Hawaii Permit Requirements

When applying for a Hawaii teen driver permit, it is important to know the permit requirements.  Make sure you have the met the conditions and that you have the necessary documents ready.

To become a licensed driver in the Aloha state, teens under the age of 18 must complete a graduated license program.  Upon reaching the age of 15 ½, residents of Hawaii are eligible to apply for an instruction permit, which is the first step in becoming a fully licensed driver in the Aloha State.

Each of the four counties in Hawaii operates independently as far as the licensing process is concerned. The counties of Honolulu, Hawaii, Kauai and Maui have largely the same requirements, but vary slightly in the procedure for how to obtain a permit. 

Documentation and Prerequisites for Hawaii Permits

To get a permit, new drivers must bring the necessary identification documents to the local driver licensing office. All documents provided for identification must be originals or certified copies.   The following documentation is required to obtain a Hawaii instruction permit:

  • Proof of name and birth date in the form of an original birth certificate or passport.
  • Social Security card
  • An official license application http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/1/doc/65655/Electronic.aspx  
  • Minors in the state of Hawaii must have written consent from both parents, if the applicant lives with both, to obtain an instruction permit.   Consequently both parents or a guardian must be present to sign the application.  If that is not possible, the parent cans sign and have notarized the affidavit http://www1.honolulu.gov/csd/csldl239.pdf affirming they are taking responsibility.  Young residents who are married or emancipated are not required to obtain parental permission.
  • Fees, including $5 for the permit and a $2 written test fee for Honolulu County.  The permit fee is $10 in the other counties.  Additional fees will be incurred later for the road test, provisional license and regular driver license.
  • After providing the required documents, new drivers will also need to pass an eye test and complete a knowledge exam.

Passing the Hawaii Knowledge Test

The written knowledge test in Hawaii includes 30 questions, and a score of 80% is required for passing.  The test consists of questions concerning the details of Hawaii traffic laws, as well as questions that test for recognition of road signs.  Anyone who does not pass the knowledge test the first time will be required to wait at least 7 days before attempting a retake.

Rules for Hawaii Permit Drivers 

While licensed as a permit driver, Hawaii residents can only drive when there is a passenger in the car who is at least 21 years old and also licensed to drive. Permit drivers cannot operate a vehicle between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Additionally, permit holders can only drive when everyone in the vehicle is wearing a safety belt and when occupants who are under the age of 4 are seated in a child restraint or safety seat.

Steps After the Hawaii Instructional Permit

Permit holders will need to maintain their instructional permit for at least six months, turning 16, before applying for a provisional license, which is the second stage in the process. Before taking the road test for a provisional license, permit drivers must complete a state-authorized driver's education course before gaining eligibility to apply. Applicants should confirm that a driver's education class is authorized by the state before enrolling.

The provisional license comes with certain restrictions, such as no unsupervised driving between 11 PM and 5 AM, unless the driver can provide documentation of the need to drive for work or school function.  Provisional drivers are also not allowed to carry more than one passenger under 18 unless they are immediate family members, or the driver’s parent is in the car.

A full driver’s license may be issued at the age of 17, if the driver keeps a clean driving record with the provisional license for 6 months.  All restrictions are then lifted for the driver to continue driving responsibly.