are 3 drinking water treatment plants, 3 wastewater treatment plants, 1 biosolids composting facility, 6 major pumping facilities, 14 smaller pumping facilities and several water storage tanks and towers in the City. The Department also maintains an Educational Center at the Fairmount Water Works, built in 1812 and located on the Schuylkill River near the Museum of Art.

The Film Office has a complete listing and description of the Water Department facilities. Requests for the use of the facilities are handled on an individual basis.

Need information on state and federal laws and requirements? Stay informed by reviewing information on Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law, United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Social Security office.

PA Child Labor
If you are employing actors under the age of 18 years old in any type of project, whether it be film, video or live action, and you are paying any actors in your production, no matter their age, you will need to comply with the Child Labor Laws of Pennsylvania. Contact the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (800) 932-0665 or for guidance.

Abstract of Child Labor

Key Child Labor Points

Application for Minors in Performances

Minimum Wage

As of July, 2009, Federal minimum-wage laws require that all workers be paid at least $7.25 per hour with limited exceptions which may apply when it is a student project or affiliated with an IRS-recognized nonprofit corporation or is an internship for college credit. Certain states require the payment of higher minimum wages, including New Jersey.  For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission websites.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for providing social security numbers to workers of all ages. SSA uses these numbers to keep track of a worker’s earnings for entitlement to retirement, disability and survivors benefits. If your employees need a Social Security number and/or card, they should call (800) 772-1213 or visit our internet website at to get the application form, information on any necessary documents, and the location of the nearest office. Social Security has offices throughout the Delaware Valley where your employees can bring the form and original documents. The Social Security card is then issued from SSA’s Baltimore headquarters within ten days.

For any other Social Security information or business involving filming and the media, you should first contact the Regional Public Affairs Office in Philadelphia at (215) 597-3747.

Obtaining a Commercial Activity License

NOTE: There is NO FEE for the Commercial Activity License.

A Commercial Activity License is required for all businesses operating in Philadelphia. This includes businesses that are located outside the city limits but do some or all of their business activity in the City.

Also, if you receive payment for work and an employer does not pay wage taxes on your behalf for that work, you are considered a Sole Proprietor and treated as a business by the City of Philadelphia. You are required to apply for a Commercial Activity License to work as a Sole Proprietor in the City.


*In addition, the Pennsylvania State Sales and Use Tax Number is a prerequisite if your business collects sales tax from your customers.


To obtain a license online:

  • You must have a City of Philadelphia Tax Account number before you can obtain a Commercial Activity License. Using Internet Explorer 5.0 or better, you can apply online. Once your registration for a Tax Account Number is complete, the site will automatically allow you to also apply for a Commercial Activity License.
  •  If you already have a City of Philadelphia Tax Account Number, and need only the Commercial Activity License, apply online

To obtain a license in person or through the mail:

  • In person: Visit the Department of Licenses & Inspections at the Municipal Services Building, Public Concourse Level, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
  • Via Fax or Mail: Download and print the paper application. The fax number and mailing address are listed on the application.

More information can be found at:§ion=City%20Registration&BSPContentListItem=Obtain%20a%20Business%20Privileg

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as it relates to film productions, is concerned with the admission of aliens to work in the entertainment industry. All producers wishing to employ foreign actors or production crews must file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I 129, (with the Form I 129 Supplement O/P/Q/R for O’s and P’s) with the appropriate Service Center of the INS. The mailing address for the office having jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Northeast portion of the United States is USINS, Eastern Service Center, 75 Lower Welden Street, St. Albans, VT 05479 001. Forms can be obtained from a local INS office or by calling (800) 870-3676. You can get more information from INS’s web site at: Petitions may not be filed more than six months before the actual need for the alien’s or group’s services, and can be filled by either a US or foreign employer. The approximate time for action on a well documented petition is thirty days. Notification to the American Consulate abroad and visa issuance may require additional time. Employment may not begin until the petition has been approved and the alien has the corresponding nonimmigrant classification.

New regulations concerning non-immigrants employed by the motion picture and/or television industry became effective in 1992. Aliens entering the United States to perform work in these fields are classified as H 2B’s, O’s or P’s depending on their level of achievement in the arts. The petitioner must be a US employer or the established US agent for a foreign employer. A brief explanation of the types of visas, and some requirements for filing, follows.

Entertainers or production crew members of less than distinguished or extraordinary merit and ability may qualify for H 2B status if it can be clearly established that they possess the necessary experience and qualifications specified in the supporting labor certification. To apply for H 2B classification, the employer must first receive certification from the Department of Labor and file it with the petition to the INS. In support of an H 2B petition, the petitioner may submit either a temporary labor certification, or a letter from the Department of Labor declining to issue labor certification. The Service can still approve the H 2B petition, even without the labor certification, if the petitioner is able to submit countervailing evidence overcoming the basis for the Department of Labor’s refusal to issue the labor certification.

The O 1 classification is available to individual aliens of extraordinary achievement or extraordinary ability in the arts, coming to a position that requires that he or she perform services in the area of his or her extraordinary achievement or extraordinary ability in the arts. O 2 classification is provided for aliens accompanying the O 1 alien who are an integral part of the actual performance and/or who have critical skills and experience with the O 1 alien. These skills must not be of a general nature, and must be critical based on a pre existing longstanding working relationship or, because the significant production will take place both inside and outside of the US, must establish that continuity is essential. Written consultation with appropriate peer groups, labor and/or management organizations is mandatory. Petitions should be submitted with letters from the peer or labor groups evaluating the alien’s qualifications and nature of work to be done, or the groups’ ability or achievements, with comments on their international recognition and appropriateness of the proposed employment. If the consultation is from a labor organization, the consultation may be either a detailed commentary, on the beneficiary and job, or simply a letter expressing there is no objection to the hiring of the beneficiary.

The P 1 classification is available to members of internationally recognized entertainment groups. To qualify the group must be recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Written consultation with an appropriate labor organization regarding the nature of the work to be done and the alien’s qualifications is mandatory. If the consultation is from a labor organization, the consultation may be either a detailed commentary, on the beneficiary and job, or simply a letter expressing there is no objection to the hiring of the beneficiary. This opinion must set forth a specific statement of facts which support the opinion and must be submitted with the petition.

Spouses and dependent children of aliens classified at H 2B’s, O’s or P’s may receive visas in the same classification if they are otherwise admissible to the United States.

For more information, contact