The most common reason to write a permission request email is in the publishing and media industry, when you are requesting to use a portion of another person’s work in your own. You may also need permission to use certain resources like company accounts or venues.
When writing an email to ask for permission, be clear about what you are asking permission to do, ask for clear consent either via reply or signature, and thank the recipient for their time.
How To Write an Email to Ask for Permission Politely
To politely ask for permission, you’ll want to make it clear in your subject line what you are requesting. If you are greeting the recipient for the first time, use their first name or title (such as Dr. or Professor). If you are reaching out to someone you already know, greet them as you typically would.
Then, make a specific request for permission. You’ll want to include what you are asking to use, when you intend to use it, and how you intend to use it. In the case of requesting copyrighted material use, include a copy of the full segment you would like to use.
Though it’s not strictly necessary, it might be a good idea to include a reason for why you are asking for permission for this particular venue or piece.
Ask the recipient to reply to your email with confirmation or, in the case of copyrighted works, return a signed form for your records. Thank them for their time and sign off with your name and contact information.
Permission Request Template
You may choose to use and adjust this template for your permission needs.
SUBJECT: Request for Use of [Item/Place]
I am writing to ask if you would allow me to use [Work/Place] for the purpose of [Describe usage]. I make this request to you because of [Reason].
[FOR VENUE ASKS] I plan to hold this event on [Date] at [Time], and expect [Number] guests and staff to be in attendance. [Other details such as catering, presence of alcohol, etc.]
[FOR COPYRIGHT ASKS] I would like to include this segment of the work:
Please reply to this email with your answer, whether positive or negative. [FOR COPYRIGHT ASKS] I would also request that you send a signed copy of your response either digitally or physically to [Address]. Thank you very much for your time, an if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me to discuss.
If you’d rather give your recipient a more concrete “contract” or signature page, you may include a separate form that they can print, sign, scan, and return. If you do this, you might choose to specify that you would like them to reply to your email and sign.
Here’s a signature template you may choose to include.
I, ______, do __ do NOT __ grant [Your Name] permission to use my work, [Title of work], for the purpose of [Purpose].