If a person has a disability that affects their ability to walk, they may be entitled to a Blue Badge disabled-parking permit.
In this guide, you'll find information on:
1. What is the Blue Badge scheme?
3. How to apply
4. Blue Badge renewal
5. Using your Blue Badge
What is the Blue Badge scheme?
A Blue Badge provides parking concessions for people with disabilities, allowing them (or whoever is driving with them) to park closer to shopping centres and other destinations. You can use the permit in any vehicle, as long as the badge holder is present (whether driving or being driven). It isn’t assigned to a specific vehicle.
The scheme (also known as the European Parking Badge Scheme) was introduced in April 2000 to help people who have severe difficulty walking by improving accessibility. As of March 2016, 2.38m Blue Badges are held in England.
Please note: this article is written in language that addresses you as the person applying for a Blue Badge, either for yourself or on someone else’s behalf.
Blue Badge eligibility
Who is entitled to a Blue Badge?
You'll be entitled to receive a Blue Badge if you’re registered as blind or receive any of the following benefits:
- The mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the higher rate (for under 65s).
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) with a score of 8 or above in the ‘moving around’ section of the assessment (you will be asked to provide a duplicate of your entitlement letter with a date within the last 12 months).
- A lump-sum War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement payment from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (at tariffs 1 to 8) after being certified as having a serious disability, which means you are unable to walk or find it very difficult to walk.
What if you aren't automatically eligible?
You may also be eligible for a badge if:
- you have a permanent disability that means you have difficulty walking short distances (around 80 metres)
- you have a permanent disability that prevents you from using parking meters.
If this is the case, you or the person supporting you will need to fill in an extra part of the application form to demonstrate why you need the permit.
If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, how can you check?
You can use GOV.UK's Blue Badge eligibility checker to see whether you'll be able to make an application.
If you have any further questions about eligibility, or you’d like to discuss an application in advance, you can contact your local council authority. Use the initial enquiry support service by email at email@example.com, or by phone in England (0343 100 1000), Scotland (0343 100 1001) or Wales (0343 100 1002).
Alternatively, if the information is available on your local council’s website, you can visit our Care services directory, enter your postcode, open the ‘Local authority services’ dropdown in the menu at the top of the page, and click ‘Disabled people - parking permits: Providing information’.
Blue Badge application
Can you apply for a Blue Badge on someone’s behalf?
A carer, member of the family or a friend can apply for a Blue Badge for another person.
How to get a Blue Badge
There are a few different ways you can apply for a Blue Badge:
- Online: through the GOV.UK site's Blue Badge application form
- By post: you can find contact details for your local authority using our Care Services Directory. In most cases your local authority will either send you the application form or provide you with a PDF file, which you can print out, fill in and return by post
- By phone: although not all local authorities allow you to make a telephone application, so contact yours to check.
How to get a Blue Badge outside England
How much does a Blue Badge application cost?
In England and Northern Ireland, there’s a maximum charge of £10. In Scotland, it can cost up to £20 and in Wales it’s free.
Blue Badge holders in London can get full exemption from paying the congestion charge (although there’s a £10 administration fee for an application). For more information, check out the TFL’s Discounts and exemptions page and scroll down to the ‘Blue Badge holders’ section.
How long does the Blue Badge application take to fill in?
The application takes around 45 minutes to complete online. Be aware that the form will time out and you’ll lose your progress if you leave your computer for more than 30 minutes.
How to fill in the form
Gather your key documents. Make sure you have the following documents and information handy before you start your application:
- A recent utility bill or another proof of address.
- A photograph or passport photo signed on the back (the photo used for your Blue Badge will usually need to match passport standards).
- Your driving licence (if applicable).
- Your National Insurance number.
- The details of your doctor’s surgery and the name of your GP (you may also need to provide confirmation that you are happy for your local council to contact them).
- Identification – a passport, ID card or birth or marriage certificate.
- Supporting documentation confirming your receipt of the benefits listed in the ‘Blue Badge eligibility’ section above.
Use the guidance notes. Local councils should be able to provide guidance notes to support your application. Many have PDF files available for download on their website and others incorporate them into the application itself. If you intend to apply by post and you can’t find the supporting information online, ask for the guidance notes when you request your application form.
Explain your situation confidently and honestly. When filling in the form, make sure to explain how difficult the situation really is for you. There is no need to minimise the challenges you face, and this approach will give you a better chance of having your application approved.
If you get stuck, seek support. Make sure you check the Blue Badge section of your local council’s website and, if you still can’t find the information you need, contact your local council directly for assistance.
Record your tracking reference number, which you’ll receive once you’ve filled in the online form. If you make a telephone or postal application, you’ll need to contact your local authority by phone to obtain it. Make a note of this tracking number, as you may need to refer to it later in the process.
How to edit or cancel your Blue Badge application
If you need to make any changes to your online application, or you want to cancel it, you can return to your saved Blue Badge application on the GOV.UK website. You’ll need the tracking reference number to log in and make changes.
Blue Badge tracking
You can track the progress of your Blue Badge application on the GOV.UK website. Again, you will need your tracking reference number to log in and see what stage your application is at.
After you’ve applied
How long does a Blue Badge application take to process, and when will it arrive?
It typically takes four to eight weeks for a Blue Badge application to be processed and for a decision to be made, at which point you’ll receive a letter confirming and explaining the decision.
At this stage the council may ask you to provide extra information, take part in a mobility assessment, or meet with someone from the council to discuss your application.
If your application is successful, you’ll need to pay (depending on which country you live in – see the Blue Badge Application section above for more information). Once payment is made, it usually takes 5-10 working days for your badge to arrive.
What to do if your application is refused
You can dispute the decision. The council will provide you with a ‘decision letter’ detailing why your application was denied.
You’ll need to respond, explaining why you think the reasons for denying your application are incorrect.
Sometimes, an application can be denied because you didn’t provide enough detail, or the application didn’t emphasise the severity of the challenges you face – in which case, this is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight.
What if the council doesn’t agree that the situation should be reviewed?
You can complain to your local council if you feel that your application has been dismissed unfairly. If you aren’t happy with its response to your complaint, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
Blue Badge renewal
Your Blue Badge will be valid for a maximum of three years (unless you receive the mobility component of DLA at the higher rate, in which case it can be issued to cover a shorter period). You’ll need to apply for a renewal around six to eight weeks before the badge expires to allow time for processing.
The process of renewing a Blue Badge is very similar to the initial application process.
Blue Badge renewal form
You can renew your Blue Badge online, or simply print out, fill in and return an application form by post (see the ‘How to get a Blue Badge’ section above for more information).
For a renewal, you’ll need to have the information printed on the front of your current Blue Badge handy, including the long ID number, the expiry date and the name of the local council. This is in addition to the key documents mentioned in the ‘Blue Badge application’ section above.
What to do if your Blue Badge renewal is refused
Follow the same process outlined in the ‘Blue Badge Application’ section above, under ‘What to do if your application is refused’.
Using your Blue Badge
When you receive a Blue Badge, it should come with supporting documentation explaining how to use it. This document is also available for download on the GOV.UK website.
In some council districts, you’ll be required to display a parking clock (a cardboard dial you’ll receive with your Blue Badge, if applicable in your region). This is used to indicate your time of arrival when you leave your car on yellow lines or anywhere that time restrictions apply.
How should you display your Blue Badge permit?
Display your Blue Badge clearly on the car’s dashboard. Make sure the side showing the hologram is visible, and the side with the photograph is facing down.
Where can you park with a Blue Badge?
Single and double yellow lines: you can park on yellow lines for up to three hours, although it’s worth noting that you can’t park on the yellow lines in off-street car parks.
On-street paid bays: you can park free of charge, and for as long as you need to, in areas where on-street parking meters or pay-and-display rules apply.
On-street disabled bays: similar to regular on-street bays, you can park here free or charge. These spaces will be demarcated by a disabled parking sign. In some areas, there may be time restrictions, in which case you need to display the blue parking clock to show your arrival time.
Do these disabled parking rules apply nationwide?
There are several places in England where different disabled-parking rules may apply, for example:
- some supermarkets, hospitals, local authority car parks, airports and towns with alternative local disabled-parking schemes
- London borough Red Routes, with single or double red lines
- private roads, where you need to get permission from the owner.
If you're concerned, contact the local authority (or the relevant organisation or individual) before you travel to make sure you’re adhering to the rules in the area you intend to park in.
You can also visit the GOV.UK Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities page for more information.
How can I find disabled parking near me?
There are various online tools you can use to find disabled parking spaces near you. For example, BlueBadgeParking.com is a user-driven online map that allows you to search by postcode to find disabled spaces in any area. You can also contribute by adding any that aren’t already listed.
How do I change the details on a Blue Badge?
You can use the GOV.UK Blue Badge change of details form to update information (for example, name or home address). There will be a £10 fee, and the Blue Badge holder is allowed to continue using the existing badge until they receive the new one.
I’ve lost my badge, what should I do?
If you lose your badge, the first thing to do is inform your local council to apply for a replacement. You can use GOV.UK's lost badge form.
My Blue Badge was stolen, what should I do?
If the Blue Badge was stolen, you should contact the police immediately to report the incident. You can call 101 or contact your local neighbourhood policing team. You’ll need to get a crime reference number before you contact your local council, and once you have that you can use it to fill in the lost badge form and apply for a replacement.
- Useful tips for older drivers: helpful advice about continuing to drive.
- Radar keys: if you're travelling domestically, a radar key allows access to accessible/disabled toilets all over the UK.
- What are the alternatives to driving?: this page explores the alternative options to driving.
Date published: August 2017
Next review due: January 2018