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Reciprocal parking agreements around the world – how you can use your disability parking permit

Back in 2012 we did a big road trip from San Francisco to San Diego. It was a fantastic trip down Highway 101 where the scenery, wildlife and towns were spectacular at every turn. We enjoyed the freedom of road tripping and that particular trip is certainly one to add to your must-do travel list. As with all our trips, I researched everything to make the trip as smooth and as accessible as possible. It led me to research if we could use Braeden’s accessible parking permit while in the US. I found that many countries offer reciprocal parking permit agreements around the world. It’s just a matter of knowing what you need to do so you can use your disability parking permit in another country.

Reciprocal parking agreement - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Reciprocal parking agreements around the world – how you can use your disability parking permit

It’s great to know that there are agreements in place that allow travellers with a disability to use their parking permits in other countries. When we travelled to the US we discovered that we could use Braeden’s Australian disability parking permit as long as we printed out and displayed on our dashboard the agreement appropriate to where we were travelling. We used this system while we travelled throughout California and had no problem with it. Just to be sure, we checked with a parking ranger in Santa Monica and he told us he was familiar with it so we then felt confident to continue using it. The last thing we wanted was a fine.

Reciprocal parking permit agreements - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

In the US we displayed Braeden’s parking permit near the rear view mirror as this is where US permit holders display theirs.  Also I recommend printing a couple of copies of the parking agreement to have in the car in case you lose one. Using Braeden’s parking permit really benefited us while we were travelling.

Read the information carefully and follow the local parking laws.

FIA Foundation has information about parking permit reciprocal agreements here. 

Click on the map and choose the country you are visiting. When you are on that country’s reciprocal agreement page (assuming they have one) you’ll find information about the agreement and a print out button at the base. This is what you print out to put on your dashboard along with your accessible parking permit.

Reciprocal parking agreement - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Reciprocal parking permit agreements within Australia

As we live in New South Wales I checked before travelling interstate where we could use Braeden’s permit without penalty. According to the Roads and Maritime website, “All Australian states and territories participate in the Australian Disability Parking Scheme, so you can use your NSW permit elsewhere, as long as it’s valid and current.”

We’ve since used Braeden’s permit in several Australian states with no issues.

No reciprocal agreement between Australia and New Zealand

Reciprocal parking permit agreements - Have Wheelchair Will Travel
Road tripping in New Zealand

When we were travelling to New Zealand I made the mistake of assuming there would be a reciprocal parking permit agreement given our countries work so closely. However, strangely Australia and New Zealand do not have a reciprocal accessible parking permit agreement. We had lots of trouble with parking because I didn’t do my research and get a permit to use during our travels around New Zealand.  So if you’d like to have an accessible parking permit to use while travelling in New Zealand, you’ll need to apply online for a permit and allow plenty of time for its arrival. There is a fee attached to both the parking permit and the postage for delivery. The application form can be found on this website under Permit for Visitors to New Zealand tab.

Before you travel, make sure you check if there’s a reciprocal parking permit agreement with the country you are travelling to and remember to abide by the rules applicable to that country’s parking permit holders. A parking ticket would certainly not be an ideal souvenir from a trip. And don’t forget to take your parking permit with you when you return your hire car.

4 thoughts on “Reciprocal parking agreements around the world – how you can use your disability parking permit”

  1. We drove from our home state of Texas to San Diego in 2007. We went as far as San Francisco. We had a wonderful time. We went to the San Diego zoo, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and we rode the cable car at San Francisco. My son was a lot lighter then. We took a stroller for him. I could carry him up and down stairs. I have used our Texas handicapped parking placard at various times. It has come in handy.

  2. A word of caution if going to the United Kingdom (England).

    I went to Britain to see family around 6 years ago. I parked the hire car in a car park near some shops, displaying my Australian disability permit in the windscreen.

    Around an hour later, I returned to see a parking warden writing up a ticket. When I enquired why she said I should have the card on the dashboard!

    As luck would have it, there was a council office in the car park, the warden escorted me to it. There I was able to acquire a sky blue plastic “clock” card. The idea being that you it your permit on the card and move the hands to your arrival time.

    I though this was ridiculous as it is possible to display any time you like!

    Bear this in mind if you ever visit the UK.


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