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How to Register In Hawaii a Car Bought on the Mainland

Discussion in 'Hawaii' started by Bob in Makiki, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    I bought my Ferrari 360 Spider from a friend on the mainland, and today I successfully registered it in Honolulu. I had great help and good advice from my neighbors on this forum, but I found the whole process to be challenging. My goal, and I suspect it would be yours too, was to only wait in line once at the Satellite City Hall. I was successful in that, but again, I found the process complex and challenging. I thought I would write down the necessary documents you should bring with you while I can still remember them!

    Please note that in Hawaii vehicle registration — although technically a state process — is handled by the counties, so each county is different. I can only describe the process in Honolulu. The forms I mention finding on-line are generally found at:

    Forms

    You will likely need the following documents and forms:

    1. A current Hawaii Insurance Identification Card. Rather obviously, this means one of the first things you must do is insure the car. But you were going to do that anyway, right?

    2. A Hawaii State Safety Inspection that shows the car failed the inspection for only one reason — lack of registration. Please check this! My document originally listed another problem (“warning lights”) which, as it turned out, was a mistake. When asked, the safety inspection station folks reprinted it showing only the registration as a problem. If I had not noticed this, I would probably have ended up standing in line twice. So, check it.

    3. Foreign state registration. My car was registered in Montana, which apparently has perpetual registration (so, no end date — actually the end date is shown as “Valid Through Date 12/31/9999”). This caused some minor confusion but it worked out.

    4. Foreign state title. I had the seller notarize the transfer of title. I am not sure that is legally necessary, but it can’t hurt. They kept the foreign title, so if you want a copy to keep, make a copy in advance.

    5. Bill of Sale. Again I had the seller notarize this, too, and again while that may not be legally necessary it can’t hurt. I used the standard Hawaii form, which you can find on line at the Honolulu Department of Customer Services web site. It is form CS-L (MVR) 40. The notary was in Virginia but simply used the Virginia stamp and signature. My thought was the more familiar the form, the less likely to be a problem. There was no problem. Again, they kept the original Bill of Sale, so if you want a copy, make a copy in advance.

    6. Waybill showing date of import into the state. In my case, I had an Air Waybill, which again caused some confusion. They solved this by having me fill out form CS-L(MVR)19, Vehicle Arrival Certification. If you ship your car by sea, you probably won’t need this. They see those forms all the time. Air Waybills are unusual. My Waybill showed the date I picked the car up, the Arrival Certification wants the day the car arrived in Hawaii. Again, a minor but potentially significant difference, particularly if you are getting close to the 30 day limit.

    7. Toledo Scale Weight Ticket.nMy neighbors on this forum had wisely advised me that they might not have the weight for our cars. So, I went by Toledo Scale at 1914 Has Street and paid $30 to have the car weighed. Again, my goal was to only stand in line once. It worked. I am not certain, but my impression is that they did NOT have the weight of the car. So, even though it was on the foreign state title, without the Toledo Scale weigh ticket, I might well have ended up standing in line twice.

    8. You will need to complete a Form G-27 Motor Vehicle Use Tax Certification. If you have bought your car from a friend, it is likely a “casual” sale. If you have bought it from a mainland dealer, and if you did not pay a sales tax in the state in which it was purchased that equals or exceeds our Use Tax, you will likely need to pay the Use Tax. You should look into this with some care — the Use Tax if due can be expensive (in my case I think it would likely have been in excess of $3,500). The instructions are complicated. I needed to go to HAR 18-238-2 to check the definition of “casual” sale. You may (or may not) fall under some other exception, listed in the instructions for Form G-27. You can find all this online, which is a big help. But this is complicated, you need to get it right, and there are penalties for getting it wrong or misrepresenting the type of sale.

    9. Finally, you will need a Form CS-L (MVR) 1, which is the basic Application for Vehicle Registration form. Oddly, it is not available on-line, and I did not see one out when I walked by a Satellite City Hall. I asked the dealership, where I was having the car inspected and annual maintenance performed, and they were kind enough to provide me one. So, I had it filled out and signed when I got in the line. Again, the goal for me was to only go through the line once. I don’t know what would have happened if I had not located one of these forms — would they have let me fill it out at the window, or would they have given me the form and sent me to the back of the line? I didn’t want to find out, so I found one and had it filled out and ready to go.

    With all this stuff in a folder, I went to the Downtown Satellite City Hall. The line was short and the staff was pleasant. Even with everything prepared in advance, it was a complicated process that took about 15 min. or more. At the end of the process, I paid about $300. Please note you need cash or a check — a credit card will not work. After payment I got a shiny new Hawaii title for the car, a registration certificate (which is kept in the glove box with your insurance card and safety inspection sticker), and two new license plates — front and rear — with a current registration sticker to put on the rear plate. And yes, I plan to install both; I don’t want to give any police officer an excuse to stop and ticket me for not having a front license plate.

    With all the goodies from Satellite City Hall, you then need to go BACK to the safety inspection site, with registration in hand, and get a clean safety inspection (which should not be an additional cost, but is an additional step).

    I thought this was a pretty complicated process. If you are registering a car, there are a number of reasons you may have a different path to follow. So, for example, if you are just bringing your car from the mainland with you when you move to Hawaii, things should be much simpler. Maybe! In any event, I hope this may be of help to someone, sometime.

    And thanks to all for the good advice given previously on how to do this.
     
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  3. WPOZZZ

    WPOZZZ F1 Rookie

    Aug 22, 2012
    4,652
    Honolulu, HI
    Great write up, Bob!

    However, the safety inspection sticker is placed upon the vehicle by the inspector or their designee. Your registration sticker goes on the upper right corner of your rear license plate. The safety inspection certificate goes in your glove box. Don't want any of our brothers getting pulled over for keeping the stickers in the glove box. That said, I had my reg and sticker in my glove box for 4 months before noticing I did not put the sticker on the car. lol
     
  4. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    Good point! The safety inspection sticker goes on the bumper, and the safety inspection certificate goes in the glove box. Usually the inspection station makes sure that is done correctly. And you are right, it is the registration sticker that goes on the upper right of the rear license plate.

    Thanks for the clarification!

    Also the Toledo Scales location is at 1914 Hau St., which autocorrect unhelpfully changed to "Has St." in my note above (which for some reason I can no longer edit to fix).
     
  5. C50

    C50 Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 19, 2016
    1,503
    808
    Very helpful write-up
    They do so enjoy making a difficult process... more difficult
    hope to see you tearing around town
    Enjoy your ride
     
  6. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    I was surprised by how difficult this was. The people at the Department of Customer Service are great -- it may be hard to believe, but they are actually trying to be of service. They have a number of constraints on them that they don't control -- sometimes it is what the federal government requires for a driver's license, sometimes it is what the State of Hawaii requires for state car registration. They are in the unenviable position of being on the front line, dealing with citizens, in a system they don't necessarily control. Remember, the county has to register cars for the state.

    But I just don't see how the average guy could get all this right the first time. (I'm sure it gets easier if you do it multiple times.) I'm a lawyer and I spent a long time trying to sort this out before I walked over, and I still wasn't sure I had it right until it was all over.

    Anyway, if this helps anyone else in the future, I would be delighted.
     
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  8. DennisForza

    DennisForza Formula 3

    May 23, 2006
    1,719
    Arlington, VA
    Full Name:
    Dennis
    Great write up. Seems that the only thing that the internet has improved since I first brought a car to Oahu in 1990 as an 18 year old Marine is access to the forms, and even that is not complete. It is not an easy process. Back then I could not get an insurance policy until I had proof the car was on the island, but the port would not release the car until I had proof of insurance. Had to go to the port, then to the insurance office, both via TheBus then back to the port and straight to the inspection station, before going right to the old Satellite City Hall in the Ala Moana garage, then back to the inspection station for the inspection sticker. What a pain it was. But so worth it to have the freedom of a car in paradise!!!
     
  9. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    Yikes! OK Dennis, now you've made me feel like I had it easy, compared to your experience!

    Some of my best friends in Hawaii are Marines who have chosen to retire here. Every Marine I have ever met has been a remarkable person. Thanks for your service.
     
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  10. steve hovey

    steve hovey Rookie

    Aug 11, 2020
    3
    Full Name:
    Steve Hovey
    Hey folks. This is great stuff. I am looking to potentially purchase a Dino in Honolulu, but I don't know how to do a PPI. Does anyone know someone who might be able to help me?
     
  11. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    Larry Thompson at Thompson Automotive on S. Beretania might be able to help. Or see if Aron at the dealership will do that for you. He’s a straight shooter.
     
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  13. steve hovey

    steve hovey Rookie

    Aug 11, 2020
    3
    Full Name:
    Steve Hovey
    That is great feedback. Thank you Bob. I heard the car was serviced by Larry as well. I will reach out. Thank you again.
     
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  14. WPOZZZ

    WPOZZZ F1 Rookie

    Aug 22, 2012
    4,652
    Honolulu, HI
    I thought Larry only did cars without computers.
     
  15. Hawaii Brit

    Hawaii Brit Karting
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 16, 2018
    78
    Honolulu
    Aron at Ferrari of Honoluu is an awesome resource. His cost is higher, however you’ll get a comprehensive and highly informed report on the condition.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  16. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    367
    Honolulu
    I think that’s right. But Steve was asking about a Dino, if I understood correctly.
     
  17. steve hovey

    steve hovey Rookie

    Aug 11, 2020
    3
    Full Name:
    Steve Hovey
    yup. thats right. On another note, the famous Chris Miele, who is back at Ferrari in HI has also been really helpful too. Not sure what his handle is on here, but i think most people on this forum know him well...
     
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  18. renman95

    renman95 Karting

    Jul 16, 2016
    159
    Oahu, leeward side
    Full Name:
    D8LF
    I resemble that remark. ;-)
     
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  19. oneshot8541

    oneshot8541 Rookie

    May 26, 2004
    34
    Hawaii
    Full Name:
    CM
    Aloha Steve - It’s definitely good to be back! Let’s catch up this week.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     

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