Kokua Line has received dozens of questions about driver’s licensing, state IDs, vehicle registrations and other county and state operations disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here is information from the state Department of Transportation and Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Services, which was current as of deadline Tuesday.
>> The DOT has suspended all in-person driver’s license transactions and in-vehicle testing statewide. In Honolulu County that means that all driver licensing centers and satellite city halls are closed for any type of in-person transaction as of today, including road tests. Appointments are canceled for the duration. These closures will last until further notice. Certain transactions can be completed online or by mail. Eligibility requirements apply. See honolulu.gov/csd for more information.
>> The state Tuesday invoked a 90-day waiver on expiring driver’s licenses and state identification cards issued in any county. “If your driver’s license or state ID expires between March 23 and May 15, your credentials will be considered valid in the state of Hawaii for an additional 90 days,” the state Department of Transportation said in a news release.
Honolulu County had announced March 17 that driver’s licenses and state IDs issued on Oahu expiring in March, April, May or June would be extended 90 days. Most Hawaii licenses are issued in Honolulu County (Oahu).
Asked whether the state usurped the county’s broader order, Shelly Kunishige, a spokeswoman for the DOT, said that “we will check … on the city’s announcement that driver’s licenses that expire in June will also be granted the 90-day extension. Right now HDOT’s interpretation is that the extension of driving privileges is tied to the governor’s supplemental emergency proclamation (hence May 15 being our end date). If this is extended, the 90-day extension would be extended.”
The state’s extension also applies to commercial driver’s licenses.
>> The state DOT has suspended the annual safety check requirement. No safety checks will be done through April. “If your safety check is expired, it will remain valid through May 31,” the department said. Vehicle registration renewals with expired safety checks will be allowed during the grace period, it said.
>> The Oct. 1 deadline for enforcement of the federal REAL ID Act has been postponed indefinitely. This means that people do not need a “gold star” license or state ID by Oct. 1 if they want to use their license or state ID to get through the TSA security line at the airport.
>> The Transportation Security Administration is accepting driver’s licenses or state IDs that expired on or after March 1 to clear TSA checkpoints, per www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.
>> An applicant’s initial REAL ID (“gold star”) driver’s license is not issued by mail. The person has to appear in person to establish lawful presence. In-person appointments are suspended until further notice. More information about canceled appointments will be forthcoming.
>> Certain applicants who already hold a gold-star driver’s license and want to convert it to a state ID may be eligible to do so by mail. More information will be forthcoming.
>> Do not mail personal documents such as your birth certificate, Social Security card or other sensitive documents to the city driver’s licensing section. Processing of these documents is not handled by mail.
>> Honolulu County’s Public Information Center at the Mission Memorial Building is closed to walk-in service until further notice. For service, call 768-4381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email email@example.com.