Newcomer’s Guide

Kaua‘i is a wonderful community-based place to live with a thriving economy, a unique culture and unhurried atmosphere with a charming small town appeal. The Garden Island in the 21st century remains a friendly, safe place to raise children – our water is blue, the air is clean and the earth is a lush verdant green. The residents are attracted to the well-integrated, multi-cultural community holding values in kindness, harmony, patience and above all respect. This is the land of Aloha.

The move to Kaua‘i takes careful planning, hard work, patience, understanding and realistic expectations. As you make your plans be sure you are comfortable and secure living an island lifestyle.

Kaua‘i is a rural tropical island some 2,600 miles from the nearest land mass meaning added expenses. Incomes are generally similar to or lower than those of the mainland while the overall cost of living is roughly 35% higher. It is not unusual for many of our residents to work more than one job. For job opportunities visit

Becoming a Resident of Kauai

In order to become a legal resident in Hawai‘i there are a few steps you’ll need to do. A Hawai‘i driver’s license, voter registration, automobile registration, rent, utility, mortgage or telephone bill will normally provide tangible proof of residency.

Registering Your Vehicle

Registration records of all vehicles in Hawai‘i must be updated annually. Annual fees are based on the vehicle weight and usage by the County of Kaua‘i Treasury Division, Motor Vehicle section.

Proof of Hawai‘i motor vehicle insurance is required to obtain a vehicle inspection (Safety Check) and the vehicle inspection sticker and certificate are necessary to operate a vehicle on all Hawai‘i roads and for all vehicle ownership registration transaction.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is located at 4444 Rice Street, Suite A480, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i, 96766. The phone number is (808) 241-4242 or (808) 241-4256. Or visit the County website at Hours of operation are Monday – Friday 8am to 4pm

Getting a Driver’s License

You may not be legally required to obtain a new driver’s license upon arrival in the islands if you hold a valid license from another state. The Driver’s License division is responsible for a number of programs including new and renewal licenses for drivers of all motor vehicles, disabled persons placards, taxi operator permits and Commercial Driver’s licensing.

You are required to have all or some of the following documents to obtain a license: Out of State transfers and new learners permits, proof of Social Security number: SS card, W-2 or 1099 tax form, Medicare card or paystub with the complete SS#, valid US Passport, US Birth Certificate, Foreign Passport and US Immigration Admittance Documents, Naturalization certificate or Permanent Residence Card.

For more information, contact the Department of Motor Vehicle, located at 4444 Rice Street, Suite A480, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i 96766. Phone number is (808) 241-4256 or visit the website at

State Identification Card

If you do not have or are ineligible for a driver’s license, you may want to think about obtaining a Hawaiʻi State ID card for use as an official ID. Each county is responsible for issuance of State ID cards. Visit the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation website for more information at

Register to Vote

To register to vote in Hawaii, register online at, or visit the County of Kaua‘i County Clerk at 4386 Rice Street, Suite 101, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i, 96766. The phone number is (808) 241-4800.

Kaua’i By Sea & Air

Although Kaua’i is a small island in the middle of the ocean, living here isn’t quite like a survival game.  All the conveniences and technology that support a thriving economy in the rest of the country are available here, just on a smaller scale.

Kaua’i has business centers, video teleconferencing facilities, and internet cafes.  You will find nation-wide chain stores, high-speed connections and overnight delivery services, but remember – Kaua’i is roughly 2,600 miles from the U.S. West Coast, so everything travels a long way by sea or air to get here.

Lihu’e Airport (LIH), just east of town, is the primary airport of Kaua’i.  Centrally located and easy to use, Lihu’e Airport has roughly 943 acres. The airport provides passenger and aircraft facilities for domestic, overseas, and interisland carriers, commuter/air taxi, air cargo, heliport (tour operators) and general aviation. Airfield facilities include two runways (6,500′ x 150′), taxiways, aprons, eight (8) gates, navigational aids (ILS, VORTAC, DME and PAPI/VASI), airport traffic control tower, and helipads.

Vehicular access to the airport is provided by Ahukini Road, which extends from Kapule Highway. The passenger terminal is served by a one-way loop roadway branching off Ahukini Road and encircling a public parking lot. The remaining facilities are served directly by Ahukini Road.

Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest, United, and West Jet offer direct flights to the U.S. mainland with all international flights departing from Honolulu International Airport (HNL).  Package carriers such as FedEx and UPS also operate from Lihu’e Airport as well as seven major car rental agencies.  For more information about Lihu’e Airport, visit

In addition to Lihu’e Airport is Port Allen Airport (PAK), (, which is located one mile southwest of Hanapepe, Kaua’i.  It is a general aviation airport currently used for scenic helicopter tours, ultralight aircraft traffic and skydiving. The airport is 179 acres and has one asphalt runway (9-27) which is 2,450 feet long and 60 feet wide. The airport is restricted to aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.  The maximum authorized landing weight is S-18.

Kaua’i has two harbors – Nawiliwili Harbor and Port Allen Harbor. Taking a cruise ship to the Nawiliwili Habor is also a great and affordable way to explore the Hawaiian Islands. The cruises allow travelers to hop from island to island, highlighting Hawai’i’s best features. For more information on Kauai’s passenger ship schedule visit

The Port Allen Harbor is a much smaller harbor. It’s primary cargo and pier use is for mooring for military, and excursions and charter boats.

Travel and Shipping

Due to the remote location in the Pacific it is likely you will need shipping services to move personal items and or vehicles.

(800) 4-MATSON

Aloha Isle Moving
(808) 245-1985

Royal Hawai‘i Movers
(866) 256-8124

Young Brothers, LLC
(808) 245-4051

Mainland and Inter-island Flights

Flying is the primary means of getting to Kaua‘i. Lihu‘e Airport (LIH) currently has the following airlines with routine routes:

Alaska Airlines …………….(800) 252-7522

American Airlines …………(800) 433-7300

Delta Airlines ………………(800) 221-1212

Hawaiian Airlines …………(800) 367-5320

Southwest Airlines……….. (800) 435-9792

United Airlines …………….(800) 241-6522

WestJet ………………………(888) 937-853

Animals and Pets

Please research Hawai‘i’s requirements prior to bring a pet to the islands. Hawai‘i is the only rabies free state and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture’s Animal Quarantine Branch ensures that it stays that way. For more information on the quarantine process visit the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division at or the Kauai Humane Society at


Kaua‘i has many outstanding schools ranging from pre-school, public, charter, private and immersion schools to our University of Hawai‘i – Kaua‘i Community College. There are 21 public schools. For more information on the public schools visit

Island School is an independent college prep school serving students Pre-K – grade 12, fostering creativity, critical thinking, initiative, and respect. Visit for more information.



Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, KIUC, 4463 Pahee Street, Suite I, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i, 96766.
(808) 246-430


The Gas Company, 3990 Rice Street, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i, 96766.
(808) 245-3301


County of Kaua‘i Water Department, 4398 Pua Loke Street, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i, 96766.
(808) 245-4500


AT&T, 3-3277 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, HI  96766
(808) 245-7650

Hawaiian Telcom, 4040 Halau Street, Lihue, HI  96766
(808) 643-3456

TV Cable Service

Spectrum, 2956 Aukele Street, #101, Lihue, HI  96766
(808) 643-2100