Parking Permits in the United States

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Parking Permits

Parking permit application processes are very similar across the United States. Essentially, for any permit, the user must apply, prove they qualify for the permit, and usually pay a fee. The highest fees discovered were for university parking.

Residential Parking Permits


  • To obtain a residential parking permit, one must apply with the city they live in. These permits enable the resident to park in areas beyond the acceptable times if it is in their residential neighborhood.


  • The process is a simple one, a resident fills out an application, attaches the required documents and payment, then submits it to the city government. In most cases, the permit is mailed to them.
  • In San Francisco it takes 21 days to process the application. Each household may buy four permits.
  • Boston allows you to apply online for a speedier process (10 business days).

Documents Needed

  • Requirements vary by city, but the most common documents needed are driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof that one is a resident. Each city we looked at stipulated that the address on the vehicle registration must match the address the permit is being applied for.
  • In San Francisco, you need a DMV registration, and copy of insurance policy that contains the address on it.
  • In Houston, you need to provide your driver's license, license plate number, and proof of residency.
  • In New Orleans, you must provide a lease or mortgage statement, utility bill, driver's license, and vehicle registration.
  • In Boston, you must provide proof of residency, and car registration.


  • Costs vary greatly from free to
  • In San Francisco the yearly fees are $ 144 for vehicles, and $108 for motorcycles.
  • In Houston, you receive a decal for $29.18 yearly.
  • In New Orleans a permit fee must be paid the first time ($40 or $30 for seniors). The yearly fee is $30, with seniors receiving a discount ($20).
  • Boston does not charge for their permits.

Disabled Parking Permits


  • Each state has their own forms and criteria for obtaining a disabled parking permit.
  • Permits may be temporary or permanent in all states.
  • Some common conditions for obtaining a disabled parking permit include lung disease, heart disease, impaired mobility, vision problems, or loss of hands or legs.


  • The applicant will have to first see obtain an application from their DMV office, or online. Then they must consult their health care professional to get verification that they are handicapped.

Documents Needed

  • To obtain a permit for disabled parking, the only real thing needed is for the medical professional to fill out their section of the form and state why the applicant qualifies for a permit.
  • In Ohio, one must fill out a form and decide whether they want to apply for a placard or a license plate. They will need a doctor statement that includes the amount of time it will be needed.
  • In California, one must fill out a form and decide if they want a placard or plates. Their medical provider must sign and state why they need the permit. Vehicle license plate information must be included.
  • In New York, an application must be filled out. The medical provider must state the issue that qualifies them for the permit. If the applicant has a driver's license, they must submit that information.
  • Texas has the same process. A medical provider must fill out the reason for disability on the application. If the applicant has a driver's license, they must submit that information.


  • Some states charge a fee, while others do not.
  • In Ohio, there is $5 yearly fee.
  • In California permanent permits are free, but temporary permits are $6.
  • New York does not charge for a permit.
  • In Texas, a permanent permit is free, but a temporary permit is $5.

Student Parking Permits


  • The school in which the applicant attends is in charge of issuing permits. The schools generally require the applicant to be a student and to provide their vehicle registration information. The schools researched all required the student to log into their account to apply for a permit.

Various School Information

  • At Florida State, permits are virtual and must be applied for online. They must be a student and register their vehicle with the school. A car registration is needed to apply for a permit. The parking permit is included in a fee the student pays per semester hour taken ($8.90). This also entitles them to ride the university transit system.
  • The University of Texas has multiple permits that a student can apply for depending on the area of the campus in which they would like to park. The prices range from $150 for a regular parking space to $817 for garage parking.
  • The University of Illinois charges $660 yearly for a permit.
  • At Oregon State University, the applicant must provide their license plate number, along with a description of the car. The cost of permits vary depending on where the applicant chooses to park. The majority of parking is $522 yearly. There are only a certain number of permits available, and the applicant may sign up on a wait list.

Employee Parking Permits


  • If the employer provides parking, they are the issuer.

Various Employer Parking Information

  • Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati OH, does not pay for their employee parking. Instead, there are various parking spots around the area the employee may choose to park at and pay for. There is one garage for the bank that may be applied for if the employee has a certain position at the bank. Spots are first come first serve and cost $210 monthly.
  • At Washington Univeristy Hospital in St Louis, MO, there are multiple parking options for employees. The employee may obtain a permit from their employer after the pay a $79-$165 monthly fee for the parking spot they desire.
  • Some employers of large business are using parking permits encouraging employees to commute by eliminating monthly parking and making employees pay a daily rate to park. In addition, they offer discounted transit passes and free premium parking for vanpooling.

Visitor Parking Permits

  • Some cities offer short term parking permits for visitors. The regulations and process to apply are very similar to what a resident parking permit is. Most cities do not offer visitor parking permits.

City Examples

  • In Cleveland Oh, a permit may be issued for up to 14 days. The applicant must provide a valid driver's license, a copy of the permit of the person they are visiting, vehicle registration, and a $5-10 fee.
  • In many cities, like Boston MA and Dallas TX, there is not a permit, but visitor parking spaces are marked in residential areas.

Research Strategy

  • For each type of permit, research was conducted in various cities, schools, and employers to get a range of information. With visitor parking there was less information available. Most city governments did not address visitor parking and to obtain information from just a few businesses or schools would not give a good sampling considering the millions of different visitor parking that would encompass.