Hawaii DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re getting ready to apply for your Hawaii state driver’s privileges, then make sure you obtain an official copy of the Hawaii Driver’s Handbook at your earliest convenience. All of the information covered by your written knowledge test can be found in the handbook. The sooner you start studying, the better your chances of passing on the first try. You may also find that the following FAQ helps you prepare for the experience of dealing with the application process.
How old do I need to be before I can apply for my license?
Every U.S. state has its own rules in place as far as how old a beginning driver needs to be. However, in Hawaii you are eligible for a learner’s permit at age 15 ½. You will be eligible for your provisional driver’s license once you turn 16.
What documents will I need to bring with me to the DMV when I arrive to apply for my driver’s license?
In Hawaii, those applying for their first driver’s license will need to bring state-recognized documents that fulfill each of the following categories:
  • Proof of your legal identity (for example, your certified birth certificate)
  • Proof of your social security number
  • Proof of your legal presence in the United States
  • Proof of your residency in Hawaii
    • If you are uncertain as to whether or not the document you want to bring will be recognized by the DMV, then it’s advisable to speak with a rep over the phone to make sure before you arrive for your appointment.
I’m a first-time teen driver. Do I need to bring my parents with me when I apply for my license?
Most teen drivers find it convenient to simply come to the DMV on a day when their parents can accompany them, as a parent or legal guardian must sign the application of an underage driver to show consent. However, if your parents won’t be able to come with you, you can simply pick up an application at your leisure, have your parent sign it in front of a notary, and use that application to apply for your license. If you go this route, another driver 21 years of age or older should bring you.
Will I need to pass a physical before I can get my Hawaii driver’s license?
A few states still require people to get physicals before they’ll be allowed driving privileges, but Hawaii is not one of them. However, you will be required to take and pass a vision test on the day you arrive to apply for your permit, so make sure you arrive wearing any prescription eyewear you may need.
Once I have my Hawaii learner’s permit, what’s next?
Once you pass your written knowledge test and vision exam, it’s time to start practicing for your road test and working toward your provisional license. You will need to log a total of 50 hours behind the wheel under the supervision of a licensed driver 21 years of age or older. You will also be required to take and pass a state-certified driver’s education course that includes a total of 6 hours of behind the wheel training and 30 hours of classroom instruction. Last but not least, you will need to have held your permit for at least 180 days before applying and be between 16 and 18 years of age to qualify.
What restrictions should I be aware of once I have my provisional license?
Teens that have successfully obtained their provisional licenses are only allowed to drive on an unsupervised basis between the hours of 5AM and 11PM. If you do need to drive at any other time, you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If you need to be able to drive during those hours in order to get to and from school or work, then you can obtain a signed statement that allows this. There are also restrictions on who can be a passenger in your car when you’re behind the wheel. You may carry no more than one passenger under 18 at any given time. The only exceptions are for immediate members of your family.
What do I need to bring with me when I arrive to take my road test?
To begin with, you will need to provide the vehicle in which you’ll be taking your road test. The vehicle in question must be registered and insured. (You will be required to provide documentation that proves this.) It will also need to be road safe in every way. You will also need to bring your Hawaii learner’s permit, as well as money to pay for your licensing fee. (Fees vary from county to county, so make sure to call ahead and confirm exact fees for your area with the DMV ahead of time.) Last but not least, you will need to bring state-recognized proof of your identity, legal name, and legal presence in the United States just as you did when you applied for your learner’s permit.
I’m new to Hawaii. How do I transfer my out-of-state license successfully?
The exact protocol will vary from county to county. However, every county requires you to arrive at a DMV field office with all of the same state-recognized documentation in hand that a new license applicant would be expected to provide. You should also be prepared to surrender your existing license to the DMV at the time you make the transfer. (If you live in Maui, you will be required to sign a statement attesting to the fact that you surrendered your license voluntarily.) So long as your out-of-state license is valid, you most likely won’t have to retake your driving test. However, you will need to take a written test to prove you’re familiar with Hawaii state road laws and pass a vision test to make sure you’re road safe. Just be aware that it is within the DMV’s power to demand that you take a driving test as well, so you should be prepared for that as a possibility.
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