We here at Retort Media in collaboration with drone journalist Gail Orenstein, aim at giving you the clearest guide on how to obtain filming permits in Nepal. Please be aware that the political situation as in all countries can change and this document may need to be updated at any time. This information is also based on our experience at the time of gaining permits to film and drone in Nepal. You may be asked at any time during this permit process to produce additional documents summarily.
This often happens so expect that there may be additional produces required while you are trying to get your permit. Also please keep in mind that while we state that you may incur a fine of caught filming without a permit, we do not rule out that you may also have your equipment confiscated and you may risk a jail sentence. We are confident once you gain access to doing professional work as a film maker or drone pilot you will be so happy to have made your story in Nepal about the people, places and wonderful country.
We always recommend that you come to Nepal especially if you plan to do any UAV filming that you are fully drone insured, this must also include risk and liability insurance. Please check your insurance polices beforehand. We hope you find it helpful and please feel free to ask in the comment section if you require any further information.
Endowed with magnificent mountain sceneries and vastly rich cultures, it is no wonder Nepal has become a great source of inspiration and gained traction as a destination for both amateur and professional filmmakers from all over the world. However, any kind of filming production in the country needs to acquire a filming permit. And when it comes to this, many filmmakers can be easily put off by the lengthy and bureaucratic process.
REGULAR FILMING PERMIT
How to obtain the filming permit and where to start?
Please note that if you are a foreign individual or entity, it is impossible to apply for the permit independently. The law in Nepal requires it to be done through a local company. Therefore, the first thing you have to do is to appoint a local company that will be your formal representative throughout this whole permit application as well as shooting process.
This company should be able to prepare all the necessary documents as part of the application to submit to various governmental agencies and eventually to Ministry of Information and Communication, who has the final authority to grant a filming permit.
In order to obtain this mandatory filming permit, you will need letters of approval from different government departments and agencies depending on your shooting location. For example, approval from Department of Archaeology is needed if you want to film in the World Heritage Sites. Separate letters of approval need to be obtained to film in National Parks areas.
What documents are required?
Although you have outsourced a local company to do all the paperwork to get the permits for you, it is a good idea to know which types of documents are required so that you can assist them when necessary and speed up the process. Documents required are as follows:
- A letter from filmmaker appointing a local agency as your coordinator/ representative
- A letter from your local agency to Ministry of Information and Communications
- An application form with a postal stamp fee of Rs 50
- A synopsis of the film
- List of music used in the film (If you are using music)
- A list of crew members with their passport details
- Arrival tickets of crew members
- Accommodation reservation for crew members
- A complete schedule including exact dates and locations for filming in Nepal
- A list of filming equipment with their value (For custom clearance purpose)
- Approval issued by Department of Archaeology in case you are filming in any of the four World Heritage Sites in Nepal: Kathmandu Valley (including 7 individual sites: Pashupatinath Temple, Swoyambhunath Stupa, Bouddhanath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changu Narayan Temple); Lumbini; Chitwan National Park; Sagarmatha National Park.
- Approval issued by Pashupatinath Development Fund Office for filming in Pashupatinath Temple
- Approval issued by Department of Wildlife Conservation for filming in any Conservation Area
- Approval issued by Ministry of Culture Tourism & Civil Aviation for filming in Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo, which costs USD 5000 in each area
- Approval issued by Lumbini Development Fund for filming in Kapilvastu and in Lumbini
Once all the documents are prepared. They should be submitted to Ministry of Information and Communication, awaiting the grant of permit.
What happens after the filming permit is granted?
Of course you can now film legally in Nepal, but under the supervision of a liaison officer appointed by Ministry of Information and Communication.
This officer will be monitoring all filming activities of the film crew to ensure they are not having any negative impact on the environment and the community. In case of any breach of law or any activities deemed harmful to the country, he or she has the full authority to suspend the filming.
Moreover, the officer’s expenses including daily allowance, insurance, travel, meal and accommodation costs are required to be covered by the filmmaker.
Terms and conditions applied to filming permit
According to the Motion Picture Rules (Production, Exhibition and Distribution 2057 B.S., here are a few things to note regarding the filming permit in Nepal:
- The filming permit remains valid for one year only
- License for feature film will remain valid for three years
- Life insurance for the liaison officer should cover at a minimum of NPR 300,000
- In case of accidents and the liaison officer is injured, an amount of up to NPR 200,000 is expected to be paid to him or her as a compensation
- Foreign film producers who plan a public screening should seek prior permission from the nearest Nepali Embassy with a royalty of NPR 150,000.
- Foreign film producers should submit a free copy of their production to Ministry of Information and Communication
- The liaison officer should be present during the shooting
- For shooting in mountain regions, necessary clothes and medical facilities should be provided to the Liaison Officer including any air transportation cost
How much does it cost to obtain the filming permit?
The filming permit costs NPR 15,000 and service fee paid to the local company. This fee is normally based on the complexity and the length of your project and your negotiation with the company.
On top of this, you have to bear the expenses of the liaison officer appointed by Ministry of Information and Communication (including daily allowance, insurance, travel, meal and accommodation)
UAV FILMING PERMIT GUIDE IN NEPAL
Regulations applied for UAV filming are quite different, which are explained in details below. This permit can be obtained on two conditions:
- You have had your filming permit (with procedures and cost explained above)
- You have a UAV pilot license
If your UAV weighs less 2kg, good news is you can fly it within any private property without the need to obtain a permit. Anything out of this category would require a permit to fly. Otherwise you will be faced with a heavy fine.
What documents are required for UAV filming permit?
Your agency will help prepare the following documents, which will be submitted to Ministry of Information and Communication for permit approval:
- Filming permit
- Approval from Ministry of Information and Culture
- Approval from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
- Approval from Defence Ministry
- Approval from Home Ministry
- Approval from other ministry and department if involved
- Approval from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)
- UAV Pilot License of the drone operator
- Passport and Valid Visa of the drone operator
- A clear map of the flying area including latitude and longitude
- Specifications of the UAV
- Commitment letter to fly under condition stated on point number 3 of UAV Flying Work Procedure 2072 BS
- An itinerary mentioning dates, time and places of the filming activities
- If there are changes added to the original itinerary, the Chief District Officer has to re approve the new schedule
What terms and conditions are applied after you have obtained a UAV filming permit?
- UAV should always stay in sight of the operator
- UAV should be operated under Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC)
- CAAN permission is required for all the flights
- Prior approval from concerned authority is needed before applying for CAAN Permission
- Regardless of altitude, take off and landing area in airport should be free all the time
- Permit is granted for a certain amount of time as requested only
Apart from the terms and conditions mentioned above, here are the most updated information from a Directive in October 2015 from the Government that you should know:
- No flight within 1000 m of sensitive areas
- No flight above archaeological sites
- Horizontal distance of UAV should not exceed 300 m from the operator
- Vertical limit is 100 m
- Endurance of UAV should not exceed 15 minutes
How much does UAV permit cost?
Unlike the regular filming permit which costs 15,000 NRP, UAV permit is issued free of charge.
How long does it take to obtain the filming permit?
- For regular filming permit, it takes between 2 to 14 days
- For a UAV permit, in some cases, it can take even longer