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Hawaii Car Registration: All You Wanted To Know

  • Car Registration
  • Renee Martin
  • 5 minutes

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Whether you’re moving to Hawaii or just bought a new car there, you’ll need to register your car as soon as possible. We’ve simplified and explained all you wanted to know about Hawaii car registration here.

It’s a common mistake many people make: assuming you don’t need to register your vehicle if you’ve moved to Hawaii recently. The thing is, car registration is mandatory even if you have previously registered it in a different state. If you’re caught driving without the proper documents, you could get in trouble with the law! That’ll only complicate things for you further.

Don’t delay a simple thing like Hawaii car registration – we’ve explained everything you need to know in this article!

Where do I register my car in Hawaii?

All residents of Hawaii who buy a vehicle in the state or plan to move from one county to another county need to register their car with the Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles (HDMV).

If you bought a car from a dealership there, it’s likely that they will complete the registration process for you. However, if you have newly moved to the state or are moving between counties in Hawaii, you should register the vehicle within 30 days of arrival.

car registration in hawaii

What documents do you need to register your car in Hawaii?

Car registration for new residents

If you have newly moved to Hawaii, ensure you head to the county DMV with the following documents:

  • Application for Registration of Vehicle
  • Most recent out-of-state certificate of registration
  • The out-of-state title
  • Hawaii certificate of safety inspection
  • A shipping receipt that indicates the date of arrival
  • Proof of vehicle weight
  • Motor Vehicle Use Tax certification
  • Out-of-state Hawaii permit

Out-of-state car permit

This is required for people who are visiting Hawaii temporarily but won’t be staying long enough to register their vehicle. All they need to do is submit the following within 30 days of arrival:

  • Current registration card in the owner’s name
  • Complete an out-of-state vehicle permit
  • Provide the vehicle inspection certificate
  • Submit shipping receipt showing date of arrival
  • Make a payment of $5 (permit fee)

Car registration for vehicles bought from a dealership

The best part about a dealership purchase is that you needn’t fill out any paperwork. Most of the registration work is done by the dealer themselves.

Car registration for vehicles bought from a private party

If you bought a used vehicle from another person, you will have to complete the registration in your name at the local DMV within 30 days. You must submit:

  • The new title assigned to you by the previous owner
  • The current vehicle registration in the current owner’s name
  • Application for registration of the motor vehicle
  • A valid safety inspection certificate
  • Vehicle registration transfer fee of $5

If you miss the deadline for registering the vehicle, you may have to pay a $50 late fee.

How much is the car registration fee in Hawaii?

The car registration fee can vary slightly depending on the Hawaii county you are in, the type of vehicle you own, and any additional features the car may have. Here is a list of all the fees involved:

  • Hawaii State Fee: $45
  • County Fee: $12
  • Vehicle Transfer Fee: $5
  • Weight Tax: Starts at 1.75 cents/lbs
  • County weight tax: Starts at 1.25 cents/lbs for passenger vehicles
  • Plate replacement: $5
  • Beautification fee: $1
  • Electric/hybrid vehicle fee: $15

How can I renew my car registration in Hawaii?

By mail

Usually, renewal application forms are mailed to car owners 45 days before the expiry of the current registration. You may have to clear any outstanding traffic violations and obtain an outstanding violation clearance letter before applying for renewal.

When sending your application for renewal of registration, also send in a copy of the Hawaii Certificate of Safety Inspection. The DMV also does not accept cash payment through the mail.


It is also possible to renew your Hawaii car registration at a Registration Renewal Kiosk. You can type in your vehicle license plate number along with the VIN to access the renewal process and get it done quickly online.

Steps to register your car in Hawaii

Complete outstanding payments

If you have outstanding parking ticket violations, speeding tickets, pending emissions tests and no insurance, you may have trouble registering your car. Clear all dues before you apply for car registration in Hawaii.

Collect the required documents

Keep your identity proof, previous registration certificate (if any), vehicle safety certificate, completed application forms, and any other required documents ready for Hawaii car registration.

DMV/Registration kiosk visit

As long as you have all the requisite documents with you, your Hawaii car registration will be processed with a quick visit to the DMV or the nearest registration kiosk.

Receive title

You will receive the registered title in your name within 30 days of your application.

Car insurance in Hawaii with Way.com

Before you embark on the Hawaii car registration process, having adequate car insurance is a must. And with so many providers out there, it can be a pain to choose!

If you want to save both time and money on auto insurance, it’s best to use an insurane aggregator like Way.com which will show you multiple quotes from several providers. With more than 200+ providers in our network, you can even get a better deal with a local insurance provider in Hawaii!

car registration hawaii

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, affordable auto insurance, easy auto refinance, and high-quality car washes near you.


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