Cars parked on residential Street

Apply for a Parking Permit

Traffic, Parking, and Transportation

You need a permit to park in areas designated “Parking by Permit Only.” Residents may apply for Resident Parking Permits (RPP), for passenger vehicles and motorcycles, and/or Visitor Parking Permits (VPP), which may only be used by visitors. Each household is eligible to receive one Visitor Parking Permit. The first person to apply from a household will receive the Visitor Parking Permit.

We have information for people who are moving, residents who are members of the military on active duty, and other unique circumstances.

2021 Parking Permit Renewals

The 2021 Parking Permit Renewal season will run from January 4, 2021 through March 31, 2021.

You may apply for a 2021 Parking Permit online by following the instructions in the "Renew a Resident Parking Permit" or "Renew a Visitor Parking Permit (no Vehicle)" sections. Your parking permit will be mailed to you on or after January 4, 2021. If you would like to apply by mail or in person, please check back for more information on or after Monday, December 28, 2020.

If you need a 2020 Parking Permit, you may get one by following the instructions in the "Apply for a new Resident Parking Permit" or "Apply for a new Visitor Parking Permit (no Vehicle)" sections.

Eligibility Requirements

Residency

You must be a Cambridge resident to apply for a Resident or Visitor Parking Permit.

Parking Ticket Payments

We will not issue you a permit if you have unpaid parking tickets in your name.

Proof of Residency

You must supply proof of residency unless this is your fourth consecutive permit with the exact same information (e.g., you will need to supply proof of residency for any new vehicles, if you move, or let your permits lapse). All proof of residency must be dated within the previous 30 days. If you are applying for a Resident Parking Permit, the proof of residency must be in the same name and address of your vehicle registration. You must provide either:

  • one utility bill that shows your name and the Cambridge service address, or
  • two pieces of mail that show your name and Cambridge address.

Vehicle Registration

The vehicle must be registered in Massachusetts. The registration must show your residential address in Cambridge and have a garage code of Cambridge. (Exceptions are made as outlined in the Unique Circumstances section of this page.)

Purchase a Resident or Visitor Parking Permit

Apply for a new Resident Parking Permit

Read the Resident and Visitor Parking Permit Rules before applying for a resident parking permit. Resident Parking Permits expire on March 31 of each year. You may apply via one of the following methods.

Online

  • Collect electronic copies of your proof of residency.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online application for a new permit, including uploading your proof of residency. Please note: there is a different website for renewing permits.
  • Once our staff reviews your application for completeness and it is approved, you will be emailed a link to pay for your permit.
  • Once payment is received, your Resident Parking Permit will be valid. Your permit(s) will be mailed to you.
  • Once it arrives, immediately stick your Resident Parking Permit on the inside, lower driver’s side corner of the windshield.

In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Collect your proof of residency.
  • Get your vehicle registration from your vehicle.
  • Bring your documents and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.
  • Immediately stick your Resident Parking Permit on the inside, lower driver’s side corner of the windshield.

By Mail

Note: We do not recommend this option unless you have access to off-street parking.

  • Print and complete the paper Parking Permit Application.
  • Collect your proof of residency.
  • Copy the vehicle registration.
  • Make your check or money order payable to the “City of Cambridge.”
  • Mail your application form, proof of residency, registration, and payment to our office.
    Traffic, Parking, and Transportation
    344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 021139
  • Your permit(s) will be mailed to you. Your Resident Parking Permit will be valid from the time that it is issued.
  • Once it arrives, immediately stick your Resident Parking Permit on the inside, lower driver’s side corner of the windshield.

Apply for a new Visitor Parking Permit (no Vehicle)

This information is only applicable to households without a vehicle. If someone in your household has a vehicle, one Visitor Parking Permit will be issued with the first Resident Parking Permit.

Online

  • Collect electronic copies of your proof of residency.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online application for a new permit, including uploading your proof of residency. Please note: there is a different website for renewing permits.
  • Once our staff reviews your application for completeness and it is approved, you will be emailed a link to pay for your permit.
  • Once payment is received, your permit(s) will be mailed to you.

By mail

  • Print and complete the paper Parking Permit Application.
  • Collect your proof of residency.
  • Make your check or money order payable to the “City of Cambridge.”
  • Mail your application form, proof of residency, and payment to our office.
    Traffic, Parking, and Transportation
    344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 021139
  • Your permit will be mailed to you.

In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Collect your proof of residency.
  • Bring your documents and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

Renew a Resident Parking Permit

Online

Note: The renewal website will only allow you to get a 2021 permit. If you need a 2020 permit, follow the instructions listed under "Apply for a new Resident Parking Permit".

  • You may use the renewal website to update your address.
  • You cannot use the renewal website to update your license plate information. If you have a new license plate, please email your old and new license plate number to parkingservices@cambridgema.gov. We will update your license plate number so that you can use the renewal website.
  • Collect electronic copies of your proof of residency.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online renewal application, including uploading your proof of residency.
  • Your permit(s) will be mailed to you on or after January 4, 2021.
  • Once it arrives, immediately stick your Resident Parking Permit on the inside, lower driver’s side corner of the windshield.

By mail

We are not currently accepting mail applications for 2021 Parking Permits. More information about how to submit an application by mail will be provided on December 28, 2021.

In Person

We are not currently accepting appointment requests for 2021 Parking Permits. More information about how to schedule an appointment will be provided on December 28, 2021.

Renew a Visitor Parking Permit (no Vehicle)

This information is only applicable to households without a vehicle. If someone in your household has a vehicle, one Visitor Parking Permit will be issued with the first Resident Parking Permit.

Online

Note: The renewal website will only allow you to get a 2021 permit. If you need a 2020 permit, follow the instructions listed under "Apply for a new Visitor Parking Permit (no Vehicle)".

  • You may use the renewal website to update your address.
  • Collect electronic copies of your proof of residency.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online renewal application, including uploading your proof of residency.
  • Your permit will be mailed to you.

By mail

We are not currently accepting mail applications for 2021 Parking Permits. More information about how to submit an application by mail will be provided on December 28, 2021.

In Person

We are not currently accepting appointment requests for 2021 Parking Permits. More information about how to schedule an appointment will be provided on December 28, 2021.

Unique Circumstances

Carshare Vehicles

Carshare vehicles that have the name of the company printed on the vehicle do not need a permit to park in areas designated “Parking by Permit Only.”

Borrowed Vehicles

If you are borrowing a vehicle because your existing vehicle is in the shop or otherwise out of service, please refer to the information listed under "Replacement Vehicles for Vehicles Undergoing Service (Rented or Borrowed)."

Due to the rules established under the Massachusetts General Laws, we cannot issue Resident Parking Permits unless the vehicle is registered in your name at your address in Cambridge. However, if you are borrowing a vehicle from a family member and you intend to register the vehicle in your name, you may purchase a Temporary Parking Permit which will give you time to register the vehicle in your name. If you have questions, please contact us.

Dormitories

Residents who are living in dormitories may apply for Resident Parking Permits, except for residents of dormitories that were built after October 27, 2003 and are in the Special Zoning Districts 12, 13, and 14. These addresses include:

  • 10 Akron Street;
  • 28 Hingham Street;
  • 387 Memorial Drive;
  • 37, 47, 49 and 69 Banks Street;
  • 5 Cowperthwaite Street; and
  • 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 11 Grant Street.

Residents of dormitories are not eligible to receive a Visitor Parking Permit.

Employer-Owned Vehicles

All of the requirements are the same except:

  • the registration does not need to show your Cambridge address (the garage code must still be Cambridge), and
  • you must provide a letter from your employer on their letterhead stating that the vehicle has been assigned to you and that you maintain control over the vehicle at all times.

Extended Visitor Parking Permits

Residents may purchase Extended Visitor Parking Permits to allow their visitors to park in areas designated “Parking by Permit Only” for up to two consecutive weeks.

In order to be eligible, your household must have an active Visitor Parking Permit. You must submit the application on behalf of your visitor. If your visitor has a vehicle that is registered outside of Massachusetts, you must provide a copy of the vehicle registration. If you are living in Cambridge, you may not use a Visitor Parking Permit on any vehicle that you are using.

You may apply for a one-week or two-week Extended Visitor Parking Permit. The cost for the permits is $10.00 per week. Once the two-week limit is reached, a new permit may not be issued for the same vehicle until one month after the initial start date. However, you may apply for back-to-back permits for different vehicles.

Your visitor must follow all Visitor Parking Permit rules, including moving the vehicle every 24 hours and parking within the correct Visitor Parking Permit zone.

Each household may only have one Extended Visitor Parking Permit at a time. There is an eight week maximum, per year, per household for Extended Visitor Parking Permits.

Apply In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Get a copy of your visitor's vehicle registration.
  • Bring the registration and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.
  • If your household's Visitor Parking Permit is not in your name (e.g., your family member or roommate applied for the permit), you must bring proof of residency.

Military Members on Active Duty

If you are serving in the military and have been assigned to work or study in or near Cambridge, you may apply for a Military Parking Permit. These permits operate the same as Resident Parking Permits except:

  • you do not have to register your vehicle in Massachusetts; and
  • you must provide a copy of your military orders.

Motorcycles

If you own a motorcycle, you must complete the regular application for a Resident Parking Permit. However, we do not expect or recommend that you try to affix the sticker to your motorcycle. You should keep the permit and if you receive a ticket for parking without a permit, you must provide the permit number when you dispute the ticket.

Moving to or Within Cambridge

If you move to or within Cambridge, you must contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles, your Insurance Agent, and us to update your information. If you move within Cambridge, we may need to issue you a new Visitor Parking Permit.

Moving with your own vehicle

If you are in the process of changing your registration to Cambridge, you may apply for a Temporary Parking Permit.

If you are moving within the state, you may apply for a one-week Temporary Parking Permit. If you are moving from outside of Massachusetts, you may apply for a one- or two-week Temporary Parking Permit. The price for temporary permits is $20.00 for one week and $30.00 for two weeks.

If for some reason you cannot register your vehicle in Massachusetts within two-weeks, you may apply for an additional extension. You must provide evidence showing why the registration process is being delayed. These extensions are subject to supervisor approval. Otherwise, temporary Parking Permits may not be renewed or extended. 

COVID-19 Update

The State has instituted a 14-day quarantine requirement, which means that if you have traveled from outside of the state and are subject to this requirement, you will not be able to visit the RMV to transfer your registration until your quarantine period ends. If your vehicle is currently registered outside of Massachusetts, and you are otherwise eligible for a Temporary Parking Permit, we will issue you a four-week Temporary Parking Permit for $30.00 to account for the quarantine period.

Online

  • Get your lease or purchase and sales agreement. If you do not have a lease or purchase and sales agreement, you must supply proof of residency.
  • If your vehicle is not registered in Massachusetts, you must supply an electronic copy of your registration.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online application for a Temporary Parking Permit, including uploading your documents. 
  • Once our staff reviews your application for completeness and it is approved, you will be emailed a link to pay for your permit.
  • Your permit will be valid on the first day of your lease or the date indicated in your application. We will not mail any Temporary Permits.

In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Get your lease or purchase and sales agreement. If you do not have a lease or purchase and sales agreement, you must supply proof of residency.
  • Get your vehicle registration from your vehicle.
  • Bring your documents and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

A friend or family member helping you move

You may apply for a Temporary Visitor Parking Permit, if you are borrowing a vehicle to facilitate your move or have a friend or relative using their vehicle to help you move. These permits are valid for up to three consecutive days. The price of the permit is $10.00.

You may not renew or extend a Temporary Visitor Parking Permit. All other rules related to Visitor Parking Permits apply, including the requirement that the vehicle be parked within the correct Visitor Parking Permit area and that it be moved every 24 hours.

In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Get your lease or purchase and sales agreement. If you do not have a lease or purchase and sales agreement, you must supply proof of residency.
  • Get your vehicle registration from your vehicle.
  • Bring your documents and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

New Vehicles

First or additional vehicles

If you this is your first vehicle, or your have purchased an additional vehicle, you must apply for a new Resident Parking Permit.

Trading-in or replacing an old vehicle

If you purchased a new car during the renewal season (January 2 through March 31) and have not yet renewed your permit, please follow the process for Renewing a Resident Parking Permit.

If you have or are in the process of purchasing a new vehicle to replace a vehicle that has a current Resident Parking Permit, you should remove the permit from the existing vehicle.

If you are using the same plates and you are able to keep the permit intact, you must contact us with the make of your new vehicle. You may then place the existing permit on your new vehicle.

If you are getting new plates or the permit was damaged while it was being removed, you may:

  • schedule an appointment, bring the old permit to our office, and we will swap it out for a new permit for free;
  • mail the old permit and a Parking Permit Application to our office and we will issue a new permit for free; or
  • apply online for a new permit, you will have to pay the $25.00 fee.

Rental Vehicles

If you are a Cambridge resident and you are renting you may apply for a Temporary Parking Permit. The vehicle does not have to be registered or garaged in Cambridge. You must rent the vehicle in your name and Cambridge address. The cost for Temporary Parking Permits is:

  • $20.00 for one week,
  • $30.00 for two weeks,
  • $40.00 for three weeks, and
  • $50.00 for four weeks.

Apply in Online

  • Collect electronic copies of your proof of residency and your rental agreement.
  • Decide how you'd like to pay. We accept:
    • American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa debit and credit cards; and
    • direct payments from personal checking, personal savings, and commercial checking accounts. You'll need the account number and routing number.
  • Submit an online application for a Rental Vehicle Permit, including uploading your documents.
  • Once our staff reviews your application for completeness and it is approved, you will be emailed a link to pay for your permit.
  • Once payment is received, your Rental Vehicle Permit will be valid. This is an electronic permit, you will not receive anything in the mail.

Apply in Person

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Collect your proof of residency.
  • Get your rental agreement.
  • Bring your documents and payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. We accept cash; checks and money orders made payable to the “City of Cambridge”; and American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

Replacement Vehicles for Vehicles Undergoing Service (Rented or Borrowed)

If you have an existing Resident Parking Permit, and the vehicle is out of service, you may apply for a free Temporary Parking Permit. You must provide paperwork to show that the car is undergoing service or is otherwise unavailable to you for a short period of time. There is a 30-day maximum for these permits, though we will issue additional permits if you provide documentation to show that it is needed. These extensions are subject to supervisor approval.

Online

  • Get your service paperwork or other documentation showing why the car is unavailable to you. You do not need to supply proof of residency.
  • Get the rental agreement or registration for the vehicle that you are using while yours is out of service.
  • Submit an online application for a temporary parking permit, including uploading your documents. 
  • Once our staff reviews your application for completeness and it is approved, your permit will be valid. We will not mail any Temporary Permits.

In Person

Note: You do not need to bring a paper application with you.

  • If you were outside of Massachusetts in the last two weeks, you may be subject to the State's 14-day quarantine requirement. You may not come to our offices when you are required to self-quarantine.
  • You must make an appointment before coming to our offices. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call us at 617-349-4700 (voice) or 711 (relay).
  • Get your service paperwork or other documentation showing why the car is unavailable to you. You do not need to supply proof of residency.
  • Get the rental agreement or registration for the vehicle that you are using while yours is out of service.
  • Bring your documents to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA.

Short-Term Residents

We do not offer short-term parking permits, including for summer school students or sub-letters. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you may apply for a Resident Parking Permit.

Additional Information

Resident and Visitor Parking Permit Fees

  • $25.00 per Resident Parking Permit, which includes a maximum of one Visitor Parking Permit per household.
  • $25.00 per Visitor Parking Permit for households without a vehicle. There is a maximum of one Visitor Parking Permit per household.
  • $50.00 per replacement Visitor Parking Permit. There is a maximum of one replacement Visitor Parking Permit per year.
  • Permit fees are waived for residents who are 65 or older (proof of age required) or have a disability plate or placard.
  • If you need a new permit outside of the renewal season, we will waive the fee if you return the original permit to us.
  • Services fees apply for electronic transactions.

Garage Code

Cambridge must be listed as the garage code for your vehicle in the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles database. If you are unsure about your garage code, you should check this information before applying. This is especially important if you have recently moved or registered a vehicle in Massachusetts.

Your insurance agent should be able to provide you with information about your garage code. The code is listed in item 5 of the Coverage Selection Page. You can also get this information by calling your agent.

If you need to change your residential address or place of principal garaging, call your insurance agent or the Registry of Motor Vehicles at 857-368-8000 or visit your local Registry Office. The RMV charges a $25.00 fee to get a new copy of your registration.

Rules

The City of Cambridge retains the right to revoke or deny Parking Permits at any time for reasons including, but not limited to: non-compliance of any state law, City Ordinance, failure to comply with the above guidelines or failure to make payments.

All City permits are subject to review. Permits issued by the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department can be revoked at any time per order of the Director.

Resident Parking Permits

  • The number on the permit must match the license plate number of the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle or plate changes, you must exchange the permit for a new one or pay for a new permit.
  • Permits may not be copied or transferred to another vehicle, excepted as outline in the New Vehicle section of this page.
  • Any alteration of a permit will result in its revocation and the ticketing of any vehicle bearing it.
  • If you move out of Cambridge, remove the permit. We periodically compare our records with the Registry of Motor Vehicle’s list of principal garaging (garage code list). If the vehicle’s garage code is not Cambridge, we will cancel your Resident Parking Permit.
  • All permits expire March 31 of each year.

Visitor Permits

  • Each Cambridge household is eligible to receive one Visitor Parking Permit. The Visitor Parking Permit is provided to the first person who applies for a Parking Permit (Resident or Visitor) for that household.
  • Visitor Permits:
    • may not be used by a resident.
    • allow non-residents to park in “Parking by Permit Only” areas while visiting a resident’s home. They may not be used for commuter parking or any other purpose. The permit must be returned to the resident at the end of the visit.
    • may only be used within the area designated by the map boundaries on the back of the permit. Within that area, it is valid in areas posted “Parking by Permit Only”.
    • may not be used on taxis, livery or oversized vehicles.
    • may not be copied, sold, transferred, or altered in any way.
  • Vehicles must be moved every 24 hours.
  • Vehicles using a Visitor Permit may not be parked within the same designated area for more than three days within a week, defined as Monday 12:01 a.m. to Saturday 11:59 p.m.
  • Permit use is monitored and recorded on handheld ticket writing devices. Patterns of excessive use on the same vehicle will result in ticketing and/or revocation of the permit.
  • If you move, notify the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department. Since Visitor Parking Permits are zoned, you may need to exchange your existing permit for a new one.

Replacement Resident and Visitor Parking Permits

  • If you do not receive your permit in the mail, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • We will provide free replacement permits once per year, and up to two times in your lifetime, if you notify us in writing that you need a replacement within 30 days of the date that we issue your permit.
  • If your Visitor Permit is lost or stolen, and you do not qualify for a free replacement permit, you may purchase one replacement permit per year for $50.00.
  • When a replacement permit is issued, the original will be canceled.
Page was last modified on 11/30/2020 6:55 PM
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