Updated on July 16, 2021
In Hawaii, you must renew your vehicle registration in the county it’s registered in, and driven. If you have outstanding traffic violations, you need to submit a clearance letter before renewing your tags. For out-of-state vehicles, the last issued registration is needed for transfer to Hawaii tags. You also need the out-of-state title if you’re listed as the lien holder of the vehicle and a bill of landing or shipping receipt for proof of when the vehicle entered Hawaii.
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If you’re registering a trailer in Hawaii, you need an MSO or MCO from the manufacturer to validate weight or bring it yourself to a weight station. A printout of the trailer’s manufacturer’s warranty registration is not enough to get your tags. Once you have the weight, you must take it to an inspection station for a temporary safety inspection document. Next, you’ll get a registration and license plate which you need to bring back to the inspection station for a finalized safety check sticker for your trailer. Keep reading for more details about Hawaii vehicle registration.
Hawaii Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide
How to Renew A Car Registration In Hawaii
The state of Hawaii requires residents to renew their vehicle registration every year. Renewal notices are handled by the counties and are sent out at least 45 days before the registration expires.
The renewal notice will contain information about your renewal including:
- The renew by date.
- Registration Renewal Fee.
- Ways to renew available to you.
- Any outstanding traffic violations.
- Safety inspection requirements.
You can renew your registration either online, through the mail, or in person, depending on the county that you live in. There are different requirements based on the county in which you reside.
In order to renew online you will need to have the following requirements:
- Have received a renewal notice.
- Be living at the same address which is printed on the renewal notice.
- A registration that expires in the next 45 days or less.
- Have a current safety inspection completed.
- Have no special instructions listed on your notice.
- A MasterCard or Visa to pay your fees with.
To renew by mail you will need to do the following:
- Fill out the yellow portion of your safety inspection
- A check or a money order payment
- All necessary paperwork may be returned in the provided envelope
To renew your registration in person you will need to present your current registration or renewal notice, proof of insurance, your safety inspection certificate, and have a payment ready.
How to Replace Car Registration Paperwork in Hawaii
Are you living in Hawaii and need to know how to replace a vehicle registration? We’ve got the answers for you with this quick FAQ.
First off, in Hawaii there are government agencies that handle vehicle registration for each of the big islands. There are websites for the counties of Maui, Hawaii, Honolulu, and Kaua’i. Make sure that you reach out to the one that applies to you to save time and frustration. There is an online portal for the entire state, but will not help with your replacement registration.
Replacement Registration vs. Vehicle Registration Renewal
Am I renewing or replacing my Hawaii vehicle registration?
If you received an expiration notice in the mail for your vehicle registration, follow the directions to take care of that chore. You need a replacement car registration if you lose or damage your plates, the emblem, or the registration document. All three are required if you are pulled over for a traffic stop to prove insurance, ownership, and financial liability.
Replacing Lost or Stolen License Plates
My license plates were stolen. What should I do?
If both or only one of your Hawaii license plates are stolen, call the police immediately to report the theft.
You will then need to visit your local Division of Motor Vehicles office to get a replacement. They will have you fill out a form like this, have you hand over the remaining plate, and issue you a new set of plates and printed registration.
It only costs $5 to have the plates replaced. If you continue to drive your car with the other plate displayed that was reported stolen, you could be subject to a felony stop and place you and your passengers in danger.
Where to Get a Hawaii Replacement Registration
If you registered your car in Maui, then you must apply for a replacement registration on the same island.
You cannot transfer plates between the islands, even though your plates are valid on all the islands. Each county has different DMV locations that are able to replace your registration quickly and efficiently.
County of Kaua’i: 4444 Rice St., Ste 466 Lihue, HI
County of Hawaii: Check the website
County of Honolulu: Check the website
County of Maui: Check the website
Required Registration Replacement Documents
What documents do I need to bring when replacing my vehicle registration in person?
If you have your current physical registration document, bring that with you. Other documentation you may be required to show include:
- State issued identification i.e. drivers license.
- Damaged or single remaining plate when one is stolen.
- Damaged emblem.
- Vehicle title if all other documentation and plates are lost.
- Proof of insurance.
Emblem Replacement in Hawaii
What is an emblem and how do I replace it?
The emblem is displayed on your license plate or in the rear window of your vehicle to verify that your registration is current. If you lose your emblem, it only costs 50 cents to replace it at any local DMV office.
You just need to show your current registration.
Replacing Damaged License Plates
My license plates are damaged. What do I need to replace them?
If you have aging plates that are hard to read or maybe you have been in an accident that damaged your license plates, you need to get them replaced.
It is required by state law to display plates that can be read under normal conditions and within 50 feet. If your printed registration is illegible, it needs to be replaced so that law enforcement can verify your information when needed.
If your emblem fell off or is illegible, it must be replaced.
Replacement Registration Fees
How much does registration replacement cost in Hawaii?
This is great news. Your state keeps fees under control. It only costs $5 to replace your plates, $5 for a new registration document, and just 50 cents for your emblem.
If you have any more questions about how to replace a vehicle registration in Hawaii, give your county DMV a call.
Hawaii DMV: (808) 961-8351
Honolulu DMV: 768-4325
Maui DMV: (808) 270-7363
Kaua’i DMV: (808) 241-4256