Registration Renewal in Hawaii
Residents of Hawaii must renew their vehicles' registration annually with their local County Clerk. It's important to pay your fees on time, or you risk getting pulled over for having expired plates.
NOTE: As of 2017, a new law will go into place requiring all HI moped owners to register their mopeds and have safety inspections annually. The law must be implemented in all counties by December 31, 2017. For more info contact HDOT or your local licensing agency:
New to Hawaii?
If you just bought a car or recently moved to Hawaii, this page will not apply. Visit our guide on how to register your vehicle with the state for the first time.
Hawaii Registration Renewal Notice
Registration renewals in the state of HI are handled at the county level. At least 45 days before your registration expires, you should receive a renewal notice from the county in which your vehicle is registered.
The notice will contain important information regarding your renewal:
- Your “renew by" date.
- Your renewal fee.
- The methods of renewal available to you.
- Outstanding traffic violations.
- Safety inspection requirements, if necessary.
Didn't Get a Renewal Notice?
You must always renew your Hawaii plates on time, regardless of whether you received a notice from your county or not. If you moved recently, make sure you update your address to prevent any delay in receipt of your notice.
If you didn't receive your notice and think that you should have, contact your local county office ASAP.
Renewing Your Hawaii Registration
You can renew your registration through three methods: online, by mail, or in person. The requirements for each method often differ based upon which county you live in.
To renew your Hawaii registration online, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have received a renewal notice in the mail.
- Your address has not changed.
- Your registration expiration date is within the next 45 days.
- Your registration has not expired (Kaua'i and Honolulu only).
- Your safety inspection certificate has not expired.
- There is nothing listed in the “Special Instructions" section of your renewal notice.
- You're able to pay your fees with either a Visa or MasterCard.
To renew online:
- Go to your county's online renewal page:
- Enter your license plate number.
- Enter your vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Follow any additional instructions.
- Confirm that all of your information is correct.
- Pay your renewal fee and service charge (Visa & MasterCard only).
- Print your receipt.
Your new registration materials will be mailed within 10 working days. Make sure you allow for plenty of time to receive your registration materials, because you can be ticketed if you do not have your valid registration. You can check the status of your registration renewal by contacting the DMV.
Renew by Mail
You can renew by mail if you received a renewal application in the mail with your renewal notice. To complete your renewal:
- Make sure all of your information is correct on your renewal notice.
- Complete a change of address, if necessary.
- Your safety inspection certificate will also include a yellow copy, which you may have to send with your renewal application.
- Get a clearance letter for any previously unpaid traffic violation, if necessary.
- Pay fees with a check or money order made out to your county.
- Send everything back to your county in the self-addressed envelope provided with your renewal application, or to the following addresses for each county:
- County of Kauai Treasury Division (MVR)
- 4444 Rice St., Ste A480
- Lihue, HI 96766
- Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division
- 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 5
- Hilo, HI 96720
- Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing
- P.O. Box 30320
- Honolulu, HI 96820
- Maui County Business Resource Center
- 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave.
- Suite A-17
- Kahului, HI 96732
Your new registration materials will be mailed within 10 working days. Make sure you allow for plenty of time to receive your registration materials, because you can be ticketed if you do not have your valid registration.
Renew in Person
To renew your HI registration in person, go to your local county office and:
- Present your renewal notice or current registration certificate.
- Present proof of your insurance, if necessary.
- Present your safety inspection certificate, if necessary.
- Present your clearance letter for any previously unpaid traffic violations, if necessary.
- Pay your renewal fee with cash, check or money order made payable to your county. You can pay with a major credit card if accepted by your county office.
You will be given your plate decals and renewal certificate before you leave.
Hawaii Registration Renewal Fees
While everyone in Hawaii pays the same base rate of $45 for annual registration, each county also charges additional fees on top of the state fee. These charges vary by your county of residence. Your registration renewal notice will list your fee amount.
You will also be charged annual taxes of no less than $10 when renewing your registration. The amount is determined by the county the vehicle is registered in and the weight of the vehicle. You renewal notice will list the amount owed to renew your registration.
You may contact your county office and ask that they calculate your registration renewal fees for you. Fees are based on:
- The county you live in.
- Your vehicle's weight.
- Your vehicle's usage.
Late Fees and Penalties
Residents of all counties are expected to renew their registration by the last work day of the month in which their vehicle's plates expire. After that, it is no longer legal for you to operate your vehicle.
Late fees vary by county, so if you know you'll be renewing late, contact your local Hawaii (DMV) Department of Motor Vehicles office to determine your penalty.
HI Auto Insurance Requirements
All registered vehicles in the state of Hawaii must have a minimum level of liability auto insurance. You must be able to show proof of coverage before you can renew your registration.
Allowing your coverage to lapse can result in getting a pricey ticket and/or having your registration revoked.
Hawaii Safety and Emissions Testing
Currently, vehicles registered in Hawaii do not have to undergo regular emissions testing. Additional information regarding Hawaii's emissions and clean air programs may be found in our Smog Check Section.
Vehicles that are 2 model years old and newer are exempt from inspection. After that time period, you must have your vehicle inspected annually.
You must appear at a safety inspection station with your vehicle and present:
- Your vehicle registration.
- Your proof of insurance.
If your vehicle passes the inspection, you will be given a new certificate, and the results of your inspection will also be automatically uploaded to the state registry.
Your new inspection certificate may also include a yellow copy, which you may have to send with your renewal application if you choose to renew your registration by mail. Contact your county clerk or speak with your maintenance facility for details.
Registration Renewal for HI Military Members
If you are stationed in HI as an active duty military member but maintain residency in another state, you must still register your vehicle with the state; however, you don't have to pay the Hawaii motor vehicle weight tax on your vehicle's registration renewal.
To avoid having to pay the weight tax, you must complete a Non-Resident Certificate (Form CS-L (MVR) 50), which may be found at your military personnel office, and submit it with your renewal.
NOTE: Members of a reserve unit who are on temporary active duty do not qualify for this exemption. Additionally, if you leave your Hawaii station but your vehicle remains in the state, you lose your eligibility for the exemption.
If you are a Hawaii resident and an active duty military, National Guard, or Reserve member stationed in the state, then you may apply for the vehicle weight tax exemption for 1 vehicle registered in your name.
To apply for the exemption, you must complete the Hawaii Resident Certificate (Form CS-L (MVR) 50), which may be found at your military personnel office, and submit it with your renewal.
Registering a Non-Operational Vehicle in HI
If you have a vehicle that you plan to store, you can stop registering it for the length of time that it is stored. Follow these steps:
- Provide a signed statement showing proof of storage.
- Take the license plates off the vehicle and turn them in.
- Surrender the last certificate of registration.
- Turn in the vehicle emblem (license plate registration sticker).
Once you are ready to get your stored vehicle back out onto the road, you must complete a standard renewal by appearing in person at your county office.
If your vehicle's registration is already expired and you choose to renew it, you will be charged the taxes missed during the expiration period.
Replacement HI Certificates, Stickers, and License Plates
You must have your current license plates, registration certificate, and plate stickers in order to drive in Hawaii.
Even if you have paid all your registration renewal fees on time, you can get a ticket for failing to provide proof of your registration status. So if any of the above go missing or are damaged, you need to get replacements from your county office.
- CS-L (MVR) 50
- Non Resident Certificate Form Honolulu Co
- If you're an active member of the U.S. military stationed in Hawaii (and aren't a HI resident), submit this form if you want to register your car with the Honolulu DMV. Not available online. Obtain the form from your military unit or personnel office.
- CS-L (MVR) 50
- Hawaii Resident Certificate Form Honolulu Co
- Submit this form for exemption from Honolulu's registration motor vehicle weight tax. You must be a Hawaii resident who's a military member on active duty OR a member of the National Guard and Reserve to qualify. Form not available online. Must be obtained from your military personnel office or military unit.