How to Apply for a Driver’s License in the Philippines


 Philippine Drivers License is one of the most important thing people need to obtain in the country. This guide will walk you through the process of obtaining a driver’s license in a quick and efficient way.

What is a Driver’s License?

A driver’s license is a government-issued document that can give you the proper authority to drive a motor vehicle in the Philippines.

How long is the validity of the Philippine driver’s license?

It has a validity of five (5) years while the student permit is only valid for one (1) year. Upon renewal, however, the driver’s license validity period can be extended to 10 years provided that the driver didn’t incur any record of a road traffic violation.

The 10-year license incentive will be granted to responsible drivers with clean records starting in October 2021. Irresponsible drivers, meanwhile, may face fines, penalties, or more severe sanctions depending on how many demerit points he/she will earn.

Types of Driver’s License in the Philippines.

The following are three types of driver’s license in the Philippines

1.   Student Permit – Every individual who wishes to obtain a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License is required to get a Student Permit first. The Student Permit or Student License authorizes its holder to drive a motor vehicle but in the presence of someone who holds a valid Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License. The student permit is only valid for one year and cannot be modified, revised, or renewed.

2. Non-Professional – A Non-Professional Driver’s License can give you the authority to drive/operate PRIVATE motor vehicles with up to 4,500 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). Holders of this license will be able to drive vehicles with both manual and automatic transmission. Some of the vehicle types included in the weight limit are sedans, minivans, pickups, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles.

3. Professional – A Professional Driver’s License grants the driver (hired or paid) the authority to drive/operate motor vehicles whether for PRIVATE use or for hire to the PUBLIC. Professional Driver’s License holders are permitted to drive almost all types of vehicles, including motor vehicles exceeding 4,500 GVW like heavy construction equipment.

How to Get a Student Permit in the Philippines.

Every individual who wishes to obtain a driver’s license will have to apply for a student permit first. This will give you the authority to drive specific types of vehicles while accompanied by a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License holder.

The student permit will give you the chance to learn how to drive for one year before taking written and practical driving examinations. You can apply for a Student Permit at any LTO District Office, Licensing Center, and Extension Office that processes Driver’s License transactions.

1. Qualifications.

  • You must be at least seventeen (17) years old.
  • You must be able to read and write in English, Filipino, or any applicable local dialect.
  • You must be physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle.

·You must have attended at least 15 hours of theoretical driving lessons from any LTO-accredited driving school. Starting August 3, 2020, applicants who want to acquire a student permit should have already undergone this 15-hour theoretical driving course. This new mandatory course, introduced through the Memorandum Circular No. 2019-2176, is part of the LTO’s goal of improving the quality of driver’s education and ensuring that the licenses are only issued to applicants who have the capability to drive, hence preventing or possibly eradicating road accidents. For those who won’t be able to afford the ones offered by driving schools, you can also avail of the same course that will be offered by LTO. The theoretical driving lessons will be taught through classroom instruction with topics ranging from the basic organization and functions of the LTO, traffic rules and regulation (including traffic signs and signals), and road crash risk reduction to other fundamental subjects that will develop your core competencies as a driver like parking techniques (such as parallel, reverse, angle parking, and three-point turn), fuel conservation, road courtesy, discipline, and defensive driving. At the end of this course, applicants will then be required to take and pass an automated exam before they can apply for a driver’s license. The exam is available in English, Filipino, or the most common language/dialect in the region so that the examinees can choose whatever language they’re most comfortable with and they can easily understand. Interestingly, LTO has recently launched a new online portal where motorists can apply for or renew their licenses. This portal, known as the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS), also offers free practice tests with questions that may or may not appear in the actual theoretical exam. To access this, simply create your own account, log in, hover your cursor over ‘E-LEARNING’, and click Theoretical Exams.

·   For foreign applicants: You must be at least eighteen (18) years old and have been residing in the Philippines for at least one (1) month and will stay in the country for at least one (1) year from date of application.

2. Requirements.

a. Basic Requirements.

For both Filipinos and foreigners:

·         Fully accomplished Driver’s License Application Form

· PSA-authenticated birth certificate (original and photocopy). If you don’t have a birth certificate, you can go to the Customer Service Counter of any LTO Office and explain the reason why you don’t have a birth certificate. Depending on your case, they might come up with an alternative document that can be accepted. So far, these are the alternative documents accepted if a birth certificate cannot be presented: (a) Any legal document that can prove the applicant’s age and identity such as a passport or any government-issued ID; (b) a Joint Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons who personally know the applicant and can attest to the applicant’s age and identity (A non-availability of record from PSA or local civil registry office must also be presented)

·         Medical examination certificate (online-only/electronically transmitted). Medical certificates of Student Permit applicants should only come from an LTO-accredited clinic or physician5. To save time and avoid long queues, you can get a medical certificate a few days before your date of application at the LTO office. As of this writing, the medical certificate costs Php 450 and is valid for two (2) months

·         Certificate of Driving Course Completion to prove that you have completed the required theoretical and/or practical instruction given by LTO or any LTO-accredited driving schools (here’s the complete list of LTO-accredited driving schools in the Philippines as of July 31, 2020). This certificate will be automatically transmitted to the LTO6 by the driving course center where the applicant completed the said course.

b. Additional Requirements.

For applicants below eighteen (18) years old:

·         Parental or guardian’s consent (original)

·         1 valid government-issued ID of consenting parent or guardian with signature (original and photocopy)

For married women:

·         PSA-authenticated marriage contract (original and photocopy)

For foreigners:

·      Applicant’s passport containing the following (original and photocopy): (a) Entry date of at least one (1) month; and (b) Visa duration of at least one (1) year from the date of application

·      If born in the Philippines, submit PSA-authenticated birth certificate (original and photocopy)


3. Fees.

·         Application Fee – Php 100

·         Computer Fee – Php 67.63

·         Student Permit Fee – Php 150


4. Step-by-step Guide.

1.    Arrive at the LTO office early. Preferably, choose to transact with an LTO District Office where most applicants are for renewal. If you’re lucky, you can get your Student Permit in less than 30 minutes.

2.    Go to the Customer Service Counter and request an Application for Driver’s License Form and the Checklist of Requirements. You’ll also be given a queue number.

3.    Fill out the application form and prepare the required documents.

4.    Submit the filled out application form and other documents with your queue number. The evaluator will check the completeness and authenticity of your application and documents.

5.    You’ll be asked to recite the Driver’s Road Safety Pledge. The evaluator will encode your information to the system to create a transaction number.

6.    Head to the designated area for the photo/signature taking and wait for your turn.

7.    The approving officer will review and approve your application.

8.    Head to the cashier and pay the required fees when your number gets called.

9.    The releasing clerk will issue your Student Permit and Official Receipt. After receiving your Student Permit, write your name and affix your signature on the log sheet.


5. Additional notes.

·A student permit is only valid for one year.

Again, the newly released memorandum from the LTO reveals you can no longer be issued a Student Driver’s Permit unless you have completed the mandatory theoretical driving course given by LTO or any of its duly accredited driving school. The driving lessons should be at least 15 hours and must be completed within 2 years from the start of the course. Aside from classroom instruction, each student will also be given a Filipino Driver’s Manual to help reinforce the lessons being taught. To ensure that the driving schools are really conducting the classes and to prevent applicants from circumventing the system by bribing their instructors, the LTO will give and install automated logbooks and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to all its accredited driving schools. In addition to these, the LTO will also conduct regular unannounced visits and audits to the said driving schools.

A student driver’s permit is usually not accepted as a form of identification because it’s only meant to be a temporary permit. However, in some cases, it can be considered as a valid ID if it’s in a card format like when applying for a passport. It can also be used, along with the Official Receipt, for SSS transactions.

30 days after the date of student permit issuance, you can start the application process for a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License.


Pinoy Topic

Written by Pinoy Topic

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