Hawaii Driver’s License Types (A Complete Guide)

Hawaii Driver’s License Types featured image

Did you know that there are 7 types of driver’s licenses in Hawaii?

That’s right. 

So how do you know which one you need?

Well, with this complete guide, you’ll understand the Hawaii driver’s license types — what it can operate, how to get it, and more. 

This way, you’ll know exactly which one you need and the steps to go about getting that license type. 

So shall we begin?

What are the Driver’s License Types in Hawaii? 

There are 2 primary types of driver’s licenses in Hawaii. These are non-commercial and commercial licenses. 

Non-commercial driver’s licenses have 4 types:

  • Class 1
  • Class 2
  • Class 3
  • Class 4

On the other hand, commercial licenses have 3 types:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C 

Let’s look at what each class can operate. 

Class 1

The Class 1 non-commercial driver’s license is for mopeds. Mopeds, as defined in Hawaii’s laws, are 2-3-wheeled vehicles that can carry one person. 

In terms of the engine, it doesn’t have more than 2 horsepower and has a maximum speed of 30 mph on a straight-level surface. 

Class 2

The Class 2 non-commercial driver’s license is similar to Class 1 vehicles, but it’s specifically for motorcycles. 

Unlike mopeds, motorcycles have a higher horsepower (greater than 2). But like mopeds, it can be 2-3-wheeled. 

Class 3

Commonly known as the license for private vehicles, a Class 3 license is the regular driver’s license that people use to, say, go to and from work or go road tripping. 

In more detailed terms, Class 3 licenses can operate vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 18,000 pounds. Plus, these vehicles are not capable of transporting more than 15 people. 

Class 4

A Class 4 non-commercial driver’s license is for those who drive vehicles having a GVWR of up to 26,000 pounds. These vehicles are usually trailers and RVs. 

Class A CDL

This CDL is for operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV) with a GVWR of at least 26,0001 pounds. If it tows a vehicle, the maximum GVWR of the towed vehicle should be more than 10,000 pounds. 

Class B CDL

Class B CDLs are given to those who operate CMVs with a GVWR of at least 26,0001 pounds. However, if it tows a vehicle, it can only accommodate those that have less than or equal to a GVWR of 10,000 pounds. 

Class C CDL

Class C CDLs are for vehicles that transport hazardous materials. It’s also for vehicles that transport 16 or more people, such as a school bus. 

Class C vehicles shouldn’t exceed 26,001 pounds and, if towing, should not carry more than 10,000 pounds. 

How to Get a Class 3 License in Hawaii

Since Class 3 non-commercial licenses are the most popular, you’re probably aiming to get this type of license. 

If so, know that Hawaii follows a 3-Stage Graduated Licensing program for those below 18 years old. 

Let’s go through the 3 stages one by one. 

Stage 1: Getting an Instruction Permit

Here are the steps to getting an instruction permit in Hawaii:

  • Print and fill up an application form (see the application links for each county below). You should also prepare these documents: 
    • Official documents showing proof of your identity (e.g., legal name and date of birth)
    • Birth certificate
    • Proof of your Social Security Number
    • Proof of US citizenship or legal presence in the country
    • 2 proofs of permanent residence in Hawaii
    • Filled up consent form signed by both of your parents or guardian (should be signed in front of a DMV representative)

Click your county for the appropriate application form: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui.

Click your county for the appropriate Parent/Guardian Consent form: Hawaii, Honolulu, Maui, Kauai (form found in the DMV office only).

  • Go to your local licensing office. Remember, not all DMV offices issue permits so it’s best to call the office first and ask.  
  • Submit your application form and all other required documents 
  • Take and pass the vision test
  • Pay for the application fee, instructional permit, and written test. 
Application fee:$1$1$1$1
Written test fee:$1$2$2$5
Instruction permit fee:$10$5$10$10

Pricing as of July 2022

  • Have your picture taken

After that, you will be given a temporary instruction permit that you can use for behind-the-wheel training. The official instructional permit will be mailed to you in 2-4 weeks. 

Stage 2: Getting a Provisional License

Once you have held your instruction permit for 180 days and have no license suspensions, you can apply for a provisional license. 

Here are the steps:

  • Complete a Hawaii-approved driver’s ed course and behind-the-wheel training
  • Schedule a road test appointment at your nearest DMV office. Again, not all offices accommodate road tests, so you have to call and ask. 
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training certificates of completion 
    • Your valid instruction permit
    • 2 proofs of legal presence in the US 
    • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of liability insurance for the vehicle
  • Safety vehicle inspection form
  • Pay the necessary fees
Application fee:$1$1$1$1
Road test fee:$10$8$10$20
Provisional License fee (per year):$5$5$4$5

Pricing as of July 2022

  • Take and pass the road test using your vehicle

Like the instructional permit, you will also be given a temporary provisional driver’s license while you wait for the official one to be sent to you. 

Stage 3: Getting a Full License

Those who are eligible to apply for a full license either had a provisional license for at least 6 months or are 18 years old or above at the time of applying. 

Now, here are the steps to get a full license: 

  • Prepare the following documents: 
    • Provisional license
    • Official documents showing proof of your identity (e.g., legal name and date of birth)
    • Proof of your Social Security Number
    • Proof of US citizenship or legal presence in the country
    • Proof of permanent residence in Hawaii
  • Submit these documents to a licensing office that issues driver’s licenses. 
  • Pay for the license fee 
Application fee:$1$1$1$1
1-year license:$5N/AN/AN/A
4-year license:$20$20$16$20

Pricing as of July 2022

  • Receive your temporary Class 3 driver’s license. The official license will be mailed to you in 2-4 weeks. 

For those applying for the first time at 18+, you’re no longer required to get an instruction permit, unless you are from Honolulu or Kauai. From there, you simply need to pass the knowledge test and skills test, and pay all the appropriate fees in one go. 

How to Get a Class A, B, and C License in Hawaii

In general, the application process for any type of commercial driver’s license is the same. There are just differences in the training programs and/or knowledge exams you need to take. 

Just like a Class 3 license, you will first need a permit, more specifically, a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). 

Getting a Commercial Learner’s Permit

Here are the steps to getting your CLP in Hawaii:

  • Identify what classification your vehicle falls in. 
  •  Take and pass the vision test
  • Pay the fees
CLP application fee:Exam fee:
$30$15 ($5 for every endorsement exam(s)
  • Take and pass the knowledge exam(s)
  • Receive your CLP

Getting a Commercial Driver’s License

And here are the steps to getting your CDL in Hawaii:

  • Hold your CLP for 14 days
  • Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program from a provider approved by the FMSCA
  • Schedule an appointment with your licensing office to take the practical test. The test fee costs $50.
  • On the day of the test, submit these documents: 
    • Your CLP and valid driver’s license
    • Valid DOT medical certificate (Form MCSA-58760)
    • Original and valid Certificate of Registration
    • Original and valid DOT vehicle inspection
    • Original and valid CMV insurance card or self-insured certificate
  • Take and pass the practical test with your CMV
  • Pay the CDL fee
CDL validity Fee:
New license 1 year:$5
New license 2 years (for 72 years old and above):$10
New license 3 years (for 21 years old to 24):$20
New license 8 years (for 25 years old to 71):$40

Prices for Hawaii County only

  • Receive your CDL

How to Get a Class 1 and 2 License in Hawaii

Here is the application process for a Class 1 or Class 2 license in Hawaii:

  • Schedule a knowledge test and vision exam at your licensing office. If you pass, you will be given an instructional permit. 
  • Take a driver’s education program and behind-the-wheel training if you’re 16-18 years old. Once 90 days have passed, you can apply for a Class 1 or 2 license. 
  • Schedule a skills test with your licensing office and bring your Certificate of Completion for the training you took. 
  • Bring a motorcycle that is in safe operating condition and provide proof of liability insurance. 
  • Take and pass the skills test. 

If you pass the skills test, you will be given a Class 1 or Class 2 license. 


And there you have it! Those are all the driver’s license types in Hawaii. 

So what will it be?

Are you planning on driving your private vehicle around? Then you need a Class 3 license. 

Want to drive trucks professionally? Choose between Class A, B, or C CDLs. 

Finally, if all you have is a moped or motorcycle, then you need a Class 1 or Class 2 license, respectively. 

And now that you know how to get these licenses, what are you waiting for?

You can get started right away!

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