Driver’s license in the Philippines is consider a privilege not a right. The process of getting the driver’s license involves a lot of tests and exams, which have to be accomplish in order to be able to get it.




Of course, that occurs for specific reasons. The main reason is to ensure that the individuals who are driving uphold the safety of the road and follow the traffic rules.

For that, a certain standard is required to be able to drive fully legally on the road. Also, the driver’s license counts as an official ID for the government.

The Philippine driver’s license is a document that allows the individual owning it to drive a motorized vehicle on the road.

There are some required documents to start the application for the driver’s license and of course the tests.




The procedure for the application and the process of the exams and tests will be fully explain in this article.

Philippines Drivers License
Philippines Drivers License

Student Drive Permit

There is a variation of the driver’s license called the Student driver permit, or short SP. As the name suggests it is a license for drivers, which are not yet very experienced in driving.

Resuming it is a license given to individuals who are still in the process of learning how to drive. After a 30 days period after the SP was grantee, it can be converted to a non-professional license, which gives the driving student the right to drive motorized vehicles but not for a profession.

To be able to apply for the SP, the student has be at least 17 years old, must be capable of reading and writing in Filipino or English or the local dialect and be mentally and physically fit to operate a motorized vehicle.

Foreigners though have to be 18 years old and spend at least a year in the Philippines before the application can be done.

The documents necessary for the application are the Application form for Driver’s License (ADL) which can be found and downloaded here: http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2014/06jun/DOTC-LTO-Form-21.pdf

Furthermore a birth certificate and a certified copy of it is required, a parental/guardian consent together with a valid ID from the parent/guardian and a copy of it if the applicant is below 18 years old, a medical Certificate that proves the mental and physical capability, issued by a licensed practicing physician.

Foreigners have to bring their passport and a copy of it with a visa duration of at least a year.

The application process is rather easy, all documentary requested has to be submit to the receiving personnel at the neared LTO (Land Transportation Office). The documents and forms will be verified personnel, followed by an evaluation of the qualifications of the applicant.

If the applicant is qualified, the data will be encoded into the system. Afterwards the application will be approved by an approving officer (or not), which follows in a call for photo and signature taking.

After the fees of ₱317.63 for the SP is paid, the SP card will be release to the applicant.

Non-Professional Driver’s License

The non-professional driver’s license requires the same qualifications as the SP. However, as mentioned earlier only Student permits can be convert into Non-professional driver’s licenses, or short NPDL, after a 30 days period.

After the said periods and examination of written and practical knowledge will be applicate. The NPDL gives the owner the right to driven motorcycles and vehicles around 4.5 tones.

The only difference in the qualifications is that the individual has to be at least 18 years old. And of course have the SP for at least 30 days. The documents required are pretty much the same too.

The ADL form can be find in the previous section. The valid SP older than 30 days, another medical certificate and the passport + copy for foreigners, together with the visa. The procedure of the application is also the same, hold in the closest LTO, the fee for the NPL is ₱820.26.

After the payment is complete, the applicant must complete a written examination, which is a basic driving theory test. The results will be inform immediately after the test is completed. The applicants who were able to pass will be ask to take the practical driving test after the test. If the applicant passes, he will receive the NPDL card.

In case of failure, the applicant will not be allow to participate on another test for at least 1 month. If the failure repeats itself in the period of 1 year, the applicant will not be able to take part on the exams for another year. After the 3rd failure, the applicant has to wait 2 years until the next try.

Professional Driver’s License

A professional driver’s license, or short PDL, allows the owner to drive most types of vehicles inside the country. The ADL, which can be find in the Student’s permit section, is also required for the PDL.

For Restriction classes (RC) 1, 2, 4 and 6, the applicant must bring a valid SP issued 6 months or more before the application. RC 3, 5, 7 and 8 have to be holders of a valid NPDL, issued 6 months before the application too. Also a medical certificate is required. In addition, the applicant must have a clearance issued by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) which states that the applicant was not involved in any case of reckless driving.

Foreigners will need a passport and a copy of it. The process requires the applicant to be at least 18 years old and that the applicant was not cited for 2 or even more counts of reckless driving on the current validation date of the license. The application process is the same as the NPDL and the same fee of ₱820.26 applies for the PDL.

How To Renew Your Driver’s License

Renewals can be made at any LTO Renewal centers. For the NPDL and the PDL a renewal can be apply for at least 1 month before the actual expiration date of the license. But after 2 years the exams have to be repeated. A medical certificate is required, together with a filled out LTO Application form (The ADL, the same as for the application for the PDL and NPDL).

Photos and biometric signatures will be captured at the LTO Center.

The fee for the renewal is at least ₱417.53, but additional penalty fees can be add.

For licenses that are expired for 1 day up to 1 year, and additional ₱75 will be add. From 1 year up to 2 years, ₱150 will be add.

For individuals who have expired licenses for more than 2 years, they have to pay and additional ₱220 and have to retake the LTO Written and Practical Exams.

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