Hawaii Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your HI License
  • Preparing for the HI Permit Test
  • Taking the HI Permit Test
  • Preparing for the HI Driving Test
  • Taking the HI Driving Test
  • Renewing Your HI License
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Applying for Your HI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

First-time drivers in Hawaii need to complete the state’s Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL) to earn their unrestricted license. Here are the program’s stages:

  • 15 ½ years old – Learner’s Permit
  • 16 years old – Provisional License
  • 17 years old – Unrestricted Driver’s License

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Hawaii?

You need:

  • A completed Driver’s License Application – please note that depending on what county you live in your application may need to be signed by both parents and notarized. Check with your local DMV office for more information.
  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or US passport
  • Proof of Social Security number, such as a Social Security Card or W-2 Form
  • Proof of legal presence
  • Cash or check for appropriate permit fee, which varies by county

You can get more information about acceptable documents at the Hawaii County website. Also note, all documents must be original or certified copies.

Where do I file my HI driver’s license application?

At your local DMV office. Visit your county or city website for more information.

How can I contact my local office?

For Hawaii County, call (808) 961-2222; for Mani County, call (808) 270-7363; for Honolulu County, call (808) 532-7730; for Kauai County, call (808) 241-4242.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, if you are a teen driver seeking your first driver’s license you will need to complete driver’s ed as part of the state’s GDL program.

What if I am New to Hawaii?

Permits from out-of-state do not transfer to Hawaii. You will need to meet the state’s GDL requirements starting at the beginning.

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Preparing for the HI Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

In Hawaii, the written permit test covers road signs, traffic laws and other rules of the road as presented in the state’s driver’s manual. Here are two examples of content from the state driver’s manual that could appear on the test:

  • Drivers should yield to pedestrians and cars caught in an intersection when the light turns green
  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle on the public highways in Hawaii is deemed to have given his or her consent to be tested to determine the amount of alcohol in his or her blood

How is the test formatted?

Hawaii’s written exam is a multiple choice test.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, the questions on the test are drawn from the material presented in the Hawaii Driver’s Manual. Study the manual thoroughly enough and you should not be surprised by any questions. Pay particular attention to numbers and statistics when studying the manual.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 30 questions on the test and you need to answer at least 25 correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

Study the Hawaii Driver’s Manual and take practice tests online, to reinforce your knowledge and direct your studies.

Where can I get a free Hawaii Driver’s Manual to study?

Right on this website! We offer free copies.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

The key is to study the Hawaii Driver’s manual from front to back and then from front to back again and again and again. If you put in the study time and also take practice tests to assess your understanding of what you are studying you should be able to pass the test with flying colors. Take a practice test now.

What should I do the night before the test?

Be sure to get rest. That means you should not stay up late “cramming” for the exam. Put in the study time in advance and then the night before the test you can do a general review, maybe take a practice test or two and then go to bed early confident that you are going to pass.

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Taking the HI Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local DMV office to see if appointments are available. If so, it is highly recommended that you schedule one.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at the local DMV office. Visit your county or city website for more information.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • A completed Driver’s License Application – please note that depending on what county you live in your application may need to be signed by both parents and notarized. Check with your local DMV office for more information.
  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or US passport
  • Proof of Social Security number, such as a Social Security Card or W-2 Form
  • Proof of legal presence
  • Cash or check for appropriate permit fee, which varies by county

Here is more information about acceptable documents.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

A parent or guardian should accompany you.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you need to pay a fee. The fee varies by county – it is $5 in Honolulu County and $10 in the other three counties.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test contains 30 questions covering traffic laws and road signs in Hawaii. You will also need to understand defensive driving techniques and various other rules of the road. All questions on the test are drawn from the Hawaii Driver’s Manual. You will need to answer at least 25 questions correctly to pass. Take a practice test formatted like the real thing.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit and can begin accumulating your practice driving hours. You will need to log 50 hours of driving practice, with 10 of those hours coming at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test.

When can I retake the written test?

You will have to wait seven days to retake it.

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Preparing for the HI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

With your Hawaii Learner’s Permit you are allowed to drive when accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over. When driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. the supervising driver must be seated in the front passenger seat. You must log 50 hours of driving practice with 10 hours completed at night.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

Teen drivers are eligible for their provisional license after they turn 16 years of age, have held their learner’s permit for at least 180 days and have completed driver’s education.

Can I drive anywhere in Hawaii with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, but you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you must also complete 10 hours of practice driving during nighttime hours.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older.

What should I do if I have a lost Hawaii Learner’s Permit?

You can get a replacement in person at your local DMV office. You must bring proper identification document with you.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

When it comes to acing the driving test there is no substitute for lots of practice. Drive as much as you can with a responsible licensed driver and pay attention to their advice and instruction. You should also study the Hawaii Driver’s Handbook and be sure to apply all that you learn to your own driving.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

In particular, you should practice turning, stopping, accelerating, changing lanes and defensive driving.

How can I simulate the driving test?

You should practice two types of driving – basic maneuvers, such as turning, parking, checking mirrors and acceleration and braking and driving in traffic using good defensive driving skills. Practice both of these areas extensively and you should do well on the test.

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Taking the HI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your local DMV office. For Hawaii County, call (808) 961-2222; for Mani County, call (808) 270-7363; for Honolulu County, call (808) 532-7730; for Kauai County, call (808) 241-4242.

Where do I take the driving test?

At a local DMV office. Contact your local office for more information. For Hawaii County, call (808) 961-2222; for Mani County, call (808) 270-7363; for Honolulu County, call (808) 532-7730; for Kauai County, call (808) 241-4242.

What should I bring to the driving test?

You should bring:

  • A vehicle in good working condition
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance
  • Your valid Hawaii Learner’s Permit

You’ll also need to pay the appropriate fee.

Who should bring me to the driving test?

You should be accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will be asked to complete a basic maneuver course that includes turning, parking, braking, accelerating and more. You will also be asked to drive in traffic.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Many drivers fail simply because of a lack of practice or a lack of understanding of Hawaii’s road rules. To prevent that from happening to you, be sure to practice driving as much as possible and study the Hawaii Driver’s Manual.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Not signaling when it is required
  • Not checking mirrors
  • Incorrect hand position on steering wheel
  • Speeding
  • Failing to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You may retake the test.

How long do I have to wait to retake the test?

You must wait seven days to retake the test.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your provisional license.

What restrictions come with a Hawaii license?

With your new provisional license you will be able to drive:

  • Unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • With only 1 passenger younger than 18 years old, unless they are family members
  • Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. with a parent or guardian or if traveling to work or school

After you turn 17 and have held your provisional license for six months, you can upgrade to an unrestricted license.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in HI?

Drivers in Hawaii are required to have car insurance. Minimum coverage requirements are:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – $20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident
  • Basic Personal Injury Protection – $10,000
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Renewing Your HI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

A valid driver’s license can be renewed up to six months before the expiration date and up to one year after the expiration date.

Procedures and fees for replacing a lost or stolen license vary by county. Contact your local driver’s license office for specific details.

Where can I renew my Hawaii driver’s license?

Your Hawaii driver’s license can be renewed either by mail or in person. It cannot be renewed online.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

Yes, when renewing in person you may be asked to take a vision test. In Hawaii, requirements are 20/40 with or without correction and a field of vision of 70 in each eye. You will also need to be able to differentiate traffic colors and signals.

If you do not meet the standard you may be referred to a licensed vision specialist. If you pass the test with corrective lenses, a restriction will be added to your license.


The Hawaii DMV Test — What You Need to Know

Getting your learner’s permit is a wonderful accomplishment. It grants your access to a significant rite of passage – driving.  And, all you have to do is take the first step and pass the permit test.

Hawaii’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to pass a written test in order to receive your permit. The written permit test more commonly known as the permit test, makes sure you’re knowledgeable of the rules of the road, road signs, and safe driving techniques.

Get the Confidence You Need With HI DMV Practice Permit Tests

Getting ready for your Hawaii permit test doesn’t have to be frustrating, but you should be aware that for those that choose to go in unprepared, the likely scenario is leaving the testing office empty-handed.  In fact, statistics reveal that the majority of people fail the exam every year.  Do you really want to return to the DMV office and take the exam all over again?

Fortunately, we’ve made it easy for you to begin preparing for the exam. On this page, you’ll find powerful resources including our sample interactive Hawaii practice permit test.  The practice test is designed to give you a better idea of the official exam format while introducing you to some of the material you might encounter on test day. You’ll also find the official Hawaii Driver’s Handbook. We’ve even included resources if you are looking to get their motorcycle endorsement or license.

We’ve assembled a powerful set of tools necessary to help you calmly and confidently take your Hawaii permit test.