How To Apply For A Driver’s License In The Philippines

How To Apply For A Driver’s License In The Philippines

Driving is a privilege, not a right. A driver’s license isn’t granted lightly to anyone without passing a set of tests and examinations. To ensure that individuals will uphold road safety and follow traffic rules, a certain set of standards must be met before they can legally drive on the road.  

A driver’s license is an official document authorizing an individual to drive a motorized vehicle.  If you are thinking of getting a driver’s license in the Philippines, here’s what you need to know.

Types of driver’s license in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) provides three types of driver’s licenses. Depending on an individual’s driving skills, they fall on the following category: student permit, non-professional permit, and professional permit. These permits are given in tiers or stages, rookie drivers are given a student permit while experienced drivers are granted with the professional license.

An individual who is at least 17 years old can immediately qualify for a student permit, provided that they undergo LTO’s screening or test. This can then be upgraded to a non-professional license one month after acquiring the student permit, and later on to a professional license after 6 months.

It’s quite a lengthy application process because it requires a written and a driving exam for a non-professional or professional license.

How to apply for driver’s license in the Philippines

To give you a complete overview of how the driver license application work, below is a quick guide on how you can obtain these licenses.

Student driver permit (SP)

This driver’s license is granted to new drivers who are less experienced in driving. It’s basically used for drivers who are still learning how to drive. This driver’s license can be converted to a non-professional driver’s license after 30 days it was granted.

Qualification
  1. Must be at least seventeen (17) years old.
  2. Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  3. Must be able to read and write in Filipino or English or the applicable local dialect.
  4. In addition, for foreigners, the applicant must be eighteen (18) years old and must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) year from the date of application.
Documentary requirements
  • Duly accomplished Application form for Driver’s License (ADL). Download here.
  • Original and photocopy of birth certificate duly authenticated by National Statistics Office (NSO).
  • If below eighteen (18) years of age, original copy of parental/guardian consent with original and photocopy of one (1) valid government issued Identification Card containing the signature of the consenting parent/guardian.
  • Medical Certificate issued by any licensed practicing physician stating that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle or otherwise stating his/her impairment.
  • In addition, for foreigners, original and photocopy of passport with entry date of at least one (1) month and visa duration of at least one (1) year from date of application, or if born in the Philippines, present original and photocopy of birth certificate duly authenticated by the NSO.
Application process

1.  Submit all the documentary requirements to the receiving personnel

  • Receiving personnel shall check only the completeness of the documents required and transmit the same to an evaluator.
  • The Evaluator shall evaluate the qualifications of the applicant and, if qualified, encode the application in the system.
  • After encoding, the application shall be approved by the Approving Officer.

2.  Upon approval, the applicant shall be called for photo and signature taking.
3. Pay the required fees to the Cashier.
4. The SP Card with the Official Receipt shall be released to the applicant, who shall be required to write his/her name and affix his/her signature in the appropriate Release Form.

  • A reviewer containing all possible questions in the examinations for the issuance of an NPDL, PDL shall be given to the applicant together with SP Card.

The cost of a student permit

Application Fee₱100.00
Computer Fee₱ 67.63
Student Permit Fee₱150.00
TOTAL₱317.63

 

Non-professional driver’s license (NPDL)

A non-professional driver’s license has the same qualification as the student driver’s license. However, only student permit holders can only convert their license to this after 30 days from the date their student permit was granted and will have to undergo a screening process that entails a written and practical examination.

Non-professional driver’s license holders will be eligible to drive motorcycles and vehicles with a gross weight no higher than 4,500 kilograms (with either manual or automatic transmission) such as sedans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), pickups, minivans and most passenger vehicles.

Qualification
  1. Must be at least eighteen (18) years old.
  2. Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  3. Must be able to read and write Filipino, English or the applicable local dialect.
  4. Must be a holder of a valid SP issued at least thirty (30) days prior to the application.
  5. In addition, for foreigners, the applicant must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) month with proof that he/she will stay in the country for at least one (1) year from the date of application.
Documentary requirements

  1. Duly Accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL). Download here.
  2. Valid SP issued at least thirty (30) days from the date of application.
  3. Medical Certificate issued by any licensed practicing physician stating that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle or otherwise stating his/her impairment.
  4. In addition, for foreigners, original and photocopy of passport with entry of at least one (1) month and visa duration of at least one (1) year from the date of application, or if born in the Philippines, present original and photocopy of birth certificate duly authenticated by the NSO.

Some notes:
In the event that the applicant is a holder of a valid Foreign Driver’s License, the applicant may present the original and photocopy of Foreign Driver’s License, if not in English language, original and photocopy of official English translation from Embassy of the issuing country instead of an SP.

Application process

1. Submit all the documentary requirements to the receiving personnel

  • Receiving personnel shall check only the completeness of the documents required and transmit the same to the evaluator
  • The evaluator shall evaluate the qualifications of the applicant and, if qualified, encode the application in the system.

2. Photo and signature taking.
3. Pay the required fees to the Cashier.
4.  Written examinations in the form of the Basic Driving Theory Test for NPDL and will be immediately informed of the results of the same.
5.  An applicant who passes the written examinations for NPDL shall be required to immediately take the practical driving test for the Restriction Code/s (RC) applied for.
6. Upon approval, the NPDL card with the Official Receipt shall be released to the applicant, who shall be required to write his/her name and affix his/her signature in the appropriate Released Form.

Some notes

  • Applicants who fail to pass the Basic Driving Theory Test and/or the Practical Driving Test shall not be allowed to take the same test within a period of one (1) month from the date of the last examination.
  • If the Applicant fails to pass any of the written or practical examinations twice within a period of one (1) year, he/she shall not be allowed to apply for the same within a period of one (1) year from the date of the last examination.
  • If the applicant fails to pass any of the written or practical examinations thrice, he/she shall no longer be allowed to apply for the same for a period of two (2) years from the time of latest failure.
  • However, in case the application is only for additional Restriction Code/s (RC), he/she shall be allowed to renew his/her NPDL and, for this purpose, such shall be annotated on the record of the applicant.

 

Professional driver’s license (PDL)

A professional license can enable an individual to drive almost all types of vehicle in the country including those which weighs more than 4,600 kilograms and above, such as trucks and heavy construction equipment.

Qualification
  1. Must be at least eighteen (18) years old.
  2. Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  3. Must be able to read and write Filipino, English or the applicable local dialect.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Must not have been cited for two (2) or more counts of reckless driving during the period of validity of his/her existing license.
  7. In addition, for foreigners, the applicant must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) month with proof that he/she will stay in the country for at least one (1) year from date of application and is allowed to work herein.
Documentary requirements
  1. Duly accomplished Application for Driver’s License (ADL). Download here.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Medical Certificate issued by any licensed practicing physician stating that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  5. The clearance that the applicant has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude or reckless imprudence resulting from reckless driving from all the following:

• National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and

• Philippine National Police (PNP).

  1. In addition, for foreigners, original and photocopy of passport with entry of at least one (1) year from the date of application, or if born in the Philippines, present original and photocopy of birth certificate duly authenticated by the NSO.
Application process

1. Submit all the documentary requirements to the receiving personnel.

  • Receiving personnel shall check only the completeness of the documents required and transmit the same to an evaluator.
  • The evaluator shall evaluate the qualifications of the applicant and, if qualified, encode the application in the system.

2. Proceed to photo and signature taking.

3. Pay the required fees to the cashier.

4. Undergo written examinations in the form of the PDL Basic Driving Theory Test for the Restriction Code/s (RC) applied for.

5. After passing the written examinations, you’ll be required to take the practical driving test for the Restriction Code/s (RC) you applied for immediately.

6. After passing both examinations, your application will be approved by the Approving Officer.

7. Upon approval, the PDL card with the Official Receipt shall be released to the applicant, who shall be required to write his/her name and affix his/her signature in the appropriate Release Form.

Fees for NPL and PL
Application Fee₱100.00
Computer Fee₱67.63
License Fee₱585.00
Computer Fee₱67.63
TOTAL₱820.26

No one has more right to the road than anyone else. If you’re going to drive, you owe it to the other roadway users and yourself to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Owning a driver’s license is the step towards being a responsible driver, but ultimately, it’s about upholding traffic rules and being a levelheaded driver.

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