How to Get a North Carolina Handicap Placard (and Who’s Eligible)

You can get a handicap placard in North Carolina if you have a medical certificate confirming you have a physical impairment that limits your walking ability.
Written by Joshua Levy
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The state of
North Carolina
offers two types of handicap placards: one for temporary disabilities and one for permanent disabilities. But you must have a severe mobility impairment to qualify for either one.
Driving can be difficult for people with disabilities, and parking can pose huge challenges. To ensure public spaces, buildings, and services are accessible to people with disabilities, every state offers placards and license plates that allow disabled people to park in accessible areas. But every state has its own rules for what qualifies drivers for handicap placards, so it’s important to read up on eligibility requirements before you apply, 
Understanding whether or not you qualify for a handicap placard in North Carolina can be tricky. That’s why we have compiled this guide with everything you need to know about handicap placards in North Carolina. 
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How to get a disabled parking placard or plate in North Carolina

Disabled parking in North Carolina is reserved for people with medical problems that prevent them from easily moving without assistance. That said, you’ll need medical certification of one of the following to get a disabled parking placard in North Carolina:
  • ​​Inability to walk without assistance
  • Health-related mobility impairment 
Medical certification of either of these problems can qualify you for a disabled parking placard in North Carolina. Of course, the type of certification dictates whether you qualify for temporary or permanent disabled parking. For example, a broken leg may qualify you for temporary parking, but severe arthritis in your knee could justify a permanent placard.

Who’s eligible for a disabled parking placard?

Only people with certified disabilities are eligible for disabled parking placards in North Carolina. But there are many physical impairments that can qualify you for a placard. 
Here are some of the physical impairments that can qualify you for a handicap parking placard: 
  • Lung disease
  • Defective vision
  • Heart conditions
  • Severe arthritis
  • Neurological conditions
  • Orthopedic conditions
While any of the above conditions could qualify you for handicap parking, whether you get a permanent or temporary placard depends on your condition. Injuries like a sprained or broken leg may qualify you for a temporary placard, but only people with long-lasting injuries or chronic conditions are eligible for permanent placards.

How to apply

Disabled parking and accessibility are important parts of public infrastructure, so the application is relatively easy. 
To apply for a handicap placard:
To apply for a disability license plate:
Once you’ve collected the required documents, applying is as easy as turning everything into the DMV. To officially submit your application, you can either:
  • Mail the form to the address on your application, or 
  • Submit your form in person at your local DMV
If you’re new to North Carolina and need a handicap placard/plate for your car, you’ll need to register your vehicle before you can get started.

Renewing a disabled parking placard

Temporary handicap placards are only valid for 6 months and permanent placards expire after 5 years. Luckily, renewing your placard in North Carolina is a fairly easy and straightforward process. All you need to do is submit a new application form and pay the $5 placard fee
Unfortunately, you can’t renew a temporary disabled parking placard. So if you still need access to disabled parking after 6 months are up, you’ll need to reapply after it expires.
Key Takeaway Anyone with a physical impairment limiting their ability to walk can apply for a handicap placard in North Carolina. And all you need is a completed application form, a $5 payment, and a state-issued ID to apply.

Guidelines for veterans with disabilities

North Carolina offers a specialty license plate for Disabled Veterans who were injured in the line of duty. The license plate is free for any qualifying veterans. 
While some DMV applications and veteran services can be difficult to understand and navigate, veterans with disabilities should have an easy time applying for a placard or plate. 
Follow these steps to apply for veteran disabled parking:
And that’s all there is to it! Part of completing the Registration form is having it signed by a North Carolina Veteran Service Officer or North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Officer, so you should call your local office ahead of time and schedule accordingly.
Key Takeaway Disabled veterans can easily get access to a disabled parking plate by filling out the Veteran’s Registration Plate Application and submitting it to a local DMV.
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You can’t renew your handicap placard online in North Carolina. Applicants are required to either mail in their renewal request or apply for it in person.
A handicap placard only costs $5 in North Carolina, but you’ll need to pay $36 if you’re hoping to secure a plate.
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