handicap permit

Can you use a handicap permit from the USA in Europe. If not, why? We asked everywhere we went and no one (not even police) knew!

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

I googled to see what one from Ohio looks like - - it has dates and writing and stuff, plus 'OHIO'. Most of the ones I've seen in europe have no words, just a blue square with a white logo of a person in a wheelchair. However, I've seen variations but never noticed a pattern. I think the EU is pushing for a standardized decal/badge, but leaves the issuance determination to the member nations. I also think that French fuzz would honor one from Spain, etc. Strictly speaking, you couldn't qualify for one, but I'll bet, since the fuzz in one nation wouldn't question one from another EU nation, they probably wouldn't take issue with one from the U.S. I'm also betting that if a cop doesn't know what the rule is, or if one even exists, he's not going to write a ticket that won't stick. (Look in the back seat of any cop car and you'll find a binder of all the laws/regulations that he'd normally be required to enforce.) As to the 'why': because yours isn't issued by either the country you'll be in or another EU member. I have no reason to believe that the U.S. is a member of whatever agreement exists. Lots of guesses.

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

There have been posts on this site before- approx 3 months ago. Where the person was cited for not having the local handicap permit. Check with the web site quoted above or dig for the old postings. The penalties seemed quite harsh, not worth taking a chance

Posted by Shoni
Kirn, Germany
331 posts

I know that my experience is from within Europe, but my Scottish step father has a disabled badge which we use to park in disabled parking in Germany. We checked with local police and they said disabled badges are universal and I don't believe they would make an exception for Americans. Even if there were a problem I do not believe that officialdom would prove to be that petty to follow it through. After all you can prove that the person using the parking space is in fact disabled. The spaces allocated are to help disabled people not cause them more aggravation. In fact if memory serves me right there is no enforceable law regarding able bodied people parking in disabled spaces, although there is certainly a moral one.

Posted by Kathy
Cary, NC
687 posts

@Shoni - reciprocity agreements are different for people from EU countries and people from the US, you should not generalize. This is from the site I linked above: "Visitor to Germany Visitor from another EU / EEA member state – you may use your Parking Card in Germany. Visitor from outside the EU / EEA - you may not use your parking card in Germany, but it may be possible to obtain a temporary parking card from the road traffic authority for your destination – either the the local council (Stadtverwaltung) or the district authority (Kreisverwaltung)."

Posted by Christophe
Copenhagen, Denmark
265 posts

I only know the rules for Denmark: from other EU countries: always recognized. From countries outside the EU: recognized if it displays the international wheelchair symbol.

Posted by Ronald
Houten, Utrecht, Netherlands
73 posts

There actually is a European disabled driver's card, but it is not easily recongnisable as such: each individual member state has its own version, which is also valid in the other member states. Generally, it is advised to stick a note right beside the handicap permit, the English version states: Parking card for people with disabilities.
The person displaying this parking card is a disabled visitor from another European country and is entitled to the same parking concessions as a disabled resident of your country. EUROPEAN COMMUNITY MODEL A US handicap permit does not qualify (which does not necessarily mean you will be fined, but there is a chance). Note: the rules for parking are different in each member state and even within the member states. For instance, in the Netherlands it is up to the local council whether a disabled driver can park anywhere for free, or must pay the normal parking rate. So that would be something to take into account as well.

Posted by Shoni
Kirn, Germany
331 posts

Kathy, I wasn't generalising, I admitted from the start that my experience was limited to within Europe. I asked a friend who is a local policeman here what he would do if he saw an American disabled badge displayed, and he said that he would accept it for disabled parking. All seems a bit too hit and miss, I would apply for the correct paper work and relax.

Posted by Ann
7 posts

I contacted the automobile associations of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in pursuit of this question, with the following results: The Belgian response was "Knowing that the logo signaling an handicaped person is exactly the same as in Europe, you only need to highlight it under your windshield to fully enjoy the avantages and places marked out for handicaped persons." The Dutch response told me how to apply for a placard recognized by all EU countries. I sent (by regular air mail) a copy of the drivers license, the passport photo page, and a photocopy of the placard my state issued to: CBR Divisie Rijgeschiktheid To mr. C. Susana P.O. Box 3012 2280 GA Rijswijk ZH The Netherlands About a month later I received a placard! The cover letter and a brochure was all in Dutch, so I did some Google translating to learn that the different countries do have slightly different regulations about whether this placard entitles us to ignore parking time limits, but that's OK, we'll just try to read the signs and plan to obey them. No response from the French

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12673 posts

I think Ann is on a mission to dig up every old posting on handicap parking so she can post her results.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4506 posts

Oh, good heavens, don't get her started.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5640 posts

Clearly you are right Frank. She has answered every handicap parking question, no matter how old and even if the OP was asking about totally different countries than those she reported on.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1469 posts

Yes, you can. I used my temporary handicap placard for parking this past December without any issues. Have a great trip!