How do I obtain first time vehicle registration in Hawaii? Hawaii

Register Car for First Time

Within 30 days of relocating to Hawaii, you’ll have to register your car. Before you do, make sure you have this paperwork in order:

  • Your registration from the other state.
  • Your Bill of Lading, which the car shipper will provide to you.
  • Hawaii Inspection certificate.
You will also need to provide identification. Bring a proof of residency, too. Military personnel may register vehicles as out-of-state residents.

Get an Inspection

To get the car inspected, take it to one of the authorized service centers. These are located all over the islands in auto service centers and gas stations; they have signs up advertising their car inspections. Call ahead to see if you need an appointment.  If you cannot find an inspection station, call the DMV office and ask where the one nearest you is located.

The inspection is a quick process where someone looks over your car, shines a light through the windows to make sure they’re not tinted too dark, and ensures that the lights and mirrors are in good working order. Hawaii does not require a smog check; o emissions testing is needed for any vehicle in the state, so you won’t have to worry about your vehicle spurting emissions and smog.

Make an Appointment

If you live on O’ahu and plan to go to the main DMV office in downtown Honolulu, make an appointment. This office is very busy, and having an appointment gets you immediately routed to a short line.

O’ahu has satellite city hall locations throughout the island, at places like shopping centers, where you can register your car. The waits here are generally pretty short, so most of them don’t take appointments.

Other islands may also take appointments. Call the local DMV office if you would like an appointment.

At the HI DMV Office

To complete vehicle registration, take the above paperwork and visit a DMV office or satellite city hall.

Here you’ll fill in an Out of State permit application (form CS-L 27).

Car Registration Fees

Fees are based on the vehicle weight and usage and are calculated at the DMV.

However, HI gives new residents a credit based on their old car registration. For example, if you renewed your annual car registration at full price in California in May, but moved to Hawaii in June, then you will pay a pro-rated cheaper rate to Hawaii based on a May expiration date. At renewal the next year, you’ll pay the regular rate.

For an approximate fee, use the Honolulu Motor Vehicle Fee Inquiry widget.

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