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Getting Your Driver’s Licence in the Philippines

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Getting your own driver’s licence is the smart way to travel around the city in the convenience of your own car. Here in the Philippines, driver’s licences and vehicle registrations are handled by the Department of Transportation and Communications – Land Transportation Office (LTO).

What are the things you need to know to apply for a driver’s licence in the Philippines? Here are the guidelines:


International Driving Permit Application Requirements

If you have a valid foreign driver’s licence, you can use it in the Philippines within 90 days from date of arrival. After that, you may convert your foreign driver’s licence into Philippine driver’s licence. If your foreign licence is valid (not expired), it may be converted to Philippine licence without exam. For expired foreign licence, one would be required to take the written/practical exams.

Also, here in the Philippines, one can apply for both a Philippine driver’s licence and an International Driver’s Licence. For the latter, there is a private company that caters the issuance of International Driving Permit. This company is called Automotive Association of the Philippines (APP). To apply for a Philippine International Driving Permit (PIDP), visit the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) office near you and bring the following requirements:

 

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Original and photocopy of Philippine Driver’s Licence valid for at least one (1) year.

2. Two (2) pieces latest 2×2 coloured ID photo with white background.

3. For foreign nationals, dual citizens and Filipino citizens born in other countries, present the original passport plus photocopies of pages showing identification and date of last arrival. If you are a permanent resident, present your passport and/or Alien Certificate Registration along with requirements no. 1 and 2.

 

Fees:

PHP1,800 broken down as follows:

PHP300 – AAP Joining Fee*

PHP1,200 – AAP Annual Registration

PHP300 – PIDP Processing Fee

 

* The PHP300 AAP joining fee is waived for Overseas Filipino Workers / OFWs. Fees are also subject to change by AAP or LTO.

 

More information on Automobile Association of the Philippines

1. Quezon City Office

682 Aurora Boulevard

Quezon City

Tel : (632)723-0808 to 15

Mobile: 0922-860-1603 / 0917-848-0191 / 0917-812-6000 / 0918-812-6000

Fax : (632)727-6174

 

2. EDSA Office

28 EDSA, Greenhills, San Juan City 1500 Philippines

Hotline: (632) 655.5889

Fax: (632) 655.1878

Email: info@aap.org.ph

Website: www.aap.org.ph

 


Philippine Licence and Others

First-time applicants of driver’s licence need to visit the main LTO branches. For licence renewal, these can be processed at the DLRC (Driver’s Licence Renewal Centres) that are conveniently located within shopping malls. We shall discuss more on DLRCs later.

A Student’s Permit is valid for up to six months. After that, one can take the exams in order to apply for either a non-professional licence or a professional licence.

 

The main office of LTO is at:

Address: East Avenue, Quezon City 1100

Phone: (632) 922-9061 to 66

Email: ltombox@lto.gov.ph

Website: http://www.lto.gov.ph

 

LTO branch in Makati is located at:

LTO Makati District Office

Address: Butel Bldg., Pililia Street, Makati City

Phone: 895-8678 / 897-5198

 

STUDENT PERMIT:  For Foreign Applicants

QUALIFICATIONS:

Must be at least 16 years old.

Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.

Must know how to read and write in Filipino or English.

Must not be a drug user and/or alcoholic.

Must be clean, neat and presentable.

 

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Download, Print and Fill Up the LTO APPLICATION FOR DRIVER’S LICENCE (ADL) FORM. (You may download the form from this link: http://ltoexam.com/files/dl_application_form_ltoexamdotcom.pdf)

 2. Original and Photocopy of Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)

3. Original and Photocopy of valid Visa/Passport and any of the following:

  • Has stayed in the country for at least one (1) month and permitted to stay in the country for at least five (5) months.
  • Employment contract certified by an employer to stay in the Philippines for at least five (5) months.

4. Additional requirements for minors. (16-18 Years Old)

  • Notarised Parent / Guardian letter of consent.
  • Student’s School ID.

 

The Written Exam

The written examination consists of questions related to the provision of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (R.A. 4136) and Batas Pambansa Bilang 398.

For Non-Professional Licence applicants, they must correctly answer 30 out of 40 questions given to them, while for the Professional Licence applicants, they must correctly answer 45 out of 60 questions to pass the examination.


Non-Professional Licence

QUALIFICATIONS:

Must be at least 17 years old.

Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.

Must be able to read and write in Filipino or English.

Must not be a drug user and/or alcoholic.

Must be clean, neat and presentable.

 

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Download, Print and Fill Up the LTO APPLICATION FOR DRIVER’S LICENCE (ADL) FORM. (to download, visit this link: http://ltoexam.com/files/dl_application_form_ltoexamdotcom.pdf )

2. Valid Student’s Permit (At Least One [1] Month Old)

3. Medical Certificate (From an LTO or Government Accredited Hospital or Physician) or Valid AFP/PNP organic personnel ID.  (for military and police officers).

      (AFP – Armed Forces of the Phils.) (PNP – Philippine National Police)

4. Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN)

5. Certificate from your commanding officer for military personnel.

 

Professional Licence

QUALIFICATIONS:

Must be at least eighteen (18) years old.

Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.

Must be able to read and write in Filipino or English.

Must not be a drug user and/or alcoholic.

Must be clean, neat and presentable.

 

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Download, Print and Fill Up the LTO APPLICATION FOR DRIVER’S LICENCE (ADL) FORM. (visit this link: http://ltoexam.com/files/dl_application_form_ltoexamdotcom.pdf)

2. Valid Student’s Permit. (At Least Six [6] Months Old)

3. Clearance / Certificate. (Any of the Following:)

  • NBI Clearance
  • Police Clearance
  • Court Clearance

 4. Medical Certificate (from an LTO or Government Accredited Hospital or Physician) or valid AFP/PNP organic personnel ID (for military and police officers).

(AFP – Armed Forces of the Phils.) (PNP – Philippine National Police)

5. Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN).

6. Certificate from commanding officer for military personnel.

 

Licence Renewal At Driver’s Licence Renewal Centers (DLRC)

You may renew your driver’s licence in satellite branches of LTO, at the following mall locations:

1. Robinsons Galleria Mall

DLRC (Driver’s Licence Renewal Centers) at Basement 1, East Lane, Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Schedule: Monday  to Friday /  10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Phone: 632-1703

 

2. SM Megamall

DLRC, G/F SM Megamall, EDSA, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Schedule: Monday to Friday / 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Phone: 636-1995

 

3. DLRC – Ayala MRT Station, Makati City

Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Phone: 817-2280

 

4. DLRC – Guadalupe Upper Level, Guadalupe Commercial Complex, Guadalupe Nuevo, (along EDSA) Makati City, Philippines

Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Phone: 896-6481

 

5. SM Super Center, Ground Level SM Hypermart, Pasig City

Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Phone: 631-7513

 

Different Locations

 

These satellite branches of LTO have their individual features. I used to renew my driver’s licence at DLRC – Ayala MRT Station. The location is very convenient since it is inside the train station of Ayala. This train station is also connected with the Ayala Center Malls (Glorietta) and SM Department Store, so it is very easy to visit. This is the easiest branch to go to for people working in Makati. Service here is generally good but since majority of Makati people go to this branch, the renewal process might take half a day to a whole day. Tip: Come early to get ahead in the queue.

Then, they opened a DLRC at Guadalupe Mall, along EDSA. This is also at the heart of Guadalupe MRT station which is one of the busiest train stations in Metro Manila. However, I noticed that the DLRC in this area has better crowd control method for drivers who are renewing their licence. Around 1:00-2:00 pm is the best time to drop by since few people are around during these “dead hours.” They also offer free coffee while you wait in line. The last time I renewed my licence here, it took me less than 2 hours to have my medical test (eye exam) and the whole licence renewal process done. Tip: Visit this branch after lunch when there are few people in the queue.

All DLRCs are aiming for quality service, each with the goal to be the best LTO renewal centre. What would determine the difference in service is often the location or the time of day.

During driver’s licence renewal, make sure to bring cash, old licence with old receipt and be ready with your TIN if applicable.

 

Removal of the Drug Test

Originally, LTO implemented the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 that requires drug testing for those applying for drivers’ licences. Just recently, this was revoked under the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013. According to Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, he said that Republic Act No. 10586 will remove the requirement for licence applicants to take the drug test since it is useless and costly for applicants. Sotto is the principal author of RA 10586. He also made it clear that LTO branches and satellite offices must follow the new law. Drug testing will be required for those driving under the influence (DUI) as determined by law enforcement authorities.

RA 10586 states “If the driver fails in the sobriety tests, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement officer to implement the mandatory determination of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level through the use of a breath analyzer or similar measuring instrument,” it read.

 

Good luck with your application and drive safely!

 

Author: Marcelle Villegas 

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Note: Expatch is not directly affiliated with LTO or any government office. We cannot help you with your inquiries such as followup of your application, or release of your licence, services of a specific branch, special cases, fees, etc. Please contact LTO directly for these types of questions. Inquiries of such nature will not be entertained by this magazine. Please refer to the information provided above for the contact details of LTO. Thank you.

 

Photo Source:

Man Driving:

http://bestcalgarydrivingschool.com/blog/

 

Preview of LTO Application Form:

http://ltoexam.com/files/dl_application_form_ltoexamdotcom.pdf

 

 

 

 

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  1. Good Day Sir,
    May I ask if I can go to LTO Satellite Offices if I want to renew my non-pro license adding a restriction code 2?

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hi Chester. I called LTO and they said that in order to process changes in your driver’s license, you need to visit the LTO branch in Quezon City. Kindly visit this link: http://www.lto.gov.ph/faqs/driver-s-licensing. It has the requirements and also a form you can download. You may also call their office for inquiries. East Avenue Quezon City 1100 / Tel: (632)922-9061 to 66

      Thank you for reading Expatch. Good luck and drive safely.

  2. ALLAN B. CAMINOS says:

    Sir/ maam
    May i ask some questions regarding my licence w/1&2 restriction which i renewed last september 2002 and unfurtunately i was’ nt get because I go saudi at that time after i renewed it. May question is can i retrieve my licence again or i may apply a new licence .if ever i retrieve my licence how much i supposed
    to pay according to the rule from 2002 (renew) up to present date.i lost my reciept of renewal because I mailed it but was not recieve by my wife in the next year 2003. Please adviced me what to do as i badly need it now….. Thank you .

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hi Allan. Most likely your 2002 license is expired by now. As I know in LTO, one can renew an expired license only within a 10-year range maximum. This means that if license is expired and not renewed for more than 10 years, you will be required to apply for a totally new license. So, that’s back to step one in license application. Kindly visit http://www.lto.gov.ph/ for more information. You may also call at Tel: (632)922-9061 to 66. Thank you and good luck, sir.

  3. sir/madam kumuha po ako ng student licenses March 20 Kalyan po ako pwede mag apply ng license ID kasi kailangan ko po for passport din..thanks

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      I think within one to two months after your student’s permit has been issued, you may apply for a driver’s license. Just make sure you are ready for your driving exam (written and practical) when you apply for a driver’s license. For further inquiries, please visit http://www.lto.gov.ph/ for more information. You may also call at Tel: (632)922-9061 to 66. Thank you

  4. marilyn guevarra says:

    Good day Sir,

    My Philippines license will expire on Sept.2015,I am currently abroad.pls.advice on how to renew my license? Thanks!

  5. Hi,

    I renewed my license at MRT Ayala. They said that I have to contact 817-2280 so I can confirm if the card is availble. Can I ask if you know other contact number for the MRT Ayala branch?
    The number 817-2280 is always busy.

  6. Belle Go says:

    I just want to ask if what is the best time to go to LTO Mrt Ayala Station branch. I lost my license and I am planning to renew it at this branch.

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hello Belle. It’s good to be there at 9:00am to be ahead in the queue. Thanks for reading Expatch. =)

  7. Josh Miller says:

    Hello, is it true that it is only possible to apply for a student’s permit for foreigners at a main office? If yes, where is the main office?

  8. Hi, can we also go to malls if mag aaply pa lng ng student license or it should be directly sa LTO branches?

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      hi Kaycee. The LTO’s satellite branches are only for renewals and other related transactions. First-time applicants (including student license, which is the first step to be a first-time applicants) need to visit the main LTO branches.

      The main office of LTO is at:
      Address: East Avenue, Quezon City 1100
      Phone: (632) 922-9061 to 66
      Email: ltombox@lto.gov.ph
      Website: http://www.lto.gov.ph

      For further questions, please refer to the contact info of LTO. Thanks, Kaycee. (From Expatch Editorial Team)

  9. Josh Miller says:

    Hi. Just to follow up with my inquiry. As I’m only a 16 year old that is going to apply for a student’s permit, does my parents have to be at the LTO Branch with me or I can apply for it alone?

  10. Malou Morales says:

    Hello, can my sister renew her International Driver’s License at any LTO Sattelite office or just directly at AAP?

  11. ada dioquino says:

    Hi, pwde din po ba mag renew sa sm malls if 1 week expired na ang lisensya?

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Translation: May I still renew at SM Malls if my license is just one week expired?

      Answer: As I know, the satellite renewal centers (like in SM Mall) will process expired licenses. Expect an extra charge though as penalty for the expired driver’s license.
      But please contact first SM Malls or other DLRCs for clarification. Refer to the contact details provided in our article above. Thank you.

  12. Karin Gge says:

    I am chinese and work in Cagayan, I want to get a international driving permit in Manila. Could you tell me how long can get a international driving permit, i mean, in the shortest time. because i will back to china for a vacation soon. thank you.

  13. Good Day!!!

    Sir/ Mam :

    Since eight years I am living in Poland for good /I am Polish Resident
    /.In last year during my visit in Philippines I did driving licence. In
    Poland
    I can use this licence only for six months /from the last return from
    Philippines/. Later this document in Poland need to be change in Polish
    office.
    I applied all needed documents on 12 september 2014 in Polish driving
    department. Our Polish office sent this documents to Kuala Lumpur Embassy.
    Polish Embassy sent all documents to Philippines LTO. Copy of this
    document also I have received from Polish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
    From this time / middle of september 2014/ I do NOT have any answer in this
    matter. This case is stock in your LTO office in Philippines .
    Please let me know what happen with my licence, how much longer I have to
    wait?

    Thank you for your help.

    Regards
    Virginia Montomo

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hello Ms. Virginia,

      I’ve already replied to your concern last 3 July 2015. Please check your email titled “Reply to your comment on “Getting Your Driver’s License in the Philippines”. I’ve mentioned in that email that we’re not connected with LTO or any government agency, thus we cannot help you with your situation. Please directly contact LTO at the address provided in our article above.

      Second option is to visit this website: http://www.gov.ph/services/. This link was recently published by the Philippine Government that provides the scope of services of all government offices. Now, once you’re in the website, click the page for “Driver’s license” or go to http://www.gov.ph/services/driverslicense/.

      Please read the page carefully. If you still cannot find the answer to your problem, then click the option that says, “Send your feedback”. Forward your concern there and wait for their reply.

      I hope that this resolves your problem.

      Thank you for visiting Expatch.

  14. My driver’s license was lost for morethan 14yrs. I went to an lto office and they’ve assked me to apply for a student permit, instead of filing for a lost or renewal/delinquent prcess. they also said that application for lost and renewing you license will take time. I asked the person incharge if that way is legal, she then told me YES it is. No need for me to gather documents like arfidavit of los and such… I need your help, please enlighten me if the way i want right now is legal and ok… if i can just simply apply for a student permit and after 30days apply for a non pro. Your thoughts on this.

  15. Maria Takasaki says:

    Can I authorize someone in my behalf to renew my local drivers license? Enclosing authorization letter
    (with authorized person’s valid identification cards), my original drivers license card,original payment receipt, renewal fee. Or is there any other additional requirements in order to renew my drivers license?
    Thank you very much.

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hi Maria. Kindly see this link from LTO, under “Frequently Asked Questions”… Website: http://www.lto.gov.ph

      I think they have the answers you are looking for. For further questions, please contact LTO on the number provided on the website. (Please call them before they close at 5pm, M-F.) Thank you for your question. =)

  16. Christine says:

    Hi where can i process new non prof license from student license

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hi! This is usually processed in the Main LTO branch in your area (not the satellite mall branches for renewals). Please refer to the contact details and info provided in our article above for further questions. Thank you.

  17. Leon Guerrero says:

    Hi, ask ko lang po if open ba yung Ayala MRT branch for renewal?
    And baka alam niyo what’s the best time pumunta, yung di masyado madami tao? may work kasi ako at aalis lang sana ako para sumaglit for renewal?

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hello, Leon. Kindly refer to the article above under the portion titled “Different Locations” for answers about Ayala MRT branch. Thank you for reading Expatch.

  18. Sreekanth says:

    Hi Sir/Madam, I am a Foreigner and would like to get non professional drivers license in Philippines. I have a valid licence from India.

    I have gone through LTO website http://www.lto.gov.ph/faqs/driver-s-licensing.

    It is strange to see that foreign driver’s license is accepted only for 90 days from last entry but not after that. What about people like me who have Visa validity longer than 90 days but do not have validity of 1 year from the date of application for driver’s license for which my application was turned down at main LTO. Kindly suggest what can be done in such cases.

    Thank you very much.

    Best regards,
    Sree

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      hi Sree,

      Thanks for writing us. The 90-day or 3-month rule that allows tourists to use their foreign driver’s licence in the Philippines is a long duration and a fair allowance to allow people without Philippine licence to drive in the Philippines. It is wise for travellers to get an international driver’s licence if they plan to stay longer than 3 months in any country and would like the driving privilege in that foreign land. So, in your case, if you want to extend your driving privilege, have your licence converted to international. That way, you can drive in any country, not just India or PH, and you need not be restricted with any local rules (like the Philippine’s 90-day rule for foreigners). For international licence, please refer to No. 6 of the website page you visited. You will need the help of AAP for the processing.

      Just our reminder to all readers, Expatch magazine is not affiliated with LTO or any government agency. For further questions, kindly refer to LTO.

      Thank you.

      • Sreekanth says:

        Hi Ma’m,

        Thank you very much for your kind response.

        I tried for international drivers license however, as per http://www.aap.org.ph I will be needing to convert my foreign drivers license to Philippine drivers license first since this is a prerequisite for applying.

        Is there anything else that I can do here?

        Thanks and regards,
        Sree

        • Marcy Villegas says:

          Hello Sree,

          You’re welcome. Thanks for writing us again. Thanks also for the update from AAP and the info about their prerequisite. Sorry to hear they require you to convert to Philippine drivers licence, but it seems it is the only option left if you want to continue driving here in the PH. Most travellers apply for an international driver’s licence in their home country before going to a foreign country to have the international driving privilege. We have to understand that each country, like the PH for example, reserves the rights of local driver’s licence holders the privilege of driving here in the country. The 90-day period for non-PH-licence holders to drive here is just an allowance for foreigners to help one get around the country for the mean time, but it’s not a long-term option. Some use the period to apply for a PH licence, for those who plan to stay longer.

          I hope our tips somehow helped you. Thank you. =)

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