A Hawaii car title is a legal document that the state uses to establish vehicle ownership. Also known as a pink slip, vehicle owners must apply for a car title within 30 days of purchasing or acquiring a new or used vehicle. Dealerships handle the vehicle title transfer and paperwork when motorists purchase a vehicle from a dealer, but car owners must complete the DMV car title process on their own when they purchase a vehicle from a private seller or receive a car from a family member.

However, the process of applying for an auto title in HI varies slightly depending on whether drivers live in the counties of Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai or Maui. To learn more about how to get car titles and the ways in which titles relate to registration documents, review the sections below.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Hawaii

To request a title for car ownership, you must follow the guidelines for the county in which you live. If you need to obtain a new or used auto title in Maui County, you must visit the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing (DMVL) in Kahului, Kihei, Lahaina, Pukalani, Hana, Lanai or Molokai. If you need to obtain a new car title in Hawaii County, you must visit a motor vehicle registration office in Hilo, Kona, Pahoa or Waimea.

To obtain a new or used car title in Kauai County, you must visit the Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) office in Lihue. To get car titles in the City or County of Honolulu, you may visit a Satellite City Hall office or submit your paperwork by mail to the DMVL. You may send your current certificate of title and all supporting documentation to the following address:

Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing
P.O. Box 30330
Honolulu, Hawaii 96820-0330

The HI car title paperwork and title transfer is handled for you if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership. When you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, you do not need to apply for a new title on your own.

The Hawaii Auto Title Application

There is no HI vehicle title application for drivers to complete during the titling process. To get a car title after purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, drivers must print and sign their names on the vehicle’s current certificate of title, and submit the title to a county motor vehicle registration office. When getting car titles, vehicle owners must perform the following:

  • On the reverse side of the Hawaii car title certificate, drivers must print and sign their names. Both car owners must sign the DMV car title if they plan to register the vehicle jointly.
  • If applicable, the vehicle’s lienholders must print and sign their names on the reverse side of the title certificate.

When obtaining a pink slip in Hawaii, car dealerships handle the paperwork and title transfer on behalf of the car buyer. Additionally, many residents choose to apply for an auto title and registration card simultaneously. To register a car at the same time, vehicle owners must complete a registration application, obtain a vehicle inspection sticker and certificate, and provide proof of auto insurance.

If obtaining a title for car ownership in the name of a business, applicants must complete a Letter of Authorization (LOA) and file it with the county before submitting the title. An LOA shows that the employee purchases vehicles on behalf of the business.

Documents You Must Provide When Applying for a New Car Title in Hawaii

In addition to submitting the current DMV car title, vehicle owners must submit other documentation as well. To get a car title in Hawaii, drivers must submit the following documents to their county within 30 days of acquiring a new or used vehicle:

  • The current registration certificate.
  • The vehicle safety inspection certificate.
  • Proof of valid identification.
  • Payment for all HI vehicle title fees.

Buyers who do not submit the vehicle certificate of title and supporting documentation to their county’s motor vehicle office within 30 days must pay additional late fees and possible delinquent taxes.

What is a Hawaii car registration?

While a title establishes vehicle ownership, car registration in Hawaii serves as proof that you can legally operate your vehicle on public roads. Before you may apply for a vehicle registration certificate, however, you must obtain automobile insurance and complete a vehicle inspection.

You need to obtain auto insurance before you may complete a vehicle inspection, and you cannot legally drive your vehicle on public roadways until you complete an inspection. For this reason, you cannot get car registration documents until you obtain auto insurance.

Additionally, you must complete a new car registration application before you may register your vehicle. When completing an HI auto registration application, you need to provide the vehicle’s make, model year, color, body type, vehicle identification number (VIN), weight, odometer reading and vehicle inspection expiration date.

You must also pay all applicable registration fees. If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, however, the dealer often completes and submits the registration application on your behalf.

What is the difference between a car title and a vehicle registration in Hawaii?

The main difference between a Hawaii motor vehicle registration and a title document is that a certificate of title displays the name of the vehicle’s legal owner, while a car registration shows that you can legally drive the vehicle on public roads.

Although you can apply for a Hawaii car registration and title simultaneously, the two certificates serve different purposes and the state requires you to obtain both documents before you may legally operate your new or used vehicle.

Car Title Costs in Hawaii

The fees for any procedures related to DMVs in Hawaii vary from county to county. Thus, applicants can expect to pay varying car title costs in the state.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.