Understanding your Driver’s License Code

A driver’s license acquired from the Land Transportation Office legalizes a person to drive motorbikes, tricycles, motor vehicles or cars, and articulated vehicles or trucks in the country.

Previously known as “Restrictions codes,” these are now called DL Codes or the “Driver’s License Codes.” These are classifications based on what types of vehicles a driver may drive, depending on the license type, wherein it is only applied to non-professional and professional driver’s licenses.  

The basis for providing restriction codes on a driver’s license is the result of their written and/ or practical driving examination. 

DL Codes can be seen on the back of a driver’s license; alphanumeric characters are used to categorize the previously known restriction codes further.

New Driver's License Code in the Philippines
New Driver's License Code in the Philippines
New Driver's License Code in the Philippines
New Driver's License Code in the Philippines
New Driver's License Code in the Philippines

Let us break it down further to understand. 

  1. The vehicle categories indicate what vehicles a license holder with certain codes may or may not drive. 
  2. The Driver’s license codes are different restriction codes that cover a certain category.  Take note that non-professional license holders will only be able to acquire A, A1, B, B1, and B2 restrictions.
    1. A, A1 – can drive L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6
    2. B, B1, B2 – can drive M1, M2, N1
    3. C – can drive N2, N3
    4. D – can drive M3
    5. BE – can drive O1, O2
    6. CE – can drive O3, O4
  1. A Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is a car’s maximum operating weight specified by the car’s manufacturer. 
  2. Articulated Vehicles refer to a type of vehicle that comes with a permanent or semi-permanent pivot joint. These include buses, trucks, trams, and trains. Restrictions for articulated vehicles only apply to professional driver’s license holders.
  3. A driver who wishes to add restrictions on their license should:
  • Be a holder of a professional or a non-professional driver’s license for a minimum of 1 year.
  • Take and pass a written and practical examination depending on the restriction they want to add.

4. Understanding the acronyms:


  • Automatic (AT) – means the license holder can only drive automatic vehicles.
  • Manual (MT) – means the license holder can drive manual, semi-automatic, and automatic vehicles.

Driver’s License Classification:

  • NPL– Non-Professional Driver’s License 
  • PL– Professional Driver’s License

LTO Driver’s License Conditions

The driver’s license conditions go hand in hand with restriction codes. Both are implemented by the LTO to ensure a driver’s eligibility and capabilities to drive on the road, regardless of certain impairments.

To acquire a driver’s license, one will be required to obtain a medical certificate. This will then determine if there are corresponding condition codes that must be integrated into your driver’s license.

New Driver's License Codes in the Philippines - condition codes

The LTO indicates that license holders with conditions 2, 3, 4, or 5 are not allowed to operate for-hire/public utility vehicles or commercial vehicles unless expressly allowed in writing by a qualified medical specialist.

In line with being caught driving without a license, improper use of a driver’s license, or driving the wrong kind of vehicle specified on the license is also considered a license-related violation that has corresponding sanctions, such as a penalty of 3000 Php for each offense.

Your driver’s License, along with other certifications and documents, is of equal importance. Having one and keeping it up-to-date only means that you are responsible enough to share the road with others. It is an official document required as legal authorization for individuals who wish to drive cars, trucks, or motorized vehicles. It serves as proof that you’ve undergone proper training, you know how to drive a vehicle, and you have successfully completed all the necessary requirements and passed both practical and written exams.

Drivesafe PH provides a theoretical driving course that helps you get acquainted with the rules of the road in the Philippines. Drivesafe PH is the 1st LTO Accredited Online Theoretical Driving Course Provider, a social learning platform that provides accessibility to Defensive Driving Education to future Filipino drivers who would like to take the first step on the Road.

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