Getting a Driver’s License in the Philippines – An Ultimate Guide

After taking driving classes and knowing how to drive, what’s next? You cannot just simply drive to where you want to go. You should first secure a driver’s license. Learning to drive a vehicle is one thing, getting a driver’s license may take some time because of the process which includes submission of requirements and passing written and practical driving exams, but here is a guide of the basics in getting one.  

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is the government agency under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in charge with the issuance of driver’s license which serves as an official document and proof that one is eligible to drive a vehicle. Thus, this ensures the safety of your passengers, other drivers or motorists and vehicles.

There are three types of driver’s license issued by the LTO depending on the purpose: (1) Student Driver Permit, (2) Non-professional Driver’s License, and (3) Professional Driver’s License. Each type also varies in the requirements to be submitted for the application.  

TYPES OF DRIVER’S LICENSE, QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

Before applying for any type of license, one should enroll for a theoretical driving course at an LTO-accredited driving school to be able to obtain the Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) certificate which is one of the most important requirements to be submitted. This is a proof that one is already equipped with the theoretical knowledge about driving and its rules and regulations on the road which will also be tested during the written and practical exam before the issuance of the license.    

  1. Student Driver Permit  

The Student Driver Permit is issued to authorize individuals to drive a vehicle as long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver. It is not an official driver’s license and is only valid for a year and cannot be renewed. Moreover, it is issued first before one can obtain a Non-Professional or Professional Driver’s License.

Qualifications:

  • A person must be aged 17 years old and above
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English
  • Must have no unsettled traffic violation
  • Must have attended at least 15 hours of theoretical driving lessons from any LTO-accredited driving school

Requirements:

  • Fully accomplished Driver’s License Application Form/ Application for Driver’s License (ADL).
  • Original and photocopy of Authenticated PSA Birth Certificate 
  • Original and photocopy of government issued ID with photo and signature of applicant
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN), for those employed
  • Medical Examination Certificate (electronically transmitted from LTO accredited clinic).
  • Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) Certificate

Additional Requirements:

  1. For minor applicants (17 years old and below)
  2. Original copy of duly notarized parent’s consent or affidavit of the guardian authorizing the applicant to secure or apply for a student driver permit.
  • For married women
  • Original and photocopy of PSA Authenticated Marriage Contract
  • For foreigners
  • Original and photocopy of applicant’s passport showing the following:
  • Entry date (at least 1 month)
  • Visa duration (at least 6 months from date of application)
  • Non-Professional Driver’s License

The Non- Professional Driver’s License is issued to authorize those individuals who drives vehicles for personal or private use only. This is an official license and applicable to those who will drive motorcycles or vehicles with up to 4,500 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). Obtaining a Non-Professional Driver’s License will enable the license holder to drive vehicles with automatic and manual transmission.   The license is valid for 5 years only.

Qualifications:

  • A person must be aged 18 years old and above
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English
  • Must hold a valid Student Driver Permit at least 30 days prior to application for Non-Professional License
  • Must have no unsettled traffic violation
  • Must have completed a minimum of 8 hours of practical driving lessons given by an LTO-accredited or TESDA-certified driving school.
  • Must have passed the required written and practical exam

Requirements:

  • Fully accomplished Driver’s License Application Form/ Application for Driver’s License (ADL)
  • Original copy of valid Student Permit (issued at least 31 days before the date of application)
  • Medical Examination Certificate (electronically transmitted from LTO accredited clinic)
  • Practical Driving Course (PDC) Certificate

Additional Requirements:

  1. For minor applicants (17 years old and below)
  2. Original copy of duly notarized parent’s consent or affidavit of the guardian authorizing the applicant to secure or apply for a student driver permit.
  3. Original and photocopy of 1 valid government-issued ID of guardian with photo and signature
  • Professional Driver’s License

The Professional Driver’s License is issued to authorize those individuals who drives vehicles for a living or as their occupation whether for private use or for hire to the public. This includes drivers of trucks transporting goods or products such as heavy equipment as well as public vehicles or transportation like buses. Obtaining a Professional Driver’s License enables the license holder to drive vehicles exceeding 4,500 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). This license is valid for 5 years only.

Qualifications:

  • A person must be aged 18 years old and above
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must hold a valid Non-Professional Driver’s License for at least a year before application
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English
  • Must not have no unsettled traffic violations
  • Must have completed a minimum of 8 hours of practical driving lessons given by an LTO-accredited or TESDA-certified driving school
  • For Restriction Code 1, 2, 4 and 6, you must be a holder of valid Non-Professional Driver’s License issued at least one (1) year prior the application.
  • For Restriction Code 3, 5, 7 and 8, you must be a holder of valid Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPDL) at least one (1) year prior the application or Professional Driver’s License holder with Restriction Code 1,2,4 and 6 for a period of at least six (6) months prior the application.

Requirements:

  • Fully accomplished Driver’s License Application Form/ Application for Driver’s License (ADL)
  • Medical Examination Certificate (electronically transmitted from LTO accredited clinic)
  • Valid Non-Professional Driver’s License
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN), if employed
  • Practical Driving Course (PDC) Certificate

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR WALK IN APPLICATION

Assuming you were finally able to decide which license to get and prepare all the necessary requirements, here is a step-by-step guide on how to process your application at your preferred LTO Office or Licensing Center.

  1. For Student Driver’s Permit

Step 1: Visit the nearest or your preferred LTO Licensing Center.

Step 2: Go to the Customer Service Counter and request for the Application for Driver’s License (ADL) Form and the Checklist of Requirements. You will also be given a number for queueing to process your application.

Step 3: Fill out the form then wait for your number to be queued to submit all the requirements.

Step 4: Submit all the duly accomplished form with all the requirements and the queue number to the evaluator who will be checking to ensure that the documents submitted are complete and authentic.

Step 5: Proceed to the designated area for biometrics to have your picture, fingerprints and electronic signature taken.

Step 6: Wait for the approving officer to review and approve the application.

Step 7: Proceed to the cashier for payment then get the official receipt (OR). The Student Permit Fee is P317.63.

Step 8: Proceed to the Releasing Area then present your OR to claim your student permit.

  • For Non-Professional and Professional Driver’s License

Step 1: Visit the nearest or your preferred LTO Office.

Step 2: Submit all the requirements for the Non-Professional Driver’s License to the receiving personnel.

Step 3: The receiving personnel will check if the submitted requirements are complete and authentic then transmit them to the evaluator.

Step 4: The evaluator will review the applicant’s qualifications and will encode to the system if qualified.

Step 5: Proceed to the cashier for the payment. The licensing fee for Non-Professional is P652.63 and P685.00 for Professional. Additional fees to be paid include fees for the exam fee of P167.63.

Step 6: Take the written exam in the form of Basic Driving Theory Test. The results will be announced immediately.

Step 7: After passing the written exam, take the practical driving exam.

Step 8: After passing both the written and practical exams, the approving officer will approve the application.

Step 9: Proceed to the designated area for biometrics to have your picture, fingerprints and electronic signature taken.

Step 10: Proceed to the Releasing Area then present your OR to claim your Non-Professional/ Professional Driver’s License.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR ONLINE APPLICATION

To avoid the hassle of waiting in line and to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus during this pandemic which continuously bring threat to everyone and affects local transactions such as application for license, LTO adapted as well to the new normal by creating an online portal to process your applications.

The Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) is LTO’s online portal that ensures faster and safer application transactions and cashless payments especially at this time of pandemic. It just would require creating an account to fully access the portal. Furthermore, the LTMS serves well for clients booking an online appointment to LTO Offices that requires it to be able to manage the number of clients to serve and applications to process per day. The LTMS made things easier to do our transactions from the comforts of our own home and not having to worry so much about possibly getting the virus while applying for your license.

ONLINE REGISTRATION THRU THE LTMS PORTAL

Before you can have full access at the LTMS portal, you must create an account first and here are the steps:

Step 1: Go to LTMS Online Portal (https://portal.lto.gov.ph/ords/f?p=1200:HOME:::::::) and then click Register Now.

Step 2: Read and accept the Terms of Agreement.

Step 3: Encode the security code in the box provided then click Next.

Step 4: Select ‘Enroll As An Individual’ to proceed with registration. 

Step 5: Answer the question whether you have an existing license or not. (Let’s assume that you don’t have any existing license yet, so you will select No as your answer and then click Next to proceed to the second question.)

Step 6: Answer the question about your Nationality. (You will be asked if you are Filipino citizen, click Yes then click Next.)

Step 7: Provide your Personal Details then click Next. (Here you will be asked to fill out the personal details needed like your full name, birthdate, gender and mother’s maiden name.)

Step 8: Provide your Contact Details then click Create Account to proceed to the next step. (Here you will be asked to provide your phone number and email address.)

Step 9: Open your email then click the link provided to verify your account.

Step 10: The link will lead you to the page to create your password. Once done, click Set Password for Login.

Step 11: Sign in to your account using new password.

PROCESSING YOUR APPLICATION ONLINE

Upon registration at the LTMS portal, you can now easily apply for driver’s license online and process your application with just few clicks. Ensure that you have your complete requirements from your checklist for smooth online processing while following these steps:

Step 1: Once you are able to log in at the LTMS portal, select Licensing from the dashboard.

Step 2:  Complete your online application form then click Apply Changes.

Step 3: You’ll be redirected to the dashboard, click Licensing again then read the Terms of Use and click Accept

Step 4: Select the type of license (Student’s License, Driver’s License, or Conductor’s License)

Step 5: Click Add Medical Certificate then enter your medical certificate number and click Verify.

Step 6: Select the type of application that you want to complete (new application, renewal, revision of records, application for additional codes, etc.)

Step 7: Complete the online application form.

Step 8: Upload the required documents indicated in the Document Description dropdown. This is where you will be uploading the requirements to be submitted on your checklist.

Step 9: The fees that you’ll have to pay will be displayed on screen then click Apply.

Step 10: Select the appointment schedule you prefer, and the LTO office where you want to process the application then click Proceed to Payment.

Step 11: Select your payment method then click Proceed to Summary.

Step 12: Review your transaction summary then click Finish Transaction.

Step 13: Read the e-payment and appointment disclaimers then click Accept.

Step 14: The order summary and billing details will appear. Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Step 15: Click on your chosen payment method then click Continue to complete your online payment transaction.

The LTMS portal made everything more convenient and safer for the applicants since it does not only simplifies the application process but also provides the update of your application. No need a call for follow up at your local LTO Office. Hence, it has e-learning modules that will help you review for the theoretical exam and have a higher chance of passing it. Despite the availability of free reviewers on the LTMS portal, every individual applying for driver’s license is still required to take and complete the theoretical driving course to obtain their certificates.

With the pandemic still continue causing threat and scare, you can worry less because theoretical driving course can also be taken online thru drivesafe.ph which is the 1st Online LTO-Accredited Online Theoretical Driving Course Provider in the Philippines.  

For more information on searching or enrolling for driving schools and theoretical driving course, you can check out the website of drivesafe.ph (https://drivesafe.ph) which serves as an online learning platform that gives access to online theoretical driving courses and information on LTO-accredited driving schools, driving laws, road safety, applying for license and tips in acing the written and practical driving examinations.

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