Title transfers for cars in Hawaii are procedures that must be completed on each occasion a motor vehicle changes ownership from one legal entity to another. To complete the car title transfer process, vehicle owners will be required to submit their request through the motor vehicle department in their county of residence.

When visiting a nearby DMV office to transfer a car title, motorists will also be asked to apply for a vehicle registration during the same transaction. Note that the HI title transfer requirements may vary slightly from county to county, since Hawaii does not have a central motor vehicle agency. Learn about the required documents and complete the title transfer transaction by reviewing the sections below.

What is a car title transfer in Hawaii?

When asking “How do you transfer a title on a car in Hawaii?” vehicle owners will first have to familiarize themselves with the details of and importance of a certificate of title. The transfer of car title in HI is a procedure that results in the passing of ownership of a certain vehicle from one legal owner to another.

The title certificate is the official document used to prove the possession of the vehicle and execute the transfer of ownership. New vehicle owners who fail to complete the transaction will be unable to register their vehicles. Sellers must ensure they transfer the vehicle title and notify their county DMV of the transfer as well, in order to avoid future culpability for the sold vehicle.

Note: You cannot complete a title transfer online in Hawaii, as this process must be completed in person.

When is a vehicle title transfer required in Hawaii?

Completing the Hawaii title transfer for cars is a requirement in situations where the vehicle changes ownership from one legal owner to another, regardless of the nature of the transfer. The standard title transfers for cars are completed after the conclusion of a private motor vehicle sale.

In such cases, both the buyer and the seller will be required to complete certain steps in order to finalize the transfer of ownership. However, transferring a vehicle title is a procedure that must also be finalized under different circumstances. For instance, state motor vehicle departments must process an application even if the vehicle was inherited, donated or gifted.

Information and Documents Necessary to Transfer a Title in Hawaii

To successfully transfer a car title in Hawaii, vehicle owners will be required to meet certain requirements, which may vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the nature of the ownership transfer.

For instance, the vehicle title transfer requirements that apply when titling a vehicle received as a gift, donation or inheritance may differ in minor regards from those that apply for the standard car title transfer. The following list outlines the documents necessary to transfer your car title in HI after concluding a private vehicle sale:

  • The corresponding title and registration application form
  • The last issued registration certificate
  • A properly assigned title containing the seller’s and buyer’s personal information and signatures and the vehicle odometer reading
  • A bill of sale (if required)
  • A lien release form (if applicable)
  • A safety inspection certificate

Note: The seller must either have the title notarized before releasing it to the buyer or accompany the buyer to complete the title transfer.

If you are completing the HI auto title transfer under different circumstances, you may be required to meet a slightly different set of requirements.

For example, to complete a title transfer for cars after the death of a joint vehicle owner, you will be able to transfer the vehicle in your name as the surviving owner by submitting additional paperwork. In such cases, you will be required to submit a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, in addition to the main documents outlined above.

Steps for Performing a Transfer of Title in Hawaii

If you are wondering how to fill out a transfer of title, it is important to note that the various county motor vehicle departments require car owners to submit the necessary items in person through local DMV sites.

Electronic title transfers are not available in Hawaii, and the new vehicle owner must complete the transfer of car title within a certain time period in order to avoid paying a late penalty fee.

Moreover, when completing the title transfer for cars as a purchaser, you will be asked to register your vehicle during the same transaction. You will successfully finalize the HI vehicle title transfer and registration procedures once the submitted paperwork and fee payments are authenticated and processed by your county DMV agent.

You will receive your new vehicle documents as soon as they are manufactured.

Note: In most counties, vehicle sellers will also be required to submit a Notice of Transfer to their county DMV in order to protect themselves against future liability involving the vehicle in question.

Getting a New Car Title Versus Title Transfers in Hawaii

A DMV new title in Hawaii is a legal document that motorists need to possess as proof of ownership. Vehicle owners who are wondering when to order a new car title in HI must first discover the differences between obtaining a new title or transferring an existing certificate to another person.

Moreover, the procedure for getting a new car title may vary from county to county based on the specific requirements of each county of residence. A county’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues new car titles to owners of new vehicles that have been recently purchased or to new residents who have just moved into the state.

In contrast to the application process for a new title for a car in Hawaii, motorists who want to transfer a title from one owner to another may have to perform a different type of procedure. A title transfer is a process where the ownership rights over a vehicle are transferred between two parties.

In most cases, motorists need to perform a title transfer when purchasing or selling a motor vehicle. Note that if the motor vehicle has been registered in another HI county, it must be transferred to the owners’ new county of residence.

Car Title Transfer Fees in Hawaii

When transferring a car title in Hawaii, car owners will be required to pay several fees, since they will have to complete the car registration and the titling procedure during the same office visit. However, the car title transfer costs may vary slightly from county to county due to the minor procedural differences of the motor vehicle agencies of separate counties.

In addition to this basic titling fee, new vehicle owners will also be required to pay the car registration renewal costs if the license plates have expired or will expire within 45 days.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.