Disabled Parking Permits in California

How to obtain plates and placards in California

To qualify for a disability parking plates or placards (sometimes referred to as a “handicapped sticker”) in California, you must meet one of the conditions described below and must obtain a licensed physician’s certification prior to the initial issuance of disability access placards:

  • A lung disease to the extent that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second when measured by spirometry is less than one liter or arterial oxygen tension (pO2) is less than 60 mm/Hg on room air while the person is at rest.
  • A cardiovascular disease to the extent that the person’s functional limitations are classified in severity as class III or class IV based upon standards accepted by the American Heart Association.
  • A severe disability in which he or she is unable to move without the aid of an assistive device, which is due to (please print):
  • A significant limitation in the use of lower extremities,
  • The loss, or loss of the use of one or more lower extremities,
  • The loss, or loss of the use of, both hands, or
  • Central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye, with corrective lenses, as measured by the Snellen test, or visual acuity that is greater than 20/200, but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle not greater than 20 degrees.

You don’t need a doctor’s certification if you have lost a lower extremity or both hands, and you appear in person at a local DMV office and submit a Completed Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates (REG 195) or if you currently have a permanent California Disabled Person (DP) Placard, or Disabled Person (DP) or Disabled Veteran (DV) license plates assigned to your vehicle, and the license plate number is entered in part "A" of the REG 195.

The Application

You can seek either plates or a placard by sending in California’s application for disability parking identification. You may also apply at your local DMV.

Types of Disability Access Parking Plates and Placards

California issues four types of disability access parking plates/placards:

  • Permanent parking placard for permanent disabilities. Valid for two years and expires on June 30 of every odd-numbered year.
  • Temporary parking placard for temporary disabilities. Valid for up to 180 days (six months) or the date noted by your qualifying licensed medical professional on the application, whichever timeframe is less and cannot be renewed more than six times consecutively.
  • Travel parking placard for California residents who currently have a permanent DP parking placard or DP or DV license plates. Valid for 30 days from the date DMV issues it.
  • Travel parking placard for nonresidents who plan to travel in California and have a permanent disability and/or DV plates. Valid for up to 90 days or the date noted by your licensed medical professional on the application, whichever timeframe is less. 

Abusing Disabled Parking Privileges

A 2010 state law allows cities to charge anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for violating disabled parking laws – for example by using fake disability placards. Fines for parking in a disabled space without a disabled parking pass or blocking access to a blue zone, rose to $330.

Out of state

California recognizes out-of-state disability permits. However, not all states may recognize California disability permits.

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