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Getting your first driver’s license is an exciting milestone, but the process can also be confusing. If you’re wondering how to get a driver’s permit or license in Hawaii, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: You’ll need to pass a knowledge test, complete a driver’s ed course if you’re under 18, meet vision requirements, pass a road test, and pay the licensing fees.

With the right paperwork and some practice behind the wheel, you’ll be cruising along the beautiful Hawaii coastline in no time.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get a driver’s license in Hawaii, including:

Hawaii Driver’s License Requirements

Minimum Age Requirements

In Hawaii, you must meet certain minimum age requirements to apply for a driver’s license. Teenagers as young as 15 years and 6 months can apply for a learner’s permit or instruction permit. This allows them to drive while accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has held their license for a minimum of one year.

At 16, teenagers can apply for a provisional license which permits independent driving in certain situations with some restrictions. Full, unrestricted driver’s licenses can be obtained at age 17 in Hawaii.

Proof of Identity

To apply for a Hawaii driver’s license, you will need to provide acceptable proof of identity. This includes documents like a certified birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, immigration documents, or proof of legal name change if your current name doesn’t match your identity documents.

You’ll also need to show proof of your social security number, usually by presenting your social security card. Having these documents ready when visiting the DMV can help streamline the application process.

Tests You Must Pass

Hawaii requires all driver’s license applicants to pass certain tests before a license will be issued. First, you must pass a vision test to confirm your eyesight meets minimum standards for safe driving.

Next is a written knowledge test with questions on road signs, rules of the road, and safe driving practices. Finally, you must pass a road test with a DMV examiner who assesses your hands-on driving skills in a real vehicle.

Applying with a Hawaii certified driving school can help ensure you are fully prepared for all the tests required to obtain your license.

Getting a Learner’s Permit in Hawaii

How to Apply for Your Learner’s Permit

Applying for a learner’s permit in Hawaii is a straightforward process. Here are the main steps you need to take:

  • Be at least 15.5 years old. This is the minimum age to get a learner’s permit in Hawaii.
  • Provide proof of identity and age, such as a birth certificate or passport.
  • Pass a vision test at your local Driver’s License office.
  • Take and pass a 30 multiple-choice question written test on road signs, laws, and safe driving practices. You need to score at least 80% to pass.
  • Pay the $15 fee for your learner’s permit.
  • Have your photo taken at the Driver’s License office for your permit document.

Once you have your learner’s permit, you must practice driving with a licensed driver age 21 or older in the front passenger seat. You must hold your learner’s permit for at least 180 days before applying for your driver’s license.

Learner’s Permit Restrictions

Hawaii has several restrictions in place for drivers with a learner’s permit to ensure safety on the roads. Main restrictions include:

  • Must always drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older in the front seat.
  • No driving between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM.
  • No using cell phones or other mobile electronic devices while driving, except in emergencies.
  • No driving without seat belts fastened.
  • Zero alcohol tolerance for drivers under 21 years old.

Police in Hawaii strictly enforce learner’s permit restrictions and breaking them can result in fines or even permit suspension. Some tips to follow the rules include planning trips ahead of time with your licensed driving supervisor and setting phone apps to “Do Not Disturb” while driving.

Applying for and holding a learner’s permit is an important step on the path to getting your Hawaii driver’s license. Following the permit rules and practicing as much as possible will help ensure you gain the skills needed to pass your road test and become a safe, licensed driver.

For more details, check the Hawaii DMV website or connect with a local driver education program.

Passing the Hawaii Driving Exam

Scheduling Your Driving Exam

To take your driving exam in Hawaii, you’ll first need to schedule an appointment online or in-person at a satellite city hall or driver licensing center. Appointments typically need to be made at least 2 weeks in advance due to high demand.

Be sure to check the website for full eligibility requirements before booking.

On exam day, you’ll need to provide a completed application, proof of identity and residency, pass the vision and written tests, and then take the road test if you passed the other exams. The road test must be taken in the same class of vehicle you plan to drive once licensed.

What to Expect on Test Day

When you arrive for your driving exam, be prepared to:

  • Show your learner’s permit, application, ID, and residency documents
  • Take a vision test checking your peripheral vision, depth perception, etc.
  • Pass a 25 multiple choice question written test on traffic laws, signals, pavement markings, etc. You’ll need 20 correct answers to pass.
  • Take a 10-15 minute driving test demonstrating safe operation of your vehicle if you passed the other exams

The on-road driving test will assess your control of the vehicle and ability to properly follow traffic laws. Some key skills tested are:

Safe turning Yielding right of way
Use of signals Lane changes
Stop signs/lights Parking on hills

Road Test Tips

Nerves can get the best of even the most prepared drivers on test day. Some tips to set yourself up for success on your Hawaii driving exam are:

  • Study the Hawaii driver’s manual and practice tests to know what to expect
  • Get familiar with the testing route to build confidence
  • Adjust mirrors and seat position prior to ensure maximum visibility
  • Obey all traffic laws and speed limits
  • Communicate turns and lane changes so the tester knows what to expect

By following the proper steps to prepare, almost 87% of applicants pass the Hawaii driving test on the first try according to With a little diligence, you’ll be cruising along island roads in no time. Stay safe and good luck!

Getting Your Hawaii Driver’s License

Paying the License Fee

When applying for your initial Hawaii driver’s license, you’ll need to pay a license fee. This fee covers the cost of producing your physical license, registering you in the DMV database, and administering the written and road tests.

As of 2023, the fee to obtain an original Hawaii driver’s license is $45. This fee can be paid at the DMV in cash, by check, or by credit/debit card.

You’ll also have the option to pay an additional $15 for a Real ID compliant license. This enhanced license makes air travel and entry into federal facilities easier by meeting stricter federal security standards.

Upgrading to a Real ID license is optional but recommended if you plan to fly within the US or visit military bases or other government buildings.

Driver’s License Renewal

Once you have your Hawaii driver’s license, you’ll need to renew it every 8 years. The renewal fee is lower than the original license fee at just $30. You’ll receive a renewal notice in the mail about 2 months before your license is set to expire with instructions on how to renew.

There are three ways to renew your Hawaii driver’s license:

When renewing in person, you’ll need to provide updated vision and traffic law knowledge testing. The vision test can be skipped if your license has the “Vision Exempt” notation. Online and mail-in renewals only require a new photo to be taken every 16 years.

Similar to the initial application, you can also pay an additional $15 fee upon renewal to upgrade to a Real ID license if you don’t already have one.

License Type Initial Fee Renewal Fee
Standard License $45 $30
Real ID License $60 $45

Following these application and renewal steps will ensure you always have a valid Hawaii driver’s license.

New Hawaii Residents & Out-of-State Transfers

Moving to Hawaii can be an exciting adventure, but getting a local driver’s license is an important step for new residents. Here’s a guide to help you transfer your out-of-state license or apply for a new one if you’re relocating to the Aloha State.

Transfer Your Existing License

If you already have a valid driver’s license from another U.S. state or territory, you can transfer it to a Hawaii license. This spares you from having to take the written and road tests again.

  • You’ll need to visit a driver licensing center within 90 days of moving to Hawaii and bring the required documentation:
  • – Your out-of-state license
  • – Proof of legal name and date of birth
  • – Proof of Hawaii residency, like a rental agreement or utility bill

As long as your out-of-state license is current and you haven’t had any recent driving violations, you’ll simply fill out a form and pay the license fee to complete the transfer process. It’s quite straightforward!

Apply For a New License

If you’re moving to Hawaii from out of the country or don’t hold a driver’s license, you’ll need to apply for an original Hawaii license. This involves passing vision, knowledge, and driving exams.

  • You must be at least 15.5 years old to apply for a learner’s permit or instructional permit.
  • If you’re under 18, you’ll need to provide proof that you completed a traffic education course.
  • Study the Hawaii Driver’s Manual and familiarize yourself with local driving laws before taking the 30-question knowledge test.
  • The driving exam tests your vehicle control and situational response skills on the road.

Successfully passing all the exams earns your interim permit, then after 6 months you can return to the licensing center to upgrade to your permanent Hawaii driver’s license card.

Moving to beautiful Hawaii is a big transition, but getting your driver’s license ensures you can fully experience island life. Just be sure to transfer your existing license promptly or allow enough time to complete testing for a new one.

With stunning beaches and scenic highways to explore, you’ll soon be zipping around paradise!


Getting your driver’s license in Hawaii signals an important transition into increased freedom and responsibility. By studying hard, practicing behind the wheel, and thoroughly understanding Hawaii’s licensing process, you’ll be cruising along island roads in no time.

With aloha spirit and safe driving skills, you can enjoy all that this beautiful state has to offer!

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