The Ultimate Guide to Military Shipping a Car to Hawaii

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Military life requires you to be prepared for frequent relocations. If you’ve been ordered to move to Hawaii, you may also want to bring your car with you. Hauling a POV (privately owned vehicle) is allowed, but there are some restrictions you need to be aware of. You should also learn how long the transport will take so you can prepare.

This article will tell you all you need to know about transporting your ride when making your PCS to Hawaii. Car shipping to this state is about to be simplified.

Military Shipping a Vehicle to Hawaii: The Basics

Moving your ride to Hawaii as part of your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is offered to select military personnel assigned to new posts. Shipping companies transport just one person who operates one car at a time. In most cases, the government pays for the transport directly to the carrier. In return, the provider guarantees safety during the transit.

Before your wheels are shipped, you’ll need to book your car for pickup and obtain shipping estimates. When you get approval, the company arrives and takes your vehicle for transport. The car is generally relocated in an enclosed unit for extra safety. As your POV reaches its destination, it’s shipped to your new station.

Military POV Shipping: Hawaii Restrictions

Any process that involves the government is regulated. The same goes for military POV shipping. Hawaii relocations are available, but there are some restrictions.

You might be allowed to ship the vehicle on your own, but check this with the transportation office. They need to authorize clearance. Otherwise, you may have problems with the authorities or your commanding officers.

If you want to transport multiple POVs, you may need to pay import duties. Again, this may not apply to your state. You should verify this with your transportation office.

The procedure is slightly different if you wish to relocate a leased vehicle. In this case, you’ll need to obtain approval from your lienholder. The authorization must meet the following requirements.

  • The permission must be offered on the letterhead of your leasing company
  • The documentation needs to contain all relevant information regarding the vehicle, such as the year, make, model, VIN, and both parties’ contact information

Here are a few other rules governing the transport.

  • Army and Air Force cars are eligible for shipment if delivered to the designated port up to three months after the service member’s departure date
  • Marine Corps and Navy personnel can have their vehicles shipped if they have at least one year left to serve
  • Only passenger cars serving as your primary means of transport are approved for military vehicle shipping
  • POVs must have EPA and DOT stickers that verify the vehicle abides by environmental laws
military shipping vehicle to hawaii

Military Shipping Your Car to Hawaii: Preparing for the Transport

Before you can ship your POV to Hawaii, you need to prepare the vehicle properly and gather the necessary documents. The paperwork military personnel must provide for their PCS transportation includes the following.


The most important document you need to provide is proof of identity. The authorities require you to show a valid government or state-issued identification. Bring this to your port and present it to the shipping company.

Entitlement Proof

You’ll need your official amendments and orders. Check with your transportation office whether you need a copy or the original documents.

Proof of Ownership

The easiest way to prove you own your vehicle is to provide the title or proof of registration. For leased cars, you must show the lienholder’s authorization letter. Either option must include your name. If your ride is owned jointly, you and the other owner must be present. If one of the owners is absent, they have to offer consent in writing.

IAL Form

The International Auto Logistics (IAL) form must be printed and filled out. You also need to present it before shipping your POV.

Additional Lien Authorization

Apart from the proof of ownership of your lienholder, you may also need to present a letter authorizing you to export the vehicle. Be sure to have their phone number or email if the auto shipping company needs to contact them for verification.

The next part of the preparation is to ensure your vehicle is shipment-ready. You should clean the interior and exterior to remove any debris. Don’t cut corners—check under your seats and doors for any dirt. Additionally, remove any loose items or personal belongings from the car to avoid losing them in transport.

The condition of the car is another thing you need to consider. Any military POV must be fully functional and have a proper emergency brake. Check for any fluid leaks or cracks, and have the ride serviced before shipment to ensure it runs correctly. If the automobile is considered unsafe to drive at the port, you won’t be able to ship it. This means it must pass the inspection that certifies your car is clean and prepared for transport. Any blemishes will be noted, and you’re required to sign your inspection form.

You should be responsible for delivering your vehicle to the mainland port. But if you can’t make it, you can designate someone to drive the car on your behalf. They must be at least 18 and have power of attorney to confirm they can drop the POV off for transport.

Once the vehicle arrives in Hawaii, you’ll need to transport it to the new destination. You can drive the car yourself or authorize the auto carrier to deliver it.

Before the vehicle is released in Hawaii, you’ll again need to show certain documents.

  • Registration and title document
  • Lienholder’s letter if applicable
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of ownership

On top of that, any military POV that arrives in Hawaii must be registered with the state’s DMV within a month after arrival. The car will also need to pass a safety inspection to obtain approval. You can schedule this at certified auto garages on the island. Contact their office to set up an appointment, but make sure they render inspection services as prescribed by the law. Once the vehicle checks out, you’ll be able to continue your registration process.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the road rules in Hawaii might be different from your state. For instance, talking on your phone while driving is prohibited on the islands, whereas some states allow you to speak with a hands-free device. Moreover, passengers can bunk in the back of your pickup if there’s no room in the cabin. And motorcyclists need to put on a helmet when riding their vehicle on the base.

Military POV Shipping to Hawaii: How Long Does It Take?

Transport times vary, but you can generally expect a carrier to relocate your car to Hawaii within a month. The shipment usually takes at least 4-5 days.

The timeline depends on several factors. Most importantly, the duration depends on where you want to ship your POV to. For example, transporting a vehicle to Honolulu takes approximately just five days. The trip to Hilo is slightly longer, and takes around a week to complete.

You can calculate the transport time for your car by consulting other military members who’ve performed the service. However, you’re much better off contacting your shipping company directly and inquiring about a precise time quote. Ask them how long the move from the mainland to Hawaii takes, and see if you can get specific dates. If the company can’t provide this, obtain an estimate to get a ballpark figure of how long you’ll need to wait. Also, find out if the carrier has to make stops along the way, because this can delay the arrival.

Regardless of your time quote, always add a couple of extra days to take into consideration unexpected occurrences, like weather or carrier backlogs. If possible, try to have the car shipped 10-15 days sooner to ensure you can drive it and complete the registration as soon as possible.

The Cost of Military Shipping a Vehicle to Hawaii

It’s hard to get a price quote for shipping your military POV to Hawaii, since various factors are at play.

  • The distance between ports
  • The location of the vehicle on the mainland (shipping it from a rural area is generally more expensive than transporting it from metropolitan zones)
  • The kind of vehicle you wish to transport, its make, model, and year
  • The condition of your vehicle (shipping cars in great shape is cheaper than transporting broken-down rides)
  • The type of your auto shipping service (enclosed transport is costlier than open shipments)
  • Time of year
  • The popularity of the transport route (more popular routes are pricier than little-known ones)

All these factors lead to massive differences in terms of the final price. However, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500.

This might seem like a lot, but most companies offer discounts for military personnel, whether you’re on active duty or retired. When contacting a carrier, be sure to provide your affiliation and ask about any price reduction for your military status. The discounts also range. You can get a meager $30 discount off the quote, but some providers are more generous and let you save $200-$300.

Will the Military Ship My Car to Hawaii?

The Army typically doesn’t organize the transportation of members’ POVs. There are military-contracted carriers, but most people relocate their vehicles through private companies. More than likely, you’ll need to arrange the shipment on your own.

The Army doesn’t pay for the transport either, but you might be eligible for certain concessions after receiving a PCS. You may qualify for a refund of the shipment cost in some situations. For instance, they may pay for your transport if you currently can’t drive due to health problems, or when your port is suddenly changed. Another reason they may cover the expense is if they don’t give you enough time to take the car to the port. In this case, they might pay the company to haul your ride; but you’ll need to check this with a local office.

Here are a few other organizations you can contact for information about covering costs.

Buying a Car in Hawaii: Military Benefits

Like other citizens, military members in Hawaii can buy cars. Most dealers offer discounts for personnel, but you’ll need to provide your Military Leave and Earnings Statement to prove your status.

Additionally, members of the Armed Forces stationed in Hawaii are exempt from paying a vehicle registration fee if they’re a resident of another state. If you’re part of a reserve unit on temporary duty, you’re not eligible for the exemption.

If you are entitled and wish to receive your exemption, you’ll need to fill out and complete the MVR/DF 10 certificate form. This is required whenever you apply for the following processes.

  • Renewing your Hawaii registration
  • Registering a car in Hawaii that was previously registered in a different country or state
  • Registering newly purchased cars
  • Transferring the ownership of a vehicle previously registered in Hawaii

The PPM Option for Shipping a Car From Hawaii to the Mainland: Military Advantages

When receiving your PCS order or returning to the mainland, there are two methods for transporting your POV. You can use a military-contracted carrier or arrange the shipment with a private company. The latter might be challenging if you’ve never done it before, but you can make it easier with a PPM (Personally Procured Move). Many service members opt into this program due to several benefits.

  • Lower risk of damage or loss to your POV
  • Flexible timelines
  • Total control over the delivery
  • Eligibility for cost refunds if you can provide the necessary receipts and paperwork

It’s Time for a Seamless Relocation

Transporting your POV to Hawaii isn’t too complicated, but only if you choose the right method. Organizing the trip through a military program might take too long, so you may be better off with an auto shipping company. You’ll need to pay for the service, but if you can find a trustworthy carrier, the vehicle will make it without a scratch. Plus, the discounts are a true budget-saver. Pomaika’i!