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Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to Move to Maui: The Horrors of the DMV

Moving to Maui: The DMV
The DMV sucks. Even in Maui. Like any government-run organization it just can't do things quickly, easily, efficiently, or without the hair-pulling frustration of the latest nonsensical Common Core Standards.

Seriously, what's the greatest innovation at the DMV in the last 40 years? A bench? A “Take a number” system? Great, the DMV has finally narrowed the gap with my local super market.

All kidding aside (I know I started the above paragraph with "Seriously..." but, seriously, I'm just kidding around.)

Anyway, when you move to Hawaii there are a few interesting things to keep in mind when it comes to transferring your driver's license, registering your car, and buying insurance.

To help you avoid the clunky process we went through, here are the steps of how things should be done.

STEP 1: What NOT to do

If you sell your vehicle with the intention of buying a new one in Hawaii, don't be so quick to cancel your insurance. When you apply for new auto insurance there are discounts offered for being "previously insured." Have your old policy number handy when you're talking to an insurance rep.

STEP 2: Earning your driver's license... again

Fortunately the DMV in Maui isn't as scary as it is everywhere else in the universe. However it is a little strange. To get your Hawaii driver's license you'll need to take a 25 question multiple-choice written test, an eye test, get your photo taken, and your thumb and index finger printed. You'll need two forms of ID (i.e. old driver's license, passport, birth certificate) and two pieces of mail confirming your place of residence in Hawaii. It's cost you about $15.

STEP 3: Passing the safety inspection

All cars in Hawaii two years old or older have to undergo a pretty strict environmental safety inspection. You will need to have proof of insurance, the vehicle's current registration (even if it's in the previous owners' name), and the title with you when you go to have this done.

STEP 4: Back to the DMV. Oh yay.

Actually, like I just said in Step 2, they've got that "Aloha spirit" at the Hawaii DMV, so it's not that bad, even if the wait time is three hours. To register your car you will need a) proof of insurance, b) safety inspection certificate, c) title, d) screwdriver for applying/removing new/old plates, e) patience, f) approximately $16.

All of these steps in this order work as a kind of combination lock. Once completed you will be welcomed into the bosom of mother Maui with a flowery lei and a luau. Ok, not really, but it'll feel like this...


  1. Hay, I lived in Hawaii for ten years. There's a lot I miss---the frightenly inept DMV (Lahaina and Kihei specifically isn't one of them. I've never seen anything like it, in any other state. Apparently, there is/was a 60% road test failure rate. Scary---that's the only word for it.

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