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FINANCE - VEHICLE REGISTRATION AND LICENSING DIVISION

About Hawaii’s Legal Presence Law

Introduction

Effective March 5, 2012, anyone applying for an original or renewal of their Hawaii driver’s license or permit must show proof of legal presence in the U.S.

Legal presence means that a person is either a U.S. citizen or is legally authorized to be in the U.S.

Act 38, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, prohibits the issuance of a Hawaii driver’s license to any person that is not legally in the United States and limits the term of the issued licenses only for the period that the applicant is temporarily authorized to be in the United States.

Legal Presence Affects Everyone

Legal presence requirements affect anyone applying for a Hawaii driver’s license, including U.S. citizens and foreign-born applicants, those applying for a learner’s permit, and permit holders passing their road test to obtain a driver’s license. Legal presence also applies to anyone who has just moved to Hawaii from another state or country, and anyone renewing their Hawaii driver’s license or permit.

Proof of legal presence will be required from:

  • Applicants applying for an original Hawaii driver’s license. Anyone who has never held or is re-applying for a Hawaii driver’s license must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S.  
  • Applicants renewing their Hawaii driver’s license. Anyone who renews their Hawaii driver’s license must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S. Applicants who are U.S. citizens and aliens admitted for permanent residence status in the U.S. will need to provide proof of legal presence documents every second renewal.
  • Drivers reinstating their driving privilege because of a license revocation or cancellation.
    Customers whose license or permit to drive has been revoked or cancelled must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S.
  • Drivers who have allowed their license to expire. Anyone who lets his driver’s license expire, even by just one day, must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S
  • Permit holders when they pass their road test and obtain a Hawaii driver’s license. All permit holders must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S.
  • Drivers converting their Hawaii provisional driver’s license to a full driver’s license. All license holders who convert from a provisional to a full license must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S. 

Proof of legal presence will NOT be required from:

  • Applicants applying for a duplicate Hawaii driver’s license or permit.

Temporary Legal Length of Stay - Limited Duration Driver’s Licenses or Permits

  • Persons who are authorized by the federal government to be present temporarily in the U.S. will be issued limited duration driver’s licenses or permits.

Obtaining a Hawaii Driver’s License under Hawaii’s New Legal Presence Requirements:

Beginning March 5, 2012, each individual applying for an initial Hawaii driver’s license or permit will be required to provide proof of:

  • Identity
  • Legal presence
  • Social security number

Proof documents to verify legal presence include U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport. Foreign born applicants may provide other documents, such as a Certificate of Citizenship or naturalization, Resident Alien Card, or a valid foreign passport with a visa and I-94.

Documents presented for proof of identity, legal presence or social security number must be valid originals or certified copies. Photo copies or fax copies of proof documents are not acceptable. For a complete listing of acceptable documents for proof of identity, legal presences, and social security number, refer to the List of Acceptable Documents — Hawaii Driver’s License below.

Validity of a Hawaii Driver’s License for individuals temporarily authorized to be in the U.S.

The driver’s license of individuals temporarily authorized to be in the United States will be valid for their verified length of legal stay up to the maximum period pursuant to state law. If the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence can not be verified electronically or through other approved means, the driver’s license will expire one year from the date of issuance.

Validity of a Hawaii Instruction Permit

An instruction permit will be valid only for the amount of time that an individual is legally present in the U.S. up to a maximum of one year.

Renewal by Mail

Individuals temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. are not eligible to renew by mail and must renew in person.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS- LEGAL PRESENCE

I am temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. how often will I have to present my proof of legal presence?

Applicants who are temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. are required to present proof of legal presence when applying for an initial or renewal of a Hawaii driver license or permit.

I am temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. Can I renew my driver’s license or permit by mail?

No. You must renew in person and present proof of legal presence.

Once legal presence is established will I need to provide the documents again at the time of my next renewal?

Applicants who are temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. are required to present proof of legal presence when applying for an initial or renewal driver license or permit. Applicants who are U.S. citizens and aliens admitted for permanent residence status in the U.S. will not need to provide the legal presence documents until their second renewal.

I lost my Hawaii driver’s license and I would like to apply for a duplicate. Am I required to present proof of legal presence?

No. Proof of legal presence is not required when applying for a duplicate driver’s license.

Can I mail in my legal presence documents so they can be reviewed and approved prior to renewal of my Hawaii driver’s license?

No, customers may not mail documents to the Driver’s License Section for review. Proof of legal presence is required at the time of renewal application. Those wishing to renew their driver’s license by mail will be provided renewal instructions.

I will be renewing my Hawaii driver’s license soon. I was born at home and do not have a birth certificate. I have no living relative to confirm who I am. Can I provide something else?

Proof of legal presence must be established in order to process your driver license renewal application. A Hawaii driver’s license may be renewed as early as six months before its expiration date. Therefore, we recommend that you give yourself sufficient time to renew within the six month period before your license expires. There are other legal documents you may have that the DMV may accept in lieu of your birth certificate. For further information, please visit the appropriate county website where you intend to renew your license or call for further assistance.

CountyPhone Number
County of Hawaii 808-961-2222
City & County of Honolulu 808-532-7730
County of Kauai 808-241-4242
County of Maui 808-270-7363


My Hawaii birth certificate shows my birth name and my license is in my married name. Am I required to present additional proof of legal presence?

Yes. You will need to present your certificate of marriage and your Hawaii birth certificate. Your Hawaii birth certificate will prove your legal presence, and your certificate of marriage will establish your name change from your birth name to your married name which appears on our driver’s license.

If the documents I submit at the time of renewal are not acceptable, will you provide me with more information on other forms that you will accept?

Yes. Your County DMV staff will do their best to assist you through this new process.

I currently have a valid Hawaii instruction permit. Will I need to present proof of legal presence when I pass my road test?

Yes. Since the road test is part of the application process for an original Hawaii driver’s license, all instruction permit holders will be required to present proof of legal presence before the original license can be issued.

What documents are considered legal and admissible? 

Documents presented for proof of identity, legal presence, and social security number must be valid originals or certified copies. Photo copies or fax copies of proof documents are not acceptable. Please refer to the List of Acceptable Documents — Hawaii Driver’s License below.

My father was in the military and I was born out of country. I lost my documents verifying birth abroad and do not have a U S passport, what can I bring in to prove I am a US citizen and to prove my identity?

Please refer to the List of Acceptable Documents — Hawaii Driver’s License below.

My documents are very old, delicate, and difficult to read. Should I still bring it in to prove my identity?

Yes, present the documents you have. Your Driver License representative will carefully review your documents to determine acceptability and provide you with further assistance.

My birth certificate was obtained the year after I was born, is it acceptable as proof of identification?

State certified birth certificates are accepted as proof of identification.

I want to submit my State certified birth certificate for proof of legal presence. The names on social security card and my out of state driver’s license match. The name on my State certified birth certificate is different from the name on my driver’s license. Will this be sufficient?

The name on your driver’s license must match the name on the document you present for proof of legal presence. In this scenario, you will be required to present proof of name change from your birth name to the name on your driver’s license.

Immigration has acknowledged receipt of my application. I am still waiting for my immigration documents to be processed. How will my pending status affect my eligibility to obtain a driver’s license? 

Your Driver License representative can review your documents and can provide you with further assistance.

I was born in a foreign country and am adopted by my parents who are U.S. citizens. What documents do I need to prove legal status in order to obtain a driver license?

You will need to provide your adoption documents and your parents’ proof of citizenship.

Will I qualify for a Hawaii drivers license a day before the expiration of my legal status?

Yes. However, the expiration date of your Hawaii driver’s license will be based on the expiration of your legal stay.

I am a foreign born applicant holding a valid Hawaii driver license. I also own a business in the U.S. (mainland). Can I renew my driver license by mail?

No. You must renew in person and present proof of legal presence.

List of Acceptable Documents — Hawaii Driver’s License 

Documents presented for proof must be valid originals or certified copies.

Photo copies or faxes are not acceptable as proof.

Laminated documents cannot be accepted.

If the names on the documents do not match, including first name, additional documents may be required.

 

List of Acceptable Documents – Hawaii Driver’s License**

List of Acceptable Documents

NOTE:

In verifying your identity there are several original or official “certified copies” of your documents required (please see the chart above). We are required by law to obtain proof of, identity, date of birth, social security number and legal presence. In order to accomplish this, all names on all documents must match, including the first name. If the names do not match you are required to bring in additional documentation, which includes name change documents such as marriage certificates. For example: Should a man’s or woman’s documents, such as social security card, not match their other documents due to a marriage, divorce, name change or other reason, further original or certified copies of documentation will be required to verify the progression of name change. This applies to both men and women.” See below.

 

List of Acceptable Documents – Legal Name Change on Hawaii Driver’s License

Document Description 

Court Order for Name Change/ Adoption / Divorce – no others (Legal Name / DOB/ Court Seal required to accept the order

Marriage Certificate (Government Issued)

Certified decree of name change from the State of Hawaii Lieutenant Governor’s Office

Naturalization Certificate

 

Note: Documents presented for proof must be valid originals or certified copies. Photo copies or faxes are not acceptable as proof. Laminated documents are not acceptable.

 

Hawaii’s Proof of Principal Residence 

Effective May 1, 2014, anyone applying for a driver’s license must show two (2) forms of proof of principal residence in Hawaii.

Principal residence is defined as the location where a person currently resides even if the residence location is temporary. 

Any two of the following documents (original or copy) with the applicant as the addressee and stating the applicant’s principal residence will be acceptable as proof. 

  1. A current valid Hawaii driver’s license;
  2. Vehicle registration or title;
  3. A current voter registration card or other mail addressed to the applicant from a government or medical entity that is not more than two months old;
  4. Utility bill that is not more than two months old with applicant’s name and address;
  5. Checking or savings account statement not more than two months old;
  6. Payroll check or check stub issued by an employer within two months of the application date;
  7. Current mortgage account or proof of home ownership;
  8. Residential rental or time share contract for six months or more;
  9. United States income tax return, W-2 form or 1099 SSA benefits form from the previous year;
  10. Hawaii income tax return from the previous year or W-2 form;
  11. Receipt for personal property taxes paid to a county within the State of Hawaii within the last year;
  12. Medical card issued by a health insurance agency with principal residence address printed on it;
  13. Documentation dated not more than ninety days prior to making application that the individual is receiving State of Hawaii public assistance;
  14. Current property tax assessment bill or statement;
  15. A stamped department of taxation form A-6, application for tax clearance that is not more than six months old (must have applicant’s name);
  16. Homeless applicants may use the address of their current shelter agency, or if not staying in a shelter, may use the general delivery of the post office nearest where they spend most of their time;
  17. Applicants documenting enrollment in a State or Federal address confidentiality program which allows an applicant to obtain and use alternative addresses may use an alternative address on the card but must provide the applicant’s permanent address for file purposes.
  18. P.O. Box numbers are not acceptable to indicate principal residence address unless a number and street name have not been assigned for U.S. mail delivery.  An address convention used by the U.S. Postal Service is acceptable.

 

Links to Other Sites and Important Information

Contact numbers and websites to obtain necessary documents:

Social Security Cards

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/

Telephone # 1-800-772-1213

 

 State of Hawaii Certified Copies of Birth, Marriage and Divorce Certificates*

http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/vital-records/vital_records.html

Telephone (808) 586-4539 or (808) 586-4542 during regular business hours

*The following note regarding divorce records is contained in the above website:

The Office of Health Status Monitoring only has divorce records from July 1951 to December 2002. All other divorce records are kept in the court where the divorce took place.


Birth Certificates (Out-Of-State)

For information or to request a certified copy of a birth certificate from another state, you may call the vital statistics office of that state or U.S. Territory:

http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/finance-dl-birth-certificate

 

Passports

http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1378.html

 

Property Tax Search - Hawaii County

http://www.hawaiipropertytax.com/search.html