What paperwork you need to renew your driver’s license

A sample Hawaii driver's license with the new designation.


It’s been five years since new rules took effect that require extra paperwork to renew your driver’s license, but for many people, it can still take multiple trips to the DMV before getting it right.

A Makakilo woman reached out to Action Line with her story telling us she tried to renew her license last week.

Janet Jarmuz-Bamford thought she brought all the paperwork she needed, but she was turned away.

So how do you get it right the first time?

We reached out to the city and a spokesman tells me the documents must meet federal guidelines and we learned those federal guidelines were put in place following 9/11.

Jarmuz-Bamford is hoping the third time’s the charm when it comes to getting her license renewed.

She tried once in May.

“I had my passport, my social security card, and my old license,” Jarmuz-Bamford said.

Jarmuz-Bamford said she was told her documents didn’t match so she tried again on Friday.

She brought her original birth certificate, and a marriage certificate issued from her church but still no luck.

“I had to get a state certified birth certificate, and a state certified license for my marriage,” Jarmuz-Bamford said.

She wasn’t the only one who was turned away.

“I saw people coming and going with documents in their hands. I could tell people were frustrated because they didn’t know exactly what documents they were going to need,” Jarmuz-Bamford said.

KHON2 reached out to the city to find out exactly which documents you’ll need in order to get or renew a driver’s license.

We’re told you need an original or certified copy of your birth certificate – it should say on the document that it’s state certified.

You’ll also need your Social Security card.

If your name doesn’t match either of those documents, then you’ll need to bring a supporting document to show the name change like an official state marriage license or legal paperwork.

The city said a church document won’t work – that’s what happened in Jarmuz-Bamford’s case.

You also need to bring in two items with your name and address to prove you’re a legal resident of Hawaii.

This can be a utility or phone bill, bank statement, your voter registration card, or your vehicle registration.

A city spokesman told KHON2 it doesn’t keep tabs on how many people are turned away, but DMV offices stay busy.

On Oahu, 191 licenses are renewed, 120 new licenses are issued and 154 state identification cards are issued on average each day.

So when’s the best time to go to the DMV?

We asked the city and we’re told it’s best to go between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and a Tuesday or Thursday usually tend to be better days.

The times to avoid? We’re told it’s during the lunch rush and 2 p.m.

The busiest days are Monday and Friday.


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

Applicants who are temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. are required to present proof of legal presence when applying for an initial or renewal driver’s license or permit. Applicants who are U.S. citizens and aliens admitted for permanent residence status in the U.S. will not need to provide the legal presence documents until their second renewal.


Click here for an online required documents guide provided by the City & County of Honolulu.

Click here for what is required under Hawaii’s Legal Presence Law

Those obtaining a driver’s license will be required to present two forms of proof of principal residence in Hawaii. Principal residence is defined as the location where a person currently resides even if the residence location is temporary.

Any two of the following documents (original or copy) with the applicant as the addressee and stating the applicant’s principal residence will be acceptable proof:

  • A current valid Hawaii driver’s license;
  • Vehicle registration or title;
  • A current voter registration card or other mail addressed to the applicant from a government or medical entity that is not more than two months old;
  • Utility bill that is not more than two months old with applicant’s name and address;
  • Checking or savings account statement not more than two months old;
  • Payroll check or check stub issued by an employer within two months of the application date;
  • Current mortgage account or proof of home ownership;
  • Residential rental or time share contract for six months or more;
  • United States income tax return, W-2 form or 1099 SSA benefits form from the previous year;
  • Hawaii income tax return from the previous year or W-2 form;
  • Receipt for personal property taxes paid to a county within the State of Hawaii within the last year;
  • Medical card issued by a health insurance agency with principal residence address printed on it;
  • Documentation dated not more than ninety days prior to making application that the individual is receiving State of Hawaii public assistance;
  • Current property tax assessment bill or statement;
  • A stamped department of taxation form A-6, application for tax clearance that is not more than six months old;
  • Homeless applicants may use the address of their current shelter agency, or if not staying in a shelter, may use the general delivery of the post office nearest where they spend most of their time;
  • Applicants documenting enrollment in a State or Federal address confidentiality program which allows an applicant to obtain and use alternative
    addresses may use an alternative address on the card but must provide the applicant’s permanent address for file purposes;
  • P.O. Box numbers are not acceptable to indicate principal residence address unless a number and street name have not been assigned for U.S. mail delivery. An address convention used by the U.S. Postal Service is acceptable;
  • Affidavit indicating that the applicant currently resides with the affiant, provided the affiant’s address can be verified and the affidavit is notarized within two months of the application date; or
  • Other documents the examiner of drivers accepts as proof of principal residence in the State of Hawaii.

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