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

As of 2022, drivers must display a disabled license plate or placard with the International Symbol of Access to use a disabled parking space in Texas.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
As of January 2022, you must have a disabled license plate or placard displaying the International Symbol of Access (ISA) in order to park in a disabled parking space in
Driving presents special challenges for anyone with a disability, whether that’s a temporary injury or a permanent condition. That’s why every state provides license plates and placards authorizing disabled drivers to park in accessible spots.
To find out how to get a handicap placard, check out this guide from
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How to get a disabled parking placard or plate in Texas

To park in a disabled space anywhere in Texas, you’ll need one of three things: 
  • A red temporary disabled parking placard (expires in 6 months or less)
  • A blue permanent disabled parking placard (eligible for renewal every 4 years)
  • A disabled parking license plate (only for drivers with permanent disabilities)
All three of these passes display the International Symbol of Access (ISA), which you probably recognize as the little blue-and-white stick figure with a wheelchair. But you don’t need a wheelchair to get a disabled placard in Texas!
Below is a list of the conditions, from temporary injuries to long-term conditions, that could qualify you for disabled parking permissions in the Lone Star State.

Who’s eligible for a disabled parking placard?

Disabled parking eligibilities fall into two main categories: visual disabilities and mobility. You meet the legal definition of disability in Texas if: 
  • Your vision in your best eye is 20/200 or less with correcting lenses
  • Your vision is better than 20/200 in both eyes but your field of vision is limited, with the widest diameter subtending an angle of 20 degrees or less
  • You have any mobility issues that limit your ability to move around, including: 
  • Lung disease
  • Heart problems
  • Arthritis
  • Paralysis
  • Foot disorders
  • Any medical condition requiring the use of a cane, brace, crutch, wheelchair, or other assistive devices
Say you took a bad fall while mountain biking with friends, and now you’ve got pins and screws holding your femur together. Because that injury constitutes a temporary disability affecting your mobility, you’d be eligible for a red six-month disabled parking placard, which should cover you through the rehabilitation process. 
Permanent disabilities, on the other hand, might actually be less obvious. If your asthma makes the long trek across the H-E-B parking lot a struggle, or if you’re still squinting even with your optometrist’s strongest glasses prescription, you can apply for a permanent disabled parking placard
You can also apply for a disabled parking license plate, but the drawback is that it only applies to your vehicle. If you get the placard instead, it can move with you from car to car, whether you’re the driver or the passenger. 

How to apply

To apply for any type of disabled parking placard or license plates, you’ll need to fill out the
Application for Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard and/or License Plate
. It’s a fairly simple form, but there are a few distinct steps to filling it out. 
First, you’ll need to provide your identifying information: name, address, and driver’s license or ID card number. You’ll then get to select the type of permit you’re applying for: 
  • Disabled person license plate with no placard 
  • Disabled person license plate and one placard 
  • One placard and no license plate 
  • Two placards and no license plate
Texas law only allows you to get one placard if you’re also applying for Texas license plates, but if you’d rather just use the placard, you can get two instead. If you do choose to apply for plates, you’ll need to provide your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) along with the model year and make. 
Next, the Disability Statement portion of the application must be completed by a licensed medical professional. Your doctor will need to fill out this section of the form, certifying that you meet the state’s legal definition of disability (the form includes a detailed list of conditions that qualify).
Take note that, in order to make the application official, your doctor must be licensed in one of the following states: 
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
The only exceptions apply to doctors practicing at a military installation in Texas or doctors in a facility run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. 
Finally, your doctor’s signature must be notarized before you can turn your form in. Once that last step is complete, you’re ready to go! Submit the form to
your county’s tax assessor-collector’s office
, and include a copy of your photo ID if you send the form by mail. 
For permanent disability permits, there’s no fee, but if you’re applying for a temporary permit, you’ll need to include a $5 payment with your application. You can pay by personal check, cashier’s check, or money order; just make sure it’s payable to the tax office. 

Renewing a disabled parking placard

If your temporary disability extends beyond six months, you’ll need to fill out a full application for a new temporary pass. If you’re applying for a renewal for a permanent placard, on the other hand, you only need to complete page 1 of the form—your doctor’s notarized statement isn’t required for renewal. 
Key Takeaway: To apply for a disabled parking placard in Texas, you’ll need a notarized statement from a licensed medical professional certifying that you have a qualifying vision or mobility issue. 
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Guidelines for veterans with disabilities

For veterans with disabilities in Texas, the rules surrounding handicap placards are a little different. Until 2022, disabled veteran license plates authorized veterans to use disabled parking spaces—but disabled veteran plates don’t display the ISA, which is now a requirement to use disabled parking spots in Texas. 
Here’s where things get tricky: the VA’s definition of service-connected disabilities is broader than the legal definition of disability. In other words, the disability that permitted you to get disabled veteran plates might not qualify you for a placard or license plate displaying the ISA. This means that, as of January 2022, some disabled veterans in Texas are losing disabled parking privileges. 
For more information on how the new laws impact disabled veterans’ parking permissions, check out the Texas DMV’s
If you’re using disabled veteran license plates but qualify for a plate or placard that features the ISA, you’ll need to fill out
an application for ISA license plates or placards.
But if you want license plates that show your status as a disabled veteran, you should fill out the
Application for Disabled Veteran License Plates and/or Placards
Key Takeaway The rules for disabled veteran license plates changed in Texas in 2022, so you’ll need to apply for a placard or plate with the ISA in order to park in disabled spots. 
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Unfortunately, the only ways to renew a disabled parking permit in Texas are by mail and in person at a county tax assessor-collector’s office.
A permanent disabled parking placard is available free of charge in Texas, but a temporary red placard will set you back $5.
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