Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Register a Car in Hawaii

Registration Hawaii

All vehicles must be registered through the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Since Hawaii is made up of islands, registration is a little different than other states. Vehicles must be registered in the county where you live. If you are new to Hawaii, you have 30 days to register your vehicle. You must first obtain a safety inspection certificate before you can fully register your car.

New resident registration

As a new resident of Hawaii, to complete your registration you must provide the following:

  • Complete an application for registration of motor vehicle
  • Recent out-of-state certificate of vehicle registration
  • Out-of-state title
  • Bill of landing or shipping receipt
  • Certificate of safety inspection
  • Vehicle’s weight as provided by the manufacturer
  • A motor vehicle use tax certification form
  • Registration fees

If you are bringing your vehicle to Hawaii, but not staying long enough to register it, you can apply for an out-of-state permit. This must be completed within 30 days of arrival.

Out-of-state permit

To apply for the out-of-state permit you will need to provide the following:

  • Current registration card
  • Vehicle inspection certificate
  • Out-of-state vehicle permit application
  • Bill of landing or shipping receipt
  • $5 for the permit fee

Each county in Hawaii has a slightly different registration process. In addition, the process will also differ depending on if you moved from one county to another, purchased a vehicle from a private seller, or bought a vehicle from a dealership. If you buy a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will take care of all the paperwork in order for your vehicle to be properly registered.

Registering a vehicle bought from a private seller

However if you've purchased a vehicle from a private seller you will need to provide the following to register it:

  • Title signed over to you
  • Current Hawaii vehicle registration
  • Complete an application for registration of motor vehicle
  • Show a current safety inspection certificate
  • $5 for registration transfer fee

If the registration and transfer of ownership are not completed within 30 days, a $50 late fee will be applied. In addition, if you move to a different county in Hawaii, the vehicle must be registered in the new county.

Registering in a new county

If you move to a new county, you will need to provide the following:

  • Complete an application for registration of motor vehicle
  • Vehicle title
  • Car registration certificate
  • Lienholder information, if applicable
  • Pay registration fees


Military members who are residents of a different state may purchase a vehicle while stationed in Hawaii. In addition, an out-of-state vehicle may also be registered. In these cases, you do not have to pay registration fees.

National Guard, reservists, and temporary active duty soldiers must pay registration fees, but may be exempt from paying vehicle weight taxes. To do this, follow the steps under New Resident Registration and submit the Registration Fee Exemption: Non-Resident Certificate Form along with the Vehicle Weight Fee Exemption form.

Registration fees vary from county to county. In addition, if you move, the vehicle needs to be registered in the new county as Hawaii has slightly different laws than other areas in the United States.

If you have any more questions about this process, be sure to visit the Hawaii website.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...

Related questions

Q: Antique vs custom built registration.

This is something you will need to check with the NC department of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, we are not authorized to give information regarding the legal registration of vehicles.

Q: I have a crack on my windshield

Every state will vary as well as the person performing the inspection. However, in most states, a crack larger than 4 inches will not pass this kind of safety inspection. There are also different types of cracks that have different...

Q: Expired registration and inspection

Hello. It appears that a NYS inspection is required in order to renew the registration, so it would appear that, yes, you can get an NYS inspection with an expired registration. I would recommend taking it to the nearest inspection...