How Much Are License Plates In Hawaii?

License plate fees vary depending on the type of plates you choose. Standard license plates in Hawaii cost $45.
If you want personalized plates, they’ll cost $60. Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations.

What Is The Process For Getting Hawaii Plates?

In Hawaii, vehicles must have both rear and front license plates, making them readily identifiable from every angle.

While every US state mandates a rear license plate, some states settle for just that, whereas others, like Hawaii, insist on a front license plate as well.

Here are the steps you need to take to get your spanking new Hawaiian license plates:

1. Register your vehicle with the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
2. Select a license plate design, opting for either the standard issue or specialty plates that champion a cause or organization near and dear to your heart.
3. Fill out the license plate application, providing your personal information, vehicle specifics, and preferred plate type.
4. Fork over the $45 fee for standard license plates or additional fees for specialty plates.
5. Await the arrival of your license plates via mail, with delivery times subject to demand and other mysterious forces.
6. Once your plates arrive, install them on your vehicle following the instructions provided by the Hawaii Department of Transportation—a crucial finishing touch to your automotive ensemble.

With your vehicle now sporting its new license plates, you're ready to cruise the picturesque roads of Hawaii in style and compliance.

How Much Do Hawaiian License Plates Cost?

There are many different types of license plates: passenger license plates, commercial vehicle plates, special license plates, trailer plates, and motorcycle plates.

License plates measure 6 by 12 inches and are rectangular (motorcycle license plates are smaller, measuring 4 by 7 inches).

The Hawaii license plate has six characters (across the 50 states, license plates have anywhere from six to eight characters).

How Much Are Standard License Plates In Hawaii?

Standard Hawaii license plates cost $45.
A standard Hawaii license plate can be put on passenger cars, business cars, motorcycles, permanent trailers, trailer coaches, and park trailers.

Standard license plates are issued in any of the following scenarios:

The replacement of special interest license plates with standard plates
Purchase of a new vehicle
Replacing damaged, stolen or lost license plates

Hawaii Specialty Plates

In Hawaii, you can choose from veteran license plates and organization license plates. Hawaii charges an additional fee (between $25 and $35) for specialty plates on top of the standard plate cost.

Veteran Plate Designs

Veteran license plates cost $80. To apply for veteran specialty plates, you must present:

1. An original or certified copy of DD Form 214
2. Eligibility certification from the office of veterans' services

Available designs include:

1. Veteran
2. WW II Veteran
3. Purple Heart
4. Combat Veteran
5. Persian Gulf Veteran
6. Korean Veteran
7. Vietnam Veteran
8. Prisoner of War
9. Pearl Harbor Survivor

All applications must be signed by the veteran. Make an appointment here.

Organization License Plate Designs

Organization license plates cost $60. A portion of this money is given to the organization.

Available designs include:

Aloha Pregnancy Care and Counseling Center
America United
Bishop Museum
DLNR - Division of Forestry & Wildlife
Haleakala National Park
Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education
Hawaiian Humane Society
HPU Sharks
Honolulu Fire Department Fireman's Fund
Honolulu Police Relief Association
Hui Ho'ona'auao
Ke Ali'i Pauahi Foundation
Kahiau - A Tennis Foundation
Polynesian Voyaging Society
University of Hawaii Foundation
Volcanoes National Park
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Hawaii Personalized Plates

Personalized plates, also known as vanity plates, cost $60. To apply for vanity license plates, you must appear in person at your local DMV.

Here are the guidelines for ordering vanity license plates:

Limited to six letters, numerals, or combination of both. A space between a letter and number is counted as one of the six letter-numeral combinations.
In addition to the six possible letter-number combinations, only one hyphen may be used. The hyphen can stand in for a letter or a digit. Other punctuation is not permitted.
The letter "O" will be used as a "zero".

To order personalized license plates, you will need to provide the following:

Vehicle's certificate of registration
Vehicle's current license plates (if applicable)
Current certificate of safety inspection

Disability Placards

The state of Hawaii offers its disabled residents a wide range of handicap parking placards. Applicants can apply for these different placards at DMV offices or by mail.

Here are the available handicap parking permits:

Disability license plates: $5.50
Long-term disability placard: no fee
Temporary disability placard: $12

Veterans who have their discharge papers and proof from the Veterans Administration can choose from the following plates.

Combat Wounded
Purple Heart
Former Prisoner of War
Combat Veteran

To apply for disability placards, you will need to send the following:

Completed the Person with a Disability Parking Permit Application (Form PA2)
Copy of your identification
Proof of payment

Mail the above-mentioned documents to the Disability and Communication Access Board.

Disability and Communication Access Board
919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 101
Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii Title Transfers

In the state of Hawaii, titling and registration are done at the same time. When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local DMV office with additional paperwork, including:

The vehicle title with your signature and driver's license number
Payment for the car title transfer fee of $5
When you purchase a car from a private party, you will be required to complete the title transfer within 30 business days. If you don't meet that deadline, you will have to pay a fee of $50.

See our guide to transferring a Hawaii car title for more information on the process.

Hawaii Car Registration

To apply for a Hawaii license plate, you must have a valid Hawaii car registration card from the Hawaii DMV. In Hawaii, you can register your vehicle in person. To make things more efficient, title transfer and car registration are done simultaneously.

You will need to submit the following documents to your local DMV office:

The vehicle’s title
The Hawaii vehicle registration from the previous owner
A current safety inspection certificate
Payment for the vehicle registration transfer fee of $5

Here are the standard Hawaii vehicle registration fees:

State fee: $45
County fee: $12
Transfer fee: $5
State weight tax:
0 to 4,000 lbs.: 1.75 cents per lb
4,001 to 7,000 lbs.: 2 cents per lb
7,001 to 10,000 lbs.: 2.25 cents per lb
Over 10,001 lbs.: $300 flat rate
County weight tax:
Passenger vehicles & trucks up to 6,500 lbs pay 1.25 cents per lb
All vehicles over 6,500 lbs pay 2.5 cents per lb
Beautification fee: $1
Electric, plug-in hybrid, alternative fuel, or hybrid vehicles fee: $15
Sticker renewal/replacement: $0.50
Plate replacement: $5
Duplicate registration: $5

To avoid paying a late fee or penalties, make sure you register the car right after transferring the title.

How to Order License Plates

Hawaii gives you several options for ordering your new license plates: by mail, online, or in person at a DMV office. Here’s how to go about the process:

1. Check plate availability. If you want a personalized plate, visit the Hawaii DMV website to scope out whether your desired plate configuration is available.
2. Complete the Hawaiian license plate application. To order license plates, you must complete an application form from the Hawaii DMV website.
3. Provide docs. Depending on the type of plate you want, you will need to provide proof of identity, vehicle ownership, and other paperwork. This will include your driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance policy.
4. Pay for the plate. You can pay with cash, check, or credit or debit card.
5. Wait for delivery. Your license plates will be mailed to you at the address you have on file with the Hawaii DMV.

How Much Does It Cost To Register An Out Of State Vehicle?

To register an out-of-state car in Hawaii, bring the following to your local Hawaii DMV office:

A completed application for registration of motor vehicle
The most recent out-of-state certificate of vehicle registration
The out-of-state title
A shipping receipt or bill of lading documenting the date of the vehicle’s arrival
A Hawaii certificate of safety inspection
Proof of the vehicle’s weight by the manufacturer
A motor vehicle use tax certification (Form G-27)
Payment for all registration fees is determined by the registration office
Out-of-state Hawaii permit

Read our guide to purchasing a vehicle remotely if you're thinking about buying an out-of-state car.

Hawaii DMV Registration Renewal Fee

Here are the registration renewal fees in Hawaii:

City and County of Honolulu: $4 per renewed vehicle + 2.5% credit card fee
Hawaii county: $4 per renewed vehicle + 2.5% credit card fee
Kauai county: $4 per renewed vehicle + 2.5% credit card fee
Maui county: No fee per renewed vehicle + 2.3% credit card fee at DMV locations or 2.5% fee at non-DMV locations
In Hawaii, you should renew your registration every year before the due date. You'll get a renewal notice at least 45 days in advance. You should bring your ID, checks, and all necessary documents with you whenever you apply.

If you haven’t managed to renew your registration, you may face late fees and penalties of $16. If you have failed to register your vehicle on time, you'll owe a late payment of $40.

You can renew your registration online. You can still renew at the kiosks or online, even if you did not receive your renewal application in the mail. Just follow the on-screen instructions and enter your license plate and VIN. If you have unpaid traffic citations, you may be required to submit a clearance letter.

Renew mail

You can also mail the necessary documents before the deadline. The request cannot be processed without the notification, which requires complete and accurate information.

The mailing addresses for each county are listed below.

County of Honolulu
Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing P.O. Box
30320 Honolulu
Hawaii 96820-0320

County of Maui
70 E. Kaahumanu Ave.
Maui Mall, Suite A-17 Kahului
HI 96732

County of Hawaii
Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division
101 Pauahi St., Suite 5 Hilo
HI 96720

County of Kauai
County of Kauai Department of Finance Treasury Division (MVR)
4444 Rice St., Ste 466 Lihue
HI 96766-1340

Required documents:

Proof of identity
Inspection certificate
Current registration

Renewing in person is possible at any satellite city hall. Check out the directory of Satellite City Hall locations and services for more information.

Each state has different requirements for how often license plates need to be renewed. Hawaii drivers are required to renew their registration annually.

Being late on registration renewal can lead to late additional fees, fines, and other problems when pulled over for a traffic stop. To avoid this, it is important to pay careful attention to the registration expiration date.

License Plate Replacement Fees

If your license plate was stolen, damaged, or lost, you have to get a replacement.

To get a replacement, you need to:

Complete and sign an application for replacement plate or emblem form.
Submit your current certificate of registration
If your license plates have been mutilated or defaced, you must surrender both your front and back plates
If only one plate has been lost or stolen, you must bring in your one remaining plate.

To replace your license plate or emblem in the state of Hawaii, you will need a certificate of safety inspection that is both current and valid.

The fee to replace both the license plates and emblem is $5.50. The fee to replace only an emblem is 50 cents.

How To Check If a Car Has Hawaii Back Fees?

Before you buy a used car in Hawaii, find out if it has any hidden fees. If it does, you could be responsible for them.

The first step is to obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the seller. With the VIN, you can contact your closest Hawaii DMV location and request a title search. The Hawaii DMV will be able to tell you if there are any unpaid fees associated with the car, such as a vehicle registration fee or a parking ticket.

Buy or Sell a Car with PrivateAuto

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Hawaii License Plates FAQ

What is the best form of payment in private party car sales?

Cash was traditionally the best way of payment for private-party used car transactions, but it has risks and inconveniences. PrivateAuto Pay has all the advantages of cash with none of the drawbacks.

Buyers and sellers can instantly send and receive large sums of money via their PrivateAuto mobile apps and never have to share contact or banking details throughout the car-buying process.

Is a safety inspection required in Hawaii?

What are some important facts I should know about registering a car in Hawaii?

What is the process of renewing a motor vehicle license?