Choosing what driver’s license you should get in Hawaii can be confusing.
Plus, if you apply for the wrong driver’s license, then you end up wasting your time, money, and effort.
Well, to help you out I’ve made a list of all the driver’s license classes. I’ll also give you instructions on how to get each one.
Then let’s begin!
The 7 Driver’s License Classes in Hawaii
There are 7 classes of driver’s licenses in Hawaii:
- Non-commercial Driver’s License
- Class 1 - Mopeds
- Class 2 - Mopeds and Motorcycles
- Class 3 - Regular Vehicles
- Class 4 - Non-commercial vehicles (GVWR of up to 26,000 pounds)
- Commercial Driver’s License
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
Let’s discuss each of these license classes in detail.
Non-Commercial Driver’s License
First, let’s get to know Hawaii’s non-commercial driver’s licenses.
The first driver’s license class is only allowed for operating mopeds.
What’s a moped?
A moped is a 2- or 3-wheeled vehicle that doesn’t have more than 2 horsepower in its engine.
With a Class 1 license, you can drive your moped on all Hawaii highways.
To get this license, you should pass a moped knowledge test and an off-street skills test.
Class 2 driver’s license allows you to drive both mopeds and motorcycles on Hawaii highways.
What’s the difference between a moped and a motorcycle?
Motorcycles, based on Hawaii’s traffic rules, would have more than 2 horsepower. This includes motor-driven vehicles.
The Class 3 license is the most popular type of license. This is because this license type is meant for non-commercial use of regular vehicles.
When I say regular, the vehicle should only have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than or equal to 18,000 pounds and can’t carry more than 15 passengers.
Think of it as your regular private vehicle.
This is a less popular type of license because this involves non-commercial vehicles that have a GVWR of up to 26,000 pounds.
Vehicles included in this class are RVs, trailers, and motorhomes.
To be able to get a Class 4 driver’s license, you should be at least 21 years old and already have a Class 3 license before you schedule your Class 4 application.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDLs)
Now, onto the different commercial driver’s licenses issued in Hawaii.
Class A license holders are allowed to operate a combined truck and tractor vehicles that have a GVWR of more than 26,000. This includes trailers with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds.
Like the Class 4 license, you should be at least 21 years old.
Class B licenses are also for commercial-type vehicles.
However, the difference with Class A is that Class B licenses are for single vehicles with more than a GVWR of 26,000 pounds. This includes buses and other single vehicles.
And yes, you have to be at least 21 years old to be eligible for this type of license.
And finally, Class C.
Class C licenses are for single vehicles that don’t fall under Classes A and B.
To be specific, these vehicles are often in the business of transporting hazardous chemicals.
Basic Requirements for a Hawaii Driver’s License
Hawaii has a Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) that ensures that each teen driver develops necessary driving skills and experience before they can get a full license.
If you’re below 18 years old, the steps to get a license are different from when you’re already 18.
For 15-year-old students, you are initially given an instructional permit that will allow you to learn to drive with adult supervision.
For those between 16-18 years old, you can go directly to a provisional license. It’s only when you’ve held a provisional license for 6 months will you be eligible for a full driver’s license.
That’s it for the general steps in getting a license. But what about the license types?
Hawaii has several license types. The license type you’ll get will depend on the vehicle you’ll be driving and the vehicle’s weight.
Hawaii’s Licensing Requirements
Now that you’re familiar with the different license types in Hawaii, here’s a brief overview on how to obtain each one.
How to Get a Class 3 Driver’s License in Hawaii
- If you’re 15 ½ years old, you first have to apply for an instruction permit. Then, you have to get a provisional license.
- If you’re above 18 years old and a first-timer applying for a license, you still have to apply for a provisional license before getting a full Class 3 license.
Apply for an Instruction Permit
An instruction permit is the first step of the GDL of Hawaii. People who are between the ages of 15 ½ and 18 are eligible for this permit.
Here’s what you have to do:
- To get an instruction permit, you have to go to the Hawaii Driver Licensing Office. There are several branches across the state, so you can always go to the one nearest you.
- Fill out an application form and submit the requirements. Some requirements are your Social Security number, valid ID, US citizenship, address in Hawaii, etc...
- Provide written and signed consent from your parent or guardian.
- Pass the vision test and pay the application fees.
- Pass the written test. This you can do on the day itself or have it scheduled.
- Have your photo taken and wait for your test results.
After taking your photo, you should now wait for your instruction permit from the mail. This takes around 2-4 weeks.
Remember, even if you already have an instructional permit, you’re not allowed to drive without any supervision from your parents or guardian. You’re also not allowed to drive someone who’s below 18 years old.
Apply for a Provisional License
Once you have an instruction permit, you’re now allowed to take a state-approved driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training.
To get a provisional license, here are the steps:
- Complete a driver’s ed course. You can take this online or in person. The most important thing here is you get a Certificate of Completion.
- Complete the behind-the-wheel course. This is when you go behind the wheel and drive with supervision. You can do this in a driving school or with a qualified guardian/parent.
- Schedule a road test with the Hawaii Driver Licensing Office. You must schedule your road test in advance because most branches don’t allow walk-ins.
- During the schedule of your road test, bring your instruction permit and Certificate of Completion for both driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training.
- Pass the road test and pay the fees. If you pass the test, just wait for your provisional license to arrive within 2-4 weeks.
How to Get a Class 4 Driver’s License in Hawaii
To get a motorcycle license in Hawaii, you have to first get an instructional permit.
An instructional permit requires an application form, documents proving your name, date of birth, residence, and legal presence. These should be passed to your local motorcycle vehicle office.
Once your documents are cleared, you will have to take a vision screening and two written exams. If you get at least 70% in both exams, you can move on to your skills test.
In the skills test, you’ll choose a motorcycle to ride and you’ll follow the instructions given by the proctor. If you pass the skill test, you can receive your Class 4 license.
How to Get a Commercial Driver’s License in Hawaii
Before getting a commercial driver’s license in Hawaii, you should be at least 21 years old and have a Class 3 license.
If you already have these documents, you can now apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). To get this permit, you have to pass certain documents like your proof of residence, identity, and age.
Other than that, you will be paying fees for the application process. When all your documents are verified, you’ll have to take a vision test and pass a knowledge test for the class vehicle you intend to drive, plus any endorsements.
Passing the two tests will give you a CLP. If you already have a CLP, that’s the only time you can take the skills test.
The skills test, when passed, gives you a commercial driver’s license in Hawaii.
Driver’s License Classifications in Hawaii Frequently Asked Questions
Have some questions about Hawaii’s driver’s license classification?
Take a look at these FAQs for additional support.
What is a Class 1 license in Hawaii?
Class 1 driver’s license is for the non-commercial operation of mopeds.
What is a Type 3 driver’s license in Hawaii?
Type 3 driver’s license is also known as Class 3.
Class 3 refers to the non-commercial license for drivers operating a vehicle with less than or equal to a GVWR of 18,000 pounds.
As a non-commercial license, the vehicle shouldn’t be designed to carry more than 15 people.
So there you have it. The 7 driver’s license classifications in Hawaii.
Once you know about these license types, and how to obtain the one you need, you no longer need to be confused. You’ll know exactly what to get and how to get it.
We hope this article has been a great help to you!