Parking in DC
Parking in DC can be a challenge, especially in residential communities with unique restrictions and permit requirements. It is important to understand how the Department of Motor Vehicles thinks about parking in the District.
Residency vs. Reciprocity
Residency: Legal residents of the District are eligible to register their cars with the DMV, which provides them with a permit to park in specifically designated areas. A Residential Parking Permit (RPP) allows a DC registered vehicle to be parked without restriction in the permit area of the residential address. In order to be eligible, your street must be zoned for RPP as indicated by a two-hour residential restriction sign on your block. If you live in a particular ward or zone, you cannot automatically park in that ward or zone unless you have a RPP. RPP is a permit number designation on your vehicle registration sticker, which is located on the driver side of your windshield, reflecting the zone you live in. More information including how to submit an online RPP request is available here.
Reciprocity: Full-time students attending a college or university in the District of Columbia can apply with the DMV for a one-year renewable parking permit (except in specific areas around American University and Georgetown). More information including required documentation and DMV Center locations and hours is available here.
It is important to remember that parking permits are distributed by zone and a permit only enables a resident to park within the zone indicated on the accompanying windshield sticker. Parking outside that zone makes one eligible for a parking citation.