How to Get a Driver’s License in Hawaii

Driving is a privilege, not a right. As a result, it is necessary to obtain a Hawaii driver permit or license to operate a motor vehicle. The process of becoming a legal driver can be confusing. However, with a little preparation and understanding, you can be on your way to riding the open road legally.

Application Process for Instructional Permit
In order to be considered for a Hawaii instructional permit, the applicant must be at least 15 years and six months of age. While drivers education is an option, those who wish to skip this step can supplement that program with successful completion of 180 days of carrying the instructional permit. Applicants are required to provide proof of identity, social security number documentation, proof of residence, and money for the fee. Those in the county of Kauai, Hawaii, or Maui will be required to pay $10 while the city and county of Honolulu only charge $5.

Understanding County Requirements

The state of Hawaii is broken up into four counties, and each has their own specific rules regarding the issue of a permit. Furthermore, each county has a different name for their DMV office location, so applicants should find out what agency handles permit issues. By making a quick call to the city or county office, this information can be easily obtained, and they can provide contact information for your reference.

The Fees

The license cost varies depending on the county. Those in Hawaii County and Honolulu County applying for a four-year new or renewal license will be charged $20 while residents of Kauai County only have to pay $16. Other applicable fees may be charged such as the application fee, out-of-state application fee, written test fee, and oral test fee. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, money order, and cashier’s check.

Obtaining an Instructional Permit

Driving can begin as a teenager, and you must first obtain your instructional permit. The Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program is in place for the state, and it requires that teen drivers have a certain level of experience prior to being issued an unrestricted license. First, an instructional permit must be granted, and it’s a good idea to take Hawaii DMV practice tests prior to attempting the real exam. These can be easily found online.

Drivers New to the State

Teen drivers new to Hawaii are required to meet the state’s GDL regulations before an instructional permit will be issued. Drivers who had a permit from their previous location are not able to transfer. This means that they will be required to provide all of the information listed above to the local Department of Transportation agency as well as pass a written exam.

Preparing For the Written Exam

Tests can be intimidating, but there are resources to take advantage of when it comes to preparing for the written driving test. There are online tests available, and they ask the types of questions applicants can expect to see. The exam, which consists of 30 questions, tests applicants on road signs and regulations. There is also a vision test that must be passed. The office will likely be busy, and it’s never a bad idea to call ahead and schedule an appointment.

Driving With a Permit

The driver’s permit does carry restrictions, and it’s important to understand them so you can stay within the limits of the law. For starters, permit drivers are only allowed to operate the vehicle with a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age in the vehicle with them. If it’s between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the licensed driver must be seated next to the driver in the front seat. Children younger than four years of age must be safely seated in age-appropriate restraints, and passengers must wear their seatbelts.

Moving On to the License

Drivers age 16 and over are eligible to apply for a Hawaii driver’s license. Those under age 18 must have been through the GDL program and provide written parental consent. The same forms of identification listed above will be required, along with a written, vision, and behind-the-wheel driving test. Unlike the instructional permit, drivers who have a current license from another state are able to use it to operate vehicles.

Start Studying Now

Obtaining a driver’s license or permit in Hawaii requires much preparation, and it is important to begin studying for the written, oral, and driving test well in advance. Details such as how long to signal before making a turn will be asked, and drivers have to pay the test fees whether they pass or fail. Those with poor vision should see their doctor ensure they have proper glasses to pass the vision test.

Take Free Practice Test Now

Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 1 (Signs)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 2 (Signs)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 3 (Rules)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 4 (Rules)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 5 (Rules)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 6 (Rules)
Hawaii DMV Practice Test – Quiz 7 (Rules)