comscore Kokua Line: Why is it taking so long to transfer a vehicle title in Honolulu? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Why is it taking so long to transfer a vehicle title in Honolulu?

Question: My vehicle loan was paid off in May, and my credit union sent the title to me so we could remove them from the title and transfer the title to me. I sent the completed form and $10 to the DMV at the end of May. DMV has not cashed the check yet, and I have not received the completed title. I called the DMV but they are not receiving calls. I sent an email but received no response. How do I follow up with them to check on the status? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Your query is one of many asking why it is taking Honolulu County so long to process certain motor vehicle transactions, especially those that can be done by mail. The county acknowledged that it is overwhelmed, but is trying to improve the situation. Here is the full emailed response from Harold Nedd, spokesman for the county’s Department of Customer Services:

“Despite our best efforts, our Motor Vehicle Registration Branch and satellite city halls remain overwhelmed by the number of transactions resulting from the ongoing pandemic. For example, meeting the pent-up demand from rental car companies and auto dealerships requires us to shift significant resources from services like obtaining and transferring a regular title. At the moment, our backlog on regular motor vehicle services is about five weeks. Staffers at the Department of Customer Services are working overtime to eliminate the motor vehicle backlog. We are also preparing to set up a call center in August to answer the huge volume of phone calls we are receiving. So, if customers cannot find answers on our website, they will be able to actually speak with a live person who can provide assistance. In the meantime, if it is taking much longer than four weeks to get a response or update on a transaction, customers should email our department’s Customer Care Section at We will check on the status of the transaction to make sure there was not a problem with the application. We understand how frustrating this situation is, but we are working hard on multiple solutions to address the concerns over the current delay with obtaining or transferring a title.”

Besides you, we’ve heard from readers waiting nearly three months for license plates for a new car, two months for the registration and certificate of title for a used car they bought online, and many weeks for ownership transfers they had expected to be routine.

We’ve also heard from many people who said they can’t get through by phone to ask questions. There is a lot of information online, at the website Nedd referred to, which is Look under the headers “Vehicle Registration” and “Vehicle Title” for instructions about specific transactions.

Q: Is it possible to renew a Hawaii state ID online?

A: No. You can’t renew a Hawaii driver’s license online either.


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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

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