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Guide to the Hawaii DMV

hawaii dmv guide

If you’re planning to move to Hawaii or purchase a vehicle in the state, you may be wondering how to register your car and update your license.

New Registration

Hawaii is broken up into islands and counties. Even if you move from one county to another, you are required to register your car in your new county of residence. The registration process will differ slightly, depending on the county. You must register your vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency in Hawaii. At your nearest motor vehicle registration office, you are required to submit:

  • A completed application for registration
  • The most recent out-of-state certificate of registration
  • The out-of-state title shipping receipt documenting your vehicle’s date of arrival (a Vehicle Arrival Certification form CS-L(MVR) may take the place of a receipt
  • A certificate of safety inspection
  • Proof of your vehicle’s weight
  • A Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification form (G-27)
  • Payment for all registration

If you brought your vehicle to Hawaii but won’t be staying long enough to register it, you are still required to apply for an out-of-state permit. This will require filling out the out-of-state permit application and paying a small fee.

Vehicle Inspections

Hawaii requires all vehicles to pass a safety inspection before being registered, and to go through the inspection process annually thereafter. To undergo an inspection, you must take your current registration and proof of insurance to an approved repair shop or service station. The technicians will award you an inspection certificate once you pass. Emissions inspections are not required, but practicing care with your vehicle’s emissions is encouraged.

Registration Renewal

You will get a renewal notice at least 45 days prior to the end of your vehicle’s registration. To renew it, simply go to your county’s online renewal page with your license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) handy. You may also renew by mail or in person at your local county office. You will be charged a base renewal fee of $45, plus other fees determined by your vehicle and location, payable by cash or credit card.


Hawaii title transfers are handled at the county level. Check with your local county’s office for details. When you buy a car from a dealer, the dealer will generally submit the titling and vehicle registration paperwork for you. They will also collect your registration fees.

Driver’s License

You will likely be able to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license once you arrive in Hawaii. The requirements may differ, depending on which Hawaiin county you reside in. Fees will vary, depending on the county.

In general, to obtain your license, you will need:

  • A  completed State of Hawaii Driver License Application.
  • Proof of your identity (passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • 2 documents proving your Hawaiian address (recent bank statement, W-2, etc.)
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Proof of name change if applicable
  • Payment for required fees

You will also be required to pass a vision exam.

Auto Insurance Requirements

Hawaii requires that all drivers must obtain liability insurance to operate a vehicle. You must meet the following minimum coverage limits:

  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage
  • $10,000 for basic personal injury protection
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage
  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured motorists