comscore Kokua Line: Renewing driver’s license by mail limited in Honolulu County | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Kokua Line: Renewing driver’s license by mail limited in Honolulu County

Question: My grandson’s driver’s license expires soon. He had an appointment to renew but of course that was canceled. He’s in college and has a summer job lined up that requires him to drive. What are his options?… He can’t be the only young person in this boat.

Answer: If your grandson has a four-year driver’s license, he may be able to renew by mail, assuming that he meets certain requirements. Four-year licenses are issued to drivers ages 17 through 24 in Honolulu County.

Also, the state of Hawaii extended the validity of state IDs and driver’s licenses expiring during the state’s coronavirus emergency. Your grandson should make sure his employer is aware of that automatic 90-day extension.

Here’s the mail-in renewal process that may work for your grandson, as described by the city’s Department of Customer Services at honolulu.gov/csd. (It seems to apply to eligible applicants with two-year or four-year licenses, but not eight-year licenses.)

>> The Hawaii driver’s license must be current, issued in Honolulu County on or after May 1, 2014, expire in 2020, and the applicant’s required documents and proof of U.S. legal presence must be on file. Licenses can be renewed within six months of the expiration date on the card.

>> The applicant may not have temporary lawful U.S. status; pending compliance requirements in another jurisdiction; or a previously reported medical condition that requires reevaluation.

>> An eligible applicant may send a letter requesting to renew their license. Include the following information in the letter: name as it appears on the license, mailing address associated with the license, last four digits of Social Security number or full Hawaii Driver License number, date of birth, email address and the applicant’s signature.

>> Submit the signed and dated letter by mail, email or fax:

Mail: Driver License Section, P.O. Box 30340, Honolulu, HI 96820-0340

Email: dl@honolulu.gov

Fax: (808) 768-9096

>> Eligible applicants should receive a renewal packet by return mail or email, to complete and return as instructed.

Q: My aunt is over 80 and has a valid driver’s license with gold star. She is no longer driving and would like to “convert” her gold star DL into a gold star state ID before the DL expires. Is it possible to do this without taking her out of her house during the pandemic?

A: Even if she wanted to, your aunt can’t handle this task in person at the moment — Honolulu County’s driver’s license centers and satellite city halls are closed to in-person visits due to the pandemic.

Whether she may do so by mail depends on whether she also holds an old-style state ID, without a gold star. A state ID is good for eight years, while a driver’s license for people over 72 lasts two years, so some older drivers have both credentials.

Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city and county’s Department of Customer Services, explains:

“The state ID system is separate from the driver licensing system. Federal law requires that when you apply for an initial credential, it must be done in person. Original personal identifiers, such as signature, photo, fingerprints, are associated with the credential and cannot be copied from one system and pasted into the other. That would leave too much room for abuse of the system.

“If one holds a state ID, and would like to move the star marking from their driver license to their ID, we can do that by mail under emergency proclamation orders. But we cannot move a star to a state ID card that does not yet exist.”

In a follow-up email, you said that your aunt doesn’t have a state ID, so conversion by mail isn’t possible for her. However, she may be able to renew her driver’s license by mail (see first question), and use it as ID. For more information, call 768-9100.


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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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