There are over half a million valid disability parking certificates and plates in Minnesota. We provide the “Do’s and Don’ts” of disability parking and information on disability parking laws and regulations.
On this page:
Disability Parking Design Requirements
Quick Reference Guide
Code compliant accessible parking is critically important for many people with disabilities to shop, work, live fully, and participate in community activities. The Minnesota Council on Disability wants to encourage you to provide disability parking if you don’t, or, if needed, to update the disability parking you do provide. Please use our Quick Reference Guide to bring your parking into compliance with current minimum standards. If there is no parking lot, there is no requirement to have disability parking.
Minnesota State Building Code Chapter 1341 section 502 has all the technical specifications for disability parking in Minnesota.
Disability Parking (PDF) includes important information on using disability parking certificates and disability license plates in Minnesota.
Purchasing Disability Parking Signs
Disability parking signs may be purchased from any local business that prints signs.
Painting on Pavement
Painting the wheelchair symbol on the pavement is not required in code and therefore is not necessary. It is required, though, that there be a disability parking sign posted at the head of the space that is visible from within the parked vehicle.
Apply for a Disability Parking Certificate
- The person with a disability completes the top portion of the application form. The applicant must sign the form. If necessary, someone may assist but will require Power of Attorney to sign for the applicant. Be sure to put in the name of the person with the disability and not the person assisting.
- Have a medical professional–i.e., physician, chiropractor, advanced practice registered nurse, authorized physician assistant, or physical therapist–complete the lower portion of the form and sign it.
- Submit the application. The form may be submitted in person at any Motor Vehicle Registrar’s office or by mail to the address listed on the back of the application.
- Please note that there may be a backlog in DPS issuing disability parking permits. If the application is submitted in person, a 90-day temporary may be issued to you on site. If the application is mailed in, a 90-day temporary permit may be mailed to you before your permit is sent.
The application form is also available at the . Their phone number is 651-297-3377.
There is no fee charged to individuals requesting a Permanent (valid for six years) or Long-Term (up to 72 months) disability parking certificate. A $5 fee is required for a Temporary (up to six months) or Short-term (up to 12 months) certificate.
To be eligible for a disability parking certificate, the applicant must meet one or more of the definitions of a “physically disabled person.” The applicant is eligible if he or she:
- Has a cardiac condition to the extent that functional limitations are classified in severity according to the standards set by the American Heart Association.
- Uses portable oxygen.
- Is restricted by a respiratory disease.
- Has an artificial oxygen tension (PAO2) of less than 60 mm/Hg on room air at rest.
- Has lost an arm or a leg and does not have or cannot use an artificial limb.
- Cannot walk without the aid of another person or device, e.g., wheelchair or cane.
- Walking 200 feet would be life threatening.
- Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest.
- Cannot walk without a significant risk of falling.
To find out if you are eligible, you will need to initiate an application and have your health professional complete it and submit it to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for processing.
Persons eligible for disability parking certificates or license plates can:
- Park in appropriate designated disability parking spaces.
- Park at public parking meters without having to feed the meters.
- Park in non-metered passenger spaces without regard to time limits unless the limits are posted separately on a sign.
- Please be mindful of any parking lot restrictions. Any rule that applies to a parking lot may also apply to the disability parking in that same lot. For example, if the lot is for customers only and the individual using the disability parking in that lot is not a customer, they may face lot enforcement.
- Having a disability parking permit does not necessarily allow you to park anywhere you want for free.
- Disability parking when designated spaces are occupied or unavailable. If the designated disability parking spaces are occupied or unavailable, a vehicle bearing a valid disability parking certificate issued under section 169.345 or license plates for physically disabled persons under section 168.021 may park at an angle and occupy two standard parking spaces.
It is important that individuals use the privileges associated with disability parking in a safe, courteous, and legal manner. Please be mindful of the following issues:
- Never drive with your disability parking certificate hanging from the rear-view mirror. When hanging from the rear-view mirror, the certificate obstructs your vision and violates Minnesota State Statute 169.71.
- In many parking lots, there is a disability parking space with an 8-foot access aisle designated Van Accessible. If there are other disability spaces available and you do not need the wider space, please leave it for someone with a lift or ramp-equipped van.
- When parking your vehicle in the disability parking space, never park in the access aisle (hatch-marked area). When there are two or more spaces, the access aisle is shared and may be needed by someone using a wheelchair or other mobility device or someone with a lift- or ramp-equipped van.
- If you request more than three certificate replacements in a six-year period, you will need to contact us and fill out a questionnaire regarding the use and safeguarding of your certificate.
Note: Per Minnesota statute 169.71, please do not drive with any obstructions hanging from the rear-view mirror. This includes disability parking certificates.
What qualifies as a violation?
- Using someone else’s certificate
- Parking in or otherwise blocking an access aisle
- Parking without displaying certificate
- Altering an existing certificate
Parking Violation Notice
If you come across a vehicle parked in disability parking and it appears to violate regulations use this notice to spread awareness. Contact us for copies.
Individuals who were issued a ticket even though they had a certificate or license plates should contact the entity that issued the ticket and discuss the process for getting the ticket dismissed.
Local law enforcement has the authority to enforce disability parking on private and public property. Property owners and managers may have non-permitted cars towed. Anyone has the right to contact local law enforcement to report unpermitted cars in disability parking spots.
Out-of-State Parking Permits
Reciprocity exists among states to recognize out-of-state disability parking permits or license plates. Minnesota vehicles displaying disability license plates or parking certificates may utilize disability parking in other states. However, when planning to travel to another state, it is a good idea to inquire about specific disability parking privileges in each state. For example, not all states allow free parking at meters or have the 8-foot access aisle requirement.
Please try not to travel with an expired permit.
Residential Disability Parking
State law allows for residential streets to have disability parking. For example, if you have a disability parking permit, you may request that the on-street residential parking in front of your house be converted into a disability parking space. For information about on-street residential disability parking spaces, contact:
- Minneapolis – Traffic Engineering Section at 612-673-3000
- Paul – Public Works Department at 651-266-6200
- Outside of Twin City Area – contact your City Planning Office or Police Department
Disability Parking Laws
Gas Station Law
Americans with Disabilities Act: Assistance at Self-Serve Gas Stations, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires self-serve gas stations to provide equal access to their customers with disabilities. If necessary to provide access, gas stations must:
- Provide refueling assistance upon the request of an individual with a disability. A service station or convenience store is not required to provide such service at any time that it is operating on a remote control basis with a single employee, but is encouraged to do so, if feasible.
- Let patrons know (e.g., through appropriate signs) that customers with disabilities can obtain refueling assistance by either honking or otherwise signaling an employee.
- Provide the refueling assistance without any charge beyond the self-service price.
If you have additional questions concerning the ADA, you may call the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA information hotline at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD) or visit the ADA.gov.