Enjoy a peaceful title transfer process, whether buying or selling a car in the Aloha State. Hawaii makes it easy to transfer a title between residents or as an out-of-state transfer. From Honolulu to your remote corner of Kauai, review each step with this helpful guide to buying or selling a used vehicle.
Unlike other states, Hawaii doesn’t use a statewide registration process or vehicle title database. Find your county below to see how you can sign over a title in a few simple steps.
Transfer a Title in Honolulu
Both the city and county of Honolulu require vehicles to have the following ownership documents:
- Registration — You must have a valid registration certificate, which you receive after paying applicable taxes and fees.
- Safety inspections — The first safety inspection is valid for two years. After that, you must receive annual inspections to ensure your vehicle is safe and legal to drive.
- Title — The following steps help you legally transfer the title in your name.
Buying a Vehicle in Honolulu
After you’ve found the perfect used car, test drove it, and finalized a price, it’s time to complete the certificate of title section. This application for transfer requires your name and signature. If there will be a lienholder, then fill out Section E with the relevant information.
Prepare to visit a satellite city hall location within 30 days of the date of transfer. You’ll need to bring along these documents:
- Current safety inspection certificate
- Most recent certificate of registration
- Certificate of title, signed by buyer(s), seller(s), and lienholder(s), if applicable
- Non-resident certificate form, if an active duty military service member
The fees for transferring a vehicle in Honolulu vary depending on the specific vehicle. In most cases, you’ll pay $10 as a title transfer fee and additional taxes and fees for registration. Registration fees are determined by the satellite city hall at the time of the transfer. Check with the previous owner to see if the vehicle is delinquent, since you may be required to pay for unpaid prior taxes.
Selling a Vehicle in Honolulu City and County
Vehicle sellers in Honolulu must complete the following tasks before they can transfer the title to the buyer:
- Write your name, signature, and the current date on the front of the certificate of title in Section A
- Submit the notice of transfer form within 10 days of the sale
- Give the buyer the endorsed certificate of title, state of Hawaii safety inspection certificate, and last-issued certificate of registration
- Inform any lienholder and allow them to complete Section B on the back of the title
A notarized signature isn’t required but can prevent delays if your signature doesn’t match the one on file. If you fail to submit the notice of transfer form within 10 days, then you could be subject to a fine of up to $100.
Transfer a Title in Maui County
While the transfer process is similar in Maui, it’s important to follow the steps carefully and review the requirements of your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Here are the basic steps to transfer a title in Maui.
Buying a Vehicle in Maui
Here’s what you need to complete to buy a car in Maui:
- Sign your name, print your name, and write the date in Section D on the back of the certificate of title
- Allow any lienholder to sign and date Section E
- Bring the title, safety inspection certificate, and previous certificate of registration to the DMV within 30 days
- Pay the $20 transfer fee plus registration taxes and fees
Selling a Vehicle in Maui
As a seller, Maui DMV requires you to complete the following title transfer tasks:
- Sign Section A
- Enter the correct odometer reading if the vehicle was manufactured on or after 2011
- Detach and fill in the notice of transfer and send it to the County Motor Vehicle & Licensing Office within 10 days
- Give the buyer the title, safety inspection certificate, and previous certificate of registration
Transfer a Title in Hawaii County
The Big Island allows you to easily transfer titles from Oahu, Maui, or Kauai, in addition to titles registered in Hawaii County. Explore the following steps to see how the process works in your county.
Buying a Vehicle in Hawaii
As a buyer, you have the same basic responsibilities to transfer a title as required in other counties:
- Sign and date the title
- Turn over the safety inspection certificate, title, and certificate and pay the $5 transfer fee within 30 days to avoid a late transfer fee of $50
- Pay any registration taxes and fees
- Schedule and pay for a safety inspection
Selling a Vehicle in Hawaii
Selling a vehicle in Hawaii county is just as easy as in other counties:
- Sign Section A
- Have any lienholder sign Section B
- Complete the odometer reading section of the title
- Turn over the certificate of registration, title, and safety inspection
- Send in the notice of transfer form within 10 days
While not required, Hawaii recommended having a Notary Public verify the signatures during the title transfer process. You can also sell a Maui, Oahu, or Kauai vehicle in Hawaii county by following these same steps.
Transfer a Title in Kauai County
Kauai county regulates the title transfer process on the island. See what it takes to buy or sell a vehicle to another resident of Kauai.
Buying a Vehicle in Kauai
Here are the required steps to successfully transfer a used vehicle from a private party on the island:
- Sign, date, and print your name in Section D, located on the back of the title
- Take the title to any applicable lienholder and have them sign Section E
- Bring along the title, current safety inspection certificate, and last certificate of registration to the County of Kauai Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing within 30 days of the sale
- Pay the $5 transfer fee (or $50 late transfer fee) and any registration taxes and fees
Selling a Vehicle in Kauai
You can easily sell your car by following these requirements:
- Sign Section A, located on the front of the title
- Complete the odometer reading section, as long as your vehicle is less than 10 years old
- Remove, fill out, and send in the notice of transfer on the top of the title within 10 days
- Give the buyer the filled-out title, certificate of registration, and safety inspection certificate
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