If you are a person with a disability in Washington State, then you can apply for special permits that will allow you to park in designated spots, and also enjoy other rights and privileges like parking for as long as you like even in spots that specify expiry. Earning these rights and privileges requires you to fill out certain paperwork, though, and submit it to the DOL (Department of Licensing) in the State of Washington.

Types of permits

In Washington State, special permits are given by the DOL (Department of Licensing) to driver’s with disabilities, and they include:

  • License plates for people who are permanently disabled

  • Placards for people who have permanent or temporary disabilities

  • Special plates for disabled veterans

  • Placards for people who belong to organizations that transport people who have disabilities

With these special plates and placards, you can park in many spaces that are not available to non-disabled people, but you may not park in a space that is marked “No parking any time.”


You can apply for a special plate or permit in person or by mail. You will have to fill out the Disabled Parking Application for Individuals and also prove that you are disabled by providing a letter from your doctor, registered nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant.

Some states will allow you to provide certification from chiropractors or podiatrists, but this is not the case in the State of Washington.


For a license plate, you will pay $32.75 in addition to your regular vehicle registration. A parking tag will cost you $13.75. Placards are available at no cost. You can submit your application to:

Special Plate Unit
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9043
Olympia, WA 98507

Or bring it to a vehicle licensing office.


Disability placards and plates will expire, and will have to be renewed. Even so-called “permanent” placards still have to be renewed in the State of Washington. For placards and plates, renewal is free. If you are temporarily disabled, though, you will need to re-apply in writing, and offer a letter from your medical practitioner stating that you are still disabled. Additionally, if your permanent disability certification expires, you will have to re-apply.

Lost, stolen or damaged placards

If your placard is lost or stolen, or damaged to the point that it can no longer be identified, you will have to re-apply. You cannot simply provide the permit number as you are able to do in some other states. The application has to be re-done in its entirety.

As a disabled resident of the State of Washington, you are entitled to certain rights and privileges. However, the State does not accord these privileges automatically. You have to apply for them and fill out the appropriate paperwork. If you lose your permit or it is stolen or destroyed, you are not automatically entitled to a new one – you will have to re-apply.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Disabled Driver Laws and Permits in Washington.

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