Hawaii law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new Hawaii residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Hawaii. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail. Your vehicle must be registered in the county in which it is being used.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in Hawaii for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- Get your vehicle inspected and submit a certificate of safety inspection. Vehicle inspections must be performed at an authorized service station or vehicle repair shop. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification. This will cost you $15.
- Complete a vehicle title/registration form which is available online only in Hawaii. Contact the motor vehicle offices of Honolulu, Maui and Kauai for the form if you are registering in those counties.
- Visit your motor vehicle office in the specific county and bring the completed title/registration form with you, along with the inspection certification. In addition, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and the odometer reading, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
- For vehicles that have been registered in another state, you must also bring the original, out-of-state title. If the title is unavailable, bring the registration document, along with proof of sales tax payment.
OUT OF STATE REGISTRATION PROCEDURE FOR EACH COUNTY
You will need to submit the following documents:
- The current out of state registration.
- Bill of lading or shipping receipt.
- A Safety Inspection Certificate.
- Proof of insurance.
- Certificate of title if you are the lien holder.
- Fill out an out of state application form (available from the DMV office of each county).
- The registration fee will be determined by the office concerned.
TRANSFERRING FROM ONE COUNTY TO ANOTHER
You will have to:
- Fill up an application for registration.
- Hand in the current registration of the other county.
- Submit the other county's certificate of title if you are the lien holder.
- The fee will be determined by the office concerned.
When registering your vehicle at the motor vehicle office, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
- The registration fee, which varies depending on the manufacturer's model year or the vehicle's total weight. The motor vehicle office at each county determines the fees. So you need to contact the relevant office to get the exact amount. The county of Honolulu has an online calculator.
- Title application fee. Depending on the county, the title application fee is usually $28 or $33.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the relevant office of the required county for the specific requirements.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in Hawaii are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, or by mail or online in some counties. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.
- If you are a non-resident active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a non-resident full-time student attending a Hawaii college or university, you are not required to title or register your vehicle.
- The process for registering a motorcycle is generally the same as a car registration; however, there are different procedures for boat registration and custom car registration.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in Hawaii.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.