Preferential Parking Permits
Preferential parking regulations manage the use of on-street parking to assist residents with valid permits and their guests in finding parking near their homes. A preferential parking permit exempts a vehicle from preferential parking restrictions within the specified zone and within a two-block radius of the registered address only.
Preferential parking permits do not exempt permit holders from other parking regulations such as curb markings, alleys, parking meters, street sweeping, oversize vehicle regulations, or anywhere else where parking is prohibited.
Preferential parking permits are for residential purposes only. Use of preferential parking permits for any other purposes violates the Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC) Chapter 3.08 and may subject the violators to citation and/or more severe forms of punishment.
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: The City Council has pre-approved restrictions for your block; however, a petition is required before restrictions will be implemented (not eligible).
- Other/No Color: The City Council approval is required in addition to a completed petition (not eligible).
First-time applicants must provide the documentation below either in person or by mail to Parking Operations in order to establish an account. To apply by mail, please email your request with your name and complete residential address. If you are applying in person, please have the appropriate documents. We do not accept proxies. If you are unable to apply in person, please apply by mail.
- Proof of residency – Acceptable proof of residency includes a utility bill, bank statement, or credit card bill from the last 30 days only. We do not accept driver's licenses, leases, rental agreements, IDs, cellphone bills, or vehicle registrations. The name shown in the document must match the name of the person requesting a permit. The service address shown in the document must match the eligible permit address.
- Visitor permits – To purchase a visitor permit, bring proof of residency as defined 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 defined above PLUS California Vehicle Registration reflecting the applicant's name and current Santa Monica residential address (not a post office box or business address). No temporary registrations will not be accepted. To update your vehicle registration online, please visit http://dmv.ca.gov/online/onlinesvcs.htm. Print out the update confirmation and submit it as part of your supporting documents. A Resident permit is valid only for the specific license plate number to which it is issued 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 executed rental agreement or lease to receive a 30-day temporary parking permit as a one-time courtesy. Thereafter, you must provide proof as defined 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.
Note: Preferential parking permits must be mailed to the corresponding permitted addresses. No mailing addresses of any kind will be allowed.
Moving within Santa Monica
If you currently have parking permits for an address in Santa Monica and are moving to a new address that also 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. However, we can transfer your existing permits to your new address free of charge if you provide us the appropriate documentation as defined above. This does not apply to residents moving to another preferential parking zone within Santa Monica as new permits reflecting the new zone will have to be issued.
Landlords and 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: a grant deed, recent mortgage statement, or recent property tax bill only
- 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: An owner must have a valid Santa Monica business license to lease property (residential only; no commercial) 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
- Up to two (2) annual Visitor permits per household
- Up to 25 one-day temporary permits per specific date, and up to 300 per permit year, for private events at your home (you must have a valid Resident or Visitor permit in your account to access this feature)
- 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 barcode side 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 citation. Your citation will not be dismissed automatically regardless of your current permit status. You will have to go through the process of contesting your citation. 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 permit year, for private events at your home only. 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 login to the Customer Web Portal to renew permits or pay citations. Please note the expiration date on your permit as there is no grace period for expired permits and NO extension will be granted. Vehicles displaying expired permits are subject to citation.
We now allow up to 3 months to give you ample time to renew your permits. You will also receive multiple email reminders during this 3-month period if we have your email on file. 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 and plan accordingly. Citations for lost or late renewals are your responsibility.
Please display your new permit according to the valid dates on your permit.
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 if you return the original permit and provide us with the registration for the new vehicle. Temporary registrations will not be 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.
Requests for replacements can be done in person or by mail. If you wish to submit a replacement request by mail, simply mail us the required information and a check for payment if applicable.
- To replace a Visitor permit, we will need to know the permit number of the missing permit. If there is only one Visitor permit issued to the household, we can find this information if you simply provide us with your name and address. If there are two Visitor permits issued to the household, please provide the permit number of the Visitor permit you still have in order to determine the missing permit.
- To replace a Resident permit, we will need to know the license plate number of the old vehicle to which the Resident permit was assigned.
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.
- The Santa Monica Police Department may confiscate a permit and/or issue a citation if the permit is used to visit businesses, schools, hospitals, places of employment, restaurants, or any locations other than the address associated the permit even if these locations are within two blocks of the permitted address.
- 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 [CVC Section 22651(k)].
- The Santa Monica Police Department does not enforce preferential parking zones on Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
- THERE ARE NO REFUNDS FOR LOST, UNWANTED, UNUSED, CONFISCATED, OR PARTIAL-PERIOD USE OF PERMITS. All parking fees are non-refundable.
For questions regarding parking enforcement or citations, please contact the Santa Monica Police Department Traffic Services Division at (310) 458-8466.
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.