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Cinema licence

Please note that at the moment, council offices are closed and officers are working from home due to coronavirus. There may be a delay in processing paper application. Find out more about changes to licensing services.

A licence is required to use premises for a film exhibition to the public. This includes screening of recorded films or performances. In addition, where it is intended to organise a film exhibition at premises wholly or mainly for children, you will have to obtain the council's consent.

No film exhibition can take place in any premises unless those premises are licensed to do so.


You need to apply for a cinema licence if you do not have a public entertainment licence which could cover the appropriate cinema conditions.

View Cinema Licence Conditions (pdf 17KB).


There are certain exemptions in the Cinemas Act 1985 for exhibitions in private homes, for non-commercial purposes and so on.  In addition, premises which only occasionally put on film exhibitions do not require a licence if they show exhibitions on no more than six days a year and notify the Police and the Firemaster of their intention to do, in writing, at least seven days in advance of the exhibition.

Application fee

The fee for a cinema licence application is £30. The fee is non-refundable. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to ‘Aberdeenshire Council’. You can also pay by visiting the relevant service point. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment by BACs.

How to apply

To apply for a cinema licence, complete the cinema licence application form (pdf 85KB). Please send your competed form to:

Aberdeenshire Council
Legal and Governance
Arduthie Road
AB39 2DQ

You must also send copies of your application form to: 

  • Police Scotland, Blackhall Road, Inverurie, AB51 3QD
  • The Firemaster, Scottish Fire and Rescue, North Anderson Drive, Aberdeen, AB15 6DW

Application process

We will consult our Environmental Health team before we make a decision.

If there are no objections, your licence will be issued to you. If there are objections then there will have to be a hearing, details of which will be sent to you.

Duration of the licence

Your cinema licence is valid for 1 year.