What is a Blue Badge?

With a Blue Badge, you have certain on-street parking concessions and some parking restrictions may not apply to you. You can have a Blue Badge if you’re a driver or a passenger. It usually lasts up to three years. You can use your Blue Badge with any car, including taxis.

Concessions usually include:

  • free parking in disabled parking bays
  • free parking at parking meters and in pay and display bays
  • parking on some single or double yellow lines for up to three hours unless there is a ‘no loading’ restriction. You must display the clock that comes with the badge where there are time limits.

You can't use your Blue Badge everywhere. Your local council can tell you where you can park.

Who can get one?

You automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if at least one of the following applies to you:

  • you get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you get Adult Disability Payment (ADP) and you scored 8 or more points under the ‘moving around’ section of the mobility component
  • you get ADP and you scored 12 points under the ‘planning and following a journey’ section of the mobility component
  • you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) because you can’t walk more than 50 metres (a score of 8 points or more under the ‘moving around’ section of the mobility component)
  • you get the mobility component of PIP and scored 10 points specifically for descriptor E under the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity (in England and Wales)
  • you get the mobility component of PIP and scored 12 points specifically for descriptor E under the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity (in Scotland)
  • you’re certified blind (severely sight impaired)
  • you receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • you’ve received a lump sum benefit from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) (tariff 6) for a permanent mental disorder (in Wales)
  • you’ve received a lump sum benefit from the AFCS (tariff levels 1-8) and you’ve been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability.

There are other circumstances under which you may qualify for a Blue Badge. For more information, contact our Helpline (0800 319 6789) to arrange to speak to an adviser.

If you don't automatically qualify, you may still be able to get a Blue Badge if any of the following applies:

  • you cannot walk at all
  • you can’t walk unless you have help from someone else or use mobility aids
  • you find walking or the result of walking very difficult because of breathlessness, pain or the time it takes
  • walking is dangerous to your health and safety
  • you have a life-limiting illness
  • you drive regularly and have a severe disability in both arms which means you can’t operate pay and display parking machines
  • you’re always a significant risk to yourself or others near vehicles, in traffic or car parks
  • you find it impossible to control your actions and you’re not aware of the impact you could have on others
  • you have severe difficulty planning or following a journey
  • you often become extremely anxious or fearful of public or open spaces.

This list doesn’t cover every situation. You can find more information about who may be able to get a Blue Badge on the government websites below:

The Blue Badge scheme is run by your local council. If you don't automatically qualify, you’ll have to provide extra information. This could include details of any medication you take, treatments you receive and letters from health professionals. The council may assess you to decide if you’re eligible. They may ask you how your condition affects your walking or how it affects journeys between your vehicle and where you want to go.

Contact your local Citizens Advice for help to apply. If the person you drive has dementia, Alzheimer’s Society or Alzheimer Scotland can give you advice on how to make an application.

The badge and its concessions are for your use only. Someone else can use it if they are picking you up or dropping you off, but you can’t lend it to someone to go and do shopping for you, for example.

If you no longer need the badge or the badge has expired, you must return it to the council  if you don't, you could be fined up to £1,000.

How to apply

You can apply for a Blue Badge online. In England and Wales, some councils may also let you apply on a paper form – contact your local council to check.

In Scotland, if you are applying for a Blue Badge because you have a mental condition that means you lack awareness about the dangers of traffic, you cannot apply online. You must contact your local council for a paper application form.

Don’t apply for a Blue Badge from anywhere else. If another organisation is offering a Blue Badge, it’s probably a scam.

When you apply for or renew a Blue Badge, you will need:

  • the details of your current Blue Badge (if you have one)
  • a recent digital or signed photo showing your head and shoulders
  • your National Insurance number
  • proof of identity, such as a birth or adoption certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate, passport, ID card, or driving licence
  • proof of your address  for example, a GP or hospital letter, driving license, recent Council Tax bill, utility bill from the last three months, or recent government letter
  • the decision letter confirming your eligibility, from either the Department for Work and Pensions (for Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance), Social Security Scotland (for Adult Disability Payment), or the Ministry of Defence (for AFCS or WPMS). You can ask for a replacement if you’ve lost this
  • Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) (if relevant).

If you apply online, make sure you have the information to hand before you start. If you make a paper application, send copies of any documents, not the originals. Your council may only accept paper applications with certified copies of your documents. In this case, you will need to get your copies certified by a professional, such as a solicitor, who will verify your documents. They may charge for this.

It can take up to three months to process your application, depending on your council and whether you need an assessment. Ask them how long it’s likely to take.

If you have a life-limiting illness, your application may be fast-tracked.

If you’re turned down

Your council should tell you why you don't qualify. You can ask them to look at their decision again if you think they haven’t considered some important information about you. You can also reapply if your disability or health condition becomes more serious.

If you need help to appeal, contact your local Citizens Advice.

Where you can use a Blue Badge

Parking rules differ from place to place. You should contact the local council to find out where you can use your Blue Badge and what the restrictions are.

The Blue Badge is designed for on-street parking only. Places like hospital and supermarket car parks or private roads – at airports for example – will have their own rules.

You may not have to pay full fare at certain river crossings, bridges and tunnels but you may have to apply in advance. You can find more information on Gov.uk.

In London, you don’t have to pay the Congestion Charge if you are a Blue Badge holder but you must register with Transport for London for the 100% discount first. You may be exempt from charges in other major cities. Make sure to check with the transport authority for the city before travelling.

You can use a Blue Badge throughout Europe to get the same concessions that are available to local citizens. There are no arrangements with countries outside the EU, so you’ll have to find out about local concessions before you go.

Next steps

You can find the contact details of your local council at gov.uk/find-local-council.

Read more about the Blue Badge scheme and your responsibilities:
England: Gov.uk
Scotland: Mygov.scot
Wales: Gov.wales

Our factsheet Help with getting around has more information about the support available if you're disabled or have a long-term health condition.

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