Buying a Car in Hawaii From Out of State

To register your out-of-state vehicle in Hawaii, confirmation of the vehicle’s weight, a safety test, and other documents are required.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
To register a car in Hawaii that you bought out of state, you’ll need to submit an Application for Registration form or an Out-of-State Permit, confirmation of your vehicle’s weight, and proof of a Hawaii safety check inspection. 
It’s not out of the ordinary to purchase a vehicle outside of your home state, but if you’re a resident of Hawaii, the steps you need to take in order to register your new vehicle are a bit different than if you’re living on the mainland in the U.S. 
But, that doesn't mean that
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comparison expert
can’t help you out. Jerry isn’t just a
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, we’re also here to answer your burning questions about how to register a vehicle you purchased out of state in Hawaii. We’ll discuss what paperwork is necessary to complete your registration and how to buy a car in Hawaii if you live in another state. And we’ll wrap up by providing some tips on lowering your car insurance costs. 
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How to buy a car out of state as a Hawaii resident

Buying a car out of state as a Hawaii resident can be done, but it’s a little more involved due to Hawaii’s location. The closest mainland state to Hawaii is
, but seeing as there are 2,390 miles of water between them, calling the two states close is a literal stretch. 
For this reason, one of the required documents Hawaii residents need to submit to the
Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division of the DMV
is a lading or shipping receipt and a weight slip for all vehicles model year 2016 or newer. In addition to these verifications, you’ll also need to provide the following documentation:
The county tax you’ll need to pay when you register your vehicle is
determined by weight
. Vehicle weight tax is 1.25 cents per pound for passenger vehicles, with a minimum fee of $12. The exact amount of taxes and fees you need to pay in Hawaii will be determined by the registration personnel at the DMV. 
If you’ve recently moved to Hawaii and the out-of-state vehicle you’re bringing along is registered in your name, you have the option of making an appointment with the DMV and completing an
Out-of-State Permit form
. The cost to obtain this permit is $5 and you’ll still need to go through a Hawaii safety check inspection. 
Keep in mind that you must have front and back out-of-state license plates to pass the check, even if your previous state only required you to have a back license plate.  
When you obtain an Out-of-State Permit, you’re non-Hawaii license plates will be valid for 12 months or until they expire—whichever comes first. If you plan on residing in Hawaii for longer than that, you’re going to need to register your vehicle with Hawaii license plates eventually, so it may be easier to skip this step altogether and register your car right away. 
Residents must
make an appointment
to register an out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of bringing it to Hawaii. If the out-of-state vehicle you want to register has never been registered before—such as a brand new vehicle—you’ll also be asked for the following documentation: 
  • Manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO) or a manufacturer statement of origin (MSO) signed and notarized by the dealership
  • Notarized bill of sale from the dealership (if the MCO or MSO is not notarized)
  • Certified Hawaii scaled weight (if the vehicle’s weight is not indicated on the MCO or MSO)
  • State of Hawaii
    Tax Form G-27
    if the vehicle’s model year is current, one year previous, or one year subsequent (i.e., 2021, 2022, 2023)
Once you’ve got all of this covered, you’ll receive a set of Hawaii license plates. From there, you’ll be required to renew your vehicle’s registration annually, which
can be done online

How to buy a car in Hawaii if you live out of state

If you buy a car in Hawaii but reside in a different state, you’re going to need to have the vehicle shipped off of the island. The cost to ship a car to the mainland starts at $970.01, so it’s important that you plan ahead. 
As for what to do when your vehicle arrives in your home state, the registration process will likely be similar to what Hawaii requires. You’ll need to present documents like the title and bill of sale to the DMV. You will also be expected to pay taxes to the state where you’re registering the car—not the state you bought it in.  

What if I don’t have a physical title?

Hawaii requires you to have the
physical title
to register your car in-state. The title is the document that proves who owns the vehicle. Purchasing a vehicle without a title is just plain risky—and in some states, it’s even illegal. 

Tips for buying a vehicle out of state

You should never cut corners when you purchase a vehicle, but it’s especially important when you buy a vehicle out of state. To make sure your out-of-state vehicle purchase is legit, follow these basic guidelines:  
  • Look into the vehicle’s history. You can easily check whether there’s anything in the vehicle’s past that might be concerning (such as if it was totaled or has been reported stolen) by typing the VIN into a website like
  • Get the vehicle inspected. A certified inspector will examine the components of the vehicle to ensure it is safe to drive. 
  • Have an idea of what taxes you’ll need to pay. As we mentioned, Hawaii’s vehicle tax is determined by weight. For passenger cars, it’s 1.25 cents per pound. 
  • Purchase the right amount of car insurance. Hawaii requires all registered drivers to purchase a no-fault liability insurance policy, which includes
    personal injury protection (PIP)

How to save on car insurance in Hawaii

Now that you’ve successfully registered your out-of-state vehicle in the Aloha State, make sure you’re not paying more for
car insurance
than you need to. 
app is an amazing resource if you’re looking to shave some dollars off your annual car insurance premium. Jerry needs all of a minute to compare quotes from over 55 top-rated insurance providers so that you’re clued in about where to find the hottest deals. 
Browsing quotes with Jerry’s app is hassle-free! We’ll never sell your information and we won’t even call you—unless you ask us to. With Jerry’s help, signing up for a new insurance policy is as easy as sending a text. And it could lead to average savings totaling more than $800 per year! 
“I felt like I was paying too much for my insurance policy, so I downloaded
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