Drivers with Disabilities in Virginia
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Are you a driver or passenger with impaired mobility or a safety concern while walking? The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers parking placards and license plates for customers with temporary and permanent disabilities.
These plates and placards entitle you to park in spaces that are reserved for people with disabilities. Organizations that transport people with disabilities can also obtain parking placards and license plates for the disabled.
Whether your disability is temporary or permanent, if your mobility is impaired or limited, or if you have a condition (such as Alzheimer's disease or blindness) that creates a safety concern when walking, you are eligible for a placard and plates. View samples online.
Temporary and permanent placards cost $5. There is no fee for institutional placards, but applications must contain a certification that the organization named regularly transports disabled individuals.
After applying for a placard in person, you will receive a receipt to hang on your rearview mirror. Your receipt will give you parking privileges for at least 15 days, until you receive your placard in the mail.
Temporary placards are issued when you have a physical condition that limits or impairs your ability to walk and is not expected to last longer than six months. To apply, you must have your physician, nurse practitioner, podiatrist, or chiropractor indicate the expected length of your disability on the application.
Temporary placards are valid for up to six months. If your disability lasts longer than this, you will have to reapply and have a physician, nurse practioner, podiatrist, or chiropractor sign the application again.
Virginia's temporary placards are valid in all states and in most countries. If you're traveling outside of the United States, you might first call ahead to a police department at your destination to verify that your placard will be honored there. Those who issue parking tickets should know.
Permanent placards are issued when you have a physical condition that limits or impairs your mobility from one place to another, has reached the maximum level of improvement, and is not expected to change. You can also get a permanent placard if you have a condition that creates a safety concern while walking, such as Alzheimer's disease or blindness.
The placard will be valid for five years, after which you may renew it. You do not have to have anyone certify your condition again in order to renew your permanent placard.
Representatives of nonprofit institutions or organizations that transport disabled people on a regular basis are eligible for institutional placards. These placards are valid for five years and cannot be renewed. Instead, you may reapply when they expire and have new ones issued.
Use the Institutional/Organizational Disabled Parking Plates or Placard Application to apply. There is no medical certification required, but you must certify on the application that the vehicle is registered in the institution's name and is regularly used to transport disabled people.
How to Use Placards
The placard that you receive in the mail will be preprinted with personal information such as your name and date of birth. You can cover this up with removable tape, but you must show it to law enforcement if requested.
Hang the placard on your rearview mirror when you park in a reserved spot. Remove it while the vehicle is in motion.
Placards expire on the last day of the month and year that is printed on them. You can use a placard as long as the person whose name is on the placard is the driver or a passenger in the vehicle. Return the placard to the DMV when it expires, when you no longer need it, or when you apply for a new one.
Virginia offers license plates with the International Symbol of Access (ISA). These plates give holders special parking privileges. You can get them if you are the person with the disability, or if one of the owners of your vehicle has a disability. The registration card for the vehicle must indicate which owner is disabled.
You can also get disabled license plates if you are the parent or guardian of a person with a disability―this will also be indicated on your registration card. You can renew your ISA plates without a physician's certification.
If you already hold a disabled parking placard, with the required certification you can obtain a license plate with the ISA on it for no additional charge. No additional certification is necessary.
In order to park in specially reserved parking spaces for the disabled, your license plate must bear the ISA.
If you'd like the Department of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH) to provide a free interpreter for you at the DMV, you or the DMV may arrange it by calling the DDHH at (804) 225-2570. You may also contact the DMV directly by TDD at (800) 272-9268, or use an online form to send an e-mail.
You can apply for a disabled veteran's plate with the ISA on it. If you have a qualifying disability, you will be exempt from annual registration fees and are eligible for plates for one vehicle that is owned and used by the veteran.
You may go to any DMV customer service center to apply in person. To apply by mail, submit your application to:
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 85815
- Richmond, VA 23285-5815
For more information, download the DMV's Disabled Parking Privileges Information brochure.
You can renew your permanent disabled placard online, with a toll-free phone call to (888) 337-4782, or through the mail to the address above.
To renew your ISA license plates, simply renew your vehicle's registration.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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