The Hawaii International Film Association (HIFA) is a non-profit organization that was established in 1986 by companies and individuals specializing in the overseas production business. HIFA provides assistance by negotiating with the government, labor unions, private businesses and assists with the U.S. Customs and Border Protections prior to any filming in Hawaii.
HIFA VISA Waiver Pilot PrOgram
1. Countries under the current U.S. Waiver Agreement:
Japan, Andorra, Belgium, Australia, Austria, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, South Korea, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Greek, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Czech republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Malta
2. Port of entries is limited to Honolulu and Kona International Airports.
3. All contents of the filming must be released outside of the United States.
4. All filming is limited within the State of Hawaii.
5. All crew members are to be paid in their country of origin.
6. Your production in Hawaii will need to hire a minimum of one (1) HIFA coordinator and one IBEW or IATSE Union member during the duration of your shoot. Rates will vary with the position and Union. Please inquire with your HIFA coordinator. Those who do not satisfy all of the above listed conditions need to contact an Immigration Attorney prior to any filming in the State of Hawaii.
There are two (2) letter application fees.
1. SAG-AFTRA (Actor/Actress union) Application Fee
$50/job 1 production by SAG-AFTRA (Effective 3/1/2013)
2. HIFA Pilot Program Application Fee
In order to receive all documents in a timely manner, the application must be initiated ten (10) working days excluding Saturday, Sunday and National/State holidays prior to the entry into Hawaii. There will be a late fee charge for all last minute applications.
ESTA is not affiliated with HIFA Pilot Visa Program, All incoming staff and crew must exercise due diligence on obtaining proper ESTA filing in their departing country. Falsifying the truth on the ESTA application may result to refusal the application.
Recently, locations like Kailua’s Lanikai Pillbox Trail, Hawaii Kai’s Koko Head Trail, and Nanakuli’s Mermaid Cove have been introduced in TV and magazines, and the State of Hawaii and City and County of Honolulu regard this as very problematic. This is because these locations are not able to be granted filming or photography permits to magazines or TV by the city, county and state, and they do not want these areas to be advertised. Please contact a HIFA member for further details. Please click here to view the HIFA members list.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the pilot program procedure, please e-mail or call our HIFA office.