Hawaiʻi’s Legal Presence Law Information and Requirements

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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 Customers whose license or permit to drive has been revoked or cancelled must provide proof of legal presence in the U.S.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

  • Legal Presence

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

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

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

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

    • 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?

    • 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?

    • 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?

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

    • What documents are considered legal and admissible?

    • 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?

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

    • My birth certificate was obtained the year after I was born, is it acceptable 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?

    • 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?

    • 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?

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

    • 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?


Refer to Acceptable Document List 

 

Affidavit for Proof of Residency Form


Additional Resources

Contact numbers and websites to obtain necessary documents:

Social Security Cards

Phone: 1-800-772-1213

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

Phone (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.

Passports

Property Tax Search - Hawaii County

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