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Hawaii Car Registration Renewal

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

How to Renew a Hawaii Car Registration

Renewing car registrations in Hawaii is a process that can be completed online, in person and by mail. Note that HI vehicle registration renewal applications are processed by separate motor vehicle departments in each state county. While the general requirements to renew car registrations in HI remain uniform across the state, certain procedural differences may still apply. To complete the renewal process, car owners may be required to complete any of these steps.

  • Present personal identification information and data regarding their vehicle.
  • Submit a certificate of vehicle inspection and proof of insurance.
  • Resolve any outstanding traffic violations and submit a clearance letter.
  • Pay the HI car registration costs.

Find out how to renew car registrations in Hawaii in the following sections.

When to Renew Your Hawaii Car Registration

Car owners must complete the Hawaii car registration renewal procedure on an annual basis, since the state motor vehicle departments (DMVs) issue year-long registration cards. Drivers who renew auto registrations in HI prior to or on the last working date of their registration's expiration month will avoid paying the late penalty fees. Note that state motor vehicle divisions do not provide renewal applicants with a grace period. To remind vehicle owners of their upcoming auto registration renewal, county DMVs mail out renewal reminders at least 45 days prior to the document's date of expiration.

Note: Contact your county's DMV office in case you did not receive the mail-in renewal application to inquire about your available application options.

How to Renew Your Hawaii Car Registration

The procedure to renew vehicle registrations in Hawaii can be finalized by submitting either an electronic request via the internet or a paper application in person or by mail. The availability of the application methods and the steps in the HI vehicle registration renewal process, generally vary based on whether or not the driver has received the DMV renewal reminder. Details about the methods of renewing auto registrations in HI can be found in the sections below.


Prior to utilizing the convenient option to renew car registrations online in Hawaii, vehicle owners must ensure they are eligible to do so. The steps in the internet auto registration renewal process may vary based on your location, as the state DMV implement different online registration renewal systems in each separate county. Regardless of their place of residence, drivers will be able to renew DMV registrations via the internet only if:

  • They have received the DMV renewal notice.
  • They have obtained an HI car insurance policy and their vehicle has passed the DMV inspection.
  • They are not required to submit additional forms.
  • They are applying through their county's internet renewal service.
  • They are renewing within the last 45 days of the validity of their registration.

Note: Your county DMV may also allow you to renew expired car registrations via the internet.

To finalize the online car registration renewal procedure, applicants will be required to enter their Vehicle Identification Number and their license plate number. After paying the renewal costs with a valid credit or debit card, the system will process your request. Hawaii DMVs generally mail out the renewed registration documents within 10 business days. In the event of a move, renewal applicants must complete the appropriate address change procedure prior to renewing their documents via the internet.

By Mail

Renewing vehicle registrations in Hawaii by mail is a procedure that can be initiated after receiving the DMV mail-in application package. The renewal reminder outlines the application steps of the process, which may vary based on your circumstances. In addition to the application for an HI DMV registration renewal, for instance, certain groups of drivers may be required to enclose a copy of their vehicle inspection certificate and a written clearance from the Traffic Violations Bureau. After filling out the request form, include the supporting documents and the fee payment and mail the complete package to your county's DMV.

Since the mail-in renewal procedure may vary from county to county, contact your local HI DMV branch to inquire whether or not you can request a mail-in car registration renewal in HI without a renewal notice.

Note: If the DMV renewal application contains certain errors, such as an incorrect address, correct them prior to mailing your renewal documents.

In Person

DMV offices across the state process Hawaii auto registration renewal requests in person regardless of whether or not the applicant can present his or her renewal reminder. The standard in-person procedure to renew DMV registrations in HI generally requires car owners to submit:

  • Their current HI registration card.
  • Proof of insurance and a passed DMV vehicle inspection.
  • Evidence of resolved traffic violations.
  • Payment for the car registration fees in HI.

Note: Drivers who choose to renew their car registrations in person must do so through the DMV in their county of residence.

Liability Insurance Requirements

When renewing auto registrations in Hawaii, vehicle owners are generally requested to submit proof of a valid auto insurance policy. For instance, prior to administering your vehicle's inspection, the examiner will ask you to submit a valid car insurance card. Per state law, drivers must maintain the minimum mandatory coverage of $20,000 for bodily injuries of an individual and $40,000 for all accident participants. Your insurance policy must also cover $10,000 in property damages to other drivers. Note that state DMVs do not require a mandatory vehicle coverage for all types of vehicles.

Auto owners who fail to abide by the state insurance laws will not be able to renew car registrations in HI, and they will be subject to certain fines and penalties. Depending on the number of your prior insurance offenses, the DMV may penalize you with any combination of a $5,000 fine, 30 days in jail or a suspension of your driving privileges.

Vehicle Registration Fees in HI

The procedure to renew auto registrations in Hawaii can only be completed after paying the mandatory registration fees. The annual DMV vehicle registration renewal fee generally varies based on the vehicle's weight and date of purchase. In addition to the registration card's costs, drivers will also be required to pay certain vehicle taxes. Also, state DMVs administer penalty fees for drivers who renew their documents past the date of expiration.

Since the process of renewing auto registrations in HI is completed through a different DMV in each separate county, the total amount of car registration costs in Hawaii varies based on your residential address. Contact your nearby HI DMV location for more information regarding county specific fees.

Note: When using the online method to renew DMV registrations in HI, applicants will be required to pay an additional service fee for their payment transaction.

HI Vehicle Registration for Military Members

When completing the Hawaii auto registration renewal, members of the military may be exempt from paying the vehicle weight tax. Non-resident military personnel stationed within Hawaii, for instance, can qualify for the fee exemption by submitting the Non-Resident Certificate Form CS-L (MVR) 50. Military members who fail to submit the corresponding form will be required to pay the HI car registration fees. Active duty personnel with Hawaii citizenship stationed within the state can also obtain the tax exemption by submitting the CS-L (MVR) 50A Form. Note that the required forms may vary from county to county.

If you leave the military, or you are relocated on duty outside of the state, you will no longer be exempt from paying the HI automobile weight tax. If such a change of status occurs, complete the HI car registration renewal via the standard application methods once more. Note that veterans with a 100 percent medical disability are exempt from paying the total amount of registration fees in HI.

Note: Members of the military can obtain the fee exemption forms from their military personnel offices.

New Hawaii Resident

Before renewing DMV registrations in Hawaii, new residents will be required to transfer their out-of-state documents and apply for an original HI car registration. Applicants can finalize the procedure through an official DMV location in their residential county by submitting:

  • The corresponding HI Application for Registration of Motor Vehicle.
  • Proof of insurance and a passed DMV inspection certificate.
  • Their out-of-state registration certificate and car title.
  • An official document that shows the date their vehicle arrived in HI.
  • Payment for the HI car registration costs.

Note: Depending on their county of residence, drivers may be required to submit additional documents as well.

New state residents can complete their first vehicle registration renewal a year after obtaining their registration card.

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