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Hawaii License Plate Lookup


Hawaii License Plate Lookup

Do you need to look up a license plate in Hawaii? No matter what your reasons are for searching, whether you want to find out more information about a vehicle you want to purchase, or you want to report a bad driver, you can use a Hawaii license plate lookup. The information you will get from your search is mostly based on data collected from public sources, such as:

  • Insurance companies
  • Police departments
  • From dealerships of vehicle

So, it is really interesting just what kind of information you can unveil through the lookup:

  • Car title and the details of registration
  • Car condition, its malfunctions
  • Road accident details
  • Past repairs history

The vehicle owner’s personal information is generally protected. This means that you will not be able to find out the name or address of the car owner through your search.

At last, the service is free of charge, and you can conduct as much research as you wish. Check How can you search a license plate in several states: Vermont, Ohio, Montana, Kentucky, Kansas and California.

Application Process

Usually, you can fill in your application form at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Remember, that the demands of the department can differ through the state. Every county can have its specific requirements and demands. This is why it is advisable to find out the specifics through a call, before visiting the office.

However, you will need to have with you:

  • ID card
  • The vehicle title
  • Insurance proof
  • Payment

Buying a car through a dealership makes the process of registration a lot easier, as the dealer is there to help with all the hustle.

For out-of-state vehicles, the state provides a 30-day period to register the car.
Also, remember that, unlike Alabama, Florida, or Georgia, where it is legal to have only one plate (back or front), in Hawaii, the existence of both is required.

License plate types

The state issues you a standard plate after the vehicle registration. It is easily recognized with black characters on the white background and a rainbow in it. However, you have a chance to pick a customized option. These are mostly given to organizations. Also, they represent occupation or other fields of activity.

People with temporary or permanent disabilities are eligible for special disability placards.

In the state, you can as well personalize your plates.

When you first visit the state, you may ask yourself a question: “Why do plates begin with K or L?” In fact, not all of them begin with K. The first letter indicates where the vehicle was registered. For every county the first letter is different:

  • K for Kauai
  • L, M for Maui
  • H, Z for Hawaii
  • Any letter but I, O, Q, U, and V for Honolulu

Customized plates

The more frequent customized variants in Hawaii are as follows:


There are several variations of them:

  • Combat Veterans’
  • WWII Veterans’
  • Persian Gulf Veterans’

To get them, you need proof of eligibility.


Normally, they are issued to such organizations as:

  • Universities
  • Different societies

You need to pay a fixed fee of $30 for organizational plates.


If you own a vehicle older than 35 years, then you are eligible to get one.

The fixed fee is $10.

You can get all relevant updates by contacting the DMV.

Vanity plates

If you want to apply for vanity plates, you should do it in person. To apply, you need to have the following with you:

  • The vehicles’ registration certificate
  • The current license plate of the car
  • Safety inspection certificate

Vanity ones are generally limited to 6 characters (the spaces are also counted).

You cannot use punctuation marks on them. The only acceptable mark other than letters and numbers is a hyphen. Also, you cannot choose unacceptable combinations that may be publicly criticized.

The application fee is $25. The annual renewal fee is again $25.


Before the expiration date, you will be notified that it’s time for the renewal. The renewal is required annually. You can renew them by mail, online, and in person.

If you have traffic violations, you will have to send a clearance letter.

During the refreshment, you will also need to have your Hawaiian Certificate of Safety Inspection’s copy.

In case you fail to refresh the plates in time, there will be penalty fees to cover:

  • $16 for passenger vehicles
  • $40 for commercial vehicles

If you have changed your address, it is advisable to do it in person.

Out-of-state registration

To transfer out of state license plates, there are certain requirements to follow:

  • Fill in the application
  • Represent the out-of-state registration certificate
  • Submit the shipping receipt, showing the transfer date of the vehicle
  • Safety inspection certificate
  • The vehicle exact weight (to be weighed by a certified scale)

Stolen License Plates

In case your plate has been stolen, you had better report it to the Police. The report is obligatory, as this will help you to get a new pair.

However, besides stealing, there may be other cases when you need to replace them, such as if they are damaged. To replace them, just bring them to the nearest DMV station, fill in the necessary forms and obtain a new plate.

To be able to accomplish the process, be sure to bring with you the following:

  • License plates (remaining or damaged)
  • ID
  • A filled-in application (Replacement of Lost or Stolen License Plate)
  • If stolen a police report
  • Registration certificate
  • Payment

Note that each county can have some specific requirements for replacement. To be sure not to miss any documents, it is better to contact the local DMV before your visit.


You can actually replace your plate for several reasons. The most common of them is its loss, mutilation, or because it has been stolen. So, what do you need to do if you find yourself in one of these positions?

For replacing, it is necessary to:

  • Fill in a replacement form
  • Submit the current registration of your car

In case one of them is damaged, you should deliver both the front and back ones to the DMV. Yet, if you have lost one of them, just surrender the remaining one.

To make the replacement happen, you must make a $20 payment.

Also, it is important to know that if you are replacing a specialty plate, it may take you 60 to 90 days to get it. However, you cannot wait that long without it and need to buy a regular one, together with an emblem for the period. Its cost is $5.50.

How to store a vehicle

Due to some life circumstances, sometimes people need to store their vehicles. So, if you consider doing it, there are some things you need to know about the process of storage.

If you do so, you can be freed from paying different vehicle-related taxes and fees. In contrast, if you fail to store your car officially, you would still be responsible for the payments.

So, what are the steps to store a car?

  • Fill in the form for stored vehicles.
  • Take your car to the Vehicle inspection office for a full inspection.
  • Surrender the plates (both the back and front, also, the emblem).
  • Lastly, submit the registration certificate, which will be stamped to indicate your car is stored officially.

Hawaii DMV kiosk

Like in any other sphere, renovations happen in the sector of Motor vehicles, too.
Now, you can renew your registration at a DMV kiosk. So, the first thing is, what type of vehicles you can refresh at a DMV kiosk?
The following types are available to refresh at a newly established kiosk:

  • Truck
  • Car
  • Motorcycle
  • Moped
  • Trailer

Anyways, you will not be able to seal the deal through a kiosk, if you have the following issues:

  • Serious traffic violations
  • The wrong address indicated in the documents
  • Compulsory safety inspections to be complete

By choosing the DMV kiosk option, you benefit, as you will immediately get your card and emblem printed through the system.

If any questions arise, you may quickly contact your county DMV:

  1. Honolulu County: (808) 768-4325
  2. East Hawaii: (808) 961-8351
  3. West Hawaii: (808) 323-4818
  4. Kauai County: (808) 241-4256
  5. Maui County: (808) 270-7363

Is it easy to use the kiosk?

The system is very easy to use. You only need to type in your registration number, then choose your vehicle type.
Afterward, you simply have to follow all the instructions that appear on the screen and complete the steps.