Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Hawaii

The state of Hawaii offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.

Vehicle registration benefits

Residents on active duty in the Armed Forces, and National Guard and Reserve members who are assigned to duty in Hawaii are exempt from weight-based motor vehicle taxes on one vehicle registered in their name. You must provide a completed Hawaii Resident Certificate – form CS-L (MVR)50A, available from your military unit.

Driver’s license veteran designation

Hawaii veterans are eligible for a military designation on their driver license. In order to qualify, you must bring proof of eligibility, in the form of one of the following:

  • DD 214
  • NGB Form 22 (National Guard Report of Separation from Active Duty)
  • Discharge Certificate verifying characterization of discharge
  • Verification letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Military Retired ID card (DD 2, Retired)
  • Official military orders
  • Veteran’s Health Identification Card
  • Veterans Administration Medical card

Applicants may obtain a DD 214 by following the instructions available on this website. If you make a request for a veteran designation driver license or state ID between renewal periods, duplicate license fees apply. You can find additional information here.

Military honor plates

Hawaii offers various military license plates commemorating specific battles, as well as Armed Forces veterans. Some of these include:

  • Gold Star Family
  • Veteran
  • Combat
  • Combat Wounded
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Former Prisoner of War
  • World War II Veteran
  • Korea Veteran
  • Vietnam Veteran
  • Persian Gulf Veteran

Due to the fact that Hawaii does not have a statewide Department of Motor Vehicles, rather each county administers its own motor vehicle program, military license plate options may vary. You should consult your local DMV (listing to follow) to determine which plates are available to you.

Military skills test waiver

Veterans and active military personnel can – as of 2011 – apply to have the road skills test portion of their CDL exam waived. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made this possible, and now all 50 states, including Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. are on board with the process. To qualify you must have at least two years of driving experience with heavy military vehicles. In addition, your driving experience must have been during the year prior to application for the waiver, or within a year before your military discharge. You must also be able to prove certain facts to your local driver licensing agency. These include:

  • Experience as a safe driver

  • The possession of not more than one license (besides a U.S. Military driver license) during the two years previous to applying for the waiver

  • The fact that your normal license has not been revoked, cancelled, or suspended

  • A lack of motor vehicle offense convictions of a type that would prevent you from possessing a commercial driver’s license

If you’ve been convicted of violations like driving under the influence, driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL, or multiple speed violations of a certain severity, you may be rendered ineligible.

The federal government has composed a standard military skills test waiver form here, although you may want to check with your local licensing agency to see if they have their own form. Regardless of your qualifying status you will not be exempted from the written test.

Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012

This act allows you to apply for a commercial driver license outside of your home state, whether you’re stationed there temporarily or permanently. Active members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Reserves, National Guard, Coast Guard, or Coast Guard Auxiliary may apply, even if Hawaii is not your home state.

Driver license extension for military stationed in a war zone

Military personnel ordered to active duty in a war zone may obtain an extension for their driver license. The extension is valid for 30 days after your return to the U.S. To apply for this benefit, you must fax or mail a letter from your commanding officer, or a copy of your orders, to:

Department of Finance
Vehicle Registration & Licensing Division
Driver License Section
349 Kapiolani Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Fax # 808-961-8861

Where to find more information

Each county in Hawaii administers its own motor vehicle services, which means that licensing and registration procedures may vary.

Hawaii does honor out-of-state driver licenses for military personnel stationed in the state, although you may be required to register your vehicle there while residing in the state. Following is the list of websites to access information for each individual Hawaii county:

Honolulu: City and County of Honolulu
Hawaii: County of Hawaii
Kauai: County of Kauai
Maui: County of Maui

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