How to Get (or Renew) a Driver’s License in the Philippines

Last Updated on – Oct 13, 2021 @ 7:04 am

Contents

Struggles of getting and renewing your driver’s license in the Philippines

“Tirik na naman siya oh!”

One guy from a group of examinees exclaimed as we watched someone’s practical driving test.

“Oh boy, I thought. Wag naman sana mangyari sakin yan.”

Fresh from learning how to drive, I was sweating like a greased pig as I watched one examinee’s car stalled 3 times. And he wasn’t even 10 meters away from the starting point.

“Nasikipan siguro sa loob yan”, I thought. He was about 6 feet tall per my estimate. Just forcing himself inside the Suzuki Alto (the test vehicle) should have gotten him an extra 10 points.  

I confirmed my assumptions when it was my turn on the wheel. I found out that the Alto’s clutch was too high (at least for my taste) and the driver’s cockpit a bit cramped making it hard to step on it properly.

True enough, I stalled the car about 5 meters away from where we started.

“Oops, sorry”, I said to the examiner.

“OK lang yan, basta kalma lang”.

Taking his advice, I took a deep breath and completed the rest of Takeshi’s Castle err, LTO’s obstacle course without much fuss.

Still, I was worried that the incident (car stall) might affect my chances.

Apparently, though, I didn’t need to worry as I saw that the guy whose engine died 3 times happily claim and place his plasticky-new driver’s license in his wallet.

“Ayos”, I said as I breathed a sigh of relief. As expected, I went home that day proudly clutching my non-pro driver’s license.

You might be thinking, “Madali lang naman pala kumuha ng lisensya e. Kahit palpak sa practical pumapasa pa din”.

I’d have to agree, purely based on my experience (the above incident is 100% real). Still, I consider this “standard” when compared to the experiences detailed by the author on this Rappler post.

She didn’t even have to take the practical exam. She was just asked to pay for it. And her written exam? Her questionnaire already had answers.

This QC councilor apparently spent 5 hours to renew her license. And there’s this Manila Times piece that claimed, “LTO has once again done a seeming disservice to the paying public”.

The author refuted LTO’s claim of the promised 9-minute processing time when it took him more than 2 hours to complete the whole process.

Avoid Fixers

Just don’t. It’s illegal and will cost you more.

Worse, there’s a high chance you’ll get issued a fake license. In the last few years, the government has been on a crackdown on fixers so you should be seeing less of them (I hope).

Still, be vigilant and just ignore them, it won’t do you any good.

New Law Extending Validity of Driver’s License

Finally, some good news. Last year, the Senate approved the bill extending the validity of driver’s licenses to 5 years. An excellent move indeed that greatly benefits all Filipino drivers.


What is a Driver’s License?

A Driver’s License is a government ID issued by the Land Transportation Office of the Philippines (LTO) that permits individuals to drive a motor vehicle.

Related: How to get a Philippine National ID

Types of Drivers License

There are 3 types of driver’s licenses in the Philippines. Their differences mainly depend on the requirements and the purpose of the license.

1. Student Driver Permit

Authorizes individuals to drive a vehicle as long as they’re accompanied by a licensed driver.

2. Non-professional Driver’s license

Authorizes individuals to drive for personal purposes/private use only

3. Professional Driver’s license

Authorizes individuals to drive vehicles for a living/paid purpose.


LTO Online Appointment: How to Schedule Online

This year (2020), the LTO launched “LTO Online Services”. Utilizing the power of the web, it aims to speed up some of their processes.

Step 1: Visit LTO Online & Choose LTO Online Pass


Step 2: Select Driver’s License Renewal Online Appointment


Step 3: Complete the CAPTCHA section at the bottom before clicking “Continue”.

Make sure you ticked the “I consent and agree to the following” checkbox.


Step 4: Complete the necessary fields on the next page.


Step 5: Upon clicking Next, your details will be submitted to the LTO.

Note that the system will only accept it if you are indeed up for renewal.


Step 6: Wait for the confirmation email from LTO.

Follow the instructions that will be provided there.

As of the moment, only the following LTO district officers cater to customers who booked a schedule using the online service: East Avenue (Diliman office), Novaliches, Marikina, Muntinlupa, and Pasig. LTO aims to expand the number of sites supporting this booking service by next year.

Follow the instructions that will be provided there.

As of the moment, only the following LTO district officers cater to customers who booked a schedule using the online service: East Avenue (Diliman office), Novaliches, Marikina, Muntinlupa, and Pasig. LTO aims to expand the number of sites supporting this booking service by next year.


Pretty handy, huh? I’m definitely going to try this when I renew my driver’s license.

Preparing for the Driving test: Questionnaire and Preparation

It took me a whole day to complete my application for a non-pro driver’s license years ago.

And while it’s a pretty straightforward process, it wouldn’t hurt to get some tips to keep things smooth and easy.

Here are some things to expect and keep in mind.

  • Non-pro license applicants need a score of 30 out of 40 in the written exam
  • Pro license applicants need a score of 45 out of 60
  • The practical driving exam will require you to make one full round of driving at LTO’s course.
  • You will need to pay Php 250 to rent the car for the practical exam (150 for motorcycle). You can bring your own vehicle too if you prefer. Just note that finding a parking spot there can be difficult.
  • Don’t be nervous. Both the written and practical exam are relatively easy.
  • Check the list of subjects below for an overview of what to expect
  • Bring sufficient money for the fees. Refer to the Fees section below for rates.
  • Bring water and snacks just in case. Though there are usually food canteens and vendors located within or outside the vicinity that you can buy food from

The LTO Written Exam is made up of the following subjects:

  • Signs and markings
  • Parking Rules and Restrictions
  • Emergency situations (what to do)
  • Road positioning
  • Handling and driving
  • Penalties and violations
  • General information

Pro Tip: The LTO provides free reviewers on their official website. I highly recommend you check it out.

It will give you some insight on the types of questions to expect during the written exam.

I checked the questions on the reviewer, a good number of them were included when I took the test years ago.

If you want to get high marks, download and take advantage of their reviewers.  

LTO Driver’s License Requirements & Qualifications

Student Drivers and First Time Applicants: Qualifications and Requirements

Qualifications:

  • A person aged 17 years above can avail of a student permit.
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English

Student Driver Permit Requirements:

Non-professional Driver’s License: Qualification and Requirements

Qualifications:

  • A person aged 18 years above can avail of a non-pro driver’s license
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English
  • Must hold a valid Student Permit at least 30 days prior to application of Non-pro
  • Foreigners must have been in the Philippines at least 1 month and show proof of stay at least 1-year starting application for a Non-pro license

Non-Pro Driver’s License Requirements:

  • Completed driver’s license application form
  • Medical certificate proving he/she is fit to drive a motor vehicle (or otherwise stating his/her impairment)
  • Valid Student permit

Professional Driver’s License: Qualification and Requirements

Qualifications:

  • A person aged 18 years above can avail of a non-pro driver’s license
  • Physically and mentally fit to drive a motor vehicle
  • Must be literate in both Filipino and English
  • Must not have been charged 2 or more counts of reckless driving during the current validity of his/her existing license
  • For RC 1,2,4 and 6 – must be a holder of valid Student Permit (SP) issued at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • For RC 3,5,7 and 8 – must be a holder of valid Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPDL) at least one (1) year prior to the application or PDL holder with RC 1,2,4 and 6 for a period of at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • Foreigners must have been in the Philippines at least 1 month and show proof of stay at least 1-year starting application for Non-pro license

Professional Driver’s License Requirements:

  • Completed driver’s license application form
  • Medical certificate proving he/she is fit to drive a motor vehicle (or otherwise stating his/her impairment)
  • Valid Student permit
  • Clearance that the applicant has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude or reckless imprudence resulting from reckless driving from NBI and PNP
  • For RC 1,2,4 and 6 – Must be a holder of a valid SP issued at least six (6) months prior to the application.
  • For RC 3,5,7 and 8 – Must be a holder of a valid NPDL issued at least one (1) year prior to the application or PDL holder with RC 1,2,4 and 6 for a period of at least six (6) months prior to the application.

Procedures for Driver’s License Application and Fees:

Here are the steps to apply for a Driver’s license along with their corresponding fees.

Student License

  • Visit your preferred LTO licensing center of choice.
  • Obtain a driver’s license application form.
  • Wait for your number to be called. You’ll be submitting all paperwork including the requirements mentioned earlier.
  • You’ll need to wait again to have your picture taken. You’ll also be asked for your signature as well.
  • Proceed to the cashier for payment. Get the official receipt (OR).
  • Next stop is on the Releasing area. Present your OR to get your student driver’s permit.

Non-professional

  • Visit your preferred LTO licensing center of choice.
  • Obtain a driver’s license application form.
  • Wait for your number to be called. You’ll be submitting all paperwork including the requirements mentioned earlier.
  • You’ll need to wait again to have your picture taken. You’ll also be asked for your signature as well.
  • Proceed to the cashier for payment. Get the official receipt (OR).
  • The next step is the written exam in the form of Basic Driving Theory Test. Results will be announced immediately.
  • The next step is to take the practical driving exam.
  • Claim your license and Official Receipt upon passing the practical exam

Professional

  • Visit your preferred LTO licensing center of choice.
  • Obtain a driver’s license application form.
  • Wait for your number to be called. You’ll be submitting all paperwork including the requirements mentioned earlier.
  • You’ll need to wait again to have your picture taken. You’ll also be asked for your signature as well.
  • Proceed to the cashier for payment. Get the official receipt (OR).
  • The next step is the written exam in the form of Basic Driving Theory Test. Results will be announced immediately.
  • The next step is to take the practical driving exam.
  • Claim your license and Official Receipt upon passing the practical exam

Fees for Application of New Student Permit:

Type of FeeAmount (in Pesos)
Application Fee100
Computer Fee67.63
Student Permit Fee150
TOTAL317.63

Fees for Application of New License (Non-pro and Pro):

 Non-professionalProfessionalConductor
Application Fee100100100
Computer Fee67.6367.6367.63
License Fee585585585
Computer Fee67.6367.6367.63
TOTAL820.26820.26820.26

Fees for Renewal of License (Non-pro and Pro):

Fees for Renewal of Dormant License (Non-pro and Pro):

Fees for Change of Classification (Non-pro to Pro, Pro to Non-pro):

Fees for Renewal of Driver’s License for OFWs:

How to Renew Driver’s license: Qualifications, Requirements, and When to Renew

Renewing your license is an absolute must. It serves as proof of your eligibility to drive for a specific period of time.

Driving without it can set you back by as much as Php1,000 and may cause you even greater problems when you get into a road accident and can’t present one to the other parties and authorities.

Here are the steps to renew it:

1. Visit the nearest regional LTO branch or satellite office. Make sure to bring your current license ID.

Note that you need to present a medical certificate stating that you are fit to drive. Most LTO offices/satellite branches will have a dedicated area for conducting medical exams.

2. Submit all required documents at the Customer Service counter and get a copy of the Application for Driver’s License Form.

3. Get a queue number and wait for your name to be called.

4. Submit all required documents at the Evaluator’s counter.

5. Proceed to the designated area for taking your photo and signature

6. Pay all fees at the cashier. Get your official receipt (OR)

7. Go to the Releasing Counter and present your OR to claim your license.

Steps for Driver’s License Renewal for OFWs

If you’re living or working abroad and would want to have your Driver’s license renewed, you can have an authorized representative handle the whole process.

Here’s what they’ll need to bring:

  • Both original and xerox copies of your Pro or Non-pro Philippine Driver’s License
  • Xerox copies of the first page, Visa page, and departure page (and last arrival) of your Philippine Passport
  • Authorization letter advising the LTO that you are authorizing this person (your representative) to renew your license on your behalf.

Note that while you can have a representative take care of this initial process (submission of documents, payment of fees), you will have to present yourself within 30 days at the same LTO office so they can take your photo and get the following documents from you:

  • Original/old driver’s license
  • Medical certificate and drug test result
  • Xerox copy of Passport
  • TIN number

And here are the steps once you’re back in the Philippines:

  1. Go to the Customer Service area to submit all the required documents mentioned above. Get a copy of the Driver’s Application form (you can download this beforehand and complete it prior to going to LTO to save time)
  2. Wait for your number to be called. Submit the completed form and other necessary documents at the Evaluator’s area.
  3. Have your photo and signature taken at the designated area
  4. Pay all fees at the Cashier. Get your official receipt (OR)
  5. Go to the Releasing counter and present your OR to get your new driver’s license.

OFWs with unclaimed Driver’s license

It happens. Sometimes you simply lose track of these things.

Don’t fret though, if you’re an OFW and forgot to claim your driver’s license, here are the steps to get it:

1. Download a copy of APPLICATION FORM FOR UNCLAIMED DRIVERS LICENSE CARD FOR OFWS

2. Scan and make copies of the following:

  • Passport showing ID photo and passport page showing arrival stamp at the current country
  • Official Receipt of Driver’s License
  • Soft Copy of 2×2 photo using a blue background

3. Send your application form along with all requirements above to: LTOOFWDL@YAHOO.COM

4. Wait for the email notification letter. It will advise you on the delivery date of your driver’s license.

5. Upon receipt of notification email, visit the Embassy of your choice for getting your driver’s license card.

You’ll be asked to pick the Embassy of your choice on the Driver’s Application form.

How to Renew LTO Driver’s License Online

As the entire world increasingly pivots online to do what they need to in light of the country’s physical distancing measures, the Land Transportation Office has finally (and thankfully) launched an online portal that allows Philippine residents to apply for and renew their driver’s license.

Dubbed the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS), the online portal will also enable you to access your records (pending applications, traffic violations, etc.) without the need to visit an LTO branch. According to the LTO, the LTMS is available 24/7 and covers the following areas:

  • NCR
  • Laoag
  • Bayombong
  • Roxas
  • Tagbilaran
  • Dumaguete
  • Ormoc
  • Butuan
  • Pagadian
  • Malaybalay
  • Lipa
  • Calapan
  • Naga
  • Tagum
  • Davao
  • General Santos
  • Baguio 

(As of June 2020)

Step 1: Create Your Account

You’ll first need to register for an account in the LTMS portal. 

  • To do that, visit the LTMS portal and click “Register Now.”
  • Once you agree to the Terms of Agreement, fill out the captcha form. 
  • You will then be asked what type of account you need:
  • Depending on which type you click, you’ll be asked to fill in the required information. For individual accounts who already have a driver’s license, for example, you’ll be asked to provide your license number, expiry date, and official receipt number (although your mother’s name will also suffice). 
  • Once you’re done providing all the necessary information, you’ll get a verification link in your email. The email contains your 15-digit LTO Client Number which will serve as your LTMS portal username (so make sure that you save this or the confirmation email). 
  • When you click on that link, you’ll be asked to complete your profile by creating a password. 

Step 2: Log-In To Your Account

The LTMS portal is pretty straightforward. When you log in with your 15-digit LTO Client Number and password, you’ll be taken to a screen asking what transaction you’d like to make. 

Whichever transaction you’re looking to do, you’ll just be needing to fill in all the necessary fields. This includes things like your emergency contact and whether you’re an organ donor or not. Once you’re done with that, you’ll be taken to this screen:

When you click “Next,” you’ll be taken to a screen with a few more options:

And if, for example, you click on Enhancement of Driver’s License, you’ll just need to upload the online application form. You can find all the downloadable forms here

Note: As of June 18, 2020, only license-related transactions are offered on the LTMS portal.

Duplicate (Lost, stolen) and Damaged license for Student, Non-Pro, and Pro: Requirements and procedure

So what if you lose or get your license damaged? Don’t worry, you can request for a new one to be issued by following these steps:

  1. Visit a notary public office and request for an Affidavit of Loss (can range anywhere from Php100 – Php250). Make sure to bring a valid ID.
  2. Visit an LTO Regional Branch. License replacements are typically done here and not on their satellite locations.
  3. Obtain a Driver’s License Application form from the Customer Service Counter. Complete it and wait for your number to be called.
  4. Submit all required documents at the Evaluator’s window.
  5. Get your signature and photo taken at the designated area.
  6. Go to the cashier and pay all required fees. Get your official receipt (OR).
  7. Proceed to the Releasing Counter to get your new driver’s license.

License Certification: Requirements and procedure

This License Certification is a document that serves as proof of your driving experience in the Philippines.

This document is usually requested by Pinoys looking to live abroad and want to apply for a driver’s license there.

You’ll need to bring the following:

  • Xerox copy of your current or old license
  • Copy of the letter of request from the Government (if requested by Gov’t agency) or Request Slip
  • Duly notarized affidavit of loss or letter request (for verification of license data stating the purpose)
  • TIN (for employment abroad purposes)

Steps:

  1. Proceed to the Customer Service Counter and submit all the required documents.
  2. Get your monitoring slip and queue number and wait for your number to be called
  3. Pay the fee at the Cashier and get your receipt (OR)
  4. Go to the Releasing Counter and present your OR to get the License Certification.

Penalties and Fees:

Here’s a list of penalties and their corresponding fee when driving. Drive safe and always follow traffic rules!

Types of PenaltiesFee (Php)
DRIVING WITHOUT A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE/CONDUCTOR’S PERMIT3000
DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE USED IN THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME UPON CONVICTION BY A REGULAR COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION10,000
COMMISSION OF A CRIME IN THE COURSE OF APPREHENSION UPON CONVICTION BY A REGULAR COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION10,000
DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, DANGEROUS DRUGS AND/OR SIMILAR SUBSTANCE UPON FINAL CONVICTION BY A REGULAR COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION (SECTION 12, R.A. 10586)1st Offense: License will be confiscated, suspended for 12 months

 

2nd Offense:

Driver’s license will be revoked

RECKLESS DRIVINGFirst offense – Php 2,000.00 Second offense – Php 3,000.00 Subsequent offense – Php 10,000.00
SUBMISSION OF FAKE DOCUMENTS IN RELATION TO THE APPLICATION FOR A DRIVER’S LICENSE (NEW/ RENEWAL)3000
FAILURE TO WEAR SEAT BELT DEVICE THE PRESCRIBEDFirst offense – Php 1,000.00 Second offense – Php 2,000.00 Third offense – Php 5,000.00
FAILURE TO WEAR THE STANDARD PROTECTIVE MOTORCYCLE HELMET OR FAILURE TO REQUIRE THE BACK RIDER TO WEAR THE STANDARD PROTECTIVE MOTORCYCLE HELMET, UNDER R.A. 10054First offense – Php 1,500.00 Second offense – Php 3,000.00 Third offense – Php 5,000.00
FAILURE TO CARRY DRIVER’S LICENSE, CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION OR OFFICIAL ‘ RECEIPT WHILE DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLEPhp 1,000 00
ALL OTHER VIOLATIONS OF TRAFFIC RULES AND REGULATIONS (click here for the full list of violations)Php 1,000 00
DRIVING AN UNREGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLEPhp 10,000.00
UNAUTHORIZED MODIFICATION MOTOR VEHICLEPhp 5,000.00
OPERATING A RIGHT HAND DRIVE MOTOR VEHICLEPhp 50,000.00
MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATING WITHOUT OR WITH DEFECTIVE/IMPROPER/UNAUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES, DEVICES, EQUIPMENT AND PARTSPhp 5,000.00
FAILURE TO ATTACH OR IMPROPER ATTACHMENT/TAMPERING OF AUTHORIZED MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES AND/OR THIRD PLATE STICKERPhp 5,000.00
SMOKE BELCHING (Section 46, R.A. 8749)a) First Offense- a fine not to exceed Two Thousand Pesos (Php2,000.00) b) Second Offense- a fine not to exceed Four Thousand Pesos (Php4,000.00); and c) Third Offense- one (1) year suspension of the Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) and a fine not more than Six Thousand Pesos (Php6,000.00) d) Succeeding Offense suspension of MV Registration for one (1) year
ALL OTHER VIOLATION IN CONNECTION WITH MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION/ RENEWAL/ OPERATIONPhp 2,000.00

Under-age drivers

Anyone found to have misrepresented their age in their driver’s license will be required to surrender their license.

In order to obtain and renew a valid license, the person will need to submit a written appeal and be asked to pay Php5,000 plus miscellaneous fees for revision of LTO’s records.

Should the licensee prefer the 1-year cancellation of his or her driver’s license, they should surrender the temporary license at the Licensing Center.

They will be barred from applying for a new license for 1 year starting from the time the license was surrendered.

This applies to the following scenarios:

  1. A licensee who voluntarily requests for correction
  2. Licensee whose license got canceled (underage reasons) prior to promulgation of circular no. AHS-2008-1072

LTO Sites and locations

Branch NameAddressContact Number
LTO Diliman1200 East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City921-9017 or 709-3053
LTO La Loma3 Biak na Bato Street, corner P. Florentino Street, Barangay, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City711-4444 or 416-3052
LTO MakatiButel Bldg., Pililia St., Makati City895-8678 or 897-5198
LTO Las PinasFrancisco Motors Compound, Talon I, Las Piñas City875-2030
LTO MalabonGovernor Pascual Avenue, Malabon City351-7628
LTO NCRNo. 96 Mirasol Street, San Roque, Cubao, Quezon City440-6424 or 356-0708
LTO Mandaluyong121 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City532-2726
LTO NavotasGen. Gas Plant Bldg., Fishport Complex, North Bay, Navotas City283-3510

Tips for an Efficient and Hassle-Free Driver’s License Application and Renewal

1. Renew at least a week before your license’s expiration date.

Don’t renew on the last allowed date. You’ll never know when problems or issues may happen.

Having plenty of buffer time will allow you to handle these issues and ensure you won’t get penalized for late registration.

2. Check online for LTO satellite offices near you.

The last time I renewed my driver’s license was on the Ground Floor of SM North Edsa Annex. They have everything there (including medical exam area) for renewing your license.

The mall is a pretty convenient place since its air-conditioned and has plenty of establishments for meals when you get hungry.

Before you visit an LTO Regional office to renew your license, see if there are more convenient locations near you.

3. Download and complete your application form at home.

This will save time and ensure you won’t be rushing when completing it (helps prevent mistakes).

4. Review the steps above for application and renewal.

By knowing the procedures beforehand, you can avoid potential time-sucks and make sure you’re doing the right step.

5. Final checklist before going out.

Before you head out, do a final checklist.

Make sure all required documents are with you, bring enough money for fees and food, a fully-charged phone (and power bank) to keep you entertained while waiting, and water.

Applying for a driver’s license (either first time or renewal) is not hard.

You just need to be aware of the procedures and make sure to bring all the required documents. Armed with the info above plus a few tips, the whole experience should be easy.

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About Amiel Pineda

Amiel Pineda is the Head of Content at Grit PH. Prior to freelancing full-time, he worked in the financial services industry for nearly a decade. He also writes on his personal blog, Homebased Pinoy, where he shares tips and guides as a work-from-home freelancer.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Richard Edwards says

    As an american living in the Philippines how hard is it for me to get an ID, and a drivers license (im a licensed driver for many years in the usa) Please let me know asap, thanks Amiel.

  2. Aldrin Camu says

    Hi,
    Yun kapatid ko po kasi magte-take ng exam ngayun sa LTO para sa Pro dtiver license and yun payment daw is 3,250 na ngayun 2020.
    Totoo po ba yun?

  3. Ana fe Limbaga kaiser says

    NASA germany po ako kailangang KO ang lisinya KO SA trabaho kasu mga 7 years na kami dito.pwede KO bang pangalan,number bang lisinya KO ang kapanganakan koTelefone.

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