Hawaii Car Registration

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Completing a Hawaii vehicle registration doesn’t take long – though you’ll need some patience.

Registering your car or truck in Hawaii requires you to file and submit the correct forms per vehicle type and location. You’ll pay variable fees depending on your registration needs.

Getting your vehicle registered is a requirement whether you’ve purchased a vehicle, new or used, through a private or dealer sale. Getting caught driving without your registration is a serious offense and can result in fines and penalties like a suspended or revoked license!

You will complete a registration when moving between counties, too.

Your main tasks include satisfying:

  • Proof of identification
  • Registration/Title Application
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Paying the taxes and fees

…plus, any applicable vehicle testing and disclosures.

You will register your vehicle at a Hawaii Department of Transportation motor vehicle registration office. Most times, this requires you to complete it within 30 days of ownership or moving to the state.

We’ve outlined the Hawaii registration process, keeping it easy.

Your Hawaii Vehicle Registration Guide: Step-by-Step

You must do/have the following before registering your vehicle in Hawaii:

  • Vehicle inspection
  • Auto insurance

Whether you’re moving to the state, visiting and need a temporary title, or completing a sale through a dealership or private sale – you’ll need to complete one of the following registration methods.

Registering a Vehicle from Private Sellers

The registration process is different for each county but mostly follows the same idea.

We recommend you contact your county’s DMV for more information about your county requirements. Else, follow along with the process below to get a general overview of the steps you’ll take.

To register your vehicle’s title/registration in Hawaii, you will (as an example):

  1. Find and visit a local HI motor vehicle office
  2. Submit a signed vehicle title
    1. Both parties (or lienholder) will sign the document
  3. Submit the vehicle’s current registration documents
  4. File an Application for Registration of a Motor Vehicle
  5. Submit your inspection certificate
  6. Pay the $5 registration transfer fee

You may also pay any delinquent taxes on the vehicle for the years it wasn’t registered. A $50 late fee may apply, too, if the transfer is not completed within the 30 days of changing ownership.

Registering a Vehicle from Dealerships

Dealerships will submit your registration documents on your behalf. The dealers will likely include your registration fees as part of the transaction, too. Essentially, you don’t have to worry about the registration, given you’re going through an accredited dealer.

Registration Between Counties

Registrations are handled on a county-by-county basis, meaning you’ll need to submit your vehicle information if you decide to move the vehicle.

The process generally requires the following:

  1. Visit a DMV office
  2. File an Application for Registration of a Motor Vehicle
  3. Submit the vehicle title and registration certificate
  4. Pay your registration fees

It’s tedious, but you’ve got to get it done!

Registration for New or Temporary Drivers

Those moving to Hawaii must register their vehicle within 30 days. The safety inspection is a requirement. The registration takes place at a local motor vehicle office.

Want to bring your vehicle to Hawaii? You will:

  1. File the Application for Registration of Motor Vehicle
  2. Submit the Certificate of Vehicle Registration
  3. Submit the Out-of-State Title
  4. Submit a shipping receipt or bill of lading
    1. File the Vehicle Arrival Certificate if you don’t have one of these
  5. Show proof of a vehicle inspection
  6. Show proof of your vehicle’s weight
  7. File the Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification
  8. Pay your registration fees

Alternatively, you may apply for a temporary permit if you bring a visitor with your vehicle but don’t plan to stay an extended time (or settle down). The temporary registration must be done within 30 days of arriving. Your vehicle requires an inspection before you can apply.

Need a temporary registration? You will:

  1. Submit your registration
  2. Show your inspection certificate
  3. File an Out-of-State Vehicle Permit Application
  4. Submit your shipping receipt or bill of lading
  5. Pay a $5 permit fee

This temporary registration is good for 1-year or until your out-of-state plates expire.

Hawaii Vehicle Registration Fees

Registration fees also vary county by county, factoring in the vehicle weight and usage.

Some of your typical fees include:

  • State and county fees
  • State and county weight taxes
  • Transfer and emblem fees

Give your local DMV a call and ask about your vehicle’s specifics:

Hawaii: (808) 961-8351

Honolulu: 768-4325

Maui: (808) 270-7363

Kaua’i: (808) 241-4256

Hawaii Vehicle Inspections

Vehicles must pass a safety inspection before registration.

You will:

  1. Go to a vehicle inspection station
  2. Show proof of registration
  3. Show proof of insurance

If you pass, you’ll earn an inspection certificate (sent to the DMV). You will do this inspection every year of your vehicle ownership.

Set a Reminder for Registration Renewal

You’ll want to mark your calendar or else wait to receive a renewal notice when it comes time. You can check the exact date listed on the registration, so keep this in mind and mark your calendar!

See our HI registration renewal guide for more info when you’re ready.

Congratulations! You’ve registered your vehicle in the state of Hawaii. Practice safe driving, be nice to others, and you’ll have a wonderful time on the open roads.