How to Get Driver’s License in the Philippines: An Ultimate Guide

This article will guide you with all that you need to know about getting a driver’s driver’s license quickly and effectively here in the Philippines.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) issues the driver’s license in the form of an ID, which permits a specific person to operate or use one or many motor vehicles types, such as motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses on public roads.

It is valid for five (5) years, whereas the student permit is only valid for one (1) year. However, upon renewal, the driver’s license validity period can be extended to 10 years if the driver has no traffic violation record.

Beginning in October 2021, responsible drivers with clean records will be eligible for the 10-year license incentive. Meanwhile, irresponsible drivers may face fines, penalties, or more severe sanctions depending on how many demerit points accumulate.

Types of Driver’s License in the Philippines:

1. Student Driver Permit. This type of driver’s license is available to those aged seventeen (17) and up. If you want to get a non-professional or professional driver’s license, you must first obtain a student driver’s permit. The student driver permit is only valid for one (1) year and cannot be modified, revised, or renewed.

2. Non-Professional – A Non-Professional Driver’s License can give you the authority to drive/operate PRIVATE motor vehicles with up to 4,500 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). Holders of this license will be able to drive vehicles with both manual and automatic transmission. Sedans, minivans, pickup trucks, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles are among the vehicle types covered by the weight limit.

3. Professional – A Professional Driver’s License authorizes the driver (whether hired or paid) to drive and operate motor vehicles, whether for private use or for the hire of the general public. A Professional Driver’s License entitles the holder to operate almost any type of vehicle, including motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 4,500 GVW, such as heavy construction equipment.

How to Get a Student Permit in the Philippines

Every person who wishes to obtain a driver’s license will be required to first apply for a student permit in order to do so. This allows you to drive certain types of vehicles when accompanied by a Professional or Non-Professional Driver’s License holder.

Student permits allow you to practice driving for one year before sitting for the written and practical driving tests. You can apply for a Student Permit at any LTO District Office, Licensing Center, or Extension Office that processes Driver’s License transactions. There are no fees for applying.

Remember that a student permit is NOT an official driver’s license and should not be confused with one. If you are caught driving a vehicle without the presence of a trained and licensed driver, you will be fined Php 3,000 and your vehicle will be impounded unless you pay a Php 3,000 penalty fee.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR STUDENT PERMIT APPLICATION

• A Filipino or a foreign citizen who is at least 16 years old.

• If you have a driver’s license that has been expired for 10 years or more, you are no longer permitted to drive and must reapply for a student permit with the LTO.

• You must be able to read and write in English, Filipino, or any other local dialect that may be applicable.

• To drive a motor vehicle, you must be physically and mentally fit.

•You must have completed at least 15 hours of theoretical driving instruction from an LTO-accredited driving school. Starting August 3, 2020, applicants seeking a student permit must have completed this 15-hour theoretical driving course.

• For foreign applicants, you must have lived in the Philippines for at least one (1) month and intend to stay for at least one (1) year from the date of application.

STUDENT DRIVER PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

• A fully completed application for a driver’s license (which you can download by clicking here).

• Original and photocopy of a birth certificate authenticated by the PSA. 

• Medical certificate (Ensure that the medical examination is conducted only by LTO-accredited clinics or physicians. This will cost you at least no more than Php 500 and will last for two (2) months.)

• If you are self-employed, your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

• Certificate of Completion of a Driving Course (this is to prove that you have completed the required practical lessons given by the LTO or any LTO- accredited driving schools.)

Additional Requirements:

For minors or applicants below eighteen (18) years old:

  • An original copy of the parent’s consent, which has been duly notarized, or an affidavit from the guardian authorizing the applicant to secure/apply for a student permit is required.
  • 1 valid government-issued ID with photo and signature of consenting parent or guardian (original and photocopy)

For married women:

  • A marriage contract that has been authenticated by the PSA (original and photocopy)

For foreigners:

  • The applicant’s passport, which must include the following (both the original and a photocopy): It is necessary to have an entry date that is at least one (1) month away, as well as a visa duration that is at least one (1) year from the date of application.
  • If you were born in the Philippines, you must submit a birth certificate that has been authenticated by the PSA (original and photocopy)

Steps in Applying Student Permit

  • Visit the LTO office. Proceed to the Customer Service Counter and ask for an application form as well as a checklist of the necessary requirements to be considered. A queue number is also provided to you.
  • Complete the application form for the student driver.
  • Submit all of the necessary documentation.
  • You will be asked to recite the Driver’s Safety Pledge, which is a legal requirement. A transaction number will be generated for you after they have encoded your information into their system.
  • Your biometric data will be collected.
  • Acceptance of your application.
  • Payment of all applicable fees
  • They will issue the student driver permit as well as the Official Receipt.

Take note:

  • Student permits last one year.
  • It was previously stated that to obtain a Student Driver’s Permit; one must have finished the theoretical driving course supplied by the LTO or any of its recognized driving schools. In order to qualify for the course, you must complete at least 15 hours of driving lessons within two years of enrolling in it.
  • Student permits don’t count as acceptable forms of identification because they’re only meant to be temporary. However, sometimes it can be accepted as a valid ID when using a card, like applying for a passport. Additionally, you can use the Official Receipt for SSS transactions.
  • After student permit issuance, you can begin the application process for a Non-Professional Driver’s License. A student permit is no longer accepted for professional drivers’ licenses. To be eligible for a Pro License, candidates must first obtain a Non-Pro License.

How to Get a Non-Professional Driver’s License in the Philippines

Non-Professional Driver’s License, a type of license for people who will drive motorcycles and vehicles weighing up to 4,500 pounds (Gross Vehicle Weight).

The Non-Professional Driver’s License is a legal document that allows you to drive only private vehicles. If you want to make money driving public transportation, you should get a Professional Driver’s License instead.

A new Non-Professional Driver’s License application can be submitted at any LTO District Office, Licensing Center, or Extension Office that handles Driver’s License transactions.

Qualifications for Non-Professional Driver’s License Application

• You must be at least seventeen (17) years old, either a Filipino or a foreigner.

• You must be physically and mentally fit to drive a vehicle. However, just because you have a medical condition does not preclude you from driving a vehicle. You may be allowed to drive a vehicle depending on the physician who evaluates you during the medical examination, provided that the appropriate condition code is added to your driver’s license.

• You must read and write in English, Filipino, or a local dialect if applicable.

• You must have held a valid Student Permit for at least thirty-one (31) days prior to applying for a Non-Professional Driver’s License.

• You must have completed at least 8 hours of practical driving lessons from an LTO-accredited and TESDA-certified driving school, and

• You must have passed the required written and practical exams.

• For foreign applicants: You must have lived in the Philippines for at least one (1) month and intend to stay for at least one (1) year from the date of application.

REQUIREMENTS IN APPLYING FOR NON-PROFESSIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE

•Fully completed driver’s license application form

• Valid Student Permit issued at least 31 days previous to the application date

• Certificate of medical examination (Make sure you only have your medical examination at LTO-accredited clinics or physicians.) This will cost you a maximum of Php 500 and is valid for two (2) months.)

• Certificate of Successful Completion of a Driving Course (this is to prove that you have completed the required practical lessons given by the LTO or any LTO- accredited driving schools.)

 Additional Requirements

For foreigners:

• The applicant’s passport, both original and photocopy, containing the following: (a) A minimum of one (1) month’s entry date; and (b) A minimum of one (1) year’s visa duration from the date of application.

• Submit a PSA-Authenticated Birth Certificate if you were born in the Philippines (Original and Photocopy)

If you have a valid foreign driver’s license, you must:

• A valid international driver’s license (Original and Photocopy)

• If the foreign driver’s license is not in English, an official English translation from the issuing country’s embassy is required. (photocopy and original)

Steps in Applying for Non-Professional Driver’s Licence

1. Visit the LTO’s office.

2. Submit your completed driver’s license application form to the receiving personnel, along with any other required documents.

3. The receiving personnel will verify that your documents are complete before forwarding them to the evaluator.

4. If you are qualified, your application will be encoded in the system.

5. Proceed to the designated area for photographing and signing.

6. Proceed to the cashier and settle all applicable fees.

7. You will sit for the Non-Professional Driver’s License Basic Driving Theory Exam. The results will be available immediately following the written examination.

8. If you pass the written examinations, you will be directed to take the practical driving test.

9. Once you have passed both the written and practical examinations, your application will be approved.

10. You will receive your Non-Professional Driver’s License in addition to the Official Receipt. On the release form, please write your name and sign it.

Take note:

  • While some LTO offices now require online appointments, and others still accept walk-ins. To avoid problems, call the LTO office and ask for the exact protocol to be followed in advance.
  • A Non-professional Driver’s license written examination includes 40 items and to pass a score of 30.
  • You can only apply for a Professional Driver’s License about a year after obtaining a Non-Professional Driver’s License under the new policy.

How to Get a Professional Driver’s License in the Philippines

A new Professional Driver’s License application can be submitted at any LTO District Office, Licensing Center, or Extension Office that handles Driver’s License transactions.

This type of driver’s license allows persons to carry private, public, and vehicle cars in excess of 4,500 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight).

This is all you must know to apply for a professional driver’s license:

QUALIFICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE APPLICATION

• At least seventeen (17) years of age, either Filipino or foreigner

• You must obtain the physical and mental ability to operate a motor vehicle. However, having a medical condition does not automatically disqualify you from driving a car. Depending on the physician who examines you during the medical examination, you may be permitted to drive a vehicle with the addition of the appropriate condition code to your driver’s license.

• For at least one year, you must be a non-professional driver license holder.

• You must have completed a minimum of eight hours of hands-on driving instruction with an LTO-accredited and TESDA-certified driving school (

• For foreign applicants, you must have been a resident of the Philippines for at least one (1) month and intend to remain for at least one (1) year following the date of application.

• For Restriction Codes 1, 2, 4, and 6, you must possess a valid Non-Professional Driver’s License that was issued no more than one (1) year before the date of application.

• For Restriction Codes 3, 5, 7, and 8: You must have held a valid Non-Professional Driver’s License for at least one (1) year before the date of application, OR you must have held a Professional Driver’s License with Restriction Codes 1, 2, 4, and 6 for at least six (6) months before the date of application before you can submit your application.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PROFESSIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE APPLICATION:

  • A completed driver’s license application form.
  • Certificate of medical examination (Make sure that you only undergo the medical examination at clinics or physicians who have been accredited by the LTO.) A maximum of Php 500 will be charged, with the voucher being valid for a period of two (2) months.
  • A valid non-professional driver’s license that was issued at least one year prior to the date of application is required.
  • NBI and Police Clearance
  • Driving Course Completion Certificate

Additional Requirements

For Restriction Codes 1, 2, 4, and 6:

• A valid non-professional driver’s license issued at least one (1) year prior to the application date is required (original and photocopy)

For Restriction Codes 3, 5, 7, and 8:

• Original and photocopy of a valid non-commercial driver’s license issued at least one (1) year before the application date, or

• A professional driver’s license with restriction codes 1, 2, 4, and 6 that has been valid for at least six (6) months before the application period (original and photocopy

For Foreigners:

• The applicant’s passport, both original and photocopy, containing the following: (a) A minimum of one (1) month’s entry date; and (b) A minimum of one (1) year’s visa duration from the date of application.

• If you were born in the Philippines, submit both the original and a photocopy of your birth certificate authenticated by the PSA.

Steps in Applying for Professional Driver’s License

1. Visit the LTO office.

2. Submit your completed driver’s license application form to the receiving personnel, along with any other required documents.

3. The receiving personnel will verify that your documents are complete before forwarding them to the evaluator.

4. If you are qualified, your application will be encoded in the system.

5. Proceed to the designated area for photographing and signing.

6. Proceed to the cashier and settle all applicable fees.

7. You will sit for the Basic Driver Theory Examination. Results will be provided immediately following the written examination.

8. If you pass the written examinations, you will be directed to take the practical driving test.

9. Once you have passed both the written and practical examinations, your application will be approved.

10. You will receive your Non-Professional Driver’s License in addition to the Official Receipt. On the release form, please write your name and sign it.

In the Philippines, your driver’s license also serves as a valid form of identification. This can be used in several transactions in state offices or agencies such as Philippine passport applications, UMID IDs, SSS and banking transactions and many others.

Just because you have a driver’s license doesn’t mean you can do anything on the road. Always keep the safety of those inside your vehicle, as well as the safety of other vehicle owners you may come across, in mind, as well as your own personal well-being.

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