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  • Drivers with Disabilities in Virginia

    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.

    Placards

    You can request a placard in person at any DMV customer service center or through the mail. Use the Disabled Parking Placard or License Plates Application (Form MED 10) to apply.

    Temporary and permanent placards cost $5.

    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 6 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 6 months. If your disability lasts longer than this, you will have to reapply and have a physician, nurse practitioner, 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 5 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 5 years and cannot be renewed. Instead, you may reapply when they expire and have new ones issued.

    Use the Institutional/Organizational Disabled Placard Application (Form MED 11) 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.

    License Plates

    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.

    Hearing Impaired

    The DMV offers special license plates and driver's licenses for the hearing impaired that indicate the disability. You may apply for one or both of these at any DMV office.

    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) 662-9502. You may also contact the DMV directly by TDD at (800) 272-9268, or use an online form to send an e-mail.

    Disabled Veterans

    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.

    To apply, fill out the Disabled Parking Placard or License Plates Application (Form MED 10). Also provide a Veteran's Certificate of Disability(Form VSA 54), which should be signed by the Veteran's Administration.

    Where to Apply

    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

    For more information, download the DMV's Disabled Parking Privileges Information brochure.

    How to Renew

    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.

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