Shipping A Car From The Mainland To Hawaii

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Since Hawaii is an incorporated territory of the United States, it’s relatively easy (and affordable) to ship a vehicle there from the mainland. There are, however, a few minor requirements that you’ll have to meet that do not apply when shipping between other U.S. states, which we’ll go over in the sections below.

The most popular U.S. ports from which to ship a car to Hawaii are on the West Coast: Tacoma, Washington; Oakland, California; and Long Beach, California. (There are also shipping ports available in Anchorage and Kodiak, Alaska.) In Hawaii, these are the most frequently used ports for importing a vehicle:

  • Honolulu, Oahu
  • Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island)
  • Kawaihae, Hawaii (Big Island)
  • Kahului, Maui
  • Nawiliwili, Kauai

Shipping Requirements

Before being shipped, the vehicle should be thoroughly cleaned, both inside and out. It also needs to be in good running condition since most car transport between the mainland and Hawaii involves driving the vehicle onto the storage area of a transport boat–known as “RORO” or “roll on, roll off” auto shipping. Containerized shipping is the other option, in which the vehicle is secured inside a transport container and loaded onto the boat while inside the shipping container.

Looking for information about licensing and registering a vehicle you’ve shipped to Hawaii? This resource, from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles, has a wealth of information, including registration, inspection and certification standards.

Standard maintenance checks for things like the car battery, fluid levels and checking for leaks are a good idea before shipping as well. Most car transport companies will not move a vehicle that has a leak. (Non-running and inoperable vehicles can be shipped in some cases, usually at an additional charge, and arrangements should be made with the shipper ahead of time.)

Any nonpermanent components of the vehicle that can be removed should be removed before shipping your car. This can include anything from luggage racks, bike racks, GPS units, detachable car stereos, additional speakers or antennas, and any decorative, ornamental, or performance-related items.

Curious about the cost of shipping a car from the mainland to Hawaii? Use our online form to request a quick and FREE estimate on the cost–no strings attached! Call us at the number at the top of the page with your questions!

Required Documents For Shipping A Car To Hawaii

If you’re leasing a vehicle that you’d like to ship from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii, there may be some additional requirements. In some cases, you will not be able to import a leased car to Hawaii, but if you are eligible, you will need authorization from the lien holder.

These are the primary documents and clearances that you will need in most cases:

  • Valid license and current registration
  • Proof of ownership (title or bill of sale)
  • Authorization from lien holder (if vehicle is being leased)
  • Information about the consignee–the person who will pick up the vehicle
  • Bill of lading, which is need to register your car
  • Certificate of safety inspection

It should be noted that there are different inspection requirements that depend on the length of your stay in Hawaii. For temporary stays which do not involve a term long enough to require registration, an out-of-state permit must be applied for. For a new permanent resident of Hawaii, the vehicle must be registered within 30 days.

Click here to find location and contact information for Motor Vehicle Registration offices in Hawaii.

Call us today to learn more about transporting a vehicle to Hawaii, or if you have questions about any part of the process! We are happy to give out estimates at NO CHARGE, both over the phone and through our online form at the top right of this page!

Related Information
Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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