University of South Florida

Administrative Services


PATS Set to Debut Virtual Permits at USF

An SUV equipped with license plate recognition technology patrols a parking lot on campus.

Parking and Transportation Services has two vehicles equipped with license plate recognition technology that routinely patrol campus.

The University of South Florida's Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) Division is set to begin using virtual parking permits on the Tampa campus. This change will be introduced in the 2021-2022 Parking Permits and be the new standard for parking permits moving forward at USF Tampa campus.

How do virtual Permits work?

Virtual parking permits associate to a vehicle's license plate upon purchase. No physical sticker permit is provided. Parking enforcement then utilizes license plate recognition technology to identify vehicles with or without valid permits for the location they are patrolling. With this technology it is extremely important to have accurate vehicle information on your parking account. 

Why switch to Virtual Permits?

Virtual parking permits and LPR technology are increasingly being used by universities and municipalities across the nation. USF will be one of six SUS schools using LPR technology and one of three using virtual permits. Additionally, this effort is more sustainable as PATS can eliminate 30,000+ pieces of mail as well as the physical permit itself. 

How does this affect me?

For many this change will cause little to no difference in how you park on campus. One benefit to this change is you will immediately gain parking privileges after your purchase compared to having to wait for your permit in the mail. 

One policy change in relation to virtual permits is the "Park Plate Out" policy. As of August 12, 2021, all vehicles parked on the USF Tampa campus must park with their license plate facing the drive aisle. This means you can not back-in or pull-forward into a spot. Exceptions to this policy include disabled parking, vehicles charging in an electric vehicle charging station on campus, or those with a front bumper license plate. For those who would like to back-in/pull-forward into a spot, you may purchase a vanity front bumper plate at the Parking and Transportation Services main office.

What if I have more questions?

Visit for more information on this change to parking operations. You can also contact the PATS team via email at

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