13 Aug 2017


Living On The Hill: All About Your Car

Whether you are new to the Hill or simply trying to remember what resources are available to you, we are here to help! Please enjoy and share our Living on the Hill guides, intended to help you find everything you need while visiting or living on Capitol Hill. We love to be a resource to our neighbors, so please send us a note through social media or to info@thehillishome.com if you have suggestions for additional guides.


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr

Many Hill residents rely on their cars to get around the Hill and the city. While we are lucky that D.C. is –for the most part– a city with many traffic modalities, cars are the most comfortable option for those of us who have to commute, ferry children and pets around, or who depend on our car for our livelihood. If that’s you, here is some important information.


DC vehicles must pass a safety and emissions inspection before first time registration or re-registration. The inspection fee of $35 is paid at the time of registration, not inspection. Private, not-for-hire vehicles must be inspected every two years, and commercial vehicles every year. Appointments can be made online here, but are not required. The best times for inspections are Wednesday through Friday, 8-10 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. at 1001 Half St SW. Call 202-737-4404 for more information.


Once a car passes the inspection, the owner must apply for the vehicle registration and title in person at one of the DMV service centers https://dmv.dc.gov/node/1089402 . Bring the following original documents

  • Completed application for vehicle title
  • DC drivers license
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of insurance
  • Odometer statement
  • Proof of value (bill of sale or title transfer document)
  • DC inspection report (used cars) or the manufacturer’s certificate of origin
  • Leasing agreement (if the vehicle is leased)
  • Lien agreement (if there is a loan against the value of the vehicle)

Registration Renewal

You will receive an email or physical reminder card from the DMV sixty days before the current vehicle registration expires. You can renew your registration at a DMV service center, online, or through the mail. Your new stickers will then be mailed to you.

Drivers Licenses

If you are moving to DC from another jurisdiction, you have 30 days to convert an out-of-state license to a DC license. Residents 16 years of age or older can register for a DC driver’s license. If you are under 21, you must participate in the Graduated License Program. DC also utilizes the REAL ID licenses. This ensures your identity by requiring a one-time re-validation of source documents when you receive a new license, renew, or request a duplicate license.

Towed Vehicles

If you park in an area that creates a traffic or safety hazard, the vehicle will be towed. The tow fee is $100, plus a storage fee of $20 per day if it is not picked up within 24 hours. All fees and outstanding parking tickets must be paid online or in person at 955 L’Enfant Plaza SW before a vehicle can be returned.

Booted Vehicles

Vehicles can be booted if it has two or more 60-day-old unpaid parking or photo enforcement tickets. The boot will be removed within two hours of paying the $75 boot fee, as well as all outstanding tickets, and the vehicle may be towed if the tickets remain unpaid. Payments can be made online or in person at the 955 L’Enfant Plaza SW Service Center.

** Tow and Boot Alerts

DC lets drivers enroll in a new service offered by the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) to receive electronic notifications if their vehicle has been booted, towed, or relocated in the District. The new Tow and Boot Alert System will notify enrolled drivers if a boot has been installed on, or removed from, their vehicle, or if it has been towed or relocated by DPW or a company working on its behalf. Drivers can register their vehicle into the system by visiting www.dpw.dc.gov

Resident Parking Permits 

Residential Parking Permits (RPPs) are available for residents of participating blocks. These permits are $35 per year and exempt holders from the two-hour neighborhood parking limit and parking meters (with the exception of commercial areas such as Barracks Row) in the neighborhood. You may request a RPP sticker by mailing an application or stopping by the DMV.

If you do not have DC vehicle registration for your car, you may get a permit by providing additional proof of residency and documentation such as a utility bill or a notarized lease. Residential Parking Permits are generally enforced Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 9:30 pm. If you would like different enforcement hours on your individual block, you may submit a petition to the Department of Transportation. However, 51 percent of the residents on the block must sign and the ANC must approve of the change.

Visitor Parking Permits

Have visitors coming to town? Get a temporary parking permit for visitors from the First District police substation at 500 E Street SE. You need to show proof of residence to obtain these. The passes are good for 15 days and you can renew them once. These permits can also be used for repair or contract workers as well as for visiting nurses, though a doctor’s notice is required in this last instance. If you live around the stadium (south of Pennsylvania Ave, between 9th St SE and 9th St SW), you will be mailed a visitor’s pass so your guests can park on the street during parking permit enforcement hours.

Parking Tickets

If you receive a parking ticket, it must be paid or contested within 30 calendar days of the date on the ticket. Fines that are not addressed will be doubles, the ticket will be delinquent, and your license will be suspended until paid. Tickets can be paid online, by mail, in person at 955 L’Enfant Plaza center, or over the phone at 866-893-5023. Tickets can be contested online, by mail, or at a walk-in hearing within 60 days.

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