The Hawaii Department of Transportation has announced that it will begin recognizing veterans of the armed services with a special designation on driver’s licenses, permits, and state ID cards. The optional designation is available to anyone who served in the uniformed services and received a discharge other than dishonorable. Anyone wishing to display the veteran status on their license or ID must provide proof of service (discharge papers or a letter of verification from the Veterans’ Administration). There is no additional fee for the veteran’s distinction when renewing a soon-to-expire license or ID; those seeking to add the designation to a non-expiring license or ID will be charged the standard $6-$7 duplicate license fee.
Hawaii state representative Mark Takai worked to implement the bill that provides for the veteran’s designation. As a strong supporter of veterans, he argued that the special recognition provides a straightforward way for veterans to prove their status, receive warranted benefits and attain discounts.
Starting in March 2012, to conform with the Real ID Act of 2005, Hawaii has participated in centralized license distribution, wherein people seeking licenses receive a temporary paper version, and the new permanent version arrives through the U.S. mail within a couple of weeks. The licenses meet the uniform requirements for all state-issued identification cards nationwide.
As of May 1, 2014, the fees for obtaining or renewing a Hawaii driver’s license or state ID are as follows: Kauai County, $32; Honolulu, Maui, and Hawaii counties, $40. Each card is valid for eight years. Duplicates cost $6 or $7, depending on the county of residence. Two documents are required to prove legal Hawaiian residency to obtain a driver’s license. Some of the documents accepted include (but are not limited to): a current valid Hawaii driver’s license, vehicle registration, a recent utility bill or checking/savings account statement displaying a current address, a recent paystub, a Hawaii income tax return for the previous year, and a receipt for personal property tax paid to a state county within the last year.