What Do I Need for a Hawaii Vehicle Title Transfer?
A vehicle title transfer is required in Hawaii when the vehicle changes ownership from one legal owner to another. Both the buyer and seller of the vehicle are required to complete certain steps to successfully transfer a Hawaii vehicle title.
Here are the required documents you need to successfully transfer your vehicle’s title in HI:
- The corresponding title and registration application form
- The last issued registration certificate
- A properly assigned vehicle title containing the seller’s and buyer’s information and signatures, and the vehicle odometer reading
- A bill of sale (if applicable)
- A lien release form (if required)
- A safety inspection certificate
NOTE: The seller of the vehicle must have the vehicle’s title notarized before giving it to the buyer, or accompany the buyer to complete the vehicle title transfer.
Hawaii requires all vehicles to endure a safety inspection periodically to remain registered in the state. New residents of Hawaii are required to have their out-of-state vehicle inspected before registering it in Hawaii. Used vehicles are required to be inspected yearly, and new vehicles must be inspected 2 years after the initial safety inspection.
Hawaii requires all vehicles to undergo periodic safety inspections:
- Used vehicles: yearly
- New vehicles: 2 years after the initial inspection, then yearly after that
You need to have your vehicle inspected in order to:
- Register your vehicle
- Renew your registration
- Transfer your out-of-state vehicle registration to Hawaii
You need to take your vehicle to an authorized service station, such as an auto repair shop or an authorized dealership, to have a safety inspection performed. A certified inspector will check your vehicle for faults in the following vehicle components:
- Fuel system
- Steering component
- Seat belts
In addition to checking these mechanical components of your vehicle, the certified safety inspection will also confirm that you have:
- A valid registration card
- A valid no-fault HI auto insurance policy
- Valid license plates (vehicle plates that are not damaged or illegible)
Keep in mind, you need to take your Hawaii insurance and registration card with you to the inspection station. The safety inspection fees in Hawaii are set by the Department of Transportation. The minimum fee you will pay for a vehicle safety inspection in Hawaii is $19.19.
NOTE: If you have a reconstructed vehicle, you are required to provide a bill of sale or receipt for all parts that have been added.
A vehicle’s title will need to be transferred in Hawaii when vehicles are:
- Purchased or sold
- Paid off (released from a lien)
Since there is no central Hawaii DMV office, vehicle title transfers are handled at the county level. When you sell a vehicle, make sure you notify your county’s registration office within 10 days. Failure to notify your county’s registration office within the specified time can result in a $100 fine.
Some counties in Hawaii, such as Maui, Honolulu, and Hawaii, require you to complete a notice of transfer form. The Notice of Transfer Form releases you from liability for the vehicle. Kauai County does not require a Notice of Transfer Form.
In order to properly sell a vehicle in Hawaii, you need to have the vehicle’s title. When selling a vehicle in Hawaii:
- Sign and date the seller lines located on the back of the HI vehicle title (or previous owner section)
- If there are joint owners of the vehicle, both vehicle owners are required to sign the vehicle title over
- Provide the odometer reading
- The buyer of the vehicle must sign the “new owner” section
- The new vehicle owner must receive the valid and current certificate of registration and the state of Hawaii safety inspection certificate
- If required in your county, provide a Notice of Transfer Form.
When the owner of a vehicle passes away, if the beneficiaries want to keep the vehicle, gift it to a family member, or sell the vehicle to someone else, the vehicle’s title needs to be transferred.
Joint owners, surviving spouses, and beneficiaries have the legal obligation and authority to transfer a vehicle’s title to someone else after the vehicle owner has passed away. Before you can begin the vehicle title transfer process in this situation, you need to determine if the vehicle is part of a probated estate.
If the vehicle is part of a probated estate, the vehicle title transfer process depends on whether the vehicle title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or whether it was joint ownership. Probates occur when there is no beneficiary or living spouse listed on a will. Probate legitimizes an individual’s last will and testament.
The Probate Court will determine how you need to proceed with the deceased individual’s belongings. During the probate process, the deceased person’s belongings are distributed according to their will.
To transfer the vehicle title of a deceased person with a probated estate:
Contact Probate Court and an Attorney
You can’t transfer a vehicle’s title until the probate process is complete. The administrator or executor of the deceased needs to contact Probate Court or an attorney as soon as possible, and await further instructions. Once the probate process is complete, the heir will receive the vehicle, or the executor can choose to sell the vehicle.
Gather the Required Documentation
You need to have all of these documents to successfully transfer a vehicle title in Hawaii:
- Certificate of the title
- Odometer disclosure statement
- Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle
- Death certificate
- Transfer fee
Visit the Title Office
Beneficiaries and administrators of the deceased person’s estate can visit the Title Office with the above-mentioned documents to start the vehicle title transfer.
Transferring a vehicle in Hawaii with a probate requires the deceased individual’s property not to exceed a specific amount, and a certain amount of time needs to have passed since the individual passed away. Once these requirements are met, the vehicle title transfer can be initiated.
Spouses, joint owners, beneficiaries, and administrators may only be required to provide the death certificate and vehicle title to the title office, and the vehicle title can be retitled. Court orders and attorneys are not required.
When you pay off the loan on your vehicle, the lien holder will send you a tan certificate of ownership that is endorsed on line 2 or a blue certificate of title endorsed in section B. You need one of these endorsed certificates of titles to register as the owner and lien holder of the vehicle to have the vehicle registered in your name.
You need to make sure the lien holder signs their name and stamps the name of the institution on the appropriate lines on the vehicle title. You are required to complete the new lien holder section on the reverse side of the vehicle title. If the vehicle is registered in joint ownership, both vehicle owners must sign the vehicle title.
Submit the certificate of ownership or certificate of title properly endorsed with the current certificate of registration to the proper authorities. You have to pay the vehicle title transfer fee of $5 in addition to the cost of registration renewal if the vehicle’s registration will expire within 45 days or has already expired.
You won’t be able to transfer ownership of a vehicle in Hawaii without a title. If you have lost or damaged the vehicle title, you will have to apply for a duplicate vehicle title. There are different steps you need to follow based on where you live in Hawaii.
If you live in Honolulu:
- Complete an application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form CS-L MVR10)
- Write a check or get a money order to cover the $5 duplicate vehicle title fee
- Mail or submit the paperwork to your local HI DMV
If you live in Maui:
- Complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form DMVL580)
- Make sure the title is notarized before submitting it
- Write a check or money order to pay for the $10 fee
- Submit the required paperwork and additional items at the nearest DMV
Make sure you have the necessary paperwork and payment to avoid unnecessary fees and delays.
You can gift a vehicle to a family member without selling the car to them. You need to:
- Sign the back of the vehicle title over to the new owner and provide the odometer reading.
- Have the new owner sign and date the back of the vehicle title
- Provide the new vehicle owner with the current and valid registration card and safety inspection certificate
The new vehicle owner is required to take these documents to their county office and pay the necessary transfer fees:
- Hawaii County: $5 transfer fee (there is a $50 fee if the transfer is not completed within 30 days).
- Honolulu County: You are required to check the Honolulu Motor Vehicle Fee Inquiry Site for specific fee amounts
- Kauai County: Call (808) 241-4256 for information regarding transfer fees.
- Maui County: $20 transfer fee (there is a $50 fee if the transfer is not completed within 30 days)
When a vehicle’s title is being transferred to a family member, they do not have to pay a use tax. The recipient of the vehicle is required to complete and submit a Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification Form (Form G-27). The new owner of the vehicle is required to register the vehicle before they drive it.
When you are transferring a vehicle’s title and registration, the new owner(s) of the vehicle are required to bring the following documentation and items to a satellite city hall within 30 days of the seller’s date of transfer of the certificate of title. You will also need:
If you live in Honolulu, you are required to complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form CS-L MVR10). You need to write a check or money order to cover the $5 vehicle transfer fee. You can mail or submit your paperwork and payment to the local DMV.
If you are a resident of Maui, you need to complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form DMVL580). You need to write a check or fill out a money order to cover the $10 vehicle transfer fee. Submit the paperwork and any additional items at your local DMV.
Residents of Kauai can visit their nearest DMV and request a duplicate vehicle title form (Form), complete the paperwork, and pay the necessary fees to process the required paperwork.
As a resident of Hawaii County, to complete a vehicle title transfer, you are required to complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form). Make sure you write a check or get a money order for $10 to cover the vehicle title transfer fee. Once you pay these fees, you can submit the paperwork to your local DMV office.
To transfer an out-of-state vehicle title in Hawaii, you need these items:
- Certificate of title from the other state that is properly endorsed by the seller(s), the buyer(s), and lien holders (if applicable)
- If the certificate of title is not released by the owner listed on the title, a notarized bill of sale is required.
- If the lien holder is listed on the certificate of title and does not release their interest on the certificate, a lien satisfaction letter must be provided. The original canceled contract that’s stamped “paid in full” will also suffice in this situation.
- Last-issued certificate of registration
- Current, valid state of Hawaii safety inspection certificate
- Complete and sign a city and county of Honolulu, Application for Registration (Form CS-L (MVR) 5) If there are joint owners, both vehicle owners must sign the application.
- Bill of lading or shipping receipt that shows the vehicle’s date of arrival on Oahu, unless the vehicle has a valid city and county of Honolulu out-of-state permit
Initiate the vehicle title transfer process as soon as you realize you need to replace your vehicle’s title to avoid unnecessary fees and penalties.
There are different steps you need to complete to successfully request a duplicate vehicle title in Hawaii.
If you live in Honolulu, you are required to complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form CS-L MVR10) Write a check or money order to cover the $5 duplicate title fee, and mail or submit the paperwork and payment to your local DMV.
Maui residents need to complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form DMVL580) This application must be notarized before you can submit it to your local DMV office. Write a check or money order for $10 to cover the duplicate vehicle title transfer fee. Once you have the necessary paperwork and any required additional items, submit everything at your local DMV.
As a resident of Kauai County, you must complete this process in person by visiting your nearest DMV office and requesting the duplicate vehicle title form. Complete the paperwork and pay any fees to initiate the duplicate vehicle title process.
If you live in Hawaii County, complete an Application for Duplicate Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title (Form) and write a check or money order for $10 to cover the duplicate vehicle title transfer fee, then submit the paperwork at your nearest DMV office.
Don’t wait until the last minute to request a duplicate Hawaii vehicle title. Waiting to get your vehicle affairs in order can result in unnecessary penalties and fees, and delays the entire process.
In Hawaii, each county has a fee for transferring a vehicle title.
- Hawaii County: $5 transfer fee (there is a $50 fee if the vehicle title transfer is not completed within 30 days).
- Honolulu County: Check the Honolulu Motor Vehicle Fee Inquiry Site for specific vehicle fees.
- Kauai County: Call (808) 241-4256 for specific fees
- Maui County: $20 vehicle transfer fee (there is a $50 fee if the vehicle title transfer is not completed within 30 days).
Make sure you have the total payment before visiting your local DMV office or mailing the payment to avoid penalties and delays.
There are different DMV locations you can visit to transfer a Hawaii vehicle title.
Department of Motor Vehicles – Hilo Office
101 Pauahi St Ste 5
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Monday-Friday (8 AM to 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Department of Motor Vehicles – Pahoa Office
15-2615 Keaau Pahoa Rd
Pahoa, Hawaii, 96778
Monday-Friday (8 AM to 3:30 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Department of Motor Vehicles – Honolulu Office
925 Dillingham Boulevard
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Monday-Friday (7:45 Am to 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
In addition to completing the vehicle title transfer forms for the state of Hawaii, you are also required to complete the Seller’s Report of Sale that is located on your current registration card. The Seller’s Report must include the price, date, and the time of the sale of the vehicle, and the buyer’s name and address. The new information provided on the Seller’s Report will be added to your new vehicle title by the HI DMV.
It’s not impossible for a vehicle’s title to be signed, but not transferred. If you have a vehicle title that was signed, but not transferred, the vehicle’s seller didn’t transfer ownership of the vehicle or register the vehicle in their name.
An open title is a vehicle title that has not been transferred to the new owner. This type of vehicle title indicates the seller of the vehicle is not legally liable for the vehicle because their name does not appear on the vehicle’s title.
In the event the vehicle’s seller has lost the title for the car, they can request a duplicate vehicle title (Form) and complete the required paperwork to correctly transfer the vehicle to you.