Preferential Parking Permits

Preferential Parking regulations limit on-street parking to make it easier for residents and their guests with permits to find a parking space near their homes. A Preferential parking permit exempts a vehicle from preferential permit restrictions within the specified zone and within a two-block radius of the registered address.

Preferential Parking Eligibility

Only residents who live on a block with preferential parking restrictions are eligible to purchase a Resident or Visitor permit. [SMMC 3.08] To determine the status of your block, please review the Preferential Parking Map, using the key below:

  • Red Blocks: preferential parking restrictions have already been implemented (eligible).
  • Blue Blocks: City Council has pre-approved restrictions for your block. However, a petition is required before restrictions will be implemented (not eligible).
  • Other/No Color: City Council approval is required in addition to a completed petition (not eligible).

First-Time Applicants

First-time applicants must provide the documentation below either in person or by mail to the Parking Office in order to establish an account. To request an application to apply by mail, please send us an email request and include your name and complete residential address. If you are applying in person, no application form is required.

  • Proof of residency – Proof of residency can be established with a current bill from within the last two months such as a utility bill, cable bill, phone bill, credit card bill, bank statement, or grant deed showing your name and current Santa Monica residential address that is permit eligible.  We do not accept driver's licenses, leases, rental agreements, or IDs as proof of residency.
  • Visitor permits – To purchase a visitor permit, bring proof of residency as listed above. A Visitor permit may be used in any vehicle including the resident's own and grants the exact same parking privileges as a Resident permit.
  • Resident permits – To purchase a Resident permit, bring proof of residency as listed above PLUS California Vehicle Registration reflecting your name and current Santa Monica residential address (not a post office box or business address). Temporary registration is not accepted. A Resident permit is valid only for the specific license plate number it is issued to and is not transferable to any other car.
  • If you are a brand new resident moving into an unoccupied, vacant dwelling and have not yet received a bill or your updated DMV registration, you may bring in your rental agreement or lease to receive a 30-day temporary parking permit as a one-time courtesy. Thereafter, you must provide proof as listed above to purchase permits.
  • You must pay any delinquent parking citations before you can purchase or renew permits.
  • Pay by cash, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, or Discover) or check payable to City of Santa Monica. There is a $25.00 charge for returned checks.

Moving within Santa Monica

  • If you have current parking permits for an address in Santa Monica and are moving to a new address that requires preferential parking permits, you will need to provide updated proof of residency and apply for new permits. Your parking permits do not transfer with you when you move, and cannot be sold or transferred to another party.
  • If you are moving from one Santa Monica address to another within the same preferential parking zone, you are still required to provide updated proof of residency for the new address, but we can transfer your existing permits to your new address free of charge if you provide us the appropriate documentation listed above. This does not apply to residents moving to another preferential parking zone within the city of Santa Monica as new permits reflecting the new zone will have to be issued.

Landlords & Building Managers

Landlords/building managers may not purchase permits on behalf of their tenants. Landlords/building managers are only able to purchase up to two (2) Visitor permits for use when visiting the building/unit regardless of the number of owned/managed units in the building or parcel.

If you live on site, you can only apply for preferential parking permits as a resident (please refer to information above for eligibility requirements). You cannot obtain permits as a landlord/building manager and as a resident for the same building or parcel.

In order to qualify for a landlord/building manager account, you must provide the following:

  • Proof of ownership such as a grant deed or property tax bill
  • If building manager, proof of employment in addition to proof of ownership from the owner
  • Proof of valid business licenses with the City of Santa Monica: The owner must have a valid Santa Monica business license to lease property and the building manager may need one to manage property
Please visit the Business License page or call (310) 458-8745 for more information on Santa Monica Business License.

Allowable Number of Permits

  • One (1) annual Resident permit per vehicle registered at the current Santa Monica residential address
  • Two (2) annual Visitor permits per household
  • Up to 25 one-day temporary permits per specific date, and up to 300 per year, for private events at your home
  • No person shall obtain permits for multiple units located on the same parcel or property

Placement of Permits

Residents who wish to purchase a Resident permit have the choice between a decal or a hangtag. Resident and Visitor hangtag permits must be hung from the rearview mirror with the colored, numbered part of the permit facing the rear of the vehicle. Permits must be removed when the vehicle is in motion [CVC Section 26708(a)]. Resident bumper sticker permits must be placed on the left rear bumper only.

For motorcycles and scooters, sticker permits should be placed visibly on the left front side (e.g., on the fork or the fairing). Hangtag permits may be placed in lockable motorcycle permit holders that can be purchased from various retailers.

If your permit is not displayed correctly you are subject to being cited and will have to go through the process of contesting your citation. Your citation will not automatically be dismissed. The results of the review will be determined by the Santa Monica Police Department Traffic Services Division.

One-Day Temporary Parking Permits

You may print from home for free up to 25 one-day temporary permits per specific date, and up to 300 per year, for private events at your home. Existing permit holders with active accounts can generate and download one-day temporary permits online.

Renewing Preferential Parking Permits

Preferential parking permits are renewed annually either online or by mail only. Permits are not stocked in our office and cannot be renewed in person. Existing customers may log in to the Customer Web Portal to renew permits or pay citations. Please be aware of the expiration date printed on the front of your permit.

Renewal notices will be mailed to all active accounts 6 to 8 weeks prior to the annual expiration date. If you do not receive your renewal notice or it is lost, please contact our office for another copy. Please allow at least two weeks for renewals to be processed. There is no grace period for expired permits. Citations for lost or late renewals are your responsibility.

Replacing Permits (New Car, Stolen, or Lost)

If you replace a vehicle that has a valid permit with a new vehicle, a one-time free exchange may be issued for the same valid period when you return the original permit and provide us with the registration for the new vehicle. Temporary registration is not accepted. If your permit is stolen and you provide a police report, the first replacement is free. A second stolen permit with a police report is 50% of cost. Lost permits can be replaced only once and at full cost. Permits that have been confiscated for misuse cannot be replaced for the remainder of the permit year.

  • To replace a Visitor permit, we will need to know the permit number of the missing permit. We can find this information if you simply provide us with your name and address, UNLESS there were two Visitor permits issued to the household, in which case we would need the permit number of the other Visitor permit you still have in order to distinguish which one is missing.
  • To replace a Resident permit, we will need to know the license plate number of the old vehicle the Resident permit was assigned to.

Permits that have been reported as lost or stolen are cancelled and no longer valid.  Vehicles using permits that have been reported as lost, stolen, or cancelled are subject to citation.

Important Notes

  • Preferential parking permits do not exempt users from other parking regulations such as curb markings, alleys, meters, street sweeping, oversize vehicle regulations, or anywhere else where parking is prohibited.
  • Parking Enforcement may confiscate a permit and/or issue a citation if the permit is used to park to go to a business, school, hospital, convalescent home or any location other than your home.
  • Preferential parking permits are not valid in City of Santa Monica parking lots, structures or beach lots.
  • Vehicles parked in the same space for over 72 hours are subject to citation and/or tow [SMMC 3.12.990].
  • The Police Department does not enforce preferential parking zones on Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Establishing Preferential Parking

To implement preferential parking restrictions in areas where preferential parking has been pre-approved, residents must submit a petition form with signatures representing two-thirds of residential units in the affected area. Preferential parking will be implemented on a Council-approved block within eight weeks of receiving a qualifying petition.

The process for requesting preferential parking in an area not pre-approved by City Council is initiated by submission of a petition form with signatures representing two-thirds of residential units in the affected area. Upon receipt of a petition, staff will study parking occupancies in your neighborhood and host a community meeting to discuss the findings. If preferential parking is warranted, a recommendation will be made to the City Council. The entire process takes roughly two years.

Parking Operations

1717 4th Street, Suite 150
Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 458-8295

Office hours:
Monday - Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Alternate Fridays
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

(closed every other Friday)

Only service animals are allowed when visiting our office. Thank you for your consideration.